Turning 1 fig tree into many fig trees


July 21, 2014 by Buffy

Six weeks ago we started our fig propagation project. We placed plastic soda bottles filled with soil on the limbs of our fig tree. This fig tree is growing in my asparagus bed and needs to be removed. We are afraid it is too big to remove and hate to kill it. We never imagined soda bottle propagation would work, but it seems to be working. The bottles have filled with roots.


Here is a couple of photos showing the roots after the soda bottle was removed.



So, today we cut the limbs and transplanted each limb into its own pot.


They looked a little stressed a few hours after the transplant, but have recovered nicely over night.

Let’s review this project.

1. Plastic soda bottle wrapped around a limb and filled with dirt.

2.  Water daily for 6 weeks.

3.  Wait the full 6 weeks before cutting the limb even though you will start seeing lots of roots by week 3.  The bottle should feel very firm with roots.  Remove limb and transplant new rooted tree.

We did learn a few pointers while doing this project.

1.  It is best to place the bottle on a vertically growing limb.  This helps hold the dirt in your bottle and makes it much easier to water.  We only had one bottle that didn’t root because the dirt fell out of the horizontally placed bottle.  9 of out 10 bottles rooted successfully!

2.  We recommend 2 liter soda bottle size bottles.

3.  It’s probably best to water the bottles thoroughly the morning you plan to cut the limbs.

4.  We recommend cutting and transplanting in the evening.   This should reduce the stress on the new tree.

This was a very easy project since it rained almost everyday the first 3 weeks and rained almost every other day the last 3 weeks.  We only watered the bottles about 5 times.  Now we have lots and lots of fig trees!  I would love to hear your favorite fig recipe.

18 thoughts on “Turning 1 fig tree into many fig trees

  1. Builder Bob says:

    I want some homemade fig newtons. I can’t get anyone here to get any for me.

    • Buffy says:

      I’m betting the figs drop before they ripen with the transplanting. So I don’t think there will be any fig newtons this year, but we will see!

  2. Awesome, congrats! It’s always a good feeling when something new goes according to plan; very happy for you.

  3. Wow I had no idea you could do this! Thank you for a fascinating post. I’ve got a tiny fig tree I’m nurturing and I envy you all those young new trees. Hope you find homes for them

  4. I’ll be darned…. Cool.

  5. Bill says:

    Wow. This is very cool. I’ve never seen or heard of this method before.

    So do you break off a limb and place the plastic bottle over the broken end, or do you leave it unbroken? And how do you water the dirt in the bottle.? Do you just spray water into the open end of the bottle? Did you mean to say that the bottles should be on horizontally growing limbs (like the one in the picture) rather than on vertically growing limbs?

    Sorry for the questions but I want to do this and make sure I have it right!

    • Buffy says:

      Great questions! You do not break the limb. Place the bottle on a perfectly healthy vertical limb. The picture I show the bottle is horizontal and very hard to water. The key is to keep the soil moist for the whole 6 weeks. Yes just drip water in the open end of the bottle. All but one of the transplants seem to be doing great. One looks a little stressed.

  6. SusieBrito says:

    I haven’t tried to propagate any of our trees but we have several it would be nice to do so with, I had no idea it could be done in this manner! Thanks for sharing your tips!

  7. Norma Chang says:

    Am going to try this for sure hope it is not too late in the season. Don’t have soda bottle but have 1/2 gallon plastic milk container which should work as well.

  8. nepermhome says:

    That looks fantastic. I have looked all over for good ways to propagate trees, and this seems to be a nice, simple method. I will be trying it!

  9. I know this has all been said before by previous responders but WOW! That’s fantastically cool!
    I have GOT to try this.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This was a very interesting and informative article! It will make a great science project for home schooled children or just a fun project for any children to learn about nature. If you have a willing neighbor with a fruit/nut tree this would also allow the child to “enjoy the fruits of their labor”–eventually.

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