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Fig Tree Cloning Tips

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017
Figs are tasty and easy to grow.

If you haven’t eaten a fresh fig, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Figs are soft and sweet when ripe and the numerous seeds give it crunchiness. This fruit is native to western Asia and common around the Mediterranean. The fig tree commonly sends up “shoots,” or “suckers,” from its base—you should cut these off, but instead of discarding them, you can easily begin a new tree.

Take Your Cuttings

To make a clone of your fig tree, cut dormant branches in winter. Select branches that are one inch in diameter or less. Cut each piece about one foot long—if the wood at its base is two years old, it will give you the highest success rate when you root it. Not all cuttings will root, so take more than you need.

Rooting Hormone Helps

Rooting hormone products are considered safe for home use when you use them as directed, according PesticideInfo.org. Cover your cut stem with the rooting hormone product as directed on the label, and then set it in a cool, damp place out of the sun for one week. A temperature between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal, according to the California Rare Fruit Growers group. A callus will form.

Plant Your Cutting

Use a one-gallon nursery pot with drainage holes and fill it with a light potting soil mix that contains perlite or vermiculite. Make a hole about 6 inches deep with a screwdriver or other long, narrow tool or digging stick. Carefully insert your fig cutting into the planting hole, being careful not to scrape off any of the rooting hormone. Gently fill the hole with additional potting soil and then pat it down gently around your cutting. Keep it in a partly shady area and also keep it well watered, about once each week—avoid allowing the soil to remain soggy.

Plant Your Fig Tree in the Ground

After about one year, transplant your young fig tree to the garden during its dormant season in winter. Select a sunny area with rich, well-drained soil and be sure to allow plenty of space for the tree to spread 10 feet or more. Keep your tree well watered—watch for afternoon leaf wilting on hot summer days and be sure to water your tree as soon as this happens. Mulching your tree with grass clippings or straw can help to keep the soil moist, according to Texas A&M University.


About the Author


Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.