Let me show you how I rooted seven fig tree cuttings in just a months time.
The subject of this post just ‘came into my life’ today, I didn’t plan to write anything. I have been having a writer’s block for a while now. Some of you might have noticed that already? Not because I don’t have enough subjects to write something about, no, just the opposite, I have too many subjects. And honestly most of them need at least a day of editing text and pictures. And who does have time for that?
I’m teaching a workshop on how to start a blog right now and one of the things I want to tell people is that they should not place self-imposed hurdles on their path towards publishing something on their blog, because that’s just stupid. And do you know what I do? Just that! I want to publish blog posts in three languages and generally I write blog posts with far too many pictures (which require far too much editing) on subjects that are humongous.
And that’s why I like these how-to gardening blog posts. The subjects are very limited and well, for this blog post I will use seven pictures only, which is just about doable! So let me start, because I know what you are all thinking: “She just wrote 200 unnecessary words, does she ever learn?”.
The wrong way
I do, I do! Let me tell you about my learning curve when it comes to rooting fig trees. About five years we found a fig tree in the garden of our previous house. We really loved the purple figs of the tree and therefore I took some cuttings of the tree. I’m not sure during which season I did that. At that time I thought one should/could root cuttings in plain water. And so I did/tried. I think I had about four sticks from the fig tree in several different lengths and just placed them in water and left them to root. This didn’t go as straightforward as I hoped it would, but after a very.long.time I ended up with one proper rooting and one that died later.
Ah well, for me that was a success and this year the little cutting has produced its first fig, which is just amazing! You can see the current fig (tree) below. That is a cutting of the fig tree in our previous house. It will produce small, purple, very sweet figs. I’ve made this, this and this with the figs of the original tree. Excitement all around, but nevertheless, it was the wrong way of rooting figs I know now!
The right way
Now that you know that there is a wrong way, you must be curious about the right way, right? Well it’s as simple as the first one, perhaps more simple, but there are three things you should consider before you start butchering a fig branch. It’s the when, what and where.
when »you want to make a cutting somewhere in spring while the branches of the trees haven’t sprouted yet, but you do see green buds on them. They will look a bit like this.
what » you want to take a branch that is already turning brown, but isn’t fully hardened off. It needs to be a piece that is long enough to make one cutting with at least four buds. It’s important to have these buds as they apparently carry a high quantity of rooting hormone in them. You can also take a very long piece and just cut several cuttings from one branch.
where » you need to bury the cuttings in compost as soon as possible. Place the cuttings (with the right side up) into compost for at least the length of three buds. Leave one or two buds above ground. Make sure to keep them moist. Some people put a dome on top of their cuttings. I didn’t do that and it worked just fine.
On the picture above you see how my cuttings look after only one month. They looked so good above ground that I couldn’t resist digging up one cutting, just to see if there were roots forming underground. And guess what? That was the case. Not just a few roots, like it was the case with the first method I tried, no, a whole bunch of roots. Hooray!
All roots were concentrated around the buds as you can see above. After I satisfied my curiosity, I planted the first rooting in a pot. I left the other cuttings in the raised bed that has become a mini nursery for me. I now have eight raised beds where I plant seeds or cuttings in now and then. It’s a place for experimenting for me. A green lab. Hopefully I will be able to show you more of my green results in the near future.
And for the curious ones amongst you, these cuttings are made from a wild fig tree near our allotment. This one has slightly bigger green figs. So a totally different variety. I guess I have started collecting fig trees…..
June 12, 2021
Hello! I would love to try this with my fig tree but have a question about the process. When you say, “place the cuttings (with the right side up) into compost,” which is the right side? The cut end or the tip of the branch? Sorry I am new to this.
June 28, 2021
With the right side I mean the side that was the top side of a branch when it was still attached to the tree.
I hope that helps. :)
January 30, 2023
If I wanted to try this in a pot, would I also use compost? And if so, what kind of compost? Thanks!
February 6, 2023
I would say you can use multi-purpose compost. The one that you buy to grow vegetables in. Not the one that you use to grow house plants in. But I’m guessing that it would shoot roots in both, but probably be happier in the first one.