Tall, leggy fiddle leaf fig help
February 17, 2020 6:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for suggestions on how to fill in a leggy fiddle leaf fig with additional growth.

I was on the market for a very tall plant, and serendipitously, I scored this fiddle leaf fig from my neighbor's trash. It's approx. 7.5 feet tall, and the lowest leaf is approx. 5.5 feet from the floor.

The plant is lovely but very leggy. Ideally I would like more branches lower down. Is there any way to encourage growth of new branches so that it "fills in"? If not, would it make sense to plant additional fiddle leaf figs in the same pot (maybe a larger pot?), with the hope they fill in the empty space? What about cutting the existing branches and starting over by trying to regrow them into new plants?

I'm not a green thumb, so all suggestions and guidance welcome. thanks
posted by smokyjoe to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You could start by pruning back one of the stems really short to see if it will grow back with new leaves. I think it will mostly depend on the growing conditions you have available for the plant. They grow leggy when they don't get enough light, so you'll have to see if it can grow well and happy in the spot you have for it...
posted by PardonMyFrench at 6:49 AM on February 17, 2020

We had one that reached the ceiling so we air layered it and ended up with two short plants. This very detailed article is possibly best practice but I don't think we used hormone rooting powder, just the sphagnum moss and plastic wrapping. Pretty soon they become two tall plants.
posted by Botanizer at 6:50 AM on February 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

I have a common fig in a pot which I almost murdered several times and rescued at least once by chopping off all the branches and rooting them. I can confirm that cuttings root very easily, and also that low light conditions lead to sparse growth in the middle of the plant. I just moved it out of my very shaded porch (because there was no room) into a sunny spot (I have a backup cutting in a smaller pot which I call Son of Fig), and I can see a lot of new growth along the branches, which has never happened before -- it was always mostly bare with huge leaves at the ends of the branches. I'm hoping that it's going to get much less spindly now.
posted by confluency at 7:34 AM on February 17, 2020

Chop and root is the standard procedure. You may have a little more success if you root Th em separately first then plunk them in.

The only other way to reliably get lower lateral growth is to graft or give it tropical amounts of sun, all year round (don’t try that).
posted by SaltySalticid at 10:33 AM on February 17, 2020

I was in the same boat and ended up with a sad fiddle leaf with multiple branches that were only leafy towards the ends. Just chopping the branches off and stuffing them in a pot did not work for me, but air-layering did.
posted by marshmallow peep at 7:00 AM on February 18, 2020

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