How to Propagate Fig Trees

How to Propagate Fig Trees

Fig trees can be propagated vegetatively through cuttings, grafting method and air layering. Of these methods, taking clippings is the easiest way. By learning how to propagate fig trees from cuttings, you can certainly make many saplings from a single tree.
Gardenerdy Staff
Figs refer to the sweet tasting fruits and the tree that bears the same multiple fruits. Fig trees (scientific name, Ficus carica L.) are easy to care for and bear large fruits. Thus, they are some of the commonly preferred fruit trees for planting in gardens and orchards. And the most popular method adopted for propagating fig trees is making cuttings from the parent plants. These vegetative plant parts are then maintained under controlled conditions to induce rooting. Detailed info about how to propagate fig trees is explained in the following paragraphs.

Vegetative Propagation of Fig Trees

The advantages of propagating figs by vegetative means are preservation of the same fruit quality as the parent plant, and reducing the time required for fruit bearing. With fruit trees grown from seeds, it is a common issue that we don't get to enjoy the same fruits like the original varieties. Oftentimes, growing fig trees from seeds turn out to be caprifigs at maturity, which are wild and yield inedible fruits. To avoid this, horticulturists opt for taking clippings from improved varieties and rooting them for commercial propagation.

Useful Tips for Fig Tree Propagation from Cuttings

The fig cuttings are very easy to root, unlike other fruit trees. They just require high humidity level and a nutrient rich potting media with no soil drainage problems for root development. Also, you will be glad to know that fig trees propagated through cuttings bear fruits within 2-3 years of plantation. What's more, taking clippings is a less expensive approach in comparison to other tree propagation methods. Instructions for propagating fig trees from cuttings are presented below.
  • First step for is selecting the ideal parent plant. If you already have a mature fig tree at home, there is no issue. Otherwise, you can grow the saplings purchased from nursery centers for two years and take cuttings.
  • The perfect time for taking tree clippings is any time in the fall or early winter period. This is when the parent trees remain dormant, and they can tolerate injuries in the twigs. Cuttings should be collected from one-year-old branches.
  • Before you actually make tree cuttings, prepare rooting medium. You can mix garden soil with sand and peat moss in equal amounts. The rooting soil should be such that it promotes water drainage properly, holds moisture and provides nutrients to the twigs.
  • Purchase pots that you will be using for rooting the cut stems. After poking drainage holes at the bottom, fill them with soil. Saturate rooting medium with water, or till water drains from the bottom holes. Now, you are ready with soil for inducing rooting of fig tree clippings.
  • While selecting the twigs for making clippings, make sure that the diameter is at 3/8 inch thick and not more than ½ inch diameter. Small branches of about 10 inch length are excellent, but 6-8 inch long twigs will also work well for fig propagation.
  • Ideally collect the clippings from the growing points, so that they will grow quickly. Snip off the leaves gently, while retaining the developing buds intact. Make a point to keep the clippings in moist condition, until you are ready to root them.
  • Hoping that you have prepared the potting mix as stated above, insert bottom part of the cuttings in soil to about 4-6 inch deep, while maintaining a space of 2 inch between them. For each of the twigs, there should be only 2-3 buds visible above the soil.
  • The next step is to water the potting soil. Then you can place the pots in an area that is exposed to bright, indirect light. Keep a check over the temperature range and it should be not less than 70 °F. Lastly, cover the pots with plastic sheets to increase humidity.
  • One word of caution regarding rooting of fig cuttings is to avoid overwatering, which otherwise will cause rotting effect. But, make sure that the rooting medium is moist at all times. Mulching is an easy way to retain moisture, and protect the twigs from extreme cold temperatures.
  • With proper care, new leaves will develop from the buds in spring. At this stage, you can remove the plastic cover, and allow them to grow in the same pots for some time. If there are any wilting signs, protect the cuttings from direct sunlight.
  • Coming to acclimatization step, prepare 1 gallon pots filled with rich potting soil for the healthy twigs. Gently remove the rooted cuttings from the original pots and place each of them in the newly prepared containers. Plant them in such a way that the new growth remains above the soil surface.
  • After about 1 - 1½ months, or when the propagated fig trees show new signs of growth, you can transplant them outside. Select sunlit areas in the yard and prepare planting soil. If required, supplement organic matter for enriching soil.
  • Dig holes and plant the fig trees in the regular way as you do for other fruit trees. Remember that watering at regular intervals is crucial to promote new growth of leaves and roots. If the soil dries out very often, you can provide a layer of mulch around the fig trees.
In addition to cutting, practical ways to propagate fig trees are air layering, grafting and separating rooted shoots from the parent plants. Nonetheless, propagation by taking fig tree cuttings is simpler and easier than other techniques of fruit tree propagation.