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Growing Fig Tree Cuttings: The Ultimate Guide to Propagating From Cuttings

Seeds and saplings are the most common, but not the only, sources for planting and propagating trees. What if you tried planting a tree’s cuttings by simply removing them from the tree itself?

By propagating fig trees via their cuttings, you won’t have to spend money on seeds or saplings to plant them. In fact, this method is a faster way to produce more trees since the cuttings root easily.

Let us guide you on growing fig tree cuttings so you can multiply your fig trees!

Closeup of new leaf growth on a propagated fig cutting.

Preparations for Propagating Fig Trees

When to Take Off the Cuttings

The best time to take cuttings off of a fig tree depends on how it was planted. With an in-ground tree, late fall or early winter is the best time to remove cuttings. Those times are when the tree is dormant, and the wood will root more successfully in that state.

With a potted tree, take cuttings in the spring, right before the tree awakens from its dormant period. This is for when you’re immediately ready to root the cuttings since they’ll be prepared to grow upon waking up.

Best Fig Trees for Propagating

Before taking cuttings from a fig tree, learning about the ideal types you want to propagate is best. Of course, they also need to be healthy and disease-free.

A fig tree with small green fruit on it. Growing fig tree cuttings begins with taking cuttings from the right fig trees.

Take cuttings from a celeste fig tree if you want fig trees that grow fast with figs ripening early. Another type that’s worth propagating is the weeping fig tree. This tree is easy to take cuttings from, and its cuttings can grow without using a rooting hormone.

The important thing to consider when propagating fig trees is that you propagate a variety that fits your hardiness zone. Otherwise, you’ll end up with cuttings that don’t grow at all.

Tools for the Cuttings

These are the tools you’ll need to take and prepare your fig tree cuttings:

  • Pruning shears
  • Rooting hormone
  • Sealant
  • Jar of water
  • Tissue paper (or paper towel)
  • Ziploc bag
  • Mason jar

The last four tools depend on the method you choose to root your cuttings.

Taking and Preparing Cuttings from Fig Trees

First, make sure the branches you take the cuttings from are two to three years old, brown, and wooded. With pruning shears, take cuttings 8 to 12 inches long and half to ¾ of an inch thick.

Five cuttings from a fig tree.

Simply put, you want cuttings that are a little thicker than pencils. Most importantly, you need more than one cutting in case one, or a few, end up not taking root. Also, check that they have about three or more leaf nodes near the cuttings’ tops and bottoms.

After you’ve taken your desired number of cuttings, it’s time to prepare them. Cut the bottom of each one at a 45-degree angle so most of the cuttings’ interior will touch the soil. Then cut the tips so that they’re flat.

Finally, dip the bottom slant in a rooting hormone to boost its root growth. Then place a sealant on the flat tip of the cutting to prevent disease and sap loss.

A cutting cut at a slanted angle and dipped in rooting hormone powder.
Rooting powder for propagation.

Four Methods for Propagating Fig Tree Cuttings

Now that you’ve prepared your cuttings, you can root and propagate them! Here are four ways you can do this:

1. Outdoor Rooting

New leaf growth on a fig tree cutting rooting in a pot outdoors.

This method requires waiting until the last frost has passed. Once you’ve selected your fig tree cuttings and treated them, dig 6-inch-wide and -deep holes in well-draining soil. They should be in pots so you can place them under bright indirect sunlight for the first few months.

When the next dormant season arrives, transplant the cuttings outside. Apply some compost or other organic matter to the soil and measure the holes a foot apart from each other. Plant the rooted cuttings, and in a year, you should have 3-to-4-foot-tall cuttings.

2. Indoor Rooting

An indoor fig tree cutting rooting in a pot.

If spring’s arrival is uncertain, indoor rooting is your best method.

Take a 6-inch pot, line the inside with a sheet of paper, and add 2 to 3 inches of potting soil. Plant the cuttings upright and add more soil until it’s ¾ full. Then cut a 1-to-2-liter bottle at its bottom and cover the cuttings with its top to contain the humidity.

Only water the soil if it’s dry during the rooting process, especially since the cutting is potted. Keep the pot in a warm room with plenty of indirect lighting. If you see leaves growing, wait a week before you remove the bottle to ensure a strong rooting system.

Once the fig tree cuttings are rooted, you’ll need to carefully transplant them to larger pots or take them outside. Prepare the soil as you would the outdoor rooting process.

3. Paper Rooting

The paper method takes almost no time! Dampen some tissue paper or a paper towel and wrap up your cuttings. Then place them in a Ziploc bag and lay it somewhere warm, where the temperature is around 50 to 70 degrees.

Check them in about three to five weeks; by then, you should see some roots. Until then, make sure the source of paper is moist.

4. Rooting in Water

Closeup of a jar of water growing roots from a tree or shrub cutting.

Is soaking fig tree cuttings in water really enough for them to produce roots? Yes, as long as you give the cuttings enough oxygen by changing the water when needed. Besides, this method with either a Ziploc bag or a Mason jar keeps the cuttings from drying out and rotting!

With a Ziploc bag, stick a few cuttings in it and tie them together on the outside. Fill the bag with water until it covers half the cuttings, and close the bag partially to retain humidity. Position the bag so the cuttings are sitting upright, and place them under indirect sunlight.

Put the cuttings in a half-full jar of water and place them under a light 3 inches above the tips. Draw a line to indicate the water level so you can change and fill the water daily to the appropriate level. Don’t forget to rinse the cuttings!

After about three to four weeks, once you see roots, transplant them in pots or your garden outside.

Common Problems to Monitor

Six fig tree cutting rooting in plastic cups of soil.

Propagating fig trees via their cuttings may be simple, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have problems. These can result from simple mistakes or environmental situations, leading to useless cuttings.

Let’s discuss a few problems you may endure during propagation:

  1. Improper removal of cuttings: Your cuttings may not develop good roots if you remove them from wood that’s too young or old. It’s best to ask whoever owns the fig tree about its age just to be certain.
  2. Mold: Fig tree cuttings grow well in warm and humid environments, but so does mold. To prevent mold growth, clean the cuttings with 10% water-diluted bleach. If you see mold, clean them with this solution.
  3. Poor conditions: Examples of these are poor temperatures, lack of moisture, or too much sunlight. The consequences range from your cuttings rooting slowly, not at all, or becoming infested with bacteria.

Care and Maintenance for Your New Fig Trees

An outdoor pot of fig tree cuttings with new leaf growth.

Now your fig tree cuttings are rooted and ready to grow into new trees and produce sweet figs! After their roots develop and they’re outside or in large pots, continue providing care and maintenance as you propagate them.


As usual, keep the soil moist as you water around the cuttings. Your watering schedule should be every couple of weeks since overwatering will cause the cuttings to split and crack.


You don’t need to apply much fertilizer for your new fig tree cuttings. In fact, it’s best to wait four to eight weeks after planting them so you don’t burn the roots.

When fertilizing the cuttings, use organic matter, like blood meal or chicken manure, to boost the nitrogen levels.

Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) is another way to fertilize the cuttings, but mostly for treating magnesium and sulfur deficiencies.


Remove any dead and diseased wood during the cuttings’ dormant season of the first year you plant them.

As your fig trees grow, suckers may grow from the bases, and branches may grow too close to the tree crowns. You’ll need to prune for those so they won’t affect the fruit yield and contribute to fig tree diseases.

Pest and Disease Control

One way to prevent diseases affecting your fig tree cuttings is taking ones from disease-free fig trees. Some fig tree diseases like fig mosaic and fruit souring force you to pitch the trees. Fortunately, pest control is another preventative measure.

If you see pests like disease-transmitting fig mites and fig-eating June beetles, spray your tree leaves with horticultural oil. After that, water the soil to kill off the eggs and larvae.

Fungal diseases like pink blight, leaf blight, and fig rust affect the leaves or fruit. But you can treat them by spraying neem oil and pruning diseased branches and leaves. Don’t forget to clear the soil of any crop debris!

Grow, Save, and Propagate via Cuttings!

New leaf growth on a fig branch.

By propagating fig tree cuttings, you’re on the right track to having an abundance of fig trees. You’ll save money by ditching seeds and saplings and save time with how fast the cuttings root and mature.

If you propagate via fig tree cuttings, we encourage you to share your experiences in the comments section.
Visit our fig trees page to learn more about how to grow and care for these delicious fruit trees!

J. White

Friday 21st of July 2023

I am trialing 2 little 3 nodes stems that broke during transit in stratum! Hoping for success!


Sunday 14th of May 2023

Hi, I got a dog tree cutting as a lovely gift. It was propagated as you describe above with the top cut flat and sealed and three leaves coming off the sides. I have had it for about 3 years and am running into issues that it has no dominant trunk growing up, but rather lots of long gangly off shoots from the original cutting, so it’s more bush-like than tree. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


Saturday 20th of May 2023

I'd prune the side shoots (not all at once) and try to get the main stem to push a bud, then prune/train to encourage upward growth.