Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What!? You can't graft that! Update 3/2/16 Part 3

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

I'm expanding my list of varieties on this cutting to cutting grafting technique. What I'll use are the cuttings that I purchased from Harvey to graft onto hardy Gillette rootstock.

I found this great video on Japanese grafting techniques and rooting of blue berries. It's a great video even if you cannot understand it.

One new thing though: 
I recently learned about the bag technique that many plumeria growers use to root their cuttings so I had to try it out for myself on fig cuttings. It seems to have a great deal of success and take up very little space. I'm always up for simple and good ways to do things.

1. Cut to size:
Look for comparable size cuttings on the Gillette and what ever you're grafting to it. For the scion pieces cut off only a single node for grafting.

2. Cut your graft:
You'll need a sharp knife for this.

Refer to this link for how I grafted mine
Grafting cuttings

3.  Wrap it up!
Wrap it with parafilm and optionally tighten it with a rubber band.  Make sure to complete wrap the entire scion to keep it from drying out. It also very important to label all your cuttings. I bought a couple of sharpies that are suppose to be super resistant to fading. Hopefully they work as advertised.

4. It's not really necessary to use rooting hormone but in this case I did anyways. Be very careful and knock off any excess powder.

5. Prepare your potting mix
I usually just kind eyeball my mixes, so I wouldn't be able to tell you the % of how each material I used. That's probably why I'm terrible baker.

Potting Mix:

-coco coir - I hate peat moss. Fungus gnats love it because of the mold that can potentially grow from it. So I try to avoid it as much as possible.
-HP promix
-perlite and
-some medium sized bark.

The idea is to have something fast draining and loose. Try to avoid soil that clumps and retains alot of water. Excess water will be the reason why your cutting will rot. The HP promix has mycorrhizae which is great for root development. It's expensive but well worth it.

This mixture is moist to the touch but it doesn't stick to your fingers. If it does, it would indicate that it might be too wet. Just make sure it's not bone dry. DO NOT OVER SATURATE the mix with water.

7. Bag it up
 I still had a ton of pet store aquarium bags from my fish hobby days, so I used those. The ideal thing to use to tie up the bags would be rubber bands but since I did not have any handy, I used my garden tape which works great as well.

The cool thing about these longer bags is that after I tie off the soil line, I also tie off the top of the bag to create an additional humidity chamber for the exposed graft. So now I'm not too coincerned about throwing these into a humidity bin. I can just leave them anywhere warm in the house.

I'm sure my wife would love to find one of these bags under her pillow. =)

Here's a video on how to bag them up. It's about plumerias but you get the jist.

8. Keep it warm
The ideal temperature for rooting fig cuttings would be around 75F degrees or about 23C. You can buy am expensive heat mat or what I did was simply place them on top of my LED florescent light from Costco, where the temperature stays at a constant 75F degrees.

Very important notes:

1. From here there is no need to water the cutting, spray it or anything for the next few weeks. Just wait for roots and leaves.

2. HUMIDITY is the X factor between success and failure when it comes to rooting figs. It's such a fine line between having the correct amount of water and too much. I've learned over the last couple of years that the #1 mistake that many new fig growers make when it comes to their cuttings is over watering!!!!!!


If you see that the bag is getting overly humid then poke some holes or cut off the bottom corners to let some moisture evaporate.

**Overall I think when it comes to rooting figs, there's more than one way to skin a cat. They will root in virtually every way. I think the knowledge needed to be successful is knowing when and how much to water your cuttings. Figs can sit in dry media and it's not a problem for them. They are adapted to such environments in the wild. However they do not like wet feet.


  1. Hi!
    Very interesting blog. I am learning a lot from your blog and videos.

    I live in the Seattle area as well and have limited space. I do have a fairly mature desert king fig I planted 12 years ago. It has grown into a 20 foot tree that bears heavily exactly 1-2 weeks in a year half of which goes to the raccoons.

    To extend the season, I recently got several interesting fig cuttings that are reputed to do well in our area and wanted to try my hand at grafting it to this large tree. Basically I want to graft 7 additional figs on this one tree while keeping my desert king going without any major surgery.
    Is this something you have done before? (i.e. graft a small twig on a large tree?)
    Can the growth of the rootstock overwhelm the new grafts?
    What is the best time of the year to be grafting? Is now too early? I dont see any growing buds on my desert king. The cuttings are in the refrigerator.

  2. Best time to graft is now. There are some posts of "frankenfig" look it up. It's quite impressive to see so many varieties on one tree.

  3. Was very inspired by the "frankenfig".
    Took the Raintree grafting and propagation class last weekend. They gave away lots of nice cuttings for just the price of attendance.
    I just did 11 grafts of 6 different varieties - supposedly all easy to grow in the Seattle area. on one desert king tree. I am also simultaneously growing the same varieties from cuttings.

    I also did 22 other grafts of apple and pear varieties over the weekend both on rootstock and on existing trees in my backyard. Now keeping fingers crossed!