"UpDated" 2018-19 Figs Cuttings Rooting Propagating Experiment in Coco Coir Vs Perlite Vs Sphagnum moss Vs Pro mix HP Vs 3-1-1 Mix


I’m glad to hear that as I’m presently trying to root some pomegranate cuttings and having more luck with mulberries than with them. I’ll check out the post.


Are you rooting any pakistani Mulberry or other native american mulberries?


Unfortunately I’m not sure of the varieties; I found some mulberry bushes growing at a property on the island and took some cuttings. Fruits from last summer:

Bush now:

Other mulberry on the property:

What I find very odd is that both trees appear to be dormant right now even though it’s much warmer here than the mainland US, our nights are usually in the mid to low 60s. Good news though; I checked some cuttings I took from these bushes and they’re starting to callus, so hopefully roots soon:

Even a teeny cutting is swelling at the base:

I’m having much better success with them switching over to perlite than I did using potting mix.


This is the first year I am trying to root Pakistan Mulberry, perlite worked great for figs but do not know will work for mulberry. I will add picture tomorrow and I am rooting these in a mix of pine bark + perlite + organic potting soil. But I will try in perlite too. Thank you very much for posting your report and pictures.


I started these about 15 days ago and not sure if these have any roots.


Just a little update Naeem; the perlite appears to be working well for the mulberries. I wasn’t keeping the mix evenly moist since it’s hard to tell for me when it looks wet vs not (I just see white perlite lol) so I ended up bagging the pots. Root development two or three days ago:


BahamaDan: did you cover the pot with plastic in addition to wrapping the scions? They didn’t mold?


Do you think rooting in perlite and spagnhum moss will work with mulberries (pakistan and black beauty) and figs? Also wrapping the scions in parafilm?


update of my own, but I tried rooting some fig cuttings in Opti-sorb–do NOT recommend… it molded like crazy, I assume the processing for Optisorb didn’t use scorching heat like making perlite, or my optisorb got horribly contaminated in the garage


I love your report mine are going good too. You have very nice roots. Please keep reporting.


What people think of as “mold” is often endophytic or mycorrhizal fungi that quickly consume dead parts of cuttings when put in high humidity conditions. It is white and fuzzy (molds change color when they begin producing spores), and may sometimes “burst” through the lenticels when the cutting is too wet/not getting enough air. When I tried tissue culture with dormant fig buds they all had this beneficial/benign fungi pre sent, even after sanitation with bleach.

While there are some pathogenic molds, most I’ve seen on cuttings are harmless and growing on the surface only, feeding off of sap residue, they can simply be wiped off if they worry you.

Pathogenic microorganisms are easy to detect even though they are often invisible to the naked eye because they destroy tissue, the bark will discolor, turn slimy and slip off with hardly any pressure. Aside from systemic fungicides there is nothing to do but remove the affected part back to healthy wood because the pathogen is inside of the cutting already at that point.

The chemicals given off by fungi and bacteria attracts fungus gnats, which are also blamed for the demise of cuttings when the real issue is ignored. The larvae can damage young roots and spread pathogens, however, they are not physically equipped to feed on woody tissues until after bacteria and fungi have begun decomposing them, the larvae are feeding on the fungus, not the wood.

It is not possible to sterilize either the cuttings or the rooting media (and keep it sterile anyway) fungi and bacteria spores are literally everywhere. It is not recommended to sterilize organic mixes because that creates a “biological vacuum” which can be quickly populated by pathogens because they face no competition from beneficial or benign microorganisms.

Most often the problem is defective cuttings (freeze damage, improper storage), these may appear OK at first but deteriorate rapidly. Next most likely is too much water and not enough fresh air, a small fan for air circulation or waiting until outdoor conditions are right will solve that problem.


Rooting figs (etc.) giving you a headache? Use aspirin…
Use aspirin as a rooting hormone. I’m getting ready to try fig rooting, I thought I’d revisit the willow-water idea and I found out that the root encouraging goodies in willow-water are IBA and salicylic acid, like in rooting hormone. Salicylic acid, like in aspirin…willow was the precursor and natural source of aspirin. Can aspirin be used as a rooting hormone? Read on…


It doesn’t specifically mention figs but neither does the store-bought stuff. Rooting hormone is not universally accepted as a good tool in rooting figs but a very mild dose of the natural form of its ingredients seems like a nice compromise. I have a massive supply of willow down along the creek but aspirin-water seems like a very safe experiment, if you don’t have willow.


I do add aspirin to my christmas tree water reservoir and it seems to help there…


Hi Naeem,

You need to pinch off those fruiting vessels on your mulberry cuttings the moment you see them. Only the leaves should remain. Same for fruiting buds/vessels of all woody plants. Should a cutting only throw fruits and/or flowers, pinch them off right away and leaves will replace them given ample time.

Great job of all your work!

@BahamaDan excellent, as well.

Naeem, where are you storing the shoe boxes? In the dark or in light? I’ve used sphagnum with the shoe box in the dark and there was significant ‘mold’. I wish I had a picture now. I’d like to run it past @hoosierbanana. What I vaguely recall is spider web/cotton candy in appearance ‘something.’



I need to understand this statement. If the cuttings have bark that is slipping off (the cutting is shot at that point) is what you’re saying is unless that wood with the bark that slips right off has been treated with systemics, that the cutting should not be re-struck/re-stuck?

The way I read it is you probably meant to say only cuttings treated prior with systemic(s) should be the ones clipped back to healthy wood and a second attempt is made to root those. But the way I read it is you’re saying to “go ahead” and clip back to healthy wood… the cuttings that have the pathogen and with the damage being removed to stick them again. I am wondering if I’m seeing this correctly because it seems to me they should be discarded.

Furthermore I wonder if the pathogen will inoculate the healthy cuttings producing roots and whether this is problematic or if it is not? Should the media be dumped as well. And the boxes sterilized and fresh media introduced(?)

Sorry for any confusion I may have inserted that you need to take the time to put me back on the right path. Hopefully my questions concerning media sterilization, box/chamber sterilization, and sterilization anything else are simple replies.




I’ve never actually used systemic fungicides, just making an example of what it would take, I’ve read people have countered issues with physan though. What I read most often is people try scrubbing the “mold” off with bleach, not realizing that it is internal.

I see botrytis most often, usually from a leaf scar and radiating out in a circular pattern, and had a black hairy mold once coming from a cut end that actually freaked me out a little. Pathogens move progressively, when the cutting dies from cold damage or something else the whole thing has fungus showing at once. Usually it is bottom rot on potted cuttings that gives me the most trouble and I attribute that to overwatering/suffocating the callus and not necessarily a pathogen.

When cutting off rot there will be brown discoloration anywhere a pathogen has reached, and as long as there are no spores yet there is not much risk anything else could be contaminated. I don’t worry about dumping the callusing material and washing the tub, I reuse coir several times. It would be a good idea if they are important cuttings, I don’t just because I’ve never really seen it spread. Seems like botrytis probably gets started in storage and becomes obvious in humid conditions. The affected cuttings I’ve trimmed often don’t make it, especially if the callus at the bottom needs to be removed, or they grow weakly after rooting so now a days I just toss them rather than try and baby them. A safe way to try and save them would be direct rooting outside, bury sideways in a shallow trench with compost.

I wish I knew more about all of this stuff and was thinking about raising some of the endophytic fungus to get a better idea of what it looks like and how it behaves.


I have stored all my shoe box in dark with temperature 76F to 79F. Sphagnum moss is little tricky in order to get good results it need to be perfect moist wet. If it is little over wet it will rot cuttings.


I have not tried this on figs but used as to treat my tomato plants and works fine. I love to see your report when you use Aspirin as rooting hormone.


Thank you @hoosierbanana
Thank you, Naeem.



Here is one group of fig cuttings from a tree that made (deep purple skin) honey-type figs…very good. It grows in a ‘professional center’ (dentists offices, etc.) parking lot that is professionally landscaped. There are several unusual fruiting plants there and it appears that the landscaper picked varieties that would be hardy there. These cuttings were soaked for 2-3 days (I got busy) in willow water and stuck in a composite of soil-less, peat-based mix (w/lime, wetting agent and perlite) and a lot of additional perlite.
This photo is from day 13. Should I remove the figlets?