Rooting figs, sprouting seeds, winter of 2019/20

It’s getting frosty here in the Northeast. Time to setup the indoor garden and fig grow room again. I like rooting figs because it’s a way of continuing to garden throughout the winter here. Has anyone else started rooting figs yet? If so, let’s see how you do it. Here’s my setup so far.

These are airlayers in tree pots. If all works out, some will have ripe fruit by next fall.


Airlayers are a great idea. Do you just strip the leaves off a branch and slip the treepot over?


I did these airlayers in random plastic containers I had, like sour cream containers and things like that. I put them in the treepots just the other weekend so the roots can have some space to grow.

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When taking cuttings for figs, I’ve always waited for them to go dormant and lose their leaves. But, I’m not sure if it is necessary. Do any of you root them with leaves on, or manually strip the leaves off before rooting?

While I will probably root a few for fun (in a coir box), I think I probably have enough figs. I’m trying to get more jujube seedlings at the moment.

The above pots have seeds from my own jujubes which I planted a bit over a week ago. I’ve got a lot more seeds to plant from the pits of the jujubes (about 40 pounds) I bought from Cliff England. I may try direct sowing some next spring.


You can root any type of cuttings, even the green ones. Yet some people find rooting green cuttings harder. I had seen no difference in success green to dormant other than dormant takes longer to root, and green roots the fastest. Yet the success of rooting green cuttings does vary based on technique, climate, soil and so on.


Green cuttings are good for direct rooting, particularly in the warmer months where you can stick it in a pot outdoors and almost forget about it (as long as it is kept reasonably moist.) I’ve also taken green cuttings and rooted them in a cup of water. I successfully did that with a VdB this summer and successfully potted it up. I have two other cuttings that are starting to show white nubs, I plan on potting them up this weekend (after the Santa Ana winds die down and temperatures return to normal.) Rooting this way can take 2-4 weeks.

I typically remove most of the leaves, keeping only one or two. I’ll also trim the remaining leaves. This will help reduce moisture loss.


My living room and kitchen this morning. Five weeks into fall rooting. My first big effort at fall rooting. Not totally sure how I’ll get them thru winter. It may take lots of greenhouse heating.

The reddish pictures are LED lights I’m testing.


Looking good, Steve. Hard to tell from the photos, but are you using any bottom heat on those cuttings?

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No bottom heat. I’m just keeping the house at 72-84F. That’s the coolest and warmest it’s been since the cuttings were set. Right now I’m not too happy with rooting success but it’s too early to tell. My usual is 50-60% good plants/cuttings set.


Nice yall!! I am no expert and have not had the best success in the past, but this new method i am trying has me excited!!
I took the green cuttings Oct 8 and so far all of them look promising as of oct 30!!
This pic was 2 days ago.
Bottom heat at 72F to 79F or so for (12hrs) then rotate the other tray to the heat so the other 12 hrs the 1st tray will fall to low 60sF, regulating the moisture by opening/cracking the lid partways to allow drying and venting part time otherwise they would be way too wet, coconut coir and rooting hormone… RdB.


Best of luck! Another thing to try with green cuttings is to just stick them in a glass of water. Some people add cinnamon to reduce mold growth.


Good thinking I may try that on some too! I did that with some very small flying dragon orange cuttings this summer in a cup with a inch of water in the bottom with rooting hormone and they grew big roots in a month and i potted them up!

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It is a pretty easy way to root green cuttings. To avoid issues aclimatizing water roots to a solid medium, I take the cutting out of the water once they start developing root stubs (not just bumps.)

A few things which may improve your results:
1.) Add parafilm to the cutting. I put parafilm on the top part of the cutting (everywhere that I’m not trying to get roots). It will help the top part of the cutting keep it’s moisture once you have it potted up.

2.) I keep the container closed and haven’t noticed too much moisture. But, you do need the coir to not be soggy when you start for that to work. If you didn’t want to keep rotating them, you could probably turn them 90 degrees and fit both containers on the heater, with the root-area oriented over the heat source.

3.) I’m not sure if it is critical, but I lightly scraped a couple small strips on the bark before I dipped it in rooting hormone.

4.) Less light would be good, as I don’t think you want to generate leaves yet. Once I see roots, I transplant to a pot, where I have it get more light. But until there are roots, I try to keep the top in a relatively dark area. Note how little top-growth the cuttings have in the below pic, even though they now have some roots.

Here are 3 cuttings (2 Bryant Park and 1 Fico Bianco) I took from potted figs on 11/4. All 3 rooted after 24 days at 78-80 degrees. I’ve now moved all 3 to pots in the same room (78-80F). The BP have been very tasty and the FB are impressive sized and pretty good. So I’d like to be able to plant one of each in ground. But, I’d prefer to have a backup before doing something like that, hence the rootings. The problem is that the potted figs haven’t been all that vigorous, so I wasn’t able to take more than these 3 cuttings off the 2 plants.

In the month since the last picture of the jujube seedlings, the pots have now multiplied in the window, with most having a tiny jujube.

Here’s a closeup of one which was planted on 10/15 from my fruit (round pot), with the other two (square pots) from fruit sent from England’s Orchard and planted on 11/6.


Paul, thanks

Will you just keep those jujube seedlings growing through the winter and straight thought until next fall, or will you try to force a bit of dormancy before spring?

Definitely straight through. I bet if I tried to force dormancy in the next few months it would kill them. Besides, it is a good winter project. I’m thinking about setting up a grow box (aluminum foil on the sides and a grow light in the top for them.

I’ve tried growing jujube seedlings several times before and a number are still alive, but none have grown much. I have some which are 2+ years old and only about 2’ tall.

A few weeks ago, I also planted some jujube seeds (both in the shell and extracted) in a raised bed garden area. We’ll see how many of them come up next spring.

On the figs, I think I’ve got plenty of fig plants. But, I feel like I’ve been getting more and more success in rooting them, so I took some more cuttings today to root. I made sure to get some RDB, as they seem to be a very early ripener.

Of course, when I went to take the RDB cuttings today, I noticed that one shoot was horizontal in the mulch for stretch near the base. So I brushed the wood-chips off and was able to get 2 rooted cuttings (one with a lot of roots and another with a few) out of it. But, that almost feels like cheating :slight_smile: So, I still put some of the RDB cuttings into the coir box and will compare how well they do, vs the accidentally air-layered ones.


Here’s what I’m working on so far this fall. I have some Chicago Hardy cuttings courtesy @mamuang. Just started them on Wednesday using the fig pop method. They’ll come with me to the office on Monday where it’s a steady 72°F. Also, a tray in the fridge full of stratifying seeds, including pawpaws and persimmons courtesy of @hillbillyhort, plus NJ tea, flowering dogwood, spicebush, jack-in-the-pulpit, Badgersett lineage hybrid hazels from a friend, and giant solomon’s seal.


Here are my figs in their new home, at least until they start to sprout. My understanding is that they don’t need light at this stage, but is this taking it a little too far?

I’ve got a weekly reminder to check on them so I won’t forget about them.

What temperature was it when you did the flying dragon?