Friday, January 26, 2007

Fig Cuttings: Desert King

After I mailed some cuttings from the Vancouver fig, one gardenweb member mailed back some Desert King cuttings. Despite my resolution not to start more than I can grow, here I go again (is this a sign of addiction?).

The original intent was to store them in the fridge (in a zip-lock bag) for a month or two, to start them in late winter or early Spring. However, these generous-sized cuttings were too big for a zip lock bag. So, I pruned a few inches from the bottom of each cutting. Each new section was then trimmed, leaving about 1/2 inch of twig above the top node, and 1/2 inch below the bottom node. Each has 2-3 nodes. They were then placed in small containers (for some reason I like the yogurt cups, which have several holes drilled in the bottom) which have been filled with moistened seed-starting medium. The seed starting medium is peat moss and perlite.

The remaining portions (the top part, which are now about 1 foot long and have the apical bud) are in a zip lock bag in the fridge, for more traditional treatment later. I don't know if there is any advantage to using a larger cutting. The little ones that I started last year did as well (often better) than the larger ones, resulting in trees that are about 2 1/2 to 3 feet tall, now.

Others have used vermiculite, peat moss and sand (that worked well for me in the past), pure sand, and even paper towels (placing the cutting in a moist paper towel in a zip lock bag). Fig cuttings are usually fairly forgiving. Last Spring, I stuck left-over cuttings into the soil in the garden, and some of those also struck and grew about 1 foot of new growth.

I've used rooting hormone, and not used rooting hormone - I don't think it makes much difference. This time I did not use any.

These are in a sunny window. Last year I placed them on a heating pad, set at low, but I'm not in a hurry. I might take one to work which is warmer than home. It will be a way to get a head start on Spring, watching new little fig trees take off and grow.

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