What type of grow light is best for growing fig cuttings?

terry_upstate_ny(5)January 30, 2014

I usually post my questions about growing fig trees on the fig forum, but after searching this subject this forum appeared. I am rooting some fig tree cuttings, and once they are rooted I will transplant them to cups and I would like to put them under some type of grow lights indoors.
I would appreciate some recommendations and suggestions. Thanks, Terry

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Phantom2487

Terry-

Depending on quantity (like several rows or just a few starters) I would vary my response from a few CFL's to whichever sized T5/T8 setup would work.

From what I understand 6500K CFL's would do the trick for small scale starting.

Hope this helped, I'm 'newer' in this area of growing myself.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 2:56PM
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andyinnyc

Terry,

I started a few dozen figs last year from UCDavis cuttings as well as trades.

Initially, the cuttings were put in Root Riot plugs inside 72 cell inserts in a 1020 tray (no holes) with a 7" plastic dome on top of a heating mat. (How's that for a lot of info in one sentence-like fragment?)

The cuttings don't really need light at this point (perhaps ambient light) because the point is to get roots to develop, not to grow leaves.

After they rooted, the figs were put into 16 ounce cups and kept under the dome with basic shop lights. Again, here the idea is to keep the humidity up and get the plant going.

As soon as it was warm enough, the figs go outside (keeping the humidity up until the plant has stabilized). Make sure you don't bake the plant under a plastic bottle, though. Ease them from shade into the sun over the course of a week. Gradually remove whatever you are using to keep the humidity up (such as a 2 liter soda bottle with the bottom cut off).

Any growth you get indoors is incidental for rooting. I had a great success rate on getting them started and then transferred to 1, 2 and even 5 gallon containers within the first year.

For overwintering, you can either supply them with the shop light or just let them go dormant and keep them in the dark and above freezing.

Andrew

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 3:04PM
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terry_upstate_ny(5)

Andrew,
Could you explain in easier terms please? I don't understand
what you meant:

"Initially, the cuttings were put in Root Riot plugs inside 72 cell inserts in a 1020 tray (no holes) with a 7" plastic dome on top of a heating mat."

My husband can help me build a light cabinet or something. Right now we just have our cuttings in cups in front of our windows for light. I think they will need more light later.
Tery

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 6:27PM
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andyinnyc

Terry,

Root Riot is a small, sponge-like 'plug' into which the cutting is inserted. This gets dropped into a tray filled with (for example) a bunch of empty 6 packs. A tray with 12 empty 6 packs would hold 1 'plug' per cell for 72 cuttings.

The cuttings don't need light initially - they need a humid environment in order to put out roots. That's what the plastic dome over the tray does - it keeps the moisture in.

If you have the cuttings in some kind of mix, that will work also - just maybe not as high a success rate in rooting.

Once the cuttings are putting out roots, you can put them into a larger container if you are using Root Riot or leave them in the container you are using if it is large enough.

Now, you want the 'tree' to put out leaves. It may already have leaves (but we are hoping for roots first in order to feed the tree). Even now, I keep the plants away from direct sunlight.

Cut the bottom off a liter or larger plastic soda bottle or the bottom off a gallon milk jug. Place it over the plant to keep the humidity high. Keep the young plant out of direct sunlight - it can overheat. Gently acclimate (harden off) the tree to outdoors and remove the cover over time. I put them under a very shady part of the deck for a few weeks and remove the cover for a few hours and slowly move them out into the sun. Go slowly here - better to get less than optimal results than to kill the plant.

Eventually you should have a healthy baby tree throwing off roots and branches. By the 2nd summer you should be picking a fig or two (after over wintering - a whole different pain in the bottom - and transplanting into a larger container or two).

My favorite resource for figs is the figs4fun.com forum/community. Very active and very knowledgeable.

Hope this helps.

Andrew

Here is a link that might be useful: Figs 4 Fun forum

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 11:44PM
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