The Complete Guide to Planting Fig Cuttings Directly in the Ground

Planting fig cuttings directly in the ground can be a great way to propagate new fig trees without going through the process of rooting them in containers first. With some simple preparation and care, fig cuttings can take root right in the garden bed and grow into productive trees. In this complete guide, we’ll walk through the entire process of planting fig cuttings in the ground, from choosing the right cuttings to caring for them as they establish.

Choosing Fig Cuttings for Direct Planting

The first step is selecting appropriate fig cuttings to plant Here are some tips

  • Take cuttings from healthy established fig trees that are 1-3 feet long. Selecting longer cuttings gives you more options for burying a significant portion of the stem underground while leaving some nodes above the soil line.

  • Use sharp, clean pruning shears to cut the fig shoots. Make a clean cut to avoid crushing or tearing the stem.

  • Look for shoots that are pencil-thick – around 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter. Pencil-sized cuttings have the best chance of rooting. Avoid very thin or thick shoots.

  • Pick straight cuttings without kinks or odd shapes for ease of planting

  • Take cuttings in late winter or early spring when the tree is still dormant.

Preparing Fig Cuttings for Direct Planting

Once you’ve gathered your fig cuttings, you’ll need to prepare them before sticking them directly into the garden. Here’s how:

  • Trim the tip and base. Using sharp pruners, snip off any leaves and trim the bottom and top of the cutting into clean, flat ends. This prevents disease and helps the cutting absorb water.

  • Score the base. Use a sharp knife to make several shallow, vertical slices near the bottom of the stem. Scoring allows the cutting to absorb moisture and nutrients better to stimulate root growth.

  • Apply rooting hormone. Dip the base of the cutting in rooting hormone powder or gel. Rooting hormone contains hormones that encourage root formation.

  • Keep cuttings cool and moist. Until you’re ready to stick them in the ground, wrap cuttings in a damp paper towel and refrigerate in a plastic bag.

Choosing a Planting Location

When selecting where to plant your fig cuttings, consider these factors:

  • Sunlight: Choose a spot that gets full sun – at least 6-8 hours per day. Figs need lots of sunlight.

  • Soil: Well-draining soil is ideal. Figs tolerate different soils but prefer loamy soil rich in organic matter. Avoid heavy clay or soggy sites.

  • Drainage: Ensure the site doesn’t collect standing water after rains. Good drainage is key.

  • Shelter: Some protection from strong winds helps prevent drying out. But avoid heavily shaded areas.

  • Spacing: Leave 5-10 feet between cuttings if planting several. Mature fig trees can reach up to 15-30 feet wide.

  • Previous crops: Avoid following other fruits like berries in the same spot to prevent disease carryover.

Planting Fig Cuttings in the Ground

Once you’ve prepped your cuttings and chosen a spot, it’s time to plant. Follow these instructions:

  • Dig holes. Use a trowel or shovel to dig holes 12-18 inches deep and about 6 inches wide. Dig one for each cutting you want to plant.

  • Add compost. Mix some compost or well-rotted manure into the soil dug from each hole. This gives the new roots extra nutrients.

  • Plant the cuttings. Place each cutting in a hole. The base should be buried about 6-8 inches deep, with a few nodes sticking out above the soil line. Add more enriched soil around the cutting. Tamp down gently but firmly.

  • Water well. Thoroughly soak the soil after planting to remove any air pockets. Proper watering is crucial right after planting.

  • Consider staking. Staking the cuttings can help stabilize them while the roots establish. Use bamboo stakes and soft plant ties.

  • Mulch. Spread 2-3 inches of organic mulch like wood chips or straw around each cutting. Mulch conserves moisture and keeps roots cool.

Caring for Fig Cuttings After Planting

With the cuttings planted, your work isn’t done. You’ll need to care for them properly as the roots form and develop over the first year. Here are some tips:

  • Water 1-2 times per week. Fig cuttings need regular deep watering the first year. Always check soil moisture before watering – don’t water if soil is still damp.

  • Fertilize monthly. Using a balanced organic fertilizer, feed cuttings monthly through the first growing season. This nourishes the developing roots and canopy.

  • Protect from frost. If frost threatens, wrap or cover cuttings to avoid cold damage. Young fig plants are tender.

  • Weed and mulch. Keep nearby weeds pulled and maintain a 2-3 inch mulch layer. Weeds compete for water and nutrients.

  • Prune lightly. In early spring, prune back the tips of each cutting by about one third to shape the plant. This encourages branching and growth.

  • Be patient. It may take several months for cuttings to fully root and become established. Avoid tugging or disturbing them unnecessarily.

Troubleshooting Problems with Fig Cuttings

Despite your best efforts, sometimes direct-planted fig cuttings fail to thrive. Here are some potential issues and how to address them:

  • Not rooting: Cuttings that don’t root likely stayed too dry. Ensure regular deep watering and use rooting hormone next time.

  • Leaf drop: If the cutting drops many leaves, it’s not getting enough water. Check soil moisture and water more consistently.

  • Dieback: If you see the tips dying back, the plant may be getting too much or too little water. Improve drainage or water more.

  • Insects: Aphids, mites, and other bugs can attack tender new growth. Use insecticidal soap sprays to control.

  • Disease: Prevent fungus issues by pruning for airflow, watering at soil level, and using clean tools.

Long-Term Care of Direct-Planted Fig Trees

Once established after one to two years, fig trees grown from cuttings need minimal care:

  • Water deeply once a week during dry periods. Figs have deep root systems.

  • Fertilize in spring and summer with organic fertilizer or compost.

  • Prune annually in winter to shape and improve fruiting.

  • Protect from hard freezes and cold winds.

  • Harvest ripe figs when they drop or split open – typically starting in year 2-3.

  • Prune out dead or diseased branches promptly.

  • Propagate even more figs by taking cuttings from now-mature branches!

The Reward of Growing Fig Trees from Cuttings

With some simple preparation and consistent aftercare, it is possible to grow fig trees directly from cuttings stuck in the garden bed. In just a few seasons, you can have fruiting fig trees that will reward you with plump, tasty, homegrown figs. And you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you grew these no-fuss fruit trees from cuttings.

Rooting Fig Cuttings

  • Get the cuttings ready. To keep the moisture in, cover the top of the cutting with parafilm. This is especially important in hot and dry places. Score the bark and expose the cambium at certain points along the cutting to help it grow roots even more.
  • Plant the cuttings. For best results, plant the cuttings horizontally in a trench. This will give the roots more places to grow. Make a hole in the ground and put the cutting inside it. Lightly cover it with soil. The buds will emerge through the soil without any issues. To keep track of the variety, mark the cutting with an aluminum tag, vinyl blinds, or any other suitable marker.
  • Keep an eye on the cuttings as they grow roots in the ground and make changes to the environment as needed. You should see new growth coming from the cuttings in a few weeks. This usually means that root growth has followed.
  • To improve your chances of success, you might want to cover the fig cuttings with shade cloth to make the weather better. Once they’re rooted, you can take them off.

The Fig Pop Method

  • We’ll start by getting the cuttings ready the same way we would for the two-parent method. Stretch and wrap parafilm around any parts of the cutting that are above the soil line to protect them. This helps retain moisture and protect the cutting. By scoring the bottom of the cutting, you can see the cambium and hardwood, which helps calluses form and roots grow. You can use a rooting hormone like Clonex if you want to speed up the process even more.
  • The next step is to plant the cutting in a one-gallon treepot. A four-inch by nine-inch pot works best, but a more common 6-7-inch pot will also work. Put the information about the cuttings on a vinyl blind tag and put it in the pot.
  • Then, put the pot inside a produce bag. This helps keep the soil at the right level of moisture, just like the Fig Pop method would. Place a rubber band around the bag to keep it in place. Make sure the top of the cutting has a tight seal and that one or two nodes are above the bag.

Propagate Fig Trees from Cuttings


Can I put a fig cutting in the ground?

If taking cuttings or rooting in water, it is important to take cuttings in the dormant season. It’s best to do ground layering and air layering in warmer temperatures to allow for root growth, during spring or summer. Planting the newly propagated fig into the ground is best done in early spring.

How do you direct plant fig cuttings?

The soil should be damp but not overly wet. Plant the cutting: Insert the cutting into the soil, making sure that at least one node is below the soil level. Avoid planting the cutting too deep into the pot, as the bottom portion of the pot can become too wet and cause the cutting to rot.

How deep to bury fig cuttings?

Ground layering is a way of rooting figs by burying a portion of low growing branch with 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm.) of the tip showing above ground and allowing the buried portion to root before severing it from the parent tree.

Should I plant my fig tree in the ground?

Figs like a warm and sunny location. Find such a location in your garden and your fig tree will successfully grow and fruit for years to come. Step 4: Dig a hole – Make sure the hole is deep enough. I usually dig a hole that is as twice as deep as a plant container.

Can you plant fig cuttings directly in soil?

You can plant fig cuttings directly in soil – potting mix or a peat heavy mix. Before planting them directly in the ground, though, check your climate and weather to ensure you don’t accidentally kill the cuttings. Figs are not generally cold hardy above zone 7.

How to plant a fig tree?

The first step is to choose a healthy, mature fig tree. The cutting should be about 6 inches long and have at least 3 leaves. Make the cut just below a node, which is the point where a leaf meets the stem. Once you have your cutting, you need to prepare it for planting. First, remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting.

How do you cut a fig tree?

Prepare the Cuttings: Select healthy fig cuttings with a thickness of about finger-sized. You don’t need to have multiple nodes on the cutting, as these cuttings are being rooted horizontally. You can cut the fig cutting in half, ensuring that it is short enough to fit inside the container.

Can fig trees be propagated?

Taking cuttings from a fig tree is the first step when trying to propagate a new tree. The best time to take fig cuttings is in winter or when your tree is dormant. This allows you to take hardwood cuttings, which are more likely to root successfully and don’t require a misting setup like softwood cuttings would.

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