The Q&A Archives: Propagating Fig Tree

Question: How and when do I take a cutting from a fig tree and how do I root it?

Answer: Figs are easy to propagate as they root very easily. There are several ways to propagate them. The most common method is to root leafless cuttings taken in late winter or early spring. Here's how to do it:

1. Take cuttings which are 3 to 6 inches long and pencil to finger thick. The best cuttings will have some of last year's wood on them.

2. If the weather is still unsettled and likely to frost, store the cuttings in a sealed ziplock in the produce bin in your refrigerator. If the weather is warm and likely to stay warm, pot your cuttings in sand or a good-quality potting mix.

3. Using 4" deep plastic pots, pack a half sheet of newspaper tightly into the bottom of the pot. Put a little mix in the bottom, stand 1 to 4 cuttings upright in each pot and fill the pot with the mix.

4. Water the pots thoroughly and stand them in a very bright, BUT NOT SUNNY place. It should be warm--70+? F. If you can't keep air temperature above 70?, provide bottom heat to bring the soil up to 70? F. Cover the pot with an empty 2 or 3 liter softdrink bottle with the bottom cut out. [Leave the lid on.]

5. Don't water the cuttings again until they are very dry. Test for dryness occasionally by lifting the pot. If the pot is very light, water it by setting it in a pan of water and letting it soak. When you see vigorous growth, it is time to harden off the new plants. Remove the bottle cap and see how they do. If okay, remove the bottle after a few days. Keep an eye on them and reinstall the bottle if the plants wilt.

6. After a few weeks, it will be time to pot up the new plants. Don't do this just because you see leaves growing. Sometimes there will be 4 or 5 leaves and few if any roots. Wait until you see vigorous new growth before repotting.

Good luck with your new fig trees!

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