How to Prune Your Ficus Bonsai

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Ficus bonsai trees are a popular type of bonsai, and for good reason! They are relatively easy to care for and can tolerate a wide range of conditions. However, like all bonsai trees, they will require periodic pruning to maintain their shape. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to prune your ficus bonsai tree.

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Ficus trees are popular for bonsai because of their glossy leaves, compact growth habit, and tolerance for indoor conditions. But despite their popularity, ficus trees can be difficult to keep looking their best. One common problem is that the branches and leaves tend to grow very quickly, making the tree look overgrown and untidy.

The solution is to prune your ficus bonsai regularly. This will keep it looking neat and encourage it to produce new growth. It’s important to prune at the right time of year, though, as this will affect how your tree responds.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to pruning your ficus bonsai:

The best time to prune your ficus bonsai is in late winter or early spring. This is when the tree is beginning to produce new growth.

Start by removing any dead or diseased branches with a sharp pair of scissors or secateurs. Cut back any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other too.

Next, trim back any long or straggly branches. Cut these back by about two-thirds their length.

Now you can start shaping your tree by removing any branches that aren’t needed. It’s up to you how you want your tree to look, but it’s generally best to err on the side of simplicity. Remember that you can always remove more later if necessary.

When you’re happy with the shape of your tree, you can finish up by trimming back the remaining branches by about one-third their length. This will encourage new growth and help keep your tree compact and bushy.

What is pruning?

Pruning is the process of removing dead, diseased, or unwanted growth from a plant. It is a necessary part of bonsai care and should be done regularly to maintain the health and shape of your tree. Pruning also encourages new growth, which is what you want in a bonsai tree.

What are the benefits of pruning a bonsai?

Pruning a bonsai results in a compact, fuller plant that is better able to withstand stress and produces more flowers and fruit. It also helps to control the size and shape of the plant.

What are the different types of pruning?

Japanese bonsai pruning can be broadly divided into two types: routine pruning, carried out regularly to maintain the overall shape of the tree; and structural or formative pruning, which is done to create or enhance a particular feature of the tree’s shape.

Different bonsai styles require different approaches to pruning. For example, a formal upright style bonsai will require different pruning than an informal upright style bonsai. And, of course, different species of trees will have different pruning requirements.

Here are some general tips for pruning your bonsai:

-Pruning should be done regularly, in order to maintain the desired shape of the tree.
-It is best to prune in the early spring, before new growth begins.
-Be sure to sterilize your tools before use, in order to avoid spreading diseases.
-Only remove small branches and leaves at a time; if you remove too much at once, it will shock the tree and could damage or kill it.

How to prune your ficus bonsai

There are a few things to keep in mind when pruning your ficus bonsai. First, you’ll want to make sure that you have the right tools. Second, you’ll want to prune at the right time of year. Third, you’ll want to be careful not to over prune. fourth, you’ll want to know where to prune. Keep all of these things in mind and you’ll be on your way to pruning your ficus bonsai like a pro!

Step 1: Prepare your tools

Before you start pruning your ficus bonsai, you will need to gather the proper tools. For this job, you will need a sharp pair of pruning shears and a small, sharp knife. You will also need a clean, dry cloth to wipe your tools off with after each cut.

Step 2: Prune dead or dying branches
Using your pruning shears, cut off any dead or dying branches from your ficus bonsai. These branches will be discolored and/or have no leaves. Cut the branch as close to the trunk as possible.

Step 3: Prune healthy branches
Now, you will start pruning the healthy branches of your ficus bonsai. Start by cutting off any branch that is longer than 1/3 of the total length of the branch it is growing on. For example, if you have a branch that is 6 inches long, you would cut off any growth that is more than 2 inches long.

Next, prune any branch that is growing straight up or straight down. These branches are not aesthetically pleasing and do not add to the overall health of your ficus bonsai. Instead, focus on branches that are growing at an angle or in a curve.

Finally, prune any branch that is crossing over another branch. This can cause damage to the branches and/or leaves, and can make your ficus bonsai look cluttered.

Step 4: Wipe off your tools and enjoy your bonsai!
Once you have finished pruning your ficus bonsai, wipe off your tools with the clean, dry cloth and enjoy your handiwork!

Step 2: Prune the leaves

Locate the leaves you want to remove and, using sharp, clean pruning shears, cut them off at the petiole (the leaf stem). Make your cuts as close to the trunk as possible without including any buds, flowers or fruit.

Step 3: Prune the branches

Start by removing any dead, diseased or damaged branches back to a healthy bud or main trunk. Then, cut away any crossing or rubbing branches. Next, shape the tree by pruning the side branches back to 2-3 leaves past where you want the branch to end. Finally, pinch off the tips of the remaining leaves to shape the tree and encourage new growth.


Pruning your ficus bonsai is important to encourage proper growth and keep your plant healthy. Though it may seem daunting at first, pruning is actually quite simple once you know what to do. With a little practice, you’ll be able to create a beautiful bonsai that will thrive for years to come.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books