Learn how to cut and propagate FLF stems successfully with this guide on Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Propagation…
Today’s post is all about propagating Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees!
Over the last few months, I’ve become a little obsessed with my plants and broadened my collection of trees.
Starting with Mother’s Day, I requested a lemon tree. My husband and kids were so sweet in getting me one – I’ve always wanted one, and now that we’re in our forever home, I feel like now is the perfect time to grow one.
I found myself researching and obsessing over how to grow it best and make sure it doesn’t die.
Having succeeded in keeping it alive and thriving (so far), I became more confident and decided to get more trees.
I’ve always loved the look of fiddle leaf fig trees – but not the price.
A couple of years ago, when they were all the rage, you couldn’t find a small-sized starter fig tree for under $70.
And the big live trees? $500.
It was insane.
So, I wrote them off for a long time.
Well, okay, I bought a faux fiddle leaf fig tree from the store a year back for $30. It still lives in our half bath in our new house…
My best friend Erica actually shared with me that she found and bought a live Fiddle online a few months back, and it was in great condition and only $24!
I jumped online, found one, and ordered one, too!
I couldn’t believe I was going to get a live fiddle fig for a crazy good deal like that, but I did.
It came in the mail, healthy and vibrant.
I found myself ordering two more less than a week later…
I’m now a dedicated plant mom with 6 healthy plants that are thriving in their environment!
And let me tell you, having a real fiddle leaf fig tree is way better than having a fake fiddle leaf fig tree.
Three of them are figgies, and I’ve grown quite attached to them.
I’ve affectionally named them Figgy Smalls, Notorious FIG, and Figgy Azalea.
I started sharing my purchases and recommendations for fiddles on my Instagram (follow me there for #FiddleFigFriday to see me water and share tips on growing these beautiful trees every Friday!), and these gorgeous live fiddles sell out all the time now ;).
Before I get started with telling you how to propagate your fiddle, I want to let you know that this post is geared more towards smaller fiddle figs that are more in the shape of a bush.
For my trees, I have the issue of several stems growing towards the bottom of the plant near the soil that I need to cut and propagate.
Still, this post can certainly be used for bigger trees as well and has helpful tips to help you successfully prune and propagate your fiddle leaf fig tree!
*This post contains affiliate links at no cost to my readers, and all opinions are my own.
How To Propagate Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Bush
Here is my tree: Figgy Smalls…
He needs a good leaf-cleaning, but I’ll address how to do that in my beginner’s guide to Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree care!
He has a ton of random stems that have sprouted out from the main trunk near the soil.
The leaves underneath aren’t receiving sunlight and are impeding my tree’s ability to grow vertically, so they are getting trimmed away from the tree today and propagated.
You can see the main trunk towards the middle of the plant, and at least three stems coming off the main trunk and growing towards the right…
Here’s an underneath shot of these excess stems…
See the mini graveyard of dying leaves that get trapped underneath the plant?
By trimming these excess stems away from the main trunk, we can encourage vertical growth, draw in more energy, eliminate stems that take up energy and then decay without bringing in any energy, and propagate new plants from these cuttings!
Cut extra stems and growth from the bottom
Using a pair of very sharp scissors or a knife, cut excess stems and growth away from the main trunk.
Sharp tools are necessary because dull scissors can crush the stem, which means it won’t propagate!
Because you don’t want the stems to grow back in this area, it’s okay to cut them close to the trunk.
If you see this white, milky sap – you did it right!
Avoid touching the sap, however, as it can irritate skin. Wash your hands if any of it gets on your hands.
You can also remove leaves from the trunk that are low-hanging by quickly snapping them off where they connect to the trunk.
Any leaves that are snapped off, however, will not grow back.
Again, the presence of milky, white sap is a great sign that the leaves have snapped off correctly.
Here is a large stem I cut off of Figgy Smalls that I will be propagating…
Before I can propagate this stem, I need to remove the extra leaves, leaving 1-2 leaves at the top.
These leaves will help in energy production and root ball growth by absorbing nutrients from the sun.
If you leave too many leaves on the stem, it will require too much energy to stay alive and will not grow or sprout roots.
FLF Stems should be at least 6″ in length to successfully propagate.
Place clean stems into a medium cup with clean, room-temperature water.
If you have exceptionally hard water, using either distilled or purified water is recommended.
If your water is also heavy in chlorine, you can fill a glass of water prior to cutting your stems and allow it to sit for 24 hours so the chlorine will evaporate.
Place your fig tree cuttings in water, and move them to window that provides a lot of bright, indirect light.
Fiddle leaf fig trees prefer to be near a window that is facing South or Southwest.
Originally, I put my trees in a NorthEast window at first – simply for location and not paying attention to direction, and they went into a dormant state in the middle of Summer (which is part of their growing season).
Moving my trees to a SouthWest window dramatically changed their growth, so take this tip to heart if you want your trees to really grow!
Because some of my cuttings were so close to the root of the tree, they came with a little string of roots already attached.
I decided not to remove these roots in hopes they would help the stems generate root balls faster – I will update this post once I know more.
The other cuttings did not have roots attached and were placed in clean water.
Remember to change out the water every couple of days so it is clear and clean.
If you notice the water is cloudy or discolored, change it out with clean water.
You can also spritz your FLF with warm water and place a plastic grocery bag over the stem cutting and cup to create a mini greenhouse.
This can help the stem propagate successfully if you have less humidity to work with!
When Should I Propagate my Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree?
Spring is best, but Summer is also a great time to propagate your tree.
Fiddles tend to have new growth in the Spring, so this increases your chances of the stem cutting growing roots and thriving!
How Long does it take for a fiddle leaf fig tree to propagate?
Propagation for a fiddle fig takes about 3-4 weeks, and potting can be done after a month with visible, healthy-looking roots.
Once your tree is potted, be sure to keep the soil evenly moist to encourage the roots to take hold and continue to grow.
What Happens If I Wait Too Long To Pot Them In Soil?
This just happened to me – I got lazy with propagating my fiddle figs in water, and waited about a week longer than I should have to plant them in soil.
Out of 6 total propagated fig trees, only 3 survived while the others died.
Two of the three surviving trees lost their leaves completely but soon sprouted new ones several days after potting.
As an experiment, I still planted one of the dying ones in soil to see if it could be revived (see above to the far left).
It did not survive…
Lesson learned: once your fig trees have good 1-2 inch roots, PLANT THEM IN SOIL. 🙂
Can I Propagate A Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree from a Leaf?
Short answer: No. 🙁
It’s unfortunate, but I’ve researched it and even attempted it myself just to be sure.
A fiddle leaf fig tree can only be propagated from a stem cutting as I’ve shown you above.
You may be able to get some root growth from a leaf, but the roots have been shown in many cases not to take hold and continue to grow or flourish in soil.
Do you have a FLF? Have you tried to propagate a stem before, or will be trying to soon? Tell me in the comments below!