Has anyone ever tried grafting figs?

Anyone ever tried making a multigraft fig tree? I want to give it a try but have very little to go on…

Grafting time? Type of grafts? Dormant/active scion?


What zone are you live in? I am in Zone five and the multi grafts fig tree probably won’t work around here because every winter the fig tree died down to the ground level and re-sprout in the Spring. The only way I think I can do it is by potting up the fig for a year or so then do a muli grafts with dormant scion woods when the sap is flowing and the fig leaf out. I probably use a simple cleft graft technique and let the grafts grow for a year and then plant it in the ground deep like a foot beyond the union. In this way, if the fig tree die to the ground level in the Winter and then next Spring it will re-sprout again with all the grafted varieties still survive. Good Luck.


I’m in Zone 9b. We don’t get die-back on figs around here :smile:

Zone 9b should not be a big issue for you to multi grafts a fig tree but if you want to take an easy way out then just plant 4 or 5 cutting of different varieties in a hole and this way there is no need for grafting. Just stick the cuttings in a moist working soil and they will grow. You will be amaze how easy the figs will root.


I multigrafted figs this year. Simple cleft graft. Timing was important, you want to mother plant to be pushing growth for best takes.

I’m curious what the motivation is for you or Eric A. Why not just do what Tony suggested and plant 4 or 5 cuttings in a hole?

There are some helpful posts at figs4fun. This is my first year trying to topwork several mature fig trees that have inferior fruit each year, and in the last month have done about 50 grafts. The trees are growing actively, and the 3/8" to 1/2" thick scions were dormant in the fridge for the last couple months. Most were tip cuttings that had the cut ends waxed before storing. I got some cuttings from elsewhere that were not waxed and was disappointed to see that the ends with the open cuts had deteriorated inward up to 1-1/2". The waxed ends were perfect after the waxed tips were clipped off. I did some cleft grafts on new young shoots that emerged from the bottom and had brown thin bark. After clipping them, I let the sap bleed out a few minutes and wiped it off before slitting the shoots and inserting the scion. I did bark grafts on older, gray barked branches from 3/4"" to 3" thick, and sometimes did twin bark grafts on the thicker branches. All bark grafts were done on branches that were whacked off at an angle to let water drain off easily. I first wrapped Parafilm and then tightly wrapped black plastic tape on top, using both 3/4" tape on small branches and 2" tape on big ones. I then sprayed clear coat on the scions above all the tape. It took about 3 to 4 weeks before leaves started forming on several scions. All but 2 are still alive even if not yet pushing out. On one of the 2 dead scions, I decided to leave a pencil thick, 1 foot tall, lower branch on the 2-1/2" trunk that got only one bark graft at about 5 ft. high. Well, the fig tree decided to send all of it’s sap and strength to the lower remaining branch and starve out the hitchhiker scion on top. In 4 weeks I saw the tree’s “Hulk” imitation happen in which the pencil thick, brown barked little branch turned bright green and puffed out to 1/2" thick and 2 foot tall, full of large bright green leaves. I t did everything except flex it’s bulky muscles and growl out an ARRGG!! Lesson learned: When topworking a thick trunk with one graft on top, DO NOT leave any lower branches in place. Even little ones. Also, when clipping fig branch tips for grafting, look for tips that have at least 2" of round wood rather than the bumpy, crooked shape of the upper tip, because slicing a tapered lower end for bark grafts or a symmetric, pointed wedge works much better on round wood with the wood grain running straight.

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@cousinfloyd Well, it probably would’ve been a good idea if I didn’t have a mature tree producing figs already :smile: My neighbors have done it that way, but I think they only have two varieties.

Thanks for the tips @fruitility Hopefully I can get some scion for next year - any tips on where to get some?

Well, I guess that some of our northern neighbors with later Spring time could possibly still have some extra fig cuttings stored and could respond to your online request for some. If any choice varieties arrive and are not in the best shape to risk grafting, maybe you could baby them along trying to root them for future grafting. I did that with some of the" iffy" cuttings that came in. There are way more valued varieties out there than you could ever grow, so shop for the best that you can find.

Im not a huge fig fan. We have one 4 year old fig tree and thats about all I need. So when I was offered free fig scions at our local scion exchange I thought I would graft a few on. SImple as that.

Look up Figaholics on Facebook. Harvey is the only one that I know that has a good amount of experience and success grafting figs. I believe he has also posted a how-to video.

I used a whip and tongue graft to put a slow-growing variety onto a healthy, established understock.
Both were dormant, I’d just brought the understock plant up from the cellar. Same diameter branch/scion, wrapped in parafilm with a rubber tied around the union to insure good contact.
3 weeks later, my scion is budding out and has a couple leaves.

I have 2 celeste and 2 brown turkey figs that absolutely will not ripen fruit. They are all 5 years old and most years they have not even been killed to the ground by winter. They put on a huge load of figs all over the plant, and the figs get about 1 square inch and just quit growing. Once in a great while, one of them will turn purple but its very dry inside and not at all what a ripe fig should taste like. The plants are extremely healthy looking, are 4-5 feet tall and 4-5 feet wide. I also have 10 chicago hardy figs that are the same age and size, and in same location, and they ripen up perfectly- sometimes with a small breba crop but always with a huge fall harvest.

Since I seem unable to figure out why my Celeste and Brown Turkey won’t ripen, I’m ready to give up. But what I’d like to do is to take advantage of the 5-year old root structure and just graft some chicago hardy scion onto the 2 varieties that won’t ripen. I’ve been searching for threads on the topic and this one seems so say it is possible, almost all the posts seemed to be from people who had just done it the year of the thread (2015). Can anyone tell me if there is any long-term success, or if I should just dig up the old trees and plant new Chicago hardy plants? Thanks.

I’d plant a new tree. Grafting a fig like that is possible but you’ll be fighting the old varieties forever. If the Chicago Hardy freezes back in a bad yr you might be left with nothing but root sprouts you don’t want.

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THat is a very good point I had given some but not enough thought to. As it is there are a lot of “trunks” comming out of the ground that I’d have to graft to, and as you say, they keep coming and winter kill would get my grafts anyway. I think you just convinced me to pull them up. It just hurts to pull up such a well established, healthy tree. But if it won’t produce, why should I care? Thanks!

Chop out the crown and graft to some larger roots, should be less or no suckering.

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Jesse: Is there a fig that will grow in western Maine??

Kevin, I’m not a fig expert, (but that doesn’t stop me from suggesting an experiment :blush:)
Have you tried stripping some of the figs off early on? The issue may be that the tree does not enough umph or vigor to bring all the fruit to maturity.
I was also going to try grafting some scions to my Brown Turkey…just cause. I had my first fresh figs this past summer from that tree and they were amazing. Oh my.

Another thing to try late in the season is to cut off the leaves which shade the fruit. Not only was it mentioned as a strategy in this forum, I later learned that a friend’s father (80+ YO who brought figs with him from Italy) routinely chops the tops off at the end of the year (see below post).

@BobVance and @JustAnne4 I have most definately tried of those things. As Bob said, it has been suggested more than once to strip leaves off to encourage ripening. There was some discussion about it not only allowing sun to hit the fruit, but some people suggested (either here or on Figs for fun) that stripping the leaves might also cause the plant to “think” that it was nearing dormancy and therefore go ahead and ripen its remaining fruit. I stripped one tree completely and another about 1/2 and nothing changed. I also pulled a lot of the green figs off for the exact reason Ann mentioned- I just thought maybe the resources were being spread too thin. I pulled about 1/2 off one and later another 1/4. Didn’t change a thing. I’ve also read that you can put a drop of olive oil in the fig’s bottom hole to ripen it. But 1) that would be impractical for such a large number of figs and 2) The green ones never even get big enough for the hole to form.

I’ve read somewhere that the lack of ripening might be because I fertile too much or too late. I usually put about 2 handfuls of 15-15-15 granulated fertilize on in the early spring and sometimes I put one more handful around mid summer. But I do this for my Chicago hardy plants and they all do fine. That being said, I am going to try using no fertilize at all on some of the plants this year and see it it matters.