The Q&A Archives: fig tree

Question: Is it possible to produce another fig tree from a cutting of the original tree and if it is, how is it done?

Answer: You can take cuttings of the fig tree. Early spring or summer are good times 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 of the bottle 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.

Best wishes with your new fig trees!

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