How To Plant Fig Tree From Cutting [ Full Guide ]

Fig trees are not only known for their delicious fruits but also for their aesthetic appeal in a garden or landscape. Propagating fig trees from cuttings is a cost-effective and rewarding way to expand your fig tree collection or share the joy of growing fig trees with others. By following the right steps and paying attention to crucial details, you can successfully plant a fig tree from a cutting and watch it flourish into a mature, fruit-bearing tree. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process, from choosing the right cutting to prepping the planting site and nurturing your fledgling fig tree until it matures.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Fig Tree From Cutting

Planting a fig tree from a cutting involves choosing a healthy cutting from a mature, healthy fig tree, preparing the cutting for planting, selecting a suitable planting location, prepping the planting site, and providing proper care to ensure the cutting establishes and thrives.

Choosing The Right Cutting

When selecting a cutting from a fig tree for propagation, it is crucial to choose a healthy and vigorous plant. Follow these steps to select the right cutting:

  1. Choose a Suitable Parent Tree: Look for a mature, healthy fig tree with desirable characteristics such as good fruit production, disease resistance, and overall vigor. This tree will serve as the source of your cutting.

  2. Select the Right Season: The best time to take cuttings from a fig tree is during its dormant period, typically in late winter or early spring. During this time, the tree is not actively growing, making it an ideal period for propagating cuttings.

  3. Pick the Right Branch: Identify a sturdy, healthy branch from the parent tree. The ideal cutting is around 8-10 inches long and about the thickness of a pencil. Choose a branch that is free from disease, damage, or signs of stress.

  4. Take the Cutting: Using a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears, make a diagonal cut just below a node (where a leaf or bud emerges) on the selected branch. The cutting should include at least three nodes, which will be the potential sites for root development.

  5. Trim the Leaves: Trim the leaves on the lower two-thirds of the cutting to reduce moisture loss and encourage root growth.

By following these steps, you can ensure that you have selected a healthy and viable cutting for propagation.

Preparing The Cutting For Planting

Once you have selected a suitable cutting from a healthy parent fig tree, it is crucial to prepare the cutting for planting to increase its chances of successful root development. Follow these steps to prepare the cutting:

  1. Apply Rooting Hormone: To promote the formation of roots, dip the cut end of the fig tree cutting in a powdered rooting hormone. This hormone contains auxins, which stimulate root development and increase the cutting’s ability to establish itself.

  2. Planting Medium: Choose a well-draining planting medium such as a mixture of perlite and peat moss or a commercial seed starting mix. Fill a small pot with the planting medium, ensuring it is moist but not waterlogged.

  3. Plant the Cutting: Create a planting hole in the moist planting medium using a pencil or a dibber. Gently insert the lower end of the cutting into the hole, ensuring at least two nodes are buried beneath the surface. Firm the soil around the cutting to provide stability.

  4. Provide Humidity: For optimal root development, create a humid environment around the cutting. Cover the potted cutting with a clear plastic bag or place it in a small greenhouse to maintain high humidity levels. This helps prevent excessive moisture loss from the cutting while it establishes roots.

  5. Place in Indirect Light: Locate the potted cutting in a warm, bright location with indirect sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can cause the cutting to dry out or overheat.

By following these steps, you can effectively prepare the fig tree cutting for planting and create optimal conditions for root development.

Selecting The Planting Location

Choosing the right planting location is crucial for the future growth and development of your fig tree. Consider the following factors when selecting a planting location:

  1. Sunlight: Fig trees thrive in full sunlight, so choose a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Adequate sunlight promotes healthy growth and fruit production.

  2. Soil Drainage: Select a planting location with well-draining soil to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. Fig trees prefer soil that is moderately rich and well-draining, such as loamy or sandy soil.

  3. Climate: Consider the climate in your region. Fig trees are hardy in USDA zones 8-11, but certain varieties can tolerate colder temperatures with proper protection. Choose a location where the climate is suitable for fig tree cultivation.

  4. Spacing: Ensure that the chosen location provides ample space for the fig tree to grow and spread its canopy. Avoid planting near structures or other trees that may obstruct the fig tree’s growth.

By considering these factors, you can select an ideal planting location that provides the necessary conditions for your fig tree to thrive.

Prepping The Planting Site

Once you have chosen an appropriate planting location for your fig tree, it is essential to properly prepare the planting site to ensure the tree’s successful establishment and long-term growth. Follow these steps to prep the planting site:

  1. Soil Preparation: If the soil in the chosen location is compacted or lacks adequate nutrients, consider amending it with organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. This improves soil structure, fertility, and drainage.

  2. Digging the Planting Hole: Dig a planting hole that is approximately twice the width of the root ball or container and of equal depth. This provides ample space for the fig tree’s roots to spread and establish.

  3. Planting the Fig Tree: Carefully remove the fig tree cutting from its pot, taking care not to disturb the developing roots. Place the cutting in the center of the planting hole and backfill with the excavated soil, gently firming it around the base of the cutting.

  4. Watering: After planting, thoroughly water the fig tree to settle the soil and ensure adequate moisture for the developing roots. Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation to provide deep, consistent watering.

  5. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch such as wood chips or straw around the base of the fig tree. Mulch helps retain soil moisture, suppresses weed growth, and regulates soil temperature.

  6. Staking (if necessary): If the cutting is tall or the planting site is exposed to strong winds, consider staking the tree to provide support and prevent it from toppling over. Use soft ties to secure the tree to the stake, allowing for some movement.

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By following these steps, you can effectively prep the planting site and provide the optimal conditions for your newly planted fig tree to thrive.

Propagating a fig tree from a cutting can be a fulfilling and budget-friendly way to expand your fig tree collection or share the joys of fig tree cultivation with others. By carefully selecting a healthy cutting, preparing it for planting, choosing a suitable planting location, prepping the planting site, and providing proper care, you can ensure the successful establishment and growth of your fig tree. With patience and attention to detail, you can look forward to watching your fig tree mature into a beautiful and fruit-bearing addition to your garden or landscape.

Planting The Cutting In The Ground

Fig trees are popular fruit-bearing trees known for their sweet and succulent fruit. While you can purchase a ready-to-plant fig tree from a nursery, you can also propagate your own fig tree by taking a cutting from an existing tree. Propagating a fig tree from a cutting is an affordable and rewarding way to grow your own fig tree.

Step 1: Choose The Right Season

The best time to take a cutting from a fig tree is during the dormant season, which is usually in late winter or early spring. This allows the cutting to establish roots before the growing season begins. Look for a healthy branch that is approximately 8-12 inches in length, and make sure it has several nodes or bud locations on it.

Step 2: Prepare The Cutting

With a sharp and clean pruning shear, cut the branch at a slight angle just below a node. Remove any leaves on the bottom half of the cutting to prevent excessive water loss. To improve rooting success, you can dip the bottom end of the cutting in rooting hormone powder, which stimulates root growth.

Step 3: Prepare The Planting Site

Choose a sunny location in your garden with well-draining soil. Prepare the soil by loosening it with a garden fork or tiller. Mix in some compost or well-rotted manure to improve the soil’s fertility and drainage. It is important to ensure that the planting spot has enough space for the growing fig tree.

Step 4: Plant The Cutting

Dig a hole in the prepared soil that is deep enough to accommodate the cutting, leaving at least two nodes above the soil line. Place the cutting in the hole and gently backfill the soil around it, firming it gently to eliminate air pockets. Water the cutting thoroughly to settle the soil and provide initial moisture.

Watering And Fertilizing

Step 5: Watering

Proper watering is crucial for the successful establishment of the cutting. During the first few weeks after planting, water the cutting deeply and consistently to ensure that the soil remains evenly moist. As the cutting develops roots and begins to grow, you can gradually reduce the frequency of watering.

Step 6: Fertilizing

Figs are relatively low-maintenance trees when it comes to fertilization. Start by applying a balanced slow-release fertilizer or compost around the base of the tree in early spring. This will provide a steady supply of nutrients throughout the growing season. Avoid over-fertilizing, as excessive nitrogen can result in lush foliage but minimal fruit production.

Mulching For Optimal Growth

Step 7: Apply Mulch

Mulching around the base of the fig tree is highly beneficial. Apply a 3-4 inch layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or straw, to the soil surface. Mulch helps retain moisture, suppresses weed growth, and regulates soil temperature. Be sure to leave a small gap around the trunk to prevent bark decay and discourage rodents.

Step 8: Refresh The Mulch

As the mulch decomposes over time, it is essential to replenish it annually. Remove any existing mulch that has decomposed and add a fresh layer to maintain its effectiveness. This will ensure that the fig tree continues to receive the necessary benefits from the mulch.

Protecting The Cutting From Pests And Disease

Step 9: Prevent Pest Infestation

Keeping pests at bay is essential for the health of your fig tree. Regularly inspect the tree for common pests like aphids, scale insects, and mites. These can be manually removed or controlled with an organic insecticidal soap. Applying sticky traps around the tree can also help catch flying pests, such as fruit flies.

Step 10: Disease Prevention

Fig trees can be susceptible to certain diseases, such as leaf spot and fig rust. To minimize the risk of disease, ensure good air circulation around the tree by pruning any overcrowded branches. Avoid watering late in the day to prevent prolonged leaf wetness. If necessary, you can use a copper-based fungicide according to the manufacturer’s instructions to control fungal diseases.

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Caring For The Fig Tree As It Grows

Step 11: Pruning

Pruning is necessary to maintain the shape, size, and overall health of your fig tree. Prune the tree during the dormant season, removing any dead, damaged, or crossing branches. Thin out the canopy to improve air circulation and light penetration, which helps reduce the risk of disease.

Step 12: Harvesting The Fruit

Depending on the variety, fig fruits typically ripen from late summer to early fall. Harvest the figs when they are fully ripe but still firm. Gently twist the fruit from the branch, avoiding excessive squeezing. Figs do not ripen well off the tree, so it is best to consume them as soon as possible after harvest.

Step 13: Winter Protection

In regions with cold winters, fig trees may require additional protection to survive. Before the first frost, wrap the tree with burlap or frost cloth to insulate it from extreme temperatures. Mulch heavily around the base of the tree to protect the roots. Remove the winter protection in early spring when the risk of frost has passed.

Planting a fig tree from a cutting is a rewarding and cost-effective way to cultivate your own fig tree. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully propagate a fig tree and enjoy its delicious fruits. Remember to choose the right season for taking the cutting, prepare the planting site adequately, and provide proper care and maintenance as the tree grows. With patience and proper care, your new fig tree will thrive and provide you with bountiful harvests for years to come.

Pruning For Shape And Health

Fig trees are not only beautiful and decorative, but they also produce delicious fruits that can be enjoyed fresh or dried. If you have a fig tree that you love and want to multiply, you can start new plants from cuttings. Planting a fig tree from a cutting is a cost-effective and straightforward way to propagate the tree.

Before you start the process of propagating your fig tree from a cutting, it is essential to prune it correctly. Pruning helps maintain the shape of the tree and ensures its overall health. Follow these steps to prune your fig tree:

  1. Choose the right time: The best time to prune a fig tree is during its dormant season, which is usually in late winter or early spring before the tree starts producing new growth.

  2. Sanitize your tools: Before you begin pruning, make sure to sanitize your pruning tools to prevent the spread of diseases. Dip your tools in a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water, or you can use rubbing alcohol.

  3. Remove dead or damaged branches: Begin by identifying and removing any dead or damaged branches. Use clean, sharp pruning shears to make clean cuts just outside the branch collar. This will help the tree heal properly.

  4. Thin out overcrowded branches: Look for branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other. These branches can cause wounds and prevent proper air circulation. Remove the weaker branch if necessary.

  5. Shape the tree: Once you have dealt with any dead, damaged, or overcrowded branches, you can begin shaping the tree. Start by removing any vertical shoots that grow straight up from the branches. These shoots can prevent the tree from spreading out horizontally.

  6. Prune for height and size: If you want to maintain a specific height or size for your fig tree, you can prune it accordingly. For example, if you want to keep the tree at a manageable height, you can trim the top branches. However, be cautious not to remove too much, as it can affect fruit production.

  7. Clean up: After you finish pruning, make sure to clean up the area around the tree. Collect and dispose of any pruned branches and leaves properly, as they can harbor pests and diseases.

Harvesting Figs From The Tree

Once your fig tree has matured and started to produce fruits, it is essential to harvest them properly to ensure the best flavor and texture. Here are some tips for harvesting figs from the tree:

  1. Observe the color and size: Figs are ready to harvest when they have reached their mature size and have a deep color. Depending on the variety, this color is usually a rich green, brown, or purple. They should also feel soft to the touch.

  2. Use a twist-and-snap technique: To harvest the figs, twist the fruit gently and give it a slight upward motion. This technique will help detach the fig from the tree without damaging it. If it doesn’t come off easily, it may not be fully ripe yet.

  3. Avoid bruising: When handling figs, be gentle to avoid bruising or damaging the fruit. Place them carefully in a container or basket to minimize any potential impact.

  4. Refrigerate if not consumed immediately: If you don’t plan to eat the figs right away, store them in a cool place or refrigerate them. Figs can be stored for a few days, but for the best taste and texture, it is ideal to consume them as soon as possible after harvesting.

  5. Be mindful of fruit flies: Figs are attractive to fruit flies, so it is important to check the fruits regularly for signs of infestation. If you notice any affected figs, remove them immediately to prevent further spread.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

While growing a fig tree from a cutting is relatively simple, there may be some common problems that you encounter along the way. Here are a few troubleshooting tips to help you successfully propagate your fig tree:

  1. Failure of cuttings to root: If your cuttings fail to root, it could be because they were not taken at the right time or from healthy branches. Make sure to take cuttings from mature branches during the dormant season. It is also important to choose robust and disease-free branches for propagation.

  2. Root rot: Root rot can occur if the soil is consistently wet or poorly drained. To prevent root rot, make sure to plant your fig tree in well-draining soil and avoid overwatering. If root rot already occurs, you may have to remove the affected plants and replant in fresh soil.

  3. Pest infestation: Fig trees can be susceptible to various pests, including aphids, scale insects, and fig beetles. Regularly inspect your tree for any signs of pests, such as sticky residue, distorted leaves, or sudden decline in plant health. If you notice any infestation, treat it with appropriate insecticides or consult a local gardening expert for advice.

  4. Fig splitting: Fig splitting can happen due to irregular watering or sudden fluctuations in temperature. To prevent fig splitting, ensure that your tree receives consistent and adequate moisture. Mulching around the base of the tree can also help retain soil moisture.

  5. Lack of fruit production: If your fig tree is not producing fruits, it may be due to several factors. Firstly, ensure that your tree is receiving sufficient sunlight. Fig trees thrive in full sun exposure. Secondly, check the pollination process. If you have only one fig tree, it may require another nearby fig tree for proper pollination. Lastly, overfertilization can also hinder fruit production. Use fertilizers sparingly and follow the recommended dosage.

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Propagating From The Established Fig Tree

If you already have an established fig tree that you want to propagate from, you have a few options available. Here are two common methods of propagating fig trees from an established tree:

  1. Air Layering: Air layering is a propagation technique where a branch of the existing tree is encouraged to grow roots while still attached to the main tree. To air layer a fig tree, follow these steps:

    • Choose a healthy branch that is around pencil thickness and make a small upward cut about halfway through the branch.
    • Dust the cut with rooting hormone powder, which will stimulate root growth.
    • Wrap the cut area with moist sphagnum moss, then wrap it tightly with plastic wrap to retain moisture.
    • After a few months, roots will start to form. Once the roots are well-developed, cut the branch below the roots, plant it in a pot with well-draining soil, and care for it as you would with any other cutting.
  2. Hardwood Cuttings: Hardwood cuttings are taken in late winter when the tree is dormant. This method is suitable for propagating fig trees that are more than a year old. Here’s how to propagate fig trees using hardwood cuttings:

    • Take 8- to 10-inch long cuttings from the desired branches. Make sure the cuttings have at least three sets of nodes.
    • Strip off the leaves and any small side shoots from the bottom half of the cutting.
    • Dip the base of the cutting in rooting hormone powder to stimulate root growth.
    • Insert the cuttings vertically, with the cut end down, into a container filled with a well-draining rooting medium such as vermiculite or sand.
    • Place the container in a warm and brightly lit location, but away from direct sunlight.
    • Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
    • After a few weeks to a few months, the cuttings will develop roots. Once the roots are well-established, transplant the cuttings into individual pots or directly into the ground.


Planting a fig tree from a cutting is an excellent way to expand your fig tree collection or share the joy of growing figs with others. By following the steps outlined in this article, including pruning for shape and health, harvesting figs properly, troubleshooting common problems, and propagating from an established fig tree, you can successfully propagate your own fig trees. Remember to be patient and provide the necessary care and attention to your new fig tree cuttings, and you will soon be rewarded with beautiful, thriving trees that produce delicious figs.


What Materials Do I Need To Plant A Fig Tree From Cutting?

You will need a sharp knife, rooting hormone, a pot with good drainage, potting soil, and a cutting from a healthy fig tree.

When Is The Best Time To Take A Cutting From A Fig Tree?

The best time to take a cutting is in late winter or early spring, when the tree is dormant and not actively growing.

How Do I Prepare The Cutting For Planting?

Cut a healthy branch from the fig tree, about 6 inches long. Remove the bottom leaves and make a clean cut below a node. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone to encourage root growth.

How Do I Plant The Cutting?

Fill a pot with well-draining potting soil and make a small hole in the center. Insert the cutting into the hole and gently press the soil around it. Water the soil thoroughly and place the pot in a warm and sunny location.

How Long Does It Take For The Cutting To Root And Grow Into A Tree?

It can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks for the cutting to root and start growing leaves. However, it may take several months for the cutting to grow into a mature tree. Be patient and continue to care for the cutting until it successfully establishes itself.