Rooting fig cuttings

How long has you been using fig pop?

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This is my third season. I haven’t really tried any other methods for figs, so I don’t know how it compares. I will say, though, that I’ve done about 15 cuttings so far and only had one fail, and I’m pretty sure that one was the cutting’s fault.

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A lot people have problem with fig pop when they transplant cutting from fig pop to actual container.

My best rooting is from outdoor direct planting. Actual soil has beneficial bacteria that prevents cutting and root rots. Outdoor container is the next choice. But both methods need warm weather from late spring. Here are some of the cuttings in mid July 2021. They are still in ground now.

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Yeah, I could see that. My interpretation is that a lot of people see roots and jump the gun before they’ve had a chance to get strong. I can usually leave them in there for 6-8 weeks and get a good solid root system going. Might have to add a little water once.

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FWIW, I like to keep one good bud above the soil line and another at the soil line. Usually, at least one of those will sprout, You only want one strong shoot to form a central leader so keep whichever is stronger. Keeping the rest of the stick under the soil line maximizes the chances of roots.

Just be sure not to insert the sticks into the bottom ~2" of any container. That’s where the perched water table forms, which will encourage aerobic bacteria and produce rot.

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Normally cuttings can’t stay inside a fig pot for 6-8 weeks. Top leaves will push up. Then you need to feed the cuttings with fertilizer etc. Need light too. But if you get good success, then you must be doing something right then.

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I saw a YT Vid by mellinealgardner this week where he gave some details on when and how to start fertilizing your fig cuttings.

His cuttings were in clear pots so you could see the roots well.

Some had rooted earlier… some later… different varieties…

The ones that had more advanced roots the roots were not only larger or longer…but they has some color to them… brownish yellow color showing.

The ones that were less advanced were mostly still quite white only.

He said do not fertilize them until they start showing that color change… once they change color they are developed enough to take a weak fertilizer solution… and if you fertilize when they are still mostly white only… you are very likely going to damage the roots.

Mine are in black 4x9 tree pots… but perhaps when roots do develop some will make their way out the holes in the bottom so I can check them out.

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I haven’t found a need to fertilize until I pot them up at 6-8 weeks, and lights is easy enough to give them. Occasionally, I need to add a little water by poking holes in the bottom of the bag and giving them a brief soak in a tray. Usually, though, I find there’s enough moisture to see them through. With the fig pops, you can see the root development, and you’d be surprised how long it takes for them to fill out the bag to the point they need to move up. I usually wait until I see a lot of secondary roots branching of the first roots. That’s how I know the roots are strong enough to stay attached for the up-potting.

But, I’ve only been doing this a few years, so it could be beginner’s luck.

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@RedSun — I have 5-6 fig cuttings left (still in storage in the garage fridge crisper)…

These are just extras that I really do not need… and 4 of them are those larger diameter (3/4 inch) cuttings that I collected. I will try rooting them in ground this spring, as you suggested above.

I potted up some of those about a week ago, and they were still looking very good. Hopefully they can hang in there another month or two and I will give them a try outside this spring.

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For whatever reason, it seems rooting indoor and outdoors are totally different stories. I buried those cuttings about 1’ deep in the garden over the entire previous winter. Then dug them up in March and planted them in garden. None of the buried cuttings died. As long as I provided some shade and watering, the planted cuttings just made it through. Sometimes we had heavy rains. Sometimes I only watered once a week. Those cuttings did not seem care.

Indoors, a lot people, myself included, have had a lot issues with rooting media, temperature, water and light etc. Even with all the “perfect” condition, cuttings still struggle.

So I think the biggest issue is the consistency. Outdoors, temperature, humidity and moisture are consistent 1’ down in the ground. So cuttings do not have a lot of shock like when up-potting etc.

I’m going to move most of my fig rooting outdoors this season. It is late, but still good than having some failures indoors.

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I’ve used dilute MG for every watering from day one on rooting cuttings and never damaged the plants. I’ve done thousands like that and thousands without the fertilizer and there’s no difference in rooting or survival. The difference is that unfertilized grow way less. That can be an advantage if rooting in fall or winter and you don’t want to deal with a lot of growth before they go outside. If you do want early growth then fertilize.

I’ve been rooting nonstop since late August and will be selling nonstop until November if the body holds up.

He likely used too strong of a solution if he burned the roots. One teaspoon of the blue water soluble MG per gal won’t burn the roots…

I’ve been rooting at least a thousand a yr for about 6 yrs. This yr about 4,000 set. I’m just now feeling like I can do it consistently. It’s not easy in winter inside a dry house in a dry climate.

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His opinion on fertilizing fig cuttings…
Near the end of the video he shows which fertilizers to use, shows the indoor vs outdoor recommendations on the package… and since his figs are in Cups/Pots… he recommends the indoor amount of fertilizer. 1 teaspoon per gal… He actually mixed up a Half Gal and used 1/2 teaspoon.

You may be right… that he over did that in a previous attempt and got bad results.

He seems to be a pretty smart guy, but he is learning like all of us… more every year, but he has been doing this several years now so has to be ahead of me by a mile.

TNHunter

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I agree with Steve on fertilizing fig cuttings. It is better on the light side than on the heavy side with fertilizer with the tender roots from fig cuttings.

Here I see one difference here with Steve. He is talking about rooting in warm weather inside his greenhouse. Some other may root indoors over winter.

When I root cuttings in the dead winter inside my house, I do not fertilize until they start to grow true leaves, and see light. Some light fertilizer may be helpful, but not necessary. Rooted cuttings grow very slowly indoors over winter. They are not like summer time inside greenhouse. Those cuttings can put on robust growth that requires fertilizing.

This is the reason that we should always watch those YT videos carefully. Everyone has its own ways of doing things, under certain context. Sometimes it may not apply to our situation.

@RedSun - I am sure you are very right about that… different conditions need to be handled differently.

The MG guy on YouTube… Is in NC, near the coast… a little warmer than me, but somewhat similar climate.

He does not mention fertilizing until you have roots established and the buds, shoots, leaves start developing. He says in the initial stages of that (new green growth) the Cutting Itself has what it needs to start those (carbs and nutrients stored in the cutting itself) but that supply will rather quickly run out, and that is when you really need to start fertilizing them… not long after buds start turning in to shoots and leaves… and before the cuttings own supply runs out.

That makes sense to me…

I think most of us have started vegetable seeds indoors like tomato and peppers. Think when we fertilize those tiny seedlings. Not exactly the same, but similar principles.

When we root cuttings indoors over winter, in general, those cuttings have low metabolism. They are also very tender, just like those tiny vege seedlings. The margin of error is small. I just do not think those vege seedlings will die if I delay fertilizing. But early or wrong fertilizing can certain kill the seedlings.

The in-ground cutting photo I posted above was never fertilized. They put on about 2’-3’ top growth by the end of season. First season, I only want them to establish roots and not for top growth.

I’m trying ziplock bags on top to monitor moisture which worked really well for me when I did Mulberries and pomegranates. It doesn’t look good for a couple of my cuttings so far. It’s only been two days and already one has mold as you can see in the picture. Too much water maybe?
The second picture is of a few other cuttings that seem fine. I’m worried I may have overwatered initially, I dont want them to rot out.

i would get more fresh air in. Fungus/rot will kill fig cuttings.

i personally like “inert” media (soil) for rooting cuttings.
Good quality coco peat, just moist enough that when you squeeze a handfull 1 or 2 drops will fall out is perfect. But i also like perlite/coco peat or even pure perlite for cuttings.

I experience way less or no fungus/rot with those media.

If also experimented with wrapping cuttings in parafilm. And just putting them in a pot in the living room. Worked fine. Although you do have to water the pot occasionally (not to much)

for smaller cuttings, putting them in a box with just moist enough coco coir. Is still my preferred method. you just aerate for a few seconds a few times a week. And don’t have to water them or anything. And if you use a clear box you can see when you have enough roots to transplant.

can’t quickly find a picture of figs. But grapes will also do.


Those are grape cuttings/grafts (grafted 2 pieces together, them put them in a box to root them. If i remember correctly it took 2-3 weeks at room temp.

while rooting the coco coir was all at the bottom side of the box, and the pieces that where out of the coco coir, where wrapped in parafilm. There also was a lid on the box.

also, spraying with diluted hydrogen peroxide will usually kill fungus. I take 3% and dilute it by a factor of 5-10, and spray that if my cuttings are getting a little dry and if seen fungus somewhere.

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So all you did was cover half the cutting in moist coco and peat for a few weeks? What was your success rate? I may need to dig mine up and try that! :joy:

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no peat, just coco coir. (also called coco peat since it’s a peat alternative and marketing…)

with the grapes? 100%

With figs usually around that to.

The trick is having good quality coco coir. (long fiber, keeps puffy, full of air) And getting the moisture right. (squeeze as hard as you can with 1 handful in 1 hand and a few drops should fall out. no more no less.

Once you get a “feel” for it. It’s easy. Before i got to that point, i think i killed more cuttings by overwatering or keeping them to moist (wet) than by letting them dry out.

another method that if also had success with, is just misting them with a hand sprayer. Just keeping them in a shady windowsill and lightly misting them once or twice a day.

However, since i got parafilm I’m no longer worried about the above soil part of cuttings. It does an excellent job of preventing evaporation, while letting enough oxygen through to avoid fungus/rot.

Personally, id poke holes in those bags. Or get them off and occasionally lightly spray.

Digging up/transplanting cuttings before they are well rooted is rarely a good idea.

Another thing that has helped me develop a feel, is picking up containers and feeling their weight to see if they need water or not. In the beginning i even filled them with media that was just right (just moist enough) and put the whole thing on a kitchen scale and noted down the weight.

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You have it down to a science. Maybe you are right, they have only been there for a couple days, but I wont disturb them. I have more cuttings coming, I will experiment with the coco peat box method with those.

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