fig trees from cuttings

Asked December 8, 2016, 1:06 PM EST

Thanks for your reply. Since using seeds to get fig plants is not a good choice, the best method of propagation is then to use cuttings. Please help me with the following issues:

  • Where can I get the healthy cuttings? Do you supply ?
  • What is the best time (spring/fall/summer) to plant the cuttings?
  • How long does it take a plant to start bearing fruit?
I await your guidance with interest.

Outside United States

1 Response

Good morning,

Unfortunately, we are not able to really source plant material at the university. However, you might be able to find sources for fig cuttings online or in your local area. There are also groups, such as California Rare Fruit Growers, that have cutting/scion exchanges, although some may require membership. Another option would be to collect cuttings from a friend/neighbor who has a tree of a variety you like. There are some viruses that affect figs, but you typically shouldn't have to worry about disease, for the most part.

Propagation of figs is probably most easily accomplished using hardwood cuttings. Collect terminal cuttings (containing the top/end bud) about eight inches long in January and February. Dipping the basal (cut) end in a rooting hormone (Homrodin 1 / Rootone / Dip-N-Grow) shortly after cutting will increase the percentage and uniformity of rooting. Cuttings can then be placed in a pot with well-drained soil in a protected (not necessarily inside, but sheltered) location. Cuttings will begin producing roots in late winter and begin producing leaves in the spring. They should be allowed to grow in the container for the first year before transplanting into the ground or separate pots.

I prefer to collect cuttings in February and place them vertically in a box of moist (but NOT wet) wood shavings or saw dust in a warm place indoors (78 to 80 F is ideal) after applying a rooting hormone. Cuttings should be placed vertically with a few inches of shavings/saw dust beneath. Cuttings should be spaced an inch apart and completely covered, with the material sprayed with water periodically as needed to keep it moist. Roots will typically form from callus (essentially plant scar tissue) in two to four weeks. As soon as cuttings have roots, they should be carefully taken out and potted (one-gallon works well) with about 1/3 to 1/2 of the cutting in the soil. Plants should be kept in an a warm, bright (but no direct sun) location with high humidity until the plants develop adequate roots and can be acclimated to lower humidity. I will usually place the pots in a large clear/translucent plastic container or make a miniature greenhouse with plastic. Plants can be moved out once they rooted into the pot (you will see roots reaching the sides of the root ball), which usually takes about a month.

Most figs are very precocious (bear at an early age). I've had some figs that have at least attempted to produce fruit toward the end of their first season from cuttings. You can certainly expect a crop in two to three years, with a full crop in four to five years, provided that they receive good care (full sun, well-drained soil, regular fertilizer, and plenty of water.)

I hope this helps!