Fig Seed Propagation: How To Plant Fig Tree Seeds

Fig Seed Propagation: How To Plant Fig Tree Seeds

By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Image by Besjunior

The glorious fig is one of our oldest cultivated fruits. It has a rich history in some of the most complex and ancient civilizations and is so adaptable it can be used in sweet or savory dishes. If you want to experience the fruit in your own backyard, you may be wondering, “Can figs grow from seed?”

You can collect seed and germinate it, but just don’t expect the same cultivar as the parent plant.

Can Figs Grow from Seed?

Figs have been cultivated since around 5,000 BC. Their sweet flavor and rich scent truly make them fruits of the Gods. Figs are propagated in several ways. Fig seed propagation is probably the most fickle of the methods and can result in a new cultivar and an interesting process. With some tips on germinating fig seeds and their planting and care, you will be on the road to success.

Fig seed planting is an easy way to propagate a fig tree, but what results will not be true to the variety. The only way to get an exact replica of the original strain is by cuttings. Such vegetative reproduction guarantees the DNA of the parent is carried into the offspring. With fig seed planting, you never know what you will get.

However, if you are feeling adventurous, germinating fig seeds from fresh fruit is easy and will get you a fig plant, just what variety it will be remains a mystery. Additionally, you cannot be sure you are producing a female which will develop fruit or a male tree with inedible, small fruits.

How to Plant Fig Tree Seeds

First, you need seed. If you purchase it you are a bit farther ahead than a gardener that has to harvest the seed. To harvest fig seeds, acquire a fresh fig, cut it in half, scoop out the pulp and seed, and soak for a day or two. Viable seeds will sink to the bottom of the container. The rest can be discarded. The viable seed has already absorbed moisture and will be ready to crack and germinate quickly.

Prepare a planting medium of equal parts peat, perlite, and fine volcanic rock and place in a flat. Moisten the medium and then mix seed with horticultural sand. Strew the sand-seed mix over the surface of the flat. Place the tray where it is warm and receives sunlight for at least six hours per day.

Care of Fig Seedlings

You will see germinating fig seeds in about 1-2 weeks. Keep them lightly moist and warm. Once the little plants have two sets of true leaves and are a few inches (about 7 cm.) high, it is time to move them to individual pots.

Keep them in moderate light for the first couple of months. Most fig trees are part of tropical forests and receive mixed lighting but rarely full, blazing sun.

Provide humidity by placing the pot on a saucer of pebbles filled with water or by misting the plant.

Feed with a diluted houseplant food when seedlings are six months old or at the first spring. Move outside when temperatures are warm in summer but bring indoors before any threat of freezing has occurred.

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