Propagating a Fig Tree

Question:

I have a few fig trees and my friends wish to have branches to propagate. I have done this in the past on a hit and miss basis, but I would like to know what is the best way to start fig trees. When is the best time? We tried winter and they did not grow. Is it best to start in water until rooted or to put in soil?

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Hardiness Zone: 8b

Angelina from Glendale, California

Answer:

Angelina, In your climate, early spring or summer is a good time for propagation.

Figs can be propagated from seed or by air layering, but taking stem cuttings and rooting suckers are probably the easiest methods for propagation.

  • For stem cuttings, take the cuttings from a vigorously growing stem that contains some of last year's growth. You want the cuttings to be somewhat woody and not entirely green, as soft wood stems are more likely to rot.

  • The cuttings should be 6-8 inches in length and about a pencil to a pinky finger in diameter.

  • Remove the bottom leaves to expose 1-2 nodes and dip the cut ends into a rooting hormone.

  • Insert the cuttings into a 4-inch plastic pot filled with a light, porous potting medium. (Plan on 1 to 4 cuttings per 4-inch pot.)

  • Moisten the soil and cover the pot with a plastic bag or a 2-liter pop bottle to keep cuttings humid (cut off the bottom and leave the cap on).

  • Place the pot under the protective shade of your mature fig tree.

  • Once vigorous growth appears, remove the cap on the bottle to harden off the cuttings. Once hardened, they are ready to be given away (probably the following spring).

To root suckers, wait until they are about 6 inches tall (mid summer is the point when they have usually developed roots), cut them out and insert them into pots containing moistened, well-drained soil. Cover the pots in the same way you would the stem cuttings and place them in the shade. Harden them off once vigorous new growth appears.

Ellen

More Feedback:

RE: Propagating a Fig Tree

Someone gave me one a few months ago. We found that the best time to do it was in spring. We cut a branch into pieces, dipped one end of each piece into rooting hormone, then put it into a container of soil. We used the bottom half of water bottles. Most rooted, but a few didn't. We kept them in the containers until the roots could be seen, then transplanted in a larger pot or planted them outside. (07/15/2006)

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By susanmajp

RE: Propagating a Fig Tree

Never prune a fig tree! Figs are produced from new growth and one-year-old growth. If you get rid of that, it will never bear fruit.

Fig trees are not truly trees in the sense of wood, they are more like a hollow-branched bush, as the inside of a fig trees branches are soft. That is why they are sometimes affected by freezing weather/cold wind. (03/16/2008)

By Dan, Brick, NJ

RE: Propagating a Fig Tree

I found the best way to root it is wrap it in damp paper towels, "not wet" and put them in a plastic bag and place it in a warm place like on top of the fridge. Or you can root them in 50/50 perlite and vermiculite in a clear plastic cup with holes at the bottom. Water it till water comes out of the bottom, then put them in a large tub and seal it with plastic to hold the moisture. I have mine in an aquarium.

Good luck. (02/01/2009)

By hashy

RE: Propagating a Fig Tree

I have pretty good luck rooting fig trees and anything else I want to by cutting the new growth off, about 6 inches. Stick it in soil, keep damp, let it stay there about a year or longer then if you see new leaves on it. You can transplant it where you want it. Keep damp all the time. Good luck. (02/07/2009)

By kw

RE: Propagating a Fig Tree

To make fig trees produce I put lot of manure around mine. I get it from Lowe's in 40 lb bags and put all the bag around it if it's a big tree. Keep damp all spring and summer. My tree makes about 10 gallons every year. I freeze them, share with neighbors, make preserves, and also freeze the preserves. Good luck. (02/07/2009)

By kw

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