rooting figs with what I've got

cousinfloydFebruary 17, 2013

I'm looking for advice on ways to root fig cuttings without buying anything especially for the purpose. I'm sure the "best" ways to root figs all require special equipment and media, but I've had limited success rooting cuttings with just what I've already got, and I'm personally very content to work within the limits of what I've got or can scavenge in the neighborhood.

I've mostly just layered figs, and that mostly works great for me, but I had some success rooting cuttings in a sealed plastic bag with a damp towel at about 65-70 degrees -- that was the warmest spot I could find -- and then planting directly into a nursery bed in not-too-heavy ground in early spring. It seemed to take forever, and I had a fairly low percentage take, but it seemed like a good starting point. I started to try the same thing again this year, but I realized I had a cheap egg incubator that I could use to keep the cuttings warmer, so I put a sealed bag of cuttings in there with temp at about 80-85, and I'm getting rapid mold growth. Any advice on what I can do with what I've got? As far as potential media I've got sand, compost, native soil, pine bark (that I could probably find some way to crush or grind up)... What methods should I consider?

And a tangential question: can I use hydrogen peroxide to clean the mold off my cuttings?

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If you can put $5 into the process, get perlite. That's the only thing that is a must have in my opinion.

Rapid mold growth is probably from being to moist. I start mine directly in cups and wring almost all the water out of the 50/50 perlite/soil mix. I usually don't need to water again until I see roots in the cup.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 7:01PM
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Thanks for the advice, barnhardt. Isn't 100% humidity an unavoidable constant with the sealed plastic bag method? That's what I'm currently doing, but I need to change something obviously. From my perspective, which admittedly is marginal, there aren't any special/purchased "must haves," because I've successfully rooted at least one fig once without anything special, and I'm content to work from there, no matter how much easier any purchases could make things. I'm basically just doing this as a hobby, so I don't have to achieve any particular level of efficiency, and I get more satisfaction out of optimizing the use of what I've got even than achieving dramatically better results by spending even just a little extra money.

I got to wondering, though, if I'm not going to buy special materials if I wouldn't be better off just rooting cuttings in the ground somehow. I was thinking maybe I could even find a way to stick them diagonally so that their roots would be inside a cold frame that would warm up during the day but the exposed tips would be exposed to the colder outside air.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 4:35AM
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