Q: I am about to prune my fig bushes and would like to propagate them for a plant sale and giveaways later. Is now the time and how long does it take?
A: Figs are easy to propagate, both in winter and in summer. As you prune in fall, collect foot-long branch tip cuttings that are one-half to one inch in diameter at the base. Put them in a gallon resealable plastic bag and store in your refrigerator until early April. At that time, in a sunny spot, bury each one horizontally with just the tip showing. By late April the tip bud will produce green leaves and the buds underground will produce roots. Fertilize lightly in summer and each new plant can be transplanted in fall.
For spring propagation, make foot-long cuttings and remove all but the small leaves at the tip. Insert the cutting into a 6″ pot full of moist potting soil. Place a 2 liter soft drink bottle over the cutting to keep high humidity around the leaves. Place in a bright shade spot, such as under a dogwood or cherry tree.
Watch the bottle for condensation on the plastic. When none is seen, water the potting soil. The cutting should have roots by fall, when it can be planted in your garden.