Thursday, June 25, 2015

How I root fig cuttings with 80% success

This is a diagram of how I root my fig cuttings. So far this year I've had 80% success or more with this method.

Step by step:

 Week 1
1. Once you receive your cuttings wash and scrub them lightly with a bit of anti bacterial soap to kill off any mold spores (I'm not a fan of thin tip cuttings. I find that they do not have enough "meat" to sustain new root growth and will dry faster. Try to get get finger size cuttings from brown wood)
2. If they are too long cut them down to about 6 inches right above a node. Cutting it above the node helps to reduce amount of bare twig that sticks out when the new branches develop. It's more of an aesthetic thing.
3. Root in clear cups so you can see the roots form
4. Use the diagram above for soil requirements
5. Water it with dechlorinated water (I have watered straight from the tap as well and have not seen much difference) Let it drain completely before placing them into the humidity bin, too much water will cause root rot. If the cup is still dripping when you pick it up it's not completely drained. You can use a spray bottle as well on the soil medium. Spray until it is moist not wet. Try to avoid over drenching your cups.
6. Once drained, place the cuttings in a bin or plastic bag to keep in the humidity. Do not water again until they form leaves and the soil dries out

Week 2
7. Once the root and leaves form open the bin slightly to allow for air circulation and hardening off. Do this for about 2 weeks. ( I stick a little PC fan in the bin to help keep the airflow)

Week 4
8. After a couple of weeks the leaves will appear stronger and more vigorous.  The slightly open bin should have acclimated it to a less humid environment.  You may see some dried or moldy leaves. These will fall off and new ones will take it's place so do not fret.
9. Take them out and place a bag loosely over it and place by a light source. It could be a window or greenhouse. Do not place the new tender plant in full sun... yet
10. Remove the bag once the leaves have hardened, this should take about 1 week
12. Keep the plants in their cup and water only when the cup dries up. You can usually tell by how light the cup feels or use a moisture meter to see if they need to be watered. The leaves are also a good indicator.

Week 5
12. Let the new plant develop some strong roots for another couple of weeks before up potting them to a 1 gallon pot.
13. Once they are in the 1 gallon I take them outside to a shaded area that only gets morning sun for a couple of hours. There they will sit for 1 -2 weeks to acclimate to the elements. If you put them in direct sunlight right away the leaves will burn and they may not recover.

Check out those crazy roots

Because not all cuttings root at the same time. One you can see leaves and the root structure take out the individual cup and loosely place a bag over the leaves for a few days until they harden off.

Feel free to let me know how you propagate your figs.

If you love figs as much as I do don't forget to join my fig addiction group
Fig Addiction

I've since created the LASAGNA METHOD which works even better.


  1. Will surely try your method and give feedback.

    1. Thx Biojadi. I will love to hear how you do with this method.

  2. Hi, I acquired a piece of a root from a black Fig tree in Sicily. It's about 7 inches long and finger width. I put it in a mason jar of water in sunny window with about an inch exposed. It's been about 4 weeks and I just looked at it. There are 2 areas where there is light green growth of about 1/4 inch on the exposed area. I noticed a light film on water surface. Should I change water? Put it in a pot of dirt? I don't want it to die. Please advise, Thanks. Chris

    1. I would quickly transition it to a airy soil medium. I've noticed the water method is not really reliable for long term health for the cuttings. It rots easy, requires more maintenance with water changes and you have to transition it to a soil medium which can damage the roots.

  3. Hi,
    I am in Northern CA and followed your instructions precisely attempting to root roughly 8 cuttings from a Fracazano Bianco Hardwood Fig Tree that I cut on February 18, 2016. An elderly man brought the cutting that started his tree from Italy some 65 years ago in his sock and snuck it in. Anyhow, this is supposed to be a gift for my 2 Italian friends from Puglia, now living in Marin, who asked me to do the cuttings because I am good with rose rooting. It is now early May and 7 of my cuttings have amazing roots...they are currently in plastic bags and under a grow light in back room. Two have amazing large strong green leaves and the others have leaves that were less vigorous that have fallen off and there are nubs where it looks like new leaves are trying to form. These also have great roots. How do I start to harden them off? I've waited way beyond your recommendations for letting them gradually harden. Should I expose them to air daily by opening up the bags for an hour or so and increasing the time each day? I tired to open up the bag a few few weeks ago and forgot about it and all the leaves withered and fell of, so I closed this bag up and it is now sprouting new leaves. Please advise. Tell how to jump in and follow your great instructions now that so much time has passed. I am concerned about how to gradually get them out of the bags and also wondering, given they have roots that are really all over the bottom and sides of the cups if I they have enough nutrients to sustain them while I harden them off. I am also concerned because it looks like some of the roots are turning brownish. Thanks so very much for any advice you can give me. They are counting on me and I hope I can give them this great little gift from their homeland.

    1. Fracanzano Bianco looks to be a good variety. I hope they make it.

      Is there oxygen getting to the roots? If they are turning brown and withering that maybe too much water, lack of oxygen or exposure to light.

      To harden the plants off I would open the bag up to the ambient air a little bit every few days. The leaves will show you whether or not they like the drier air. If it desiccates close it up some if it's handling it then continue to open it up to more air. Do you have photos?

    2. Thanks, I will go take photos and will try to post them, haven't done this before. I believe they have sufficient moisture but as for oxygen, the bags have all been pretty much closed although every so often I have opened the bags for a few minutes to give them fresh air. Back soon with pics. Thanks!

    3. Sorry, but do you mean post the photos on your blog via the comments section...I don't know how to do that.

    4. Thanks for your quick reply. I can take pics of my plants in their bags but do not know how to post a pic to the comments section of this blog.

  4. I took 8 cuttings from a Fracazano Bianco Hardwood Fig Tree on Feb 16, 2016 and followed your instructions but did not read carefully enough about the gradual hardening off of the leaves. It is now May 5 and 7 of my cuttings have great root systems. 2 of these have wonderful green leaves and the other 5 had leaves that have fallen off. Given that so much time has passed and they have extensive roots, starting to gradually brown some, how can I harden these off? They are currently in large plastic bags under a grow light. Should I open the bag up for an hour or so each day? What do I do? Thanks very much.

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  6. Nice explanation Ben, can you show to us how you up pot your cuttings from that cup. And how your water them in new pot. Thank you

  7. Hi. You may have answered this but I don't see it. I want to take cuttings from my own fig trees to propagate. Can I do it now, in the fall, or should I wait until they are dormant? Should I use old wood or growth from this year? Thanks.

  8. I live in south Georgia and have one fig tree. When ripe the fig is still green on the outside. I don't know what kind of tree this! The figs taste real sweet and they are pale in color when ripe. I am looking for a fig tree that will grow here and tastes really good. Any suggestions? Thanks

    1. Try Violet De Bordeaux, Ronde De Bordeaux, Cordi Stella, MVSB, the list goes on. =)

  9. I took cuttings from the mother tree one week ago. Tried different methods of rooting. One - just water- nothing so far. One- buried with root hormone to tips in moist moss like medium. One in moist perlite only. Last some wrapped in moist paper towels and stored in plastic bags with one end exposed and so far it is the only one with leaf-like green tips beneath moist paper towels, but no roots. There are white dots though. Are these roots or what?