Ficus Benjaminis, the birch fig, inspires with its ease of care. Basically, not even a pruning is required. However, the tree proves to be very keen on growing, which has a rather unfavorable effect on its use as a houseplant. In this case, the gardener is free to use scissors. Ficus Benjaminis is commendably pruning tolerant. Thanks to the desired basic instructions, the desired look is created. Here you can find out what to consider when pruning the Ficus Benjamini.


Basically, it is possible to bring the birch fig into shape at any time of the year with different types of cuts. The pruning-tolerant houseplant easily copes with small repairs. Only in the main growth phase from March to July does the tree react more sensitively. The best time for a radical cut is therefore the winter just before the new shoots in spring.

Note: Annual pruning is not required for Ficus Benjaminis. The time intervals should be based on needs, but are welcome to extend over a certain period of time.

Important preparations

When cutting the birch fig, a poisonous plant sap escapes. Not only does it leave stains on the floor that are difficult to remove, it also causes severe skin irritation, allergic reactions or eczema on contact. The following measures are therefore necessary:

  • Cover the floor with old newspaper or a tarp
  • or pruning Ficus Benjaminis outdoors
  • wear work gloves
  • protect arms
  • then disinfect all tools with high-percentage alcohol
  • Cover cuts with handkerchiefs or fleece immediately after cutting
Note: Many people mistakenly confuse a sticky coating on the leaves of houseplants with plant sap residues. However, most of the time it is honeydew. When it appears, it is important to check Ficus Benjaminis for aphids.


Small branches can be easily removed with a knife or secateurs. The gardener can also tear off very narrow shoots and deadwood with his bare hands. A saw is recommended for thicker branches. Ideally, he uses a handy folding saw to reach branches in the middle of the crown. In any case, the tool must be sterile and sharp. Bruises on the branches heal poorly and also offer pests ideal access to the interior of the plant.

Different types of cuts

The following types of cuts are conceivable for Ficus Benjaminis:

  • topiary
  • pruning
  • produce special growth forms


The topiary does not require much effort and does not require any sophisticated technology. Basically, it’s just a matter of removing annoying shoots or dead branches. The gardener can cut right down to the old wood. Regular pruning makes the birch fig grow bushier.

  • Cut back dead shoots directly on the trunk
  • Cut off branches growing across
  • Remove branches that are too close together so that younger shoots can develop better

The basic instructions provide the following cutting technique:

  • Cut branches 3 to 5 mm below an alternate leaf or node
  • the closer the cutting point is to a leaf or node, the more bushy Ficus Benjaminis grows
  • The gardener recognizes dead shoots by the brownish, dry plant material underneath the bark
  • he removes these shoots completely
  • fresh, green plant material below the bark indicates an intact shoot
  • this is retained


If the houseplant becomes too large for its location due to its vigorous growth, the gardener cannot avoid radically shortening its branches. The pruning also serves to rejuvenate the plant.

  • Cut off all dead shoots until further notice
  • Thin out sparse and narrow branches
  • Cut the remaining shoots down to half or two-thirds
  • Ficus benjamin austopfen
  • Check root ball
  • remove all rotten and dry root rhizomes
  • plant in fresh substrate

Special growth forms

Since the birch fig grows very high without human intervention, it is difficult to create special optics. These copies are correspondingly expensive in stores. With a little patience, however, the gardener will be able to produce special types of cuts on his own. For example the high trunk or the bonsai.


Three phases are required for the upbringing of a standard tree:

  • start phase
  • construction phase
  • Crown education

start phase

  • choose a strong center drive
  • insert a wooden stick into the substrate next to this central shoot
  • Connect the trunk and pole to each other using hose ties or rings
Note: If no suitable central shoot can be found, the gardener ties several bottom shoots together to form a trunk.

construction phase

  • Remove competitive instincts from the selected strain
  • Remove side shoots from the trunk
  • bind future tribe to the staff again and again

Crown education

  • Only cut back the tips of the shoots when the trunk has reached the desired height
  • Set the scissors 3 to 4 leaves above the desired crown height
  • Shorten side shoots of the crown by a third for a bushy growth
  • Completely remove shoots from the trunk so that a spherical shape is created
  • Regularly remove transverse branches
  • Thin out the crown regularly


To grow a bonsai, it is not enough to cut the birch fig once a year. The topiary should therefore be done every six weeks from April to September.

  • Shorten branches that have at least 5 leaves to 2 or 3 leaves
  • Cut off branches sticking out of the crown
  • remove dead branches in spring and autumn
  • Shorten roots by a third when repotting regularly
  • Give Ficus Benjaminis sufficient regeneration time between the individual pruning dates

Propagate Ficus Benjamini with clippings

If the gardener cuts his Ficus Benjaminis radically, there is often a lot of clippings. However, this can be used wonderfully to grow new birch figs. The following basic instructions apply to the propagation of the birch fig:

  • Cut shoot tips to 10 to 15 cm
  • select semi-woody shoot tips
  • remove all but the top four leaves
  • Prepare seed pots
  • Push driving tips deep into the growing soil
  • only the top leaves protrude from the substrate
  • pour and spray with water
  • additionally put a film over the cuttings
  • Store seed pots in a bright, sunny spot at temperatures above 25°C
  • if new leaves form, the propagation was successful

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