|Celeste Fig Cuttings. 1.11.15|
|Celeste Fig Cutting. 1.11.15|
|Celeste Fig Cutting. 1.11.15|
I started the Celeste and LSU Gold, about the first of Jan. The photos for those were taken on about 1.11.15.
The Lattarula I started a few days later.
This is how I like to start fig trees. It is more involved than necessary. This approach appeals to me, because I like to observe every little growth along the way. I think they grow faster this way. I think I get a head start of a year in growth, overall, by starting them now. Some fig hobbyists complain about gnats and mold. I have never had those problems with this method. On the other hand, I have also stuck many fig sticks into the garden soil, and had them take and grow, with no effort or coddling at all.
1. I like to start with fig sticks a little thicker than a pencil, and about that long. Smaller or thicker will work, but this size seems to have the most vigor. Thicker cuttings may not have buds for top growth. Thinner cuttings may not have the stored carbohydrates to nourish root growth prior to leaf growth.
2. I cut off the top. They can grow with the apical bud, but my observations lead me to think, the apical bud is a little inhibitory on root initiation. So I cut the top. It's my habit to cut the top at an angle, and the bottom flat across. Most hobbyists do that, so it's easy to tell the top from the bottom.
3. I like to clean the cuttings by scrubbing lightly, with a plastic vegetable brush, with some dish detergent, in running water. That removes most of the likely mold and mildew spores.
4. I use a sharp knife to make a vertical incision through the bark, into the wood, on the lower end of the cutting. The incision exposes the cambium layer, which is sort of stem cell tissue for root formation. I've grown many cuttings without incising them, but I find the roots often form from that tissue, faster than from the sides of the stem. They also sometimes form from the cambium at the cut base, and lenticels along the sides of the cutting..
5. I use dip-and-grow rooting hormone, at a 5:1 dilution, for a few seconds. Again, this is not necessary. I did not use rooting hormone for my first few years of starting figs. Many writers state it is not necessary. But, the cuttings I dip, root faster than the ones I don't dip.
6. I wrap the cutting in wet paper towel. The paper towels are almost-dripping wet or barely dripping wet.
7. Then into plastic bags. I blow in a little air, and close with a zip tie.
8. I use a seed starting mat. Other options for warming are top of refridgerator, or other warm place. On the other hand, I've left cuttings on a bookshelf and they grew. Just takes a bit longer.
8. Every couple of days, I open the bag, inspect the cuttings, rinse under running water. If any mildew is forming on the paper towel, I discard it and replace with new, wet paper towel.
|LSU Gold Fig Cutting. 1.11.15|
9. When roots begin to grow, about 1/4 inch to 1 inch long, I carefully plant them in a flower pot or plastic container, in wettened seed starting medium. I put them into plastic bag again, and back onto the seed starting mat.
10. Once the leaves are bigger than a quarter, I usually take them out of the bags. By that point, they can usually get by without the humid bag.
For cuttings in the garden, I just stick the fig sticks into the ground, preferably in a somewhat sheltered spot. I had some that i thought were dead, and used them as row markers for vegetable seeds, and they grew. The first year plants were very small, but in the second year they took off and grew nicely.
This year, I'm not starting many. They are mainly for gifts. I forgot to incise and dip the Lattarula cuttings, so they are growing without that boost. Lattarula is usually so vigorous, it should do fine with no special effort.
|Lattarula Fig Cutting. 1.17.15|
|Wrapped Fig Cutting. 1.17.15|
|Fig Cuttings in Bags. 1.17.15|