Can You Grow a Fig Tree From a Fig? Step-by-Step Directions

Growing fig trees can be simple as long as you select the appropriate cultivar for your specific microclimate.

While it’s convenient to get a young fig tree from the local nursery or even start a tree from a cutting, some people wonder if growing a fig tree from fig seeds was possible. 

Can you grow a fig tree from a fig? It’s quite possible to grow a fig tree from a fig. You’ll need to pick a ripe fig fruit, slice it open, and extract the small seeds. After germination, the seedlings can be transported to a permanent location in the garden where the tree will grow normally with the right care.

At first, this sounds simple, but in reality, growing a fig tree from seeds isn’t that straightforward.

Read more to find out the necessary steps you need to take and what to watch out for to ensure that the process is successful.

Seeking answers about fig trees? Look no further! Get all your questions answered in my article Common Fig Tree Questions.

How To Grow a Fig Tree From Seed

If you have the time and patience along with the right ripe fig fruit, then you can start a new fig tree from seeds.

Since the seeds are quite small, you’ll need some extra tools such as tweezers along with the usual equipment needed to germinate seeds.

So, arm yourself with patience and a sense of adventure along with the will to redo the whole thing over and over until you finally have a young fig tree growing merrily in your garden.

Here are the steps required:

  1. Check which fig variety grows best in your area. You can search online or ask the local nursery for their recommendations.
  2. When you have shortlisted the fig varieties you want, source a few ripe figs of each variety. You’ll need to experiment with different types of fig seeds to see which ones germinate.
  3. Slice open a ripe fig, and use a pair of tweezers to extract the seeds. 
  4. Place the seeds in a bowl of water. Healthy seeds will sink to the bottom while bad seeds will float. Collect the bad seeds, and get rid of them.
  5. Change the water in the bowl and look for signs of seeds splitting. That’s your cue to sow them.
  6. Repeat steps 3 and 5 with the other fig varieties. Keep the seeds in separate bowls. 
  7. Prepare seedling trays (one for each set of seeds), and make a mix of equal parts peat, perlite, and fine volcanic rock.
  8. Mix the seeds with the potting mix, and fill the trays with it. 
  9. Water lightly to get the mix moist, and then keep the trays in a sunny spot that gets 6 hours of sunlight every day.
  10. Don’t let the soil dry out, and check often for signs of germination. The variety with a high germination success rate is most likely the one that grows well in your area.
  11. After about 8 weeks, the seeds should germinate.
  12. The seedlings are ready to transplant when they have two sets of true leaves.
  13. In mid-spring, prepare the spot in the garden you want to transplant your fig seedlings.
  14. Till the soil, test the pH level (this gadget makes it easy), and amend the soil to bring it to 7.0. Add some organic compost to the soil.
  15. Dig a small hole in the soil about one and a half times the length of the root ball and twice as wide.
  16. Place the seedling in the hole, spread the roots, backfill with soil, and gently tamp the soil down.
  17. Water the soil to get it moist.

How Long Does It Take To Grow a Fig From Seed?

It usually takes the seeds about 8 weeks to germinate, but it depends on the variety and growing conditions.

After transplanting the tree, it will take approximately 3 to 5 years to produce fruits. Potted fig trees tend to mature faster than those growing in the garden.

Fruits produced before maturity don’t tend to ripen and usually quickly fall off the branches.

A sliced ripe fig and a whole fig on a wood table.

Success Rate for Growing a Fig Tree From a Fig

Growing a fig tree from fig seeds is not as easy as it is with other fruit trees. This is especially true of fig cultivars.

Starting the tree from seeds doesn’t guarantee an exact duplicate of the parent tree. You might end up with a totally different fig variety than the one from which you sourced fruits.

If you want to grow the exact same fig tree, start it from a cutting.

Possible Reasons for Failure

Cultivars are not always easy to grow from seeds. One parent of the cultivar might dominate the new tree, and there’s a low germination success rate associated with fig seeds.

The tree might fail when germinating, during transplanting, or right after transplanting.

Fig trees require warm and humid microclimates. They also need full sun exposure at a rate of 6 to 8 hours a day during the growing season.

Without these factors, the seedling may fail.

When To Transplant Fig Seedlings

You should transplant your fig seedling when it has two sets of true leaves. True leaves are the leaves that develop once the roots start absorbing moisture and nutrients from the soil.

The roots should be around 3 inches by that time, which makes it easier for the seedlings to get acclimatized to the new conditions after transplanting.

Related Questions:

Will a Fig Tree Grown From Seed Produce Fruit?

When a fig tree grown from a seed matures, there’s a good chance it will produce fruit, but the fruits might not be exactly the same as the ones from the parent tree.

Do Figs Grow True to Seed?

Most popular fig varieties are cultivars. That means that they don’t grow true to seed. The new tree would be different from the one that produced the seed. 

If you want an exact copy of a certain tree, it is best to grow a seedling from a cutting of your desired tree.

Closing Thoughts

Fig trees can be grown from fig seeds, but that’s not the easiest way to start a new fig tree as fig seeds have a low germination success rate in general.

A cutting would produce a tree identical to the parent tree with a better chance of producing fruits.

Having your very own fig tree is incredibly rewarding, but there is so much to learn! Don’t miss reading these key articles next: