How To Grow A Fig Tree From A Cutting [Complete Guide]

Fig trees are a wonderful addition to any garden or landscape. Not only are they beautiful and decorative, but they also produce delicious and nutritious fruit. 

You can easily grow a fig tree from a cutting, and it’s a simple process that anyone can do. In this complete guide, we’ll take you through the steps of how to grow a fig tree from a cutting, from selecting the right branch to planting and caring for your new tree. So, roll up your sleeves, grab some gardening gloves, and let’s get started.

Benefits of growing a fig tree from a cutting

There are several benefits to growing a fig tree from a cutting:

1. Cost-effective:

Propagating a fig tree from a cutting is a more affordable option than purchasing a mature tree, which can be costly. All you need is a healthy branch from an existing fig tree, rooting hormone, and some basic gardening supplies.

2. Variety selection:

When you grow a fig tree from a cutting, you have control over the type of fruit your tree will produce. You can select a variety that is best suited to your climate and tastes.

3. Faster fruit production:

Fig trees grown from cuttings typically start producing fruit sooner than those grown from seeds. Since cuttings are clones of their parent tree, they can start producing fruit in as little as one to two years.

4. Easy process:

Growing a fig tree from a cutting is a relatively simple process that even those with limited gardening experience can do. It can be a fun and rewarding family project.

5. Stronger root system:

Propagating a fig tree from a cutting result in a tree with a stronger root system than those grown from seed. This is because cuttings are already established and have a head start on developing a strong root system.

Growing a fig tree from a cutting is a great way to enjoy the benefits of a fig tree without spending a lot of money or waiting for years for fruit production.

Choosing the Right Cutting

If you want to take a cutting from a fig tree, there are several things to keep in mind to increase your chances of success.

First, the best time to take a cutting is in late winter or early spring, just before new growth starts. This is when the tree is dormant and will experience less stress.

When selecting a branch, choose one that is at least 1/4 inch in diameter and about 6-10 inches long. It should also be healthy, with no signs of disease or pest damage. Once you have selected the branch, make a clean cut just below a node with a sharp, sterile pruning tool.

After cutting the branch, remove any leaves from the bottom half of the cutting, leaving just two or three leaves at the top. Choose a straight cutting without any bends or knots, as this will increase the chances of it rooting and growing straight.

You can take multiple cuttings from the same tree to increase your chances of success, but be sure to label each cutting with the date and variety so that you can keep track of them.

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of successfully rooting your fig tree cutting.

Preparing the Cutting

If you want to prepare a cutting from your fig tree, follow these steps:

1. Sterilize tools:

Before making any cuts, sterilize your pruning tools with rubbing alcohol or a solution of 10% bleach and 90% water. This will help prevent the spread of disease to your fig tree.

2. Cutting techniques:

Make a clean cut with a sharp pruning tool just below a node at a 45-degree angle. This will increase the surface area for rooting and allow for better water uptake. Make sure the cutting is at least 6-10 inches long.

3. Remove leaves:

Remove all the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting, leaving two or three leaves at the top. This will reduce water loss through transpiration and encourage the cutting to focus on rooting instead of supporting leaves.

4. Apply rooting hormone:

Dip the cut end of the fig tree cutting into rooting hormone powder, making sure to coat the entire cut surface. Rooting hormone helps stimulate root growth and increases the chances of successful rooting.

5. Mist the cutting:

After applying the rooting hormone, mist the cutting with water to help the powder stick to the cut end of the branch.

By following these steps, you can increase the chances of your fig tree cutting rooting successfully and growing into a healthy, productive tree.

Rooting the Cutting

To successfully root a fig tree cutting, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare potting soil: Fill a small pot with a well-draining potting mix, such as a combination of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. Make sure the soil is moist but not overly wet.
  2. Plant the cutting: Create a small hole in the soil using your finger or a pencil, and insert the cutting, ensuring that at least two nodes are buried in the soil. Gently press the soil around the cutting to hold it in place.
  3. Maintain humidity: Cover the pot with a clear plastic bag to create a mini greenhouse environment and retain humidity. Keep the pot in a warm, bright location but away from direct sunlight.
  4. Water the cutting: Water the cutting when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, but avoid over-watering as it can lead to rotting.
  5. Transplant: Once the cutting has produced new growth and roots, which usually takes several weeks to a few months, transplant it into a larger pot or in the ground.
  6. Gradual exposure: Before transplanting, slowly expose the cutting to outdoor conditions by removing the plastic bag for a few hours each day. This will help acclimate the cutting to outdoor conditions.

By following these steps, you can increase the likelihood of successfully rooting your fig tree cutting and growing a healthy, thriving tree.

Planting the Rooted Cutting

To plant a rooted fig tree cutting, you need to follow a few steps.

First, wait until it has a strong root system and several sets of leaves. Then, choose a location with well-draining soil and full sun exposure.

Dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the pot the cutting is in, and loosen the soil at the bottom.

Gently remove the cutting from its pot and place it in the hole, making sure it’s at the same depth as before. Water the tree thoroughly after planting and regularly thereafter, but don’t overwater.

Finally, apply a layer of mulch around the base of the tree to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

By following these steps, you’ll provide your fig tree with the best possible growing conditions.

Caring for Your New Fig Tree

Here are some guidelines for taking care of your new fig tree:

1. Watering:

Fig trees thrive in soil that is well-draining and consistently moist but not waterlogged. During dry spells, water the tree deeply once a week, ensuring that the soil is saturated down to the root zone.

2. Fertilizing:

Apply a balanced fertilizer like a 10-10-10 formula to your fig tree once in the spring and again in early summer. Follow the usage directions on the package.

3. Pruning:

Prune your fig tree during the winter dormancy period to eliminate any dead, damaged, or diseased wood. You can also trim back branches by one-third to promote new growth and fruit production.

4. Winter Protection:

In regions with colder climates, protect your fig tree from frost damage by wrapping it in burlap or frost cloth. For insulation, mulch heavily around the base of the tree.

5. Pests and Diseases:

Beware of common fig tree pests and diseases such as spider mites, fig rust, and bacterial canker. Treat any infestations or infections promptly with an appropriate insecticide or fungicide.

6. Harvesting:

Typically, fig trees bear fruit in the late summer or early fall. Collect the figs when they are plump and slightly tender to the touch, and savor them fresh or dried.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your fig tree thrives and produces bountiful fruit for many years to come.

Harvesting Your Fig Tree

Here are some helpful tips for successfully harvesting figs from your tree:

  1. Timing: Figs typically ripen in late summer or early fall, depending on the climate and variety. Harvest them when they are plump, slightly soft to the touch, and the skin is slightly cracked with the figs drooping slightly.
  2. Harvesting: Gently twist or pull the figs off the tree, taking care not to damage the branches or the fruit. Alternatively, use pruning shears to cut the figs from the stem, leaving a small portion of the stem attached to the fruit to extend its shelf life.
  3. Storing: Fresh figs are highly perishable and should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within a few days. Alternatively, you can dry them by cutting them in half and laying them on a baking sheet in a warm, dry place until they become leathery and slightly sticky.
  4. Pruning: After harvesting, prune your fig tree to remove any dead or diseased wood, as well as any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other. This promotes new growth and fruit production in the following season.
  5. Enjoying: Figs can be enjoyed fresh or dried and are used in sweet and savory dishes. They are popular in salads, on cheese boards, in jams and preserves, or as a topping for yogurt or oatmeal.

By following these tips, you can successfully harvest and enjoy the delicious fruit from your fig tree.


Can you start a fig tree from a cutting?

Yes, you can start a fig tree from a cutting taken from a healthy and mature fig tree. The process involves selecting the right cutting, preparing it properly, and providing optimal growing conditions to encourage rooting and growth.

Can you root fig tree cuttings in water?

While it is possible to root fig tree cuttings in water, it is not the recommended method. Fig trees prefer well-draining soil and can be sensitive to changes in water and humidity levels. Rooting fig cuttings in water can also increase the risk of rot and other problems.

Can I grow a fig tree from any cutting?

Not all cuttings will successfully root and grow into a new fig tree. It is best to use cuttings from healthy, mature fig trees that are at least 1 year old and have not yet produced fruit. Look for cuttings that are 6-8 inches long, with at least 2-3 nodes and several healthy leaves.

How long does it take for a fig cutting to root?

It can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks for a fig cutting to root and develop new growth. The process can be accelerated by using rooting hormone and providing optimal growing conditions such as warmth, humidity, and bright, indirect light.

How and when should fig cuttings be taken?

Fig cuttings should be taken in the winter when the tree is dormant and has shed its leaves. Look for healthy, mature branches that are at least 6-8 inches long and have several nodes and healthy leaves. Use sharp, clean pruning shears to make a clean cut just below a node.

How deep should I plant the rooted cutting?

When planting the rooted cutting, bury it at least 2-3 inches deep in a well-draining potting mix or soil. The planting hole should be deep enough to cover the roots and secure the cutting in place.

How often should I water my fig tree?

Fig trees prefer well-draining soil that is evenly moist but not waterlogged. Water the tree deeply once a week during dry spells, making sure to soak the soil down to the root zone. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other problems.

When should I prune my fig tree?

Prune your fig tree in the winter when it is dormant to remove any dead, damaged, or diseased wood. You can also prune back the branches by one-third to encourage new growth and fruit production. Avoid pruning during the growing season, as this can stress the tree and reduce fruit production.

What is the best soil for fig cuttings?

The best soil for fig cuttings is a well-draining potting mix or soil that is rich in organic matter. Avoid heavy clay soils that can retain too much moisture and lead to root rot. A mixture of peat moss, perlite, and sand can provide good drainage and aeration for the cuttings to root and grow.

Wrapping Up

Growing a fig tree from a cutting can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for any gardener. With the right preparation, care, and attention, your fig tree can thrive and produce delicious fruit for many years to come.

Remember to choose the right cutting, prepare it properly, and provide optimal growing conditions such as well-draining soil, full sun exposure, and regular watering and fertilizing.

With patience and perseverance, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor and savor the delicious taste of fresh figs straight from your own backyard.

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