How to graft fig trees

Propagating Figs by Grafting - One Green World

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January 17, 2020 OGW Growing Guides

Figs are one of the first plants many gardeners try to clone because of their notoriously quick and easy ability to be rooted from cuttings. And what could bring a gardener or homesteader more joy than propagating plants for free from ones that they already have?

Even though rooting figs has been done for eons, not many people ever try to graft their figs, mostly because it’s not necessary to graft onto another rootstock in order to get a sturdy, vigorous, disease resistant tree. We typically try to avoid grafting if it’s not necessary as it requires extra materials, labor and can create a weak point in the tree or suckering shoots from the rootstock. But there are a few situations where we’ve found it necessary.

One example is when we have a fig tree that we’d like to graft new varieties onto in order to create a multi-graft fig tree. Especially for folks who are limited on space having a multi-graft tree can be very valuable. Everybody who’s had a mature fig tree on their property knows how many figs one tree can produce in a summer so it’s often very desirable to have many different varieties on one tree in order to spread out the harvest time and diversify the different kind of figs you’ll be able to eat!

The other reason we graft figs and the reason we’re working on it right now in the greenhouses during the dead of winter, is to increase vigor on otherwise non-vigorous varieties. Some of the world’s tastiest and rarest varieties are unfortunately some of the least vigorous. Whether this is inherent to the variety or caused by stress, fig mosaic virus or being cut on too often is up for debate, but a sure fire way we’ve found to regain or instill vigor into these precious cuttings is to graft them onto our most vigorous varieties. Desert King, Emalyn’s Purple and most wild seedling figs posses exceptional vigor, and given the abundance of Desert King fig trees in the Northwest, we typically will use them as rootstock.

Grafting figs is fairly similar to grafting any other tree, the primary difference being that you have to account for their large spongy pith and exceptionally brittle wood. Whereas with most stone fruits and pome fruits you are allowed a great degree of flexibility from the wood and their especially thick cambium layer, with figs you have to fit them together like puzzle pieces so the wood doesn’t split.

Below we have what is basically a wedge graft but the only difference with figs is that we have to cut out the area in the rootstock where we will be fitting the scion.

Here we are using a clone of a wild fig we found growing in Bisbee, Arizona as a rootstock due its exceptional vigor.

Then we cut our scion wood to match the size and angle of the cut made in the rootstock as best as possible.

Be sure to leave a fair bit of wood beneath the node to make cutting your angles and getting the correct length to your wedge as easy as possible.

Then if all our cuts went according to plan we can fit them together like puzzle pieces.

Be sure to line the cambium up as closely as you can. If the diameter of your scion and rootstock doesn’t match exactly it’s best to line one side up perfectly rather than placing the scion directly in the middle where it will have minimal contact.

Then we wrap up the entire thing, the graft union as well as the entire piece of scion wood so that it doesn’t dry out.

Buddy Tape has become our preferred grafting tape for its otherworldly elasticity!
Once the scion is all wrapped up tie a rubber band around the rootstock at the graft union to hold the rootstock in close contact with the scion wood.

And for the final step make two slight cuts on either side of the rootstock beneath the graft to relieve the excessive pressure of the fig’s sap flow. Figs push so much sap so quickly that they can actually push the graft off without it connecting if you don’t make some cuts in it to relieve that pressure.

And voila! Ideally the graft takes and you have yourself a delicious Black Ischia or Black Madeira that actually has some vigor to it!

This same technique can be used for grafting new varieties onto your already existing tree. The only difference is we typically do it around April or May here in Portland so the figs are just starting to break dormancy and all danger of frost has passed. It’s best to create your multi grafts on younger trees so that they are not competing too much for light and can establish themselves into significant fig bearing branches.

Thus far we’ve had very high take rates on greenhouse grafted as well as outdoor grafted figs. And who doesn’t love a tree with multiple varieties grafted onto it!? It really gets the neighborhood kids into horticulture. Or so we hope.

Below is a video of the entire process described above if seeing it live is more helpful for you.


How to Propagate Fig Trees in Water (Easy Tips) – Bountiful Gardener

Figs are a staple in many gardens and for good reason. They can thrive in a variety of growing conditions, and they’re more forgiving than other fruit trees. If you have a fig tree you want to propagate, whether it’s to expand your garden, share with others, or just to use those branches after winter pruning, it’s easy to do via cuttings.

Many vegetables and herbs can be propagated by cuttings in water, including vegetables like tomatoes and peppers, and herbs like mint and thyme. Many trees can also be propagated with cuttings, and fig trees are among the easiest to root in water.

Below are tips on how to go about propagating fig trees, whether they are ornamental or fruit-bearing trees.

On this page:

Can You Root Fig Tree Cuttings in Water?

Fig cuttings can be easily rooted in water. You don’t need any special tools, only sanitized heavy-duty scissors or pruners, a cup, and some water. The whole process can take as little as three weeks, but may take more than a month.

Benefits of Rooting Fig Cuttings in Water vs.


The conventional way of rooting tree cuttings, including fig trees, is in soil. However, while soil allows roots to naturally grow and spread, and there is less risk of your figs getting waterlogged roots, rooting in water has several other advantages which outweigh the cons.

  1. Rooting cuttings in water prevents your cuttings from drying out before rooting.
  2. If using clean water that’s changed every few days, there is a lower risk of your fig cuttings rotting before they can root.
  3. You can see what’s happening to your cuttings in real time, being able to see which ones have successfully rooted, as well as identify which ones are rotting and should be discarded. 
  4. Root rot is not an issue if you transplant into soil after a few healthy, strong roots have formed. Fig roots also seem to be more tolerant of growing in water for an extended period of time before transplanting.
  5. Fig cuttings root very easily in water and have a high success rate, unlike some other fruit trees (i.e. citrus trees). 

The third benefit is especially important, since there’s no guessing game as to whether your cuttings have rooted or not. Cuttings will often start growing leaves before they’ve rooted, so the only way to know for sure if propagating in soil is to see the roots growing out the bottom of a pot or digging around your cuttings to check on root growth. 

How Long Does It Take to Root Fig Cuttings in Water?

Assuming your fig cuttings don’t start rotting before they root, expect to see the first roots within 3 to 4 weeks. If it’s past 4 weeks and your fig cuttings look healthy, are putting out new growth, yet still haven’t rooted, be patient and give them more time. 

Should You Root Fig Cuttings in Summer or Winter?

The best time to take and root fig cuttings is when you prune your fig tree, which is ideally in winter when the tree is dormant.  

That said, you can take fig cuttings in summer, and the pictured rooted cutting in this article was originally cut in late September before starting to root in late October. If taking cuttings in the summer, remove any figlets (baby unripe figs) and leaves, except for any small ones just beginning to grow. Also check for and remove any pests (it helps to give cuttings a quick wash and rinse in cool or lukewarm water).

A rooted fig cutting, showing the nodes on the branch. Note the bottom (right) two nodes were kept under water, and roots are now growing out of both of them. This cutting is definitely ready for transplanting.

How to Take a Cutting from a Fig Tree

Taking cuttings from your fig tree is very easy. Below are tips on how to get through the process if you’ve never pruned a fig tree before:

  1. Sanitize your pruners or heavy-duty scissors with alcohol or soak in a 1:9 bleach-to-water solution for 30 minutes. You can also wash them with warm, soapy water, but sanitizing will greatly reduce your chance of spreading disease to your cuttings or your mother tree.
  2. Select a branch with at least two nodes, and preferably three or more. You can also cut off a longer branch and divide it into smaller cuttings of at least 4-7 inches, each with three or more nodes. A node is a “knot” in a branch where new shoots or roots will grow. Make sure there are one or two nodes lower on the branch (for root growth), and at least one near the top (for leaf growth). 
  3. Important Note: Always remember the direction of your cutting so it’s not pointing upside down while rooting. One tip is to cut the bottom at an angle and keep the top flat, that way you know which part to submerge in water.
  4. It’s recommended to take cuttings when your tree is dormant in winter, but if taking cuttings during the growing season, remove any baby figs (figlets) and leaves. New leaf growth will occur at the nodes.
  5. Wash and rinse your cuttings in cool or lukewarm soapy water. This optional step will help remove any pests on the branch. Some fig growers also give the branches a quick 10- to 30-second dip in 1:9 bleach-to-water solution to also kill off any fungal spores on the surface. If you have a problem with fig cuttings rotting before they root, you can try a brief bleach solution soak.

Pro-Tip: Take several cuttings to help guarantee success. You can also keep multiple cuttings in the same cup while they root.

How Much Water Is Needed to Root a Fig Cutting?

You only need enough water to cover at least one node on a fig cutting. However, keeping two nodes submerged in water and at least one node above the water will ensure you always have at least one node constantly wet. 

Change the water every few days to reduce the chance of your cuttings rotting. 

Light Requirements for Propagating Fig Trees

Indirect light, such as next to a window or on the kitchen counter, is more than sufficient for rooting fig cuttings. Fig trees are shade tolerant, and although they grow best and fruit more in full sun, cuttings require very little light to survive. 

After you’ve rooted and transplanted your fig cuttings, you can place them in partial sun or ideally full sun. Fig trees also thrive under grow lights.

When and How Should You Transplant Rooted Fig Tree Cuttings?

As long as a fig cutting has several healthy, long roots, it’s safe to transplant. Avoid transplanting when there are only one or two roots, or if the roots are still very small. 

The safest way to transplant a cutting while minimizing damage to roots is to backfill around the roots with soil or potting mix. Start by filling up the bottom of your pot, then place your cutting in the pot, holding it up with one hand while pouring soil or potting mix around it until you’ve completely covered the roots.

After transplanting, water thoroughly to reduce transplant shock.

How Long Does It Take for a Fig Cutting to Fruit?

If growing fig trees for production, expect a good crop within 3 to 5 years from rooting your cutting. However, you don’t have to wait that long to get any figs. Fig cuttings can produce figs within 2 years. It just takes a few years more to grow large enough to produce a more substantial harvest.



Fig trees are very easy to propagate in water. As long as you use clean pruners, take multiple cuttings, and ensure at least one node is submerged in fresh water (and that the cuttings are not upside down!) you’ll be multiplying your fig harvests within a few short years. And propagated figs make great gifts for friends and family.

Fig grafting - master class and photo | DIY

Contents ✓


I have been growing figs both outdoors and in containers for over 30 years.

But I started to vaccinate him only this year. I have skills in grafting fruit trees in many ways, and I applied them to figs as well. So far I have tried two methods - splitting and improved copulation.

For the rootstock, I chose varieties with yellow-green fruits (their names do not have much meaning). Since I have been growing figs for many years, I have an abundance of seedlings of such varieties. The graft was prepared from the best varieties from my collection, which now has 20 items - Early Gray, White Fig and Neapolitan Date.


Seedlings with a well-developed root system, selected for rootstock, were planted in February in containers with nutrient soil mixture. When the vegetation began and the first leaves appeared, I measured a place on each seedling that corresponded to the thickness of the scion, and at this level I cut off the tops with a pruner. With a garden knife, he split the shoot in the middle and inserted a wedge-shaped cut shoot of the desired variety into the split.

The inoculation site was tightly tied with stretch film and fixed with electrical tape. For reliability, I installed a mini-greenhouse made of a plastic bottle over the plant.

In order for the grafting to be successful, the basic rule must be observed - the thickness of the shoots of the stock and scion must necessarily match.

Figs are fast growing plants. The result of vaccinations was not long in coming. The kidneys woke up and began to grow.

I chose a light room for the containers with grafted seedlings, but did not expose them to direct sunlight. In the spring, when warm days came, he took the figs to an unheated greenhouse. Three months later, I loosened the bandages, and completely removed them from some vaccinations and smeared the junctions with garden pitch.

I plan to remove small figs that will appear on the trees this year. And next year I hope to get a harvest of two varieties of figs in one container. Perhaps I will plant some trees in a permanent place in the open ground.

Grafting can quickly replace unsuitable fig varieties with more productive ones.

Related link: Fruit tree grafting: rootstock growing, copulation, incision and split grafting


I cover the joints of the components with garden pitch

I graft at different heights. It is important that the heating and stock of the same thickness are

Vaccination of the engine in a split

Place of vaccination I tie a stretch film

Vaccination of figs - video

Watch This Video On YouTube

© Author: Bogdan Gamorak


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Grafting figs - Tips for my garden

garden fruits

The garden plays a fundamental role in the process of relaxing the human mind, simply because it offers a person a private place, rich in oxygen and completely immersed in nature, which, although small, can boast of which is a real refuge from everyday life. From stress. and asphalt. But that's not all, because many people who own a garden also want to see fruit from it, that is, they want their roses to bloom and their lemons to produce lemons. And we must be honest and frank with you readers who choose us to inform you and be interested in gardening, picking fruit from the trees in the garden is not a joke, that is, it is not enough to throw a seed there and wait. for the plant to grow. A fruit tree needs care, attention, and above all care, because a fruit tree grown from its own seed is a "wild" tree, as it is usually called. From a scientific point of view, we are not interested in what happens, the important thing is that we now know that in order to obtain fruit from the home garden, we will need to graft the plants we have; Now it's all about figuring out which technique is the right one based on our experience and the type of plant.

fig graft

A very common fruit plant in our region is the fig tree; Not to be confused with the succulent prickly pear fruit plant, the fig is a Mediterranean plant that naturally gives life to a tree with classic leaves, flowers and delicious fruits. The fig fruit, which we understand is also called fig, has a sweet but very strong taste, especially when it reaches maturity, it takes on all its flavors, and it is a really popular and also cheap fruit. Moreover, it is not difficult for a fig tree to take root or grow until it becomes a tree; Clearly what then happens is that fig production stops because the tree is wild (in the meaning of the term explained above). At this moment, the fig must be grafted, that is, we must take a branch of a productive tree and graft our tree with the appropriate technique. If all goes well, this branch will take root, and many tasty figs will grow from it, to the delight of the owner; this operation can be repeated if you try again next year, either in case of success or failure.

Special Techniques

When it comes to vaccination, there are very few people who really know everything about the techniques and when they are best done; This generalized culture, however, is of no use to us, because we only need to know about a particular tree. From this point of view, there is nothing better than consulting on our website, where in the section on vaccinations you can find many specific sheets on the most common plants, both flower and fruit. Today we are talking about the fig tree and we see that two techniques are most effective for it: crown grafting and wedge grafting. Of the two, the first is the most direct: the stock (host) is cut clean, an incision is made as if for splitting, and two or four ball shoots of fruit-bearing branches are inserted into it; the choice of the number of inoculations depends on the size of the rootstock. Once the strips have been inserted, they must be sealed with adhesive tape covering the edges and filled with a special grafting putty, a product that can be easily purchased from specialized sites on the Internet, as well as well-stocked nurseries and flower shops.

Fig grafting: details and curiosities

The technique described in the previous paragraph is most widely used for fig trees, and is also easy for beginners in the sector and has a high success rate. The second method is less commonly used because it is more complex and specialized; what is actually used is a wedge-shaped graft that is inserted into an "expanded" hole about eight or ten centimeters made in the rootstock. This is a particularly tricky process for rootstock as you need to make a hole and you need the right tools to do that, as well as a certain amount of safety because you have to be careful not to damage the core of the plant. The main instructions given to a person who wants to try to make a transplant is to pay close attention to their own safety during the cutting operation, while it is equally important to use well-cleaned and disinfected tools to avoid transmitting diseases to the plant. In fact, cuts, abrasions and incisions on the surface of the plant are real roads for bacteria, viruses, insects, larvae and small animals that, without waiting any longer, attack the plant and, in case of serious infection, lead to its death.. by decomposition after intake of all nutrients. For this reason, water and alcohol, cotton and deep cleaning before starting work and before moving to another floor (to avoid infection). abrasions and cuts on the surface of the plant are veritable highways for bacteria, viruses, insects, larvae and small animals that do not expect anything else to attack the plant and, if severely infested, cause death by decay.

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