Figs can be propagated successfully using several methods, including cuttings and air layering. Here’s a guide on how to propagate figs using traditional techniques:

Materials Needed:

  • Healthy fig tree (parent plant)
  • Sharp pruning shears or knife
  • Rooting hormone (optional)
  • Potting mix
  • Pots or containers
  • Plastic wrap or bag (for air layering)

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Choosing the Method:
    • Cuttings: Select healthy, semi-hardwood cuttings from the current season’s growth, typically in late spring or early summer.
    • Air Layering: Choose a healthy, mature branch of the fig tree in spring or early summer.
  2. Preparing Cuttings:
    • For cuttings, take 6-8 inch sections of healthy stems, making a clean cut just below a leaf node. Remove any leaves from the lower half of the cutting.
  3. Rooting Hormone (Optional):
    • Dip the cut end of the cutting in rooting hormone powder to promote root growth, tapping off any excess.
  4. Planting Cuttings:
    • Insert the cuttings into pots filled with moistened potting mix, burying at least half of the cutting. Firm the soil around the cutting to ensure good contact.
  5. Caring for Cuttings:
    • Place the pots in a warm, bright location with indirect sunlight. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
  6. Air Layering:
    • Make a shallow, horizontal cut around a healthy branch of the fig tree, about 12-18 inches from the tip. Remove a 1-inch wide ring of bark.
  7. Encouraging Root Growth:
    • Apply rooting hormone to the exposed area and wrap it with moist sphagnum moss. Cover the moss with plastic wrap or a plastic bag to retain moisture.
  8. Monitoring and Transplanting:
    • Check for root development after several weeks (6-8 weeks for cuttings, longer for air layering). Once roots are established, transplant the new fig plants into larger containers or garden beds.
  9. Establishing New Plants:
    • Gradually acclimate the new fig plants to outdoor conditions if they were started indoors. Plant them in well-draining soil in a sunny location.
  10. Watering and Maintenance:
    • Water newly planted figs regularly, especially during dry periods, to encourage establishment. Prune as needed to shape the plant and promote growth.

Tips for Success:

  • Timing: Propagate figs during the growing season for best results.
  • Environment: Provide warmth and humidity for cuttings and air layering to encourage root growth.
  • Patience: Figs may take some time to establish and produce fruit, but they are generally low-maintenance once established.

Why This Method Works:

By following these steps, you can successfully propagate figs and expand your fig tree collection. While using purple onions is not a viable method, traditional propagation techniques like cuttings and air layering are reliable ways to propagate figs and ensure healthy new plants for your garden.

Enjoy the process of propagating figs and the satisfaction of growing your own delicious figs at home!