Sunday, May 19, 2013

Propagating FIG trees from cuttings #GardenCuizine FIGS: fabulous for dietary fiber

Propagating Fig Trees
Gardeners propagate fig trees using various methods either from cuttings or air layering. I'm going to try propagating fig trees from cuttings. Our little, lone fig tree (unknown ID) is taking forever to yield figs. Over the past 5 or so years, the growth has been quite slow. It started out as literally a 3-foot stick. Now it is 5 feet with a small amount of branching at the top. The few figs that we thought we saw last year - disappeared! They probably got eaten by squirrels. After years of anticipating fresh figs, we're still waiting... The good news is that there are other varieties of figs to grow that may actually yield us a fig harvest. The same goes for you in your USDA zone. If at first you don't succeed, try another type of fig tree.

At a Dave's Garden Mid-Atlantic region plant swap yesterday, we received a generous handful of fig tree cuttings from a fellow Dave's Gardener who thinks her tree could be a common fig cultivar named 'Celeste'

We weren't planning on starting fig trees from cuttings, but since we received them - it's sure worth a try. I'm going to try rooting the fig cuttings as recommended by New England Gardener on his 'How to Grow a Fig Tree from a Cutting' YouTube video:

Propagating Fig tree cuttings 
from a dormant tree
Stage One

1) Get cuttings from a dormant fig tree that grows in or near your USDA zone

2) Wet newspaper; squeeze out excess water
3) Wrap each cutting in newspaper, keep the tips sticking out
4) Place cutting(s) into a plastic bag. New England Gardener uses a baggie. Our cuttings were longer than his and would only fit in a plastic shopping bag

5)  Place in a warm area out of direct sunlight for a few weeks. We put ours on our microwave next to the refrigerator, which generates some warmth
6) Open the bag daily for some air circulation; then close again. 
7) After 2-3 weeks, check for developed roots and proceed with Stage Two 

 I'll update this post regardless of the outcome. Fingers are crossed that this works. And, if it does, we may end up with a Fig Tree forest.

Happy and Healthy Gardening! 

UPDATES: week one: have been checking and airing out the cuttings daily; noticed some mold starting on the ends that had some leaf buds starting to show, therefore uncovered the ends. Plastic bag still covers the slightly moist newsprint-covered stems. Plan to continue to air out daily by opening the bag just for a moment or so and then covering again.
  • 5/26/13 - as expected, the newspaper near the open end started to dry out. Took a look deeper at the covered stems and some cuttings still looked like some mold is growing. This could be because my cuttings were not completely dormant, they had some growth showing. Unwrapped all the cuttings and put in a vase w/water. New plan is to put each cutting in its own recycled water bottle w/moistened peat moss and see what happens... 
  • 6/7/13- well, I decided not to put the cuttings in peat moss; instead, they all got dipped in rooting hormone and placed in potting soil. We didn't have enough clear plastic bottles to use, which would have been nice to view root (if any) development. Will have to wait and see. They were on our porch. Today, the pots are in our driveway getting a good rain soaking from tropical storm Andrea that is passing through our region. 
  • 7/28/13 - they all appear dead. I'm not going to toss them yet just in case there is a chance that one will show a sign of life in the future. A member of Dave's Gardens who also received cuttings from the same source as me, reported having success wrapping her fig cuttings in moist newspaper and waiting patiently. Perhaps I should have ignored the mold and kept our fig cuttings in the newsprint longer rather than jumping the gun and planting them in soil before having any roots.
Related Links:
Uncommon Nutrition from the Common Fig - Ficus carica


Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for this page. Where is the stage two please?


GardenCuizine said...

Hi Jonathan, I never made it to stage 2 since our cuttings died. Just make sure you get lots of roots before putting them into dirt and your stage two will be planting and success. I would plant them into pots vs directly in the ground at first. Good luck!