Ask a Question forum: strong apical dominance in ficus

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Jun 24, 2016 3:49 AM CST
Hello! I have an issue with most of my plants at home - they tend to grow very tall and remain one strong single stem. I don't have much space in my room, so that is good on one hand. But even if I want to have a bushier plants, It is mostly various types of ficus I am talking about. I have a fiddle leaf, a couple of bambino fiddle leaf, a Bengali ficus, a Melani, and several rubber plants, all growing up and fast - up to 8-9 feet tall. When I cut the top off of a bambino fiddle leaf when I wanted to push it to develop side branches, it just shoot out the same one strong stem from the uppermost bud, and now looks exactly the same. The lihjting in my room is good, which is probably one of the reasons they grow fast and steady during the most active growing period. But I want to experiment more with them and make them something other than a ceiling-high stick with nice leaves all over. I now have a forrest of such sticks in my appartment, but would like to know if I can do something about it, or this apical dominance is really hard to deal with. Thank you very much in advance for any advice or a word of solace!
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
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Jun 24, 2016 5:19 AM CST
Removing the lower leaves will encourage lower branches. People often express a desire to have a "more bushy" rubber plant and they are almost always told to cut off the top. The usual result of that is one or two new tips near where the cut was made without new branches forming below, and the pace of upward mobility isn't slowed. I removed the lower leaves from this plant last summer. Now it's making several branches near the root juncture at the bottom of its' trunk. That is what I expected from removing the lower leaves instead of cutting the top.

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