how to help a ficus lyrata grow tall instead of bushy?

aofdumAugust 8, 2013

hi all,
I have a fiddle leaf fig that is about 5 to 5 1/2 feet tall. It has a single trunk. About 2 feet up the trunk it splits into two main branches. Although it therefore has an overall Y shape, it looks more like a bush as there are many leaves coming off the main trunk below that split point, and the density of leaves is fairly consistent from top to bottom. This is not my exact plant, but it presently looks similar to this: http://www.plantshed.com/files/65bb19d297e2ba01091f106521e12a7d_regular.jpg

I would like it to eventually look like a tall, thin tree with branches extending horizontally - examples:

http://p-ec1.staticat.com/51b0ba18fb04d661d300028e._w.540_s.fit_.jpg
http://p-ec2.staticat.com/51b0ba0ffb04d661e8000243._w.540_s.fit_.jpg
http://www.photomazza.com/IMG/jpg_In_natura_il_Ficus_lyrata_puo_raggiunge_i_20_m_d_altezza_ma_si_adatta_anche_in_casa_c_Giuseppe_Mazza.jpg

If it is not possible to coax the branches horizontally, I would at least like it to have a long, bare trunk with leaves only near the top - example:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-YVgq6TWbqII/UJmhutIpRmI/AAAAAAAAAa8/QAkXklJjd6Q/s1600/283445370268579830_8sLPELZV_c.jpg

My question is - how do I get from where my tree is now to where I want it to be? I have read through many posts on this forum about the timing of pruning, etc, but my confusion is that I don't understand many of the terms used - for example, back budding. If possible, could someone walk me through exactly what needs to be done - e.g., cut off the leaves below the split, cut the branches at x and y points. Will the leaves below that branch point toward the bottom eventually fall off as it grows taller? If not, do I need to let it grow taller before cutting them off? thank you so much!

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redshifter

I have this exact question! Any advice is most appreciated.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 6:25PM
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blvdve

I am eager to read the answer to this as well. A tutorial would be excellent, and much appreciated. I, too, am inexperienced pruning-wise, and am not sure about terms like back budding. Also, I am confused when instructions mention the stem and the branches, as my ficus lyratas have only stems and leaves, as far as I can see. Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 1:24PM
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