Can You Grow a Fig Tree From a Cutting? Two Easy Methods

It is feasible to propagate fig trees by using cuttings, but growing them from seeds may not be the most suitable choice.

Popular fig varieties are mostly hybrids, which makes sprouting seeds the least reliable method of growing a new tree. It’s best to either start the tree from a cutting or purchase a young fig tree from a nursery.

Can you grow a fig tree from a cutting? Fig trees are easy to grow from a cutting. The cutting will grow fast and produce a new tree that is identical to the parent tree. You can plant the cutting either in soil or in water. The key to success is to choose the right variety for your region and microclimate.

While the two methods of growing fig trees from cuttings have a high rate of success, some people prefer one method over the other.

Read more to find out how to grow a fig tree from a cutting the right way.

Have a ton of questions about fig trees and what it takes to keep them healthy and productive? Find the answers you need in my article Common Fig Tree Questions.

How To Grow a Fig Tree From a Cutting (2 Methods)

When it comes to growing a brand new fig tree, the recommended way to go is to use a cutting.

Preferably, the cutting should be from a mature fig tree growing in the neighborhood.

If you choose a variety that is not suitable for your region, the tree might not thrive.

When To Take Fig Tree Cuttings

You can take a cutting from a fig tree any time of the year except in the winter. When the tree is dormant in the winter, the cutting will be as well.

You can’t plant a dormant cutting since it will not grow roots and will die in the cold soil.

Early mornings in the spring and summer are usually the best times to take a cutting and plant it either in the soil or water to grow roots.

If you get the cutting in the fall, make sure the soil is warm enough for the cutting to develop roots before it goes dormant.

Several fig tree cuttings lying on a wood table.

How To Take Fig Tree Cuttings

Once you’ve decided on the right fig tree variety to grow, you’ll need to find a healthy and mature tree from which to get a cutting.

Choose a healthy branch about a half inch in diameter and between 6 and 8 inches long. Make an even cut with a sterilized blade or a pair of scissors.

Make a flat cut at the tip of the cutting, but the bottom cut should be slanted. Treat the top with a sealant to prevent the sap from leaking and causing an infection.

Dip the bottom cut in a rooting hormone (I use this one and always see good results) to promote fast root growth.

Method #1: Rooting Fig Cuttings in Soil

Rooting fig cuttings in soil is a popular method since it makes it easy to transplant the fig sapling to its permanent spot in the garden once the roots have developed.

Like everything else regarding planting, timing is crucial for the success of this process. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Plant the cutting in the spring, summer, or fall as long as you have enough warm weather for the cutting to develop roots before it goes dormant in the winter.
  2. Fill a small pot with a general-purpose potting mix, and water it lightly to get it moist but not wet. Mix the soil with a toothpick or a straw to get it evenly moist.
  3. Dip the flat end of the cutting in the rooting hormone, and shake off the excess powder.
  4. Make a hole in the soil about 2 inches deep, and plant the cutting. Firm the soil around the cutting.
  5. Label the cutting with the variety and date of planting.
  6. Cover the pot with a plastic cover and secure it around the edge to keep the soil moist and warm.
  7. Water the soil when it gets dry, and watch for signs of growth before transplanting the cutting. 

Method #2: Rooting Fig Cuttings in Water

Rooting fig cuttings in water follows the same process but replaces soil with water. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Wash the cutting in soapy water to get rid of pathogens and fungus spores.
  2. Fill a cup with clean water, and place the cutting in the cup so that at least two nodes are under the water at all times.
  3. Place the cup in a cool place that gets indirect light.
  4. Change the water every other day to prevent mold growth and rotting.
  5. After 3 to 4 weeks, roots should emerge from the cutting.

Fig Tree Cuttings in Summer

While spring is the recommended time to propagate figs from cuttings, you can still use cuttings in the summer to start new trees.

You’ll need to check the cutting more often and be on the lookout for rotting and moisture issues.

Try to plant the rooted cutting quickly to give it time to become established before cooler weather encourages dormancy.

Planting Fig Cuttings Directly in the Ground

Some people prefer to plant fig cuttings directly in the ground. This method has the advantage of preventing transplant shock.

However, keeping the cutting from drying out before rooting happens can be a challenge. You’ll also need to shield the cutting from direct sunlight and excessive heat.

Air Layering Fig Trees

Air layering is another way of propagating fig trees. A small wound is made on the underside of a small branch. Then, the area is wrapped in sphagnum moss or coco coir and secured with plastic wrap.

It usually takes about 2 months before the first roots emerge and another couple of months before you can transplant it.

Related Questions:

Do Fig Cuttings Need Sun or Shade?

Fig cuttings prefer indirect light and should survive in shade with little sunlight. If exposed to sunlight and heat, the cuttings might dry out.

What Is the Best Medium for Rooting Fig Cuttings?

While a general-purpose potting mix can serve the purpose, the best medium for rooting fig cuttings contains perlite and peat moss. You can replace perlite with vermiculite. Use both ingredients in equal portions.

Closing Thoughts

Fig cuttings are the best ways to start new fig trees that are identical to their parents.

Rooting fig cuttings in water has a higher success rate than using soil, and it has the advantage of preventing the cutting from drying out until the roots emerge.

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