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How to Take Fig Tree Cuttings

By Heide Braley ; Updated September 21, 2017

Fig trees are most often propagated by cuttings. The fruit holds what looks like thousands of tiny seeds but they are not actually seeds--they are the unripened ovaries and therefore cannot be used as a seed. Figs can be grown in areas with moderate to warm winters where the temperatures don't drop below 10 degrees. If you have a sunny south-facing wall, you can take some cuttings from a fig tree and start your own trees.

Cut off some one-year-old branches with a healthy growing tip. You will need about 8 inches of length on them and this should be done in the late fall or early winter, but before the real cold weather happens.

Bundle up the cuttings so that they are laying together with their growing tips all facing the same direction. Use a few pieces of soft wire to hold them together but not so tight as to scar the bark. Label the bundle if you want to be sure to remember the type of figs you are propagating.

Dig a trench in a sunny spot that is 12 inches deep--enough to hold the cuttings vertically plus 4 inches of soil on top and wide enough for as many bundles as you have. Place the bundled fig cuttings in the trench upside down and bury them, layering 4 inches of soil over them. This process is called callusing. Store them here from December through April.

Uncover the buried fig cuttings. Separate them from the bundle and then plant them individually 12 inches apart in well-draining soil and in full sun. Bury the whole cutting except for one inch and plant them the right side up.

Expect 24 to 36 inches of growth during the first year. The plants like water and full fun, but do not need to be fertilized. You can transplant them after just one year of growing. They will need to be wrapped in areas that go below freezing, especially while they are young and the wood is soft.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Soft wire
  • Shovel

About the Author


Maryland resident Heide Braley is a professional writer who contributes to a variety of websites. She has focused more than 10 years of research on botanical and garden articles and was awarded a membership to the Society of Professional Journalists. Braley has studied at Pennsylvania State University and Villanova University.