Rooting fig cuttings: progress report 3-6-16

These are my cuttings today. Earliest were started mid Nov. I’m hoping to move them to the greenhouse soon. But the last two tries ended up back inside, under T5s at night and sunroom by day.

What they did in greenhouse is wilt in the morning after 30s at night. My thought is the roots were too cold to function. They apparently need 60F at night to maintain root function. I’m not quit ready to heat that much yet. This week is going to be 30s at night on several days.

I do need to add that last yrs figs in pots in the greenhouse don’t have the wilting issue. Any ideas on what’s going on?


Wow! You go all out in everything you do! How many winter babies did you get started? What size inserts do you have in those 10X20’s?

Two possibilities that might make a difference in the overnight reactions are that the older ones are in larger pots with bigger root systems and the temperature of the roots drops more slowly, and/or that the proportion of roots to growth losing moisture through transpiration is greater. A larger root system could make a big difference. Those are just a couple of conjectures. I don’t know 1/10th as much as you.

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Yikes FN! How long before you will taste fruit?

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I’ve got several hundred started so far. It’s about to get the best of me. But once I get everything in the greenhouse it will be manageable.

The little black pots are 3x3x8. Next yr will all be 4x4x9. I can sell directly in the later. The smaller ones need up potting to gal size.

The greenhouse figs are mostly in bigger pots so maybe that’s the answer. I’ll see what happens at 62F overnight when I move in about one week. Then lower it from there if things go right.

Thank you for your input!!

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The Nov started cuttings will have ripe fruit in May or June. I have a Desert King in the greenhouse that should be in that time frame. My maincrop usually begins in June/July in the greenhouse. Harvest lasts into Nov/Dec.

OMG. That is fantastic, fruitnut! Well done. I am green with fig envy! I am still trying to track down Black Madeira cuttings or even a plant. If you have a good source, I’m open.

Patty S.

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You might look for either BM or Figo Preto. The experts on F4F are pretty much in agreement that they are the same fig. Try to get one that grows well. Some are so infected with FMV that they are slow growing. I don’t think I have any cuttings left but will have plants big enough to ship this summer or fall.

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Okay, good to know. I’ll check back with you this summer/fall for either BM or FP. It is the one fig I really, really want to add to my garden.


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“Figo preto” really is not a choice, “preto figo” in Portuguese means black fig, fig portugal any black can be sold as “preto figo”

madeira black variety is almost impossible to root, ideally engraft

I understand but we’re not talking about Portugal. BM and FP as in circulation within the online fig community in USA are the same fig.

My Figo Preto is easy to root and a strong grower. I’m not so sure about BM. But mine grew well last yr after rooting. Both produced figs last yr but they matured too late to be good figs. Those were plants rooted in March.

That is remarkable. Thanks.

Steve, are you going to be able to ship plants to California? If yes, I’m eagerly looking forward for the list of available figs and will be happy to order from you. Fall delivery (November) would be ideal, summer is too hot here.

Legally probably not. They could be confiscated without the proper paperwork. Cuttings are the best idea into CA.

I just checked the BM and FP cuttings. They all seem to be struggling. But I think some will pull thru. They’re at the stage where it could still go either way. Maybe I’ll need to do some air layers later in the yr.

My guess is just assimilation to new environment (and being young). Not a big deal, they will adjust.
I put mine out today, 44 low tonight, spring is here. I’m going to leave them outside.

I notice the site resizes pictures, but it does it by cropping the right side. This photo is centered, well not anymore! I tried re sizing myself, it still cuts the right side off. It may be the width? I’ll take photos with a different photo size, see if that helps. This seems to just started happening a couple days ago.

Thanks for the heads up. I had set the margins wider, but it looks like that is no longer working. Since they don’t allow it they should have just removed the setting, but they didn’t. Anyway, I changed the setting back to the default so its not cropping anymore hopefully. If you want to see the larger picture you will need to click on it now.

OK well that is cool, anyway. I feel the huge pictures can get in the way, I’m too lazy to resize! OK, looks like that worked!

Steven, the small starts are used to a constant temp provided by the T5’s
and aren’t used to such a wide temperature swing. Hence the wilting.
You need to be patient, until your weather is more consistent.

T5’s work good! I now have a 4 lamp T5 and also a T5 VHO 4 lamp fixture. The ballast went bad on the VHO, well one of two, it was under warranty but I don’t have the packing material or box anymore! So I cracked it open, found the bad ballast, and ordered a new one.
So I bought the other T5, as I need light like yesterday! Nice! I like them both, gives me a lot more options now. The figs do fine under either one.

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Have you considered using heat mats. Those would keep the soil temps up (at whatever temp you set the thermostat to) and I would expect them to solve the wilting problem. In theory, you could taper off the use use of extra heat over time, as the weather and plant vigor improve.