Easy propagation method

leon_edmond(z7NM)May 21, 2006

I may have posted this before but I've read a number of threads relating to poor outcomes with rooting cuttings.

I experimented this season again and much to my disbelief, I had very poor success trying to root fig cuttings in various mixes of perlite and vermiculite.

The best outcomes I've had is rooting my fig cuttings in a plastic bag. I wrap my cuttings individually in moist, double-layer paper towel. I place this in a ziplock bag and label it. Then I place all of these bags in a covered, but nontransparent container, like a tupperware box. I keep this in a fairly warm area, like my garage.

I check the cuttings every 4 or so days to make sure that fungi hasn't developed. If it has, just discard the cutting. Chances are, you won't get rid of the fungus.

Once root growth is obvious, I pot the cutting up in potting soil and cover with a plastic bag until leafing looks good. At that point, I wean away the plasic tent and let them grow in the shade for the rest of the season.

You can't imagine how quick some of these cuttings can root in this warm, wet incubator.

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pitangadiego(San Diego, CA)


I have had some of my cuttings in plastic bags, with damp paper towels, next to my desk, and in 3-4 weeks they do have roots beginning. On one group, the entire length of the cuttings were snow white with root initials. Now we need to find a way to get te roots to form on just one end.

I have started almost all of my cuttings in pure vermiculite, indoors, upstairs where it is nice and warm, and it appears that the success rate will be in the high 90% range. 50% have already been repotted, and are outdoors. The rest are waking up, with many ready to be repotted. The vermiculite seems to have the right moisture/air balance, and the heat definitely wakes them up and gets them going. Clear 40 oz. cups make it really easy to check root development, which is critical because root development and leafing out have NO relationship to one another. I have one cutting with 6" of new growth, and no sign of a root. Another is totally filled with roots, but the but has not broken yet.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2006 at 11:24AM
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I envy you. I don't know why I have not had much luck with either perlite or vermiculite but the bag method works for me. Some of my cuttings will root the entire length while others, which have calloused well, will root only at the basal end.
What are you using as potting soil?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2006 at 11:19PM
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axier - Z10, Basque Country (Spain)

I have tried different perlite-vermiculite mixes, always decreasing vermiculite proportion, in my opinion vermiculite tends to be too wet and the cuttings rot. At last, I use straight perlite, it drains quickly but has the best balance between water and air. In any case, it is very important the rooting environment, I root my cuttings in a mini-greenhouse with high moist air, on the contrary, Pitangadiego root in open recipients with drier air.

Leon, I am going to try your method, maybe you are right and it is the surest method.

By the way Leon, I have rooted your "Fico Gentile", "Fiorone di Ruvo" and "Quarter Pounder" cuttings, they are growing vigorously (except "Quarter Pounder", a little bit slower) and are in pots with abundant roots and out of danger. The soil mix in the pots is coconut fiber and perlite (1+1) and I fertilize in each irrigation with 200 ppm N. The pots are outdoors in semi shadow.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 6:09AM
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axier - Z10, Basque Country (Spain)

I have to clarify that the coconut and perlite mix is only a provisional mix. Due to its aerated and loosing structure it favors the rooting process, but has a poor cation exchange and consequently it is necessary to fertilize frequently.

Once the fig grows vigorously and the roots peep out in abundance over the lateral pot soil surfaces, it is best to repot in a bigger pot with standard soil mixes or plant it in the garden.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 6:29AM
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pitangadiego(San Diego, CA)

After rooting, I pot them in 1 gallons in perlite/compost mix. I don't measure exactly, but something in the neighborhood of 50% perlite minimum.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 11:35PM
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I still have one spare cutting in the fridge of some
cultivars that it seems that they are not going to
make it the normal way (potted). I am going to try
your method (plastic bag) and see what happens...
Thanks for sharing,
George (NJ).

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 9:46PM
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I always keep that one spare one in the fridge like you. The plastic bag method has rooted some very difficult varieties for me. Once they show roots in the moist papertowel, you can't imagine how fast those roots can grow in a matter of days. Wait until you actually see roots before potting them up. Sometimes you'll see little white root initials along the cutting. At this point just rewrap the cutting and wait until actual roots form. There is a delicate part to this method. Often, the roots will stick to the papertowel or even grow through it. Instead of attempting to separate the paper towel from the delicate roots, sometimes I will leave that part of the paper on the roots and cut away the rest of the papertowel. It won't hurt the cutting to have some paper on roots when you go to pot them up.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 11:49PM
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jimla(Z6 PA)

Thanks Leon for the propagation method. My two week old Black Jack cuttings now have small roots about 1 inch long. One which had a bud on it is pushing a small leaf. Seems like teh next step is to transplant into potting soil and a plastic tent or a vermiculite mix in the open. My question is: Should I transplant now or wait until the roots get longer and more numerous along the length of the cutting? If wait, how long is long enough before transplanting? Does the type of transplant mix (soil vs vermiculite) dictate the lenght of roots prior to transplanting?
Thanks again

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 9:49PM
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You can transplant now. As soon as I see roots starting, I pot them up. I'm glad this method worked well for you.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 11:37PM
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I have had the finest of luck just keeping fig cuttings refrigerated over the winter. Then come spring I just dig a shallow trench, like 1.5 inches deep, lay a cutting in the bottom, and crumble soil back over the top of the cutting. Works every time. I just let them grow in that position for a summer and then transfer them to their final spots during the winter. Sometimes I even start the cuttings in this manner right where I want the fig to grow, now that is lazy!

I find that cuttings are less prone to dry out when planted horizontally under the dirt, plus they are shallow enough that the sun warms them. This is ideal conditions for rooting.

You could not pay me to mess around with vermiculite, perlite and all that other stuff. Too much bother!

When a tree gets big enough to make new treelets, sometimes I take the lower branches, in early summer, and weight them down to the ground with a brick or largish rock. Have even used a milk jug full of water. By summers end, they are well rooted and then I start plotting to find people that need to start growing figs! LOL Naturally, the people around me are pretty saturated.

1 Like    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 6:23PM
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I like your metod PLUMFAN.
Why the heck you did not spell it out till now.
It all Make sense.Thank you very much,this will be my future metod of rooting.
I see no reason to use any other metod,because any other i used it was never full proof,but only about 50 percent.
So thanks again.Regards

    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 8:19PM
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girlfromthegarden(z5 Indy metro)

Plumfan, I'm on another round of rooting cuttings (some that I'd left in the 'frig till now), and am intrigued by what you've done. Does this mean that the entire cutting is under the soil? Do you have them starting in shade at all, or full light? Here's the part that I'm trying to comprehend - if a lot of cuttings tend to push leaves before roots, then what happens if they're under dirt? does that stop the leaves from coming first and encourage the roots to start? tell us what you've observed, because I want to know if when leaves come above the surface, if they've already got a root system established so the sun doesn't wilt them. I'd be willing to re-orient a bunch of my cuttings (just set them up last weekend) to the horizontal and bury them an inch deep if it'd help. Thanks for giving us your experience and insights! We're all looking to maximize our cuttings' survival, and trying to understand what does best by them.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 10:41AM
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To be honest, I thought more people everyone knew this method... I guess I might have learned of it when trying to compost short fig cuttings. I would cover them up and they would only make roots and grow into trees, hence my theory about burying them 1.5 inches deep, yes Sherry, the whole thing under soil. Anything left above ground is just an evaporation sink, meaning that it is losing net water from the stem when there are no roots.

Sorry Herman2 that I have not said anything up to now, I just thought you all knew this method, but enjoyed playing with tissues, plastic bags, and different granulated substances from the nursery.

This method will frequently give you more than 100% luck, because at times one stick will have two trees come up, and if the roots are well distributed, you can just cut it into two separate trees when they go dormant.

I guess the time that it takes a cutting to push a bud thru 1.5 inches of dirt is the time needed to get the roots going. I never mess with them early on, I just wait till winter when they are dormant to move, dig, transplant, otherwise molest, etc. Just let them be during the grow season.

Sherry, the cuttings you planted last week, take half of them and lay them sideways in the soil like I said. I bet they will all make it. You might not have to water them everyday, depending on your local conditions, just don't let the dirt get bone dry. Use your finger in the soil to tell you when that is.

An ending note: I had a disbelieving friend who never tried my way. He had quite alot of cuttings of some special fig tree he was starting. He thought I was nuts, but conceded to try my method with only 2 sticks, as an experiment. And about 20 his way, up and down in the dirt with half the thing in the air. None of his survived and both of mine did. Once you do it this way, it gives you more confidence about starting figs. Also, I think there is something beneficial to refrigerating them for several weeks or more. Perhaps it is called vernalization? Do figs need it? I don't know, but it seems to help.

1 Like    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 8:05PM
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Hi Plumfan:You really deserve to make fun of us.
If only 50 percent Takes it it will be the best metod because it is the easiest and more natural one.Best Regards

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 8:24PM
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Plum: one other question if you dont mind!

How long are your cuttings usually?

Last season I had approx 6 cuttings. I took two and tried potting them immediately indoors over the winter (none took) and bagged the other four till spring (only one took).
The funny thing is I had a few cuttings (about 3) from a month ago since my tree/bush was getting too tall and decided to stick them in the same pot with the one cutting from last season....all 3 seem to be taking, as they starting new leaves. I wish I read about this then I would of laid them down horizontally.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 11:07PM
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Plumfan: Your method makes total sense. I use a variation - instead of the ground I use those plastic containers with the snap-on lids, Wal-Mart for about a buck, and lay the cuttings horizontally in potting soil mixed with 50% Perlite. I also get better than 100%, more than one plant per cutting. I like using the containers because I have some control over the situation, I can actually watch the progress of the rootings, and I guess I just like to mess around with such things.
I sometimes use the bent branch in soil method you described, but more often I use airlayering with sphagnum moss because then I can use any branch on the tree, not just the ones near ground level. Interestingly, I find that the airlayerd plants take much less time to start producing figs as compared to those started as cuttings.....Elder (Lou)

1 Like    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 11:44PM
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Herman, I am not making fun of anybody! I just figured maybe someone would like Elder's and my simple method. Plus the success rate frequently goes higher than 100% !!

Again, apologies to all of you for not speaking up sooner. I have done it this way since the late 80's or so. I see Elder has also discovered it! Good going! I applaude Elder for adding perlite to a soil mix, as I think air is pretty important for survival.

Also my apologies to the original poster for having dominated his thread somewhat.

I have done this method in clay soil, with one or two caveats: when using clay soil (ground method) go ahead and lay your cuttings in the trench, but make sure you crumble the soil over them in a loose manner. Not loose as in immoral, but loose as in airy. Only lightly firm this loose crumbly soil. Let it sit for a day or two, which allows the soil particles to kind of "bond" to each other in that configuration, and only water with a gentle watering can. You can actually, if you are careful, prevent low oxygen conditions this way. But if you pack the soil down real hard, and apply water out of a firehose, you will destroy the ability of oxygen to get to the cutting. Now in these conditions, your cutting may still survive, but your success rate goes from 100% down to maybe 70 or so.

Thanks for pointing that out Elder, that airlayered plants bear sooner than cuttings. Could it be the shear size of the rooted plant that causes that?

Fortisi, I like for cuttings to have a minimum of three nodes or knuckles. My reason for that is that *I think* that it is harder for bacteria/infection/whatever to get past each knuckle on the end to the middle knuckle. I have no proof of this, just my theory! But generally I may just do it by length of cutting. Like if they are a foot long or so, I just dig my shallow trench to fit them. If the longer cutting wants to make two or three rooted trees, so be it. Who am I to argue about things underground that I cannot see. Also, I use a rootballing spade that is pretty long. My favorite shovel. I use it on its side to create a very quick, wide, shallow area to lay the cuttings in. Better than a hand trowel any day.

Somebody should try using one knuckle sideways in perlite. I bet it would work.

Another story: last winter I discovered a gopher had used one of my fig trees for his personal banquet. Totally gnawed ALL the roots off. It was a gonner. Must have lain in the rain for at least 2 weeks. When I discovered it, I cut off maybe 3 short branches of less than 6 inches long, buried them in a shallow trench without refrigerating them. I think the weather was cold enuff, so it was vernalized outdoors. Anyway, they are growing just fine now. So I did not lose the cultivar entirely.

I have since learned the merits of keeping backup trees in pots over the summer. I give them a HUGE root pruning right as they break dormancy. Totally shake all the dirt out of the rootwad (use a large tarp for this), clip off all the huge roots (or was it all the small roots?) and then repot the thing in the same soil it had been in. It grows much slower in the summer after this treatment, plus I keep the potted ones in dappled shade to slow them down even more. That way I don't need to water them but every 7 to 10 days, even in high heat. They are only backup figs, so what do I care that they don't get big! And I don't fertilize them either.

Now, would someone please write this up for a FAQ addition. I ramble too much.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 2:10AM
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girlfromthegarden(z5 Indy metro)

Plumfan, I hope it does get to the FAQ part (and would be glad to add it if there was a way I knew how to do it) - this was really helpful.

Question for Elder - I was wanting to do my cuttings in the plastic containers, too. That was my first thought, as I actually have the cuttings I started in clear 33-oz bottles stashed inside one of those containers outside on my screened porch, with the lid slightly pulled over the box to help trap humidity. Do you drill holes in your containers, and what are the dimensions of the kind you use? Do you do one cultivar per container, for ID purposes? I'll go to Walmart today (it's close) and get more, just need some guidelines on sizes and prepping them. Also, how much watering do you do, and do you keep the lids on at all? I'll move at least half or more of my cuttings this weekend to this system, pending a few more instructions - thanks!


    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 9:01AM
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Thnx for the explanation Plum!

I just wanted to add that I think Herman was just teasing you, that you 'SHOULD BE' making fun of us, not that you were. Your method just seems so simple and makes such sense that it really makes anyone who tried all those other methods feel.........well, dumb. LOL!

Thnx again, all future cuttings will get that treatment and will report how it pans out for me here in NNJ.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 9:53AM
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Sherry (et all): The containers I use are called Sterilite, the dimensions are 13" x 8" x 3 1/2". The basic mix is 1/2 Perlite and 1/2 Pro-mix, barely damp (excess dampness causes rot). I use about 2 1/2" of the mix, and put the cutting just under the top of the mix, horizontally. No need to drill any holes, just snap on the lid and keep them warm. No direct sunlight, this will cook them. Yes, I use one cultivar per container, and you can label it on the lid.
These containers are very convenient - they will stack room high (if you're a circus clown), and when roots start to grow you can see them on the sides and the bottom.
When actual bud growth exceeds the height of the lid, just take off the lid; at this time you might have to water, but slightly! When you think your new plants are ready to be put in pots just slowly add water and pour off until you have freed the plants from your mix. I have gotten three little plants from one ten inch cutting, and two plants per cutting is very common.
It is worth repeating - make the soil mix just BARELY DAMP!!!.....Elder (Lou)

1 Like    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 12:33PM
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During my early spring fig pruning, I just buried some
of the extra cuttings (in horizontal bunches) in my
almost used up compost heap. It is in a rarely visited
and very shady location. Today I went to have a look and
I see many shoots coming up (left part of pic)... They
are from my bigger BT and Celeste trees.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 12:53AM
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I see a looming question - why did you do that, George?
First of all, I have used that same compost (location)
to bury and 'winter' small figs and other plants there.
During the spring fig pruning (buds were already breaking),
I taught that maybe I will be needing some of these exrta
cuttings soon (it turned out not to be the case - hence I
had almost forgotten about them). The fridge seemed not an
option. Now that at least some made it, what should I do
with them!? Should I leave them till next spring or should
I dig them up and transplant them right or kill them?
I gave up giving fig plants to (fig stupid) relatives...

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 4:30PM
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girlfromthegarden(z5 Indy metro)

George, the first answer is - NEVER kill a fig until you've first tried to find a home for it!

The second thought is, if you don't have to move them, and you're okay with them growing there until fall when they go dormant, then I'd say let them be. Then dig them up and separate out the roots, pot them and store them (if you've got room), or give them away then. The last and least viable option would be to disturb them now in active growing phase, especially with the heat waves forecast for your area this week and probably lasting through August.

How many individual plants do you think you've got within that group? I wish you could tell which ones were Celeste and which were BT, because I'd like to get a true Celeste, since the two cuttings I have which are labeled as those, are probably not the same fig as Joe (Mountainman) and others have described, and I'd give one of your compost-pile orphans a good home in a heartbeat :).

FYI to Lou (Elder): I was very industrious this weekend using the Plumfan/Elder "bury'em down" method, and discovered that it's amazing what one can re-cycle in terms of plastic containers. I had one Rubbermaid and one Sterilite box of approximately the 13", etc. dimensions, plus had stashes of lightweight lidded containers leftover from when kind people from church had brought meals to our family during a tough situation with one of my kids a few years ago (the containers were about lasagna-sized, of varying depths). Also used were the clear clamshell "boxes" that strawberries are sold in (1 lb. size), a Walmart "to-go" fried chicken container (they're about 12"x6", I'm guessing), and large circular ones from seven-layer bean dip (also a good depth). My one question is: how do these containers "breathe" enough to supply ample oxygen to the cuttings if the lids are on tight? I deferred putting the lids on too snugly, using some plastic wrap as an overlayment against the soil in many cases to trap moisture until the leaves pushed through the dirt, with the lids on loosely for protection against anything smacking the cuttings while they set. But if you've had them grow with the lids on sealing the containers nearly air-tight, let me know, I'd be curious about that.

I moved close to half of a select batch of six to eight cultivars to the horizontal position, burying those of the test batch about an inch down under the mix. I left primarily only the terminal end-tip ones in their upright bottles, except that I used extra potting mix to bury them "to their noses", to eliminate the evaporation problem that Plumfan brought up. I'll be curious to see if there's a significant difference in vertical vs. horizontal, since both batches of cuttings are essentially completely submerged in dirt to allow rooting the entire length of the cutting. My initial guess is that because of the way moisture moves in a potting medium, the horizontal ones have an advantage in having equal moisture at all points along the cutting surface, whereas the vertical ones may have damper regions at the bottom and drier regions near the top. (I used a mix that was roughly equal parts perlite, vermiculite and ProMix, but perhaps slightly more perlite.)

Interestingly, I do agree that the extended refrigeration and then emergence into very walm, humid weather has a stimulating effect on the fig cuttings' length of time to show activity. Of the ones that I'd already set into bottles and put out onto the screened porch (and we've been 80's to 90's daytime since last weekend, when I set up the first batch), many of the terminal end-tip ones have leaves already unfolding, in less than a week's time. I'm hoping that the primo temperature range out on my porch will see a higher rate of rooting, than when I've tried to start cuttings inside and earlier in the season. Of about eight to ten cuttings I started in March, only about four made it (two Golden Celeste, a Nazarti and a Genoa, with only the GC's showing vigor at this point), the rest were once again the victims of that insidious limp-leaved root rot problem that would come out of nowhere. Everything had leafed out, some had decent roots, and then - wham! never know what was off-putting, though for a few, I think it was catching more morning sunlight too soon, for others, maybe just a moisture inbalance. I'll be eager to see how these dormant cuttings, held since February from UC Davis' winter shipment, will do now that they're coming out in July after about five months' refrigeration. Keeping them barely damp, and just that, is going to be critical!


    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 7:50PM
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girlfromthegarden(z5 Indy metro)

Blech, prufreeder brain toasted:

emergence into very walm, humid weather

yeah, that'd be "warm" :)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 7:55PM
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Sherry: The Sterilite containers I used have the snap-on lids, not the seal-tite lids, and therefore allow some exchange of air. In fact, I originally used them for growing catepillars, so am sure this is the case. As for your other containers, I really have no experience with air tight lids, but would assume (dangerous) you would want to make some arrangement for air exchange. I might add that it would be advisable to clean those 'used' containers with a clorox mixture.....Elder (Lou)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 8:36PM
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goodground(z6 NJ)

If this is gonna make it to the FAQ, let's make it completely fool proof. Does it matter if the branch you bury sideways is brown or green?

Thanks for the tip Gorgi. I have a huge compost pile that came with the house. I can easily winter a fig tree there. I NEVER thought of that place for this purpose, but it should be an ideal place to protect it.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2006 at 11:25AM
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gene_washdc(zone 5a)

I haven't done anything to the FAQs page since Spike turned GW over to iVillage, but I just checked access to the edit page and it still seems to be working. If you want to write something up, I'll add it to the FAQs list.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2006 at 3:46PM
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Well as I am just an old country farm boy I just watch my fig tree and when it is at the point of sprouting leaves I select the limb ends that will stand cutting off and not harm the shape of the tree, then take a gallon pot fill it with garden soil then stick the cutting in and water. I then place it in a shady spot and if it dont rain regular I dump in a tea glass of water, dont over water as it wont root if it is too wet. Dont disturbe for at least 1 year.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 4:25PM
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what other plants can propagate this way? bluberrys?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 8:11PM
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Time to get busy with the burying...

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 1:59PM
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Just wanted to say that I am in the process of trying to propagate a fig tree. I took about 8 cuttings and I've had them in the fridge for about 17 days. Granted it's july, but would it make sense to try to go ahead and horizontally plant them or should I wait longer? I was thinking garage to get them going where it's humid and a steady warm temperature.

Also, I just purchased a new construction home. Our grass is barely growing, it's mostly sapplings and weeds and vines. One thing I noticed while weeding out some of these small sapplings, is that the majority of them that made it tended to be from broken root segments that were about 1.5 inches below the surface of the soil. Most of them did not yet have root structures but I found it interesting that the ones that were growing happily were the ones that had ended up 'planted' by the bulldozers horrizontally and about 1.5 inches from the soil. It definitely lends some strength to this horrizontal method of planting figs.

One question I had about the horizontal method: If I get these planted horizontally, I should leave them somewhere warm like in a garage and close to sunlight? Or should I keep them in the dark until they root and begin to send out shoots? Should I cover them with plastic or a lid until they begin to leaf? Thanks for all and any help!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 6:06PM
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I tried just about every method mentioned on this forum to
propagate fig cuttings. The horizontal method worked by far the best for me.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 6:33PM
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I had given up on my horrizontal cuttings, after 2.5 months I hadn't seen anything. Granted I cut them in June, kept them in the fridge for a month, planted in July and just this morning (sep 14th) i noticed a few leaves popping through! I was shocked, I had given up on them! Probably did everything wrong as far as timing as I could but the horrizontal method works!

Question now is how to handle the growth this late in the season. Should I keep them in the garage and let the cooling off of the garage eventually put them into dormancy? I live in NC, the temp won't start really dipping below 60 in there until Late October/early November.

Or should I keep them inside and try to nourish it with light to stimulate a nursery/greenhouse through the winter?

I just don't want to kill off what finally sprouted! Any feedback would be much appreciated, thanks!


    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 1:16PM
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heirloom_newbie(Z5b Nebraska)


Also, any updates from those who have tried this method? I'd be curious to hear your results.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 2:22PM
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Do you remove any bark from the cutting?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 10:14PM
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I wanted all to know that this is a most interesting conversation. I have never grown figs before, but since I just got some cuttings, I'm growin em now for sure !! I was just reading up on how to root them and I ran into this. You can bet I'm gonna print this one out and keep it in the fig file. What else do I need to know now?

Thanks to everyone for passing the knowledge along to us that really, really need it. I appreciate it very much.

Linda In NC

1 Like    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 4:47AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I wonder, could you propagate wine grape vines like this? I just may try! I have dozens of cuttings from my vines. All have been calloused, and were cut dormant. I kept the good ones in the fridge to be started in biodegradeable containers, and tossed the junk into a paper bag in the garage. I just peeked into that bag in the garage and I was shocked! They all have bursting buds, and some show roots already. I may lay them down in a little trench and see what happens. I might try it with pomegranates and olives too!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 10:53PM
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I did a few horizontal cuttings this year and by far they have been the most aggressive cuttings versus the others I did the baggie method, at the same time from the same tree.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 6:22PM
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OK, so this is probably a dumb question...but before starting Plumfan's technique, do you just put the cuttings in a ziplock in the fridge for the winter?



    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 7:30AM
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Plumfan and Elder
Do either of you use and growth hormones on the cuttings you bury?
If/when I get cuttings from UC Davis will they have been winterized before shipping, or do I need to refrigerate them before burial?

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 2:35AM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)


How does one get the end of the cutting to become callused?

Is it best to do that to a cutting, for the best results?



    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 11:07PM
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i am very interesting to plant a Fig tree from seeds.I am working in Abu Dhabi and not available fresh Figs in supermarket to get seeds.But dryed Fig available in supermarket as packet.So if i use this dryed Figs seeds,will it germinate or not?Plase help me.Thanks.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 11:53PM
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I follow a more direct planting method. I scrape about 1" of the bottom of the cutting dip it into rooting compound, and stick the cutting into a pot full of soil. I have tried 60/40, sand, mirical grow, bedding mix from a local sod yard. They all work. merical grow plants did better, but it is a lot more expensive. My choice was the bedding mix (50% sand 50% mulch compost), it is cheap ($17 per yard) and I had great results.

Keep them watered daily for the first couple of months.

Happy growing.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 8:10AM
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Newbie alert!

My lovely neighbors of almost 20 years have decided to sell their house. They have a couple of common figs in their yard and I managed to convince them to give me a couple of cuttings. I have 6 of them (3 of each variety) in barely damp sphagnum moss in bags on the fridge and the other 4 got scraped and dipped in rooting hormone and are in pots of 50% pearlite and 50% loose potting mix and tented with light weight plastic bags. This is more of an experiment than anything, but I really hope I get something viable from at least one of them. Any thoughts as to which might be the most successful?


    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 8:37AM
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Yes, just put them in a ziplock in the fridge.

No you don't have to add rooting hormone.

No you don't have to remove bark or treat them in any kind of special way.

Yes, Plumfan claims this also works well with grapes, make sure the cuttings are hydrated, you can soak the cut base end in a couple inches of water like cut flowers in a vase for a few hours before burying.

Bear in mind that his inspiration was the fact that unwanted cuttings thrown into the compost heap for disposal often rooted into healthy trees.

In other words it isn't hard and doesn't require a lot of special effort. That's the beauty of it.

I'm currently trying this with black currants. I like my odds since currants are so easy one can literaly just cut off 10" from the end of a branch in early spring and stab it into the soil where a new plant is to grow. That worked for me the first time I tried it.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 12:56PM
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Looking at the 'original' post date (2006),
maybe this method should be called
(wise/humble) Leon's method!

Let us ALL give/take credit where it is all due....

1 Like    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 1:43PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Leon Rocks!



    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 1:37AM
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I'm looking at Plumfan's method and I was wondering, Can I cut them now - put them in the fridge x number of days and then put them in the ground?

I have a really big stake in my cuttings rooting. My father-in-law passed away and it broke our hearts. There never was a better man. He had a fig tree that he loved so much and I want to take a cutting.

We don't know what's going to happen to the house yet, but i want to get a cutting in case it's sold to someone. I feel the clock ticking.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 11:38AM
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I'm looking at Plumfan's method and I was wondering, Can I cut them now - put them in the fridge x number of days and then put them in the ground?

I have a really big stake in my cuttings rooting. My father-in-law passed away and it broke our hearts. There never was a better man. He had a fig tree that he loved so much and I want to take a cutting.

We don't know what's going to happen to the house yet, but i want to get a cutting in case it's sold to someone. I feel the clock ticking.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 11:40AM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

I'm sorry for your loss, Mona Lisa, and I hope you can get a tree from the house where your father-in-law lived.

Another thought--Is there time for you to make some air layers from the tree? That's where you put some soil around a nice branch with plastic and aluminum foil, or in a bottle and the branch will put out roots, if you don't know what air layers are. If you do a search of the forum, you will see posts from people on how they do air layers.

What a lovely keepsake a tree from his tree will be. It will be a living memorial in his honor.


1 Like    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 9:05PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Mona Lisa-
Fig cuttings are usually easy to propagate. Just make sure you take several cuttings to increase your chances. There are many methods. What has worked best for me is to make a mix of about half perlite and half potting soil and put the mix in 4" pots. I just take the cutting and directly put it in the pot. Sometimes I apply rooting hormone. You will not have a viable plant until roots form, and aboveground leafing is not a reliable indicator of that. If you want some help with this, go to My Page here on GardenWeb and email me. Since this is a special plant, I'd be willing to try to propagate it for you in my greenhouse if you can send me a couple of 6"-8" cuttings. Then, if I was successful I'd send you back any plants that resulted.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 6:27AM
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Hi Noss,
I'll look up the air layer method asap. I thought if I try all methods, then one has to work. I hope. I may end up with a fig orchard but that's better than the alternative. Thank you so much for your advice. I most definitely will look it up.

Thank you SO much!!
I'll send you some right away. I'll look on your page as soon as I get off work!
I feel so much better having help and not relying only on myself.

You've made my day PERFECT!
Mona Lisa

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 11:26AM
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I was able to get 6 beautiful fig cuttings that are now
about 12 to 14 inches tall, with excellent leaves.
They are the FICUS CARICA, or Hardy Chicago Figs and they are still in plastic 12 oz cups. I am not sure when to move them into regular pots with soil.
It is now Feb 4th, 2013 and I am located in CT.
When should I move them into my garden and/or can I keep them in pots for a season or two until they are larger?
I plan on giving them as gifts but keeping one for myself.
This is my first try at this and I'm very happy that all my cuttings grew so well. That's thanks to all the info
I received from this site.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:36AM
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rgvnewf(z5 NL,Canada)

If using the horizontal planting method with containers rather than directly into the ground, do you keep the containers in a warm or cool area to allow the cuttings to begin growing, and can the be kept in a dark warm place until growt begins or should it be a room that receives some light. Thanks

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:33AM
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rgvnewf, hope you got it all sorted out... very delayed reply.

The reason one would bury them 1.5 inches maximum in outdoor soil is so the sun can warm them profusely in the spring, like when the ground is getting good exposure and the surface is getting a bit warm. Humidity under soil combined with solar warmth means about 100% rooting, and in some cases you'll get two trees from a single cutting.

And Murky was right, this was learnt from a compost pile. Rose trimmings and grapes were volunteering as well.

Hope all your fig dreams materialize, everybody!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2015 at 6:23PM
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I have a question. Using plumfan's method of planting cuttings horizontally in soil, on average, how soon do you see results?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2015 at 6:56PM
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tobybul2 - Zone 6 SW MI(6A)

I think it is all relative to the conditions the cutting is exposed to. Cuttings do better in moist and warm conditions and will root faster. That is why we in cold country simulate these conditions for our cuttings to root in 4-6 weeks.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2015 at 6:18PM
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