Inactive / Dormant buds? - Fiddle leaf ficus lyrata tree

Hello Friends!

I have a question regarding my fiddle leaf fig tree. I own 2 plants one of which I've had for 2 years in a bush form and second one I purchased this March (2018) as a tree form. When I bought it it was already pruned with no new branches but with tons of buds forming on on them so even though it didnt look too appealing in the beginning I was confident it will eventually grow into a nice full tree. This is how it looked in March right after purchase:

(Please note it did not stay in this corner , I moved it the next day into a brighter spot)

Six months went by and it started forming new branches growing very quickly - the only problem is only top buds turned into branches and the rest of them stayed exactly the same as they were in the beginning , not changing even a bit. So now the tree grew just one new branch per one old pruned branch so essentially the whole pruning did not make any difference as there's exactly the same amount of branches as there was before only now growing in weird directions :p

Here's how the tree looks now in September 2018:

It grew a ton and seems pretty happy where it is. I was just wondering if the fact that so many buds remain inactive (dormant?) is normal or is it a sign of something going wrong? And what would be solution to this if there's any? If the answer is I just need to be patient and wait few more years Im happy to do that I was just wondering if theres any way I can encourage those buds to grow somehow. I tried a little trick in June and made notches above few of the buds to see if it helps somehow but with no success. I dont think I'll be cutting or notching anything now as we are approaching fall where I live but if anyone has some tips or recommendations of what may help I would greately appreciate it.

For the reference , buds don't look dead or dry, here's them now:

Some of them are very big and looked very promising in the beginning the only problem is they stayed the exact same for six months and it seems like all the plants energy goes into lenghtening existing branches instead of forming any additional ones and they are slowly getting dangerously long :)

Also for the reference - I water the tree weekly and add plant food every second watering with half the strenght of fertilizer during growing season. It sits in front of a very bright big south facing window - not in direct light but close to it ( i tried to put my other fiddle closer to the window than that and it got burned so I guess this spot is optimal). The plant is healthy, new leaves are big and lush with no sign of stress. Here's it's position:

I know there's some very experienced experts here so I put my trust in wise people on this forum :)

Comments (6)

  • Isaio Shirataku

    Hi, from the pictures you posted, it doesn't look like those buds are alive and actually may not even be buds at all. FLF always grow new buds from the nodes also called auxiliary buds. They never in my experience grow out randomly from the trunk. General bud formation takes about 2-3 weeks time. If they are brown they are dead. Side shoots always will appear green, but the apical meristem has brownish reddish sheaths that give the appearance the meristem is dead when in fact it is not. If the sheath is dried out there's a possible it's dead. They should be slightly waxy and not dried out until the new leaf unfurls to full size. If your plant is lengthening it's branches and they are becoming spindly it's a sign it is not getting enough light! I grow my FLF's in full sun. Here's a pic of two branches that were originally buds.

  • Agata Sobocińska

    It is not lacKing any light - as I said and Showed in my post. of course branches are getting longer - where else it this tree supposed to create growth? :) those buds did not just randomly show up on a trunk they are a result of pruning and appeared after someone has pruned it. They are second highest buds on a branch , first ones sprouted into branches. They are not dead Or dry, it may appear so on the picture because what you see is their sheaths still covering them. Those highest buds looked exactly the same in the beginning before growing and sprouting. If I look closesy I can see a peak of a green leaf underneath sheaths so I don’t believe they are dead. If you suggest they are axillary buds - they might be but that still means they are not dead, just dormant for an unknown period of time, so I wouldnt loose my hope just yet:)

  • FrozeBudd_z3/4

    Hi Agata, yes, as you have stated, those are dormant growth buds that had decided not to push out, your plant otherwise appears healthy. Take the below photo for example, the species appears not to branch out a heck of a lot while in the juvenile stage and often does not become overly dense even in maturity, so I think you're doing fine!

    Ficus lyrata (edited photo from Houzz website)

    Agata Sobocińska thanked FrozeBudd_z3/4
  • lasweet92

    I would put it closer to the window at other end of sofa. These guys love light, if the sun is bright and direct wean it into it by using the sheers. Tropical trees. Also, you can take the brace off and wiggle the tree as if its swaying in the breeze, it will strengthen the trunk. I think Al has suggested brushing the trunks to thicken them. The trees tend to grow straight and need prodding to shape them indoors. Pinch, prune, notch. I have a few dormant buds after chopping and am wondering the same thing. I know mine grew much more the brighter light it gets.

  • lasweet92

    I have two small buds and the one* at the older leaf behind the chop died and I cut the stem of it off. I want it to branch out two more ways from the new branch at least. Where the buds are would be as ideal as any.

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