How to Root Fig Trees

Overview

Figs have been a part of horticulture since before the time of the Bible. Many people enjoy their pungent taste and somewhat gritty texture. Starting your own fig trees from cuttings is not terribly difficult, but you must have patience and you should take multiple cuttings as some cuttings may not root. Moisture and humidity are the most important factors when it comes to rooting a fig cutting, or scion. From the moment you take your fig cutting, it is important to keep the cutting moist, but not soaking wet. Too little water and the cutting will dry and fail to root--too much water and fungus may take over your cuttings, killing them before they have a chance to root. But with proper moisture, and proper temperature, your fig cuttings should root and form viable fig plants in just a few short weeks.

Step 1

Take your fig cuttings from the tip of a branch. Cuttings should be 4 to 6 inches long and the cut should be made just below a leaf node. Remove any leaves and wrap your scions (cuttings) in damp paper towels.

Step 2

Place the wrapped cuttings inside a clear plastic bag (a large zip-type works well) and seal it.

Step 3

Place the bag with the cuttings in a warm place, such as on top of a refrigerator. The cuttings will root more quickly if you can maintain a temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Watch your cuttings. After two to three weeks, you should see small roots growing from the cut end.

Step 4

Use a nail or a drill to make three to four holes in the bottom of a 24-oz. clear plastic cup. The holes are for drainage. Fill the cups with a mixture of 60 percent perlite and 40 percent vermiculite, well mixed.

Step 5

Make hole in the soil mixture and carefully place rooted cuttings into the 24-oz. clear plastic cups. Gently press soil around the cutting.

Step 6

Cut a piece of chicken wire 2 inches longer and 2 inches wider than the bottom of a plastic storage box. Bend 1 inch of the wire down all the way around so that the wire fits into the plastic storage box and forms a raised platform on which your 24-oz. clear plastic cups with your cuttings can sit. The wire allows water to drain from the cups into the storage box without the cups sitting in water.

Step 7

Keep your cups with your cuttings damp but not soaking wet inside the storage box. Leave the top of the box open slightly for air circulation, but make sure it keeps the cuttings moist.

Step 8

Keep your cuttings in a warm location, with a constant temperature of 65 to 75 F. Check the plastic cups every two to three weeks, looking for good root development. This is why you need to use clear cups. Each cutting will develop roots at a different rate and you do not want to replant a cutting to the outdoors until you can see adequate root development.

Step 9

Transplant your fig cuttings to a well-drained and sunny location once you can see good root development inside the plastic cup. Dig a hole larger than the plastic cup and mix 50 percent perlite with your garden soil. Remove the cutting from the plastic cup and place it gently into the hole, pressing the soil around it gently, being careful not to break the delicate roots. Water well. Keep the soil moist but not wet for 24 months, or until the cutting shows signs of good, strong growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Fig cuttings (scions)
  • Paper towels
  • Water
  • Large zip-type baggie
  • 24-oz. clear plastic cups
  • Nail or drill
  • Perlite
  • Vermiculite
  • Clear plastic bag
  • String
  • Misting bottle
  • Plastic storage box
  • Chicken wire

References

  • Figs 4 Fun: From Figs to Twigs
  • Texas A & M Extension: Home Fruit Production: Figs
Keywords: root fig trees, starting fig trees, rooting fig cuttings, starting fig cuttings

About this Author

Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for TV, everything from SMURFS to SPIDER-MAN.