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Destination

In the book Grow Figs Where You Think You Can't, I lay out different ways to propagate figs. I tell readers that fig cuttings root quite easily.

Here's what I say in the book:


Grow Fig Trees from Cuttings

From Dormant Plants

As I write this in winter, I have a plastic bag containing fig cuttings in my beer fridge in the basement. These are shoots that I removed in late fall, when I trimmed off a few branches from my dormant fig trees to fit them into storage. I shrouded them in damp paper towels, before placing them in the plastic bag.

From Actively Growing Plants

While some growers use dormant branches collected over the winter, others use actively growing summer wood. Most sources recommend semi-woody cuttings (meaning wood that isn’t very soft and green, but has hardened a bit), though I’ll root green ones if I’ve just snipped off a green side shoot.

Place the cuttings in bright, indirect light, in a light potting mix (I use a peat-based mix) and keep well watered. Keep in mind that you’ve just stressed the heck out of this little piece of branch by removing it from its parent plant. To help it recover, put a clear plastic bag over it, which will keep humidity levels high around the cutting and help prevent it from drying out. I root cuttings this way under lights in the house; but have also done it outside under some bushes when temperatures are warm.

Most of the cuttings I take are summer cuttings, which I trim to about 15 cm (six inches) long, then insert into a 10 cm (four inch) pot filled with a peat-based soilless potting mix. (A shorter cutting will often suffice if that’s all you have.)

It’s possible to make a cutting from both the tip and lower portion of a branch. Just make sure there are enough nodes (the places where leaves sprout from the stem, and from which new roots will arise). While you can leave a leaf on the cutting, this isn’t necessary, as leaves will regrow from a rooted cutting. If you’ve left on a leaf and it falls off, don’t worry—more will grow if the cutting roots and starts to grow.

How long this takes depends on what the conditions are. If you put your cuttings in a toasty warm spot, they’ll root more quickly, of course. When in doubt, pick up the pot and look at the holes in the bottom to see if there are any wee white root tips poking out.


“We bought this book for my father-in-law for Christmas... he loves it so much he now wants us to order a copy for his friend.”

Irene, Collingwood, Ontario


"The book is terrific! Smart, informative and funny. It attenuates my 'fig anxiety' with all your practical advice."

Sarah G. Toronto, Ontario


Click here to read a blog post about propagating figs from cuttings.