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Fig rooting experiment, week 1

Fig hardwood cuttings

Several folks report that they root their hardwood fig cuttings inside over the winter, so I decided to give it a shot.  Step one seems to consist of wrapping the cuttings in damp Using a heating pad to root cuttingsnewspaper and then in a ziplock bag and placing the cuttings in a warm spot for a couple of weeks until roots begin to form.

"Warm place" is the operative word.  One week into my experiment, with the cuttings on top of the fridge, the one year old twigs were already starting to mold instead of sprouting roots and leaves.

I got a little stuck trying to figure out where in our house stays above seventy degrees day and night before I remembered the heating mat I use to grow sweet potato slips in the spring.  It'll definitely use less energy to just heat the cuttings than it would to keep any part of our living space at "room temperature", and I'm hopeful a couple of weeks on the mat will get those figs growing.

Any other fig rooting tips from the experts out there?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Same thing happened over here! I have a heating pad that I think I'll try. Or maybe just stick them in a tall glass of water on the windowsill like rooting other cuttings I've done.
Comment by mitsy Mon Dec 3 10:31:52 2012
Last year I just put the cuttings into the pots of the trees I trimmed them off of and had them in a humid Greenhouse. This year I've put the cuttings in a small pot with dirt and put a zip lock bag upside down over the cuttings to keep them moist. I'll report back when I unearth them and pot them up this spring.
Comment by Brian Mon Dec 3 12:43:34 2012

Seems to me that putting them on a heating mat inside a moist plastic bag will only cause the cuttings to mold -faster-! I'd do the ol' dip into rooting hormone and stick into soil/perlite/whatever mix. Or as the previous comment suggests, in a glass of water.
Actually I'm about to do the same thing over here in California, as our local elementary school and my neighbor have some nice looking fig trees that I'd like to reproduce. They just went dormant over here. Looking forward to some updates, Anna. Good luck!

Comment by Rena Mon Dec 3 14:31:27 2012
I checked our fig cuttings and found no roots and upon pulling them out of the ground found mycelium on the part that was in the soil. I looked closely but found no real sign of life. I put them in a place where our dogs could get them and they gladly grabbed them to chew on. I noticed though after they had chewed them up that between the bottom node and the cut end the pith was decomposing and so was the wood but higher up the pith was still in good shape and the bark was still green underneath. So I may have jumped the gun on pulling them out but wanted to report back so people can learn from my mistake. Maybe cutting them so the node/bud is closer to the bottom would be of some benefit?
Comment by Brian Mon Mar 11 13:59:15 2013

Brian --- Thanks for sharing your experience! In contrast, the cuttings you sent us seem to be rooting very well. I haven't dug into the dirt to look for roots, but most respond to a gentle tug with serious resistance, and a few are starting to swell their buds.

On the other hand, I ditched my own cuttings (like the ones I sent you). I think those didn't have time to harden off enough before I took them and might have been unrootable no matter what you did. Sorry to send you duds. :-/

Comment by anna Mon Mar 11 20:21:08 2013
It's a learning experience and there is always next year with gardening. I'm glad to hear your cuttings are responding well. I'll keep you posted on the other grafting experiments.
Comment by Brian Mon Mar 11 21:57:27 2013

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