Give Fig Propagation a Try – Get Growing, Ascension
Figs are one of the easiest fruit trees to grow in South Louisiana. They have few insect and disease issues and are well adapted to our hot, humid climate. There are several varieties to choose from when selecting a fig tree for your home landscape. Some of the most popular varieties are Celeste, SE Brown Turkey, Champagne, O’Rourke, LSU Purple, LSU Gold and Tiger. All of these are well suited for Ascension Parish. Fig trees are readily available at local nurseries and garden centers, however you can also propagate your own.
One of the easiest propagation methods can be done now while fig trees sit dormant during the winter months. This is also the recommended time to take care of any needed pruning. Check with neighbors and friends with trees who will surely be glad to let you clean up their cuttings that would otherwise end up in the burn pile.
Cuttings for propagation should be 3/8 to 1 inch in diameter and 8 to 10 inches long. Make your initial cut just below a node. Each cutting should contain several nodes, this is important since the roots and shoots will develop from these. Keep in mind that several cuttings can be taken from one branch.
Place cuttings directly into a pot with new, well-draining potting soil. A large pot can be used to start multiple cuttings. It is important to orient your cutting correctly. Plant the cutting with the basal end underground, the scar where the leaf was previously attached will be below the bud. An ideal cutting would consist of 4 nodes, 2 below the soil surface and 2 above. Rooting hormone is not necessary when propagating figs but can be used.
Provide your newly potted cuttings with water when needed. If a freeze is expected protect your cuttings as they are more susceptible to cold injury. If you need to store your cuttings before potting, place them in a plastic sandwich bag in the refrigerator. Try starting several cuttings, this leaves room for error and if they are all successful you can always share with friends.
Mariah Simoneaux is the Horticulture Agent serving Ascension and Assumption Parishes. For more information visit www.LSUAgCenter.com or contact Mariah at MJSimoneaux@agcenter.LSU.edu.