Propagation

How to propagate a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

Propagating your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree doesn’t have to be a difficult process if you know what the different methods are and when they are best used.

How to propagate a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees are one of our favourite houseplants out there so we have always been super interested in figuring out the best way to propagate them and create more Fiddles for free! They just bring that special something to your home, becoming the focal point in every room. 

Propagating your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree doesn’t have to be a difficult process if you know exactly what to do. So we hope this post will guide you through the whole process, from tools needed to a step by step method as well as issues you might face and top tips for a successful Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree propagation. =

Why propagate your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree in the first place?

There are several reasons why you may want to propagate your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree. The main reason tends to be people wanting to multiply the number of plants without actually having to buy any more. Because at the end of the day, who can say no to free plants?! Small Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree cuttings also make great gifts for friends, especially as fully grown plants are pretty expensive and can be a little tricky to get your hands on. 

Another reason you might be looking to propagate your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree is because your plant is becoming too big for the room. If you want to trim back your plant to fit the space, or just want to cut off some leggy growth, instead of throwing away the cuttings, why not propagate them. 

And lastly, you may want to propagate your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree if part of your plant is damaged, or dying. If you have tried to save your plant by adjusting the environment or care and still nothing works then we recommend taking a cutting of your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree and propagating that to create a new plant. The most important thing when doing this is to choose a healthy section of your plant as this will give your cutting the best chance of success.

What tools will I need to propagate my Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree?

Let’s start off with the easy part. It’s important to make sure you have all the right things before taking that first Fiddle Leaf Fig cutting!

 

  • Healthy and mature Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

  • Sharp scissors/shears

  • Spare pot(s)

  • Fresh soil and water

  • Newspaper or plastic sheet

  • Toothpick, plastic wrap and sphagnum moss (if you are using the air layering method)

What methods can I use to propagate my Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree?

There are three main methods of propagation you can use for Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees; stem cuttings, division and layering. Stem cuttings and division are definitely the more common propagation methods used and the ones we would recommend if you are fairly new to propagating houseplants. Below you will find a step by step guide to each method. 

A lot of people ask if you can propagate a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree from a single leaf and we usually say no. The problem with single leaves is that whilst they can grow roots, they will never actually develop any branches or more leaves. This is because you need part of the stem to grow buds from. Occasionally, leaf cuttings do contain a very small section of the stem which can over time grow a bud but this is quite rare and takes a lot of time.

Method 1: Propagating a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree from stem cuttings

 

  • 1

    Locate your stem cutting

    When taking a stem cutting you want to make sure that the part of the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree you are cutting is healthy to give you any chance of success. You also need to make sure this section of your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree has at least one node. This is a stem joint and where the roots would appear out of. Ideally, we would recommend using a cutting with 2 or 3 leaves (and their nodes) on. Choosing a cutting that is slightly more mature will help speed up propagation but a cutting with any more than 3 leaves will require a lot of energy to grow and maintain good health. 

  • 2

    Make the cut 

    You want to use clean scissors/ shears or a knife to make the cut to avoid passing on dirt or any infection to the plant. Use your tools to make a clean cut across your plant in a diagonal way. This increase the surface area of the cutting and will help with healthy root growth. 

    You will notice that when you cut your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree that white sap will come out from the cutting. This is totally normal to the Fig plant family. Make sure you don’t ingest it or get it in your eyes as it will cause irritation. If you happen to get it on your skin, it shouldn’t cause too many issues but be wary it can cause some irritation for those with sensitive skin.

  • 3

    Choose how you want to grow your cutting

    You can choose to grow your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree directly in potting mix, or place it in water for a few weeks before repotting. Both work and are successful methods of propagating. Some plant parents don’t use the water method in Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees as they are more sensitive to overwatering compared to some other plants but we have always used the water method and have seen great results. Propagating in water also allows better visibility on the stem and roots so you can spot any signs of illness or root rot quickly. If you are propagating using potting mix skip straight to step 8.

  • 4

    Take off any lower leaves 

    If you choose the water method you will want to remove any of the leaves lower part of the cutting that may end up sitting in the water. They will rot if they are sat in water for a long period of time so best to cut them off now. Each cutting is different so there may not be any leaves that need removing, other times you may have to cut one or two – it’s completely dependent on the length of the stem.

  • 5

    Fill up your container with fresh water

    Next, you want to fill up a container with fresh temperate water to place your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree cutting into. Make sure the water isn’t super cold or hot as this will shock or burn your Fiddle Leaf-cutting and decreases the chances of a successful propagation. It’s best to use purified water so the levels of chlorine and fluoride aren’t as high as in the water straight out of the tap. A great way to do this naturally is to leave the water out for 24 hours to allow the chemicals to evaporate. You can also use filtered water or collected rainwater for your cutting. 

    We always tend to use transparent glass container when propagating plants as it means you can not only marvel at the new roots growing on your cuttings, but it means you can spot any issues early on.

  • 6

    Place your cutting in water

    Make sure that at least one of the nodes on the stem cutting is sat in the water to encourage roots to grow out from it. Place your container in bright but indirect sunlight. Intense light will damage your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree’s leaves and prevent a successful propagation.

  • 7

    Change the water regularly 

    It’s really important that you keep the water in your propagation station fresh. We recommend switching it out every couple of days to keep it free from bacteria and stop the water from stagnating and smelling. After a few weeks, you should start to see some roots growing from your cutting. Once they are a few centimetres long, your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree is ready to be pot into soil.

  • 8

    Plant your cuttings into potting mix

    Make sure when you pot your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree cutting that you use a high-quality potting mix to aid with drainage and aeration. You should also make sure the mix is fresh and not from any of your old plants as this is an easy way to accidentally carry bacteria and pests between your beloved plants. Newly formed Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree cuttings are much more sensitive to disease and pests so you want to be as careful as possible.

Method 2: Propagating a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree by division

You can only use this method if your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree has several offshoots growing off the same mother plant. If your plant is only one offshoot then you must use the stem cutting or layering methods. 

 

  • 1

    Locate the various offshoots 

    When looking for a part of the plant to divide it will become very obvious if there are various offshoots on your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree. They will be completely separate and growth will grow from each individual stem popping out from the soil.

  • 2

    Take the plant out of the pot

    Once you have located the various sections of the plant you will need to take your Fiddle Leaf Fig Treen out of the pot so you can divide the root system. Carefully lift the plant out and shake off the potting mix around the roots. A good way to loosen the soil is to run your fingers through the roots to start to separate them. Luckily, Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees are pretty sturdy plants and their stems don’t damage as easily as many other plants so you don’t have to be super delicate when handling them.

  • 3

    Separate the sections 

    You may have to trim off the odd root if they aren’t detangling easily but you should be able to carefully pull the sections apart from each other. It’s ok if you have to slice around the plant a little to separate them but just make sure that each part of the plant has a substantial amount of the root system to aid a successful propagation. 

  • 4

    Place in water or fresh potting mix

    Pot the main mother plant back into its original pot (or downsize if you have taken a large chunk from the plant) and decide whether you want to place the offshoot in water first or straight into potting mix. This depends on the size of the cutting and the maturity of the root system. If the offshoot has quite mature roots then it will be totally fine growing in potting mix already. However, if you feel the roots need to grow a little more then we recommend placing them into water as a middle step.

  • 5

    Continue normal care

    If your cutting is now in fresh potting mix then you can care for it as you would your other Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree. If it is in water first you want to refresh that water every couple of days and repot into potting mix once the roots have matured a little.

Method 3: Propagating a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree through air layering

Air layering is a slightly less common method of propagation as it can sometimes be a little tricky but the idea is that your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree cutting will grow roots whilst still attached to the mother plant. We tend to only recommend this method to more experienced plant parents who are fully confident with the other methods first.

 

  • 1

    Locate a healthy stem

    When choosing the air layering method you want to make sure you are using a healthy and strong part of the stem. Avoid any part of the plant that is yellow, brown or showing signs of pests/sunburn etc. This will impact how successful your propagation is so choosing the right part of the stem is key to this method of Fiddle Leaf Fig propagation!

  • 2

    Make a vertical incision into the stem 

    Using a clean knife make a vertical cut into the stem that is a couple of inches long. You want it to go about halfway through the stem of your Fiddle but not the whole way through. When making the cut it’s important you don’t slice all the way through to the other side of the stem. 

  • 3

    Open up the incision

    We recommend inserting a toothpick into the centre of the incision to hold it open. This can be a little fiddly as you don’t want to poke through the stem of your Fiddle. 

  • 4

    Attach damp sphagnum moss to the side of the incision

    You want to tie the sphagnum moss around the stem with the cutting in making sure it stays damp but not soggy at all times. Use brown string, plant ties or garden wire to secure the peat moss to the stem of your Fiddle. 

  • 5

    Wrap up the sphagnum moss 

    You want to wrap a piece of plastic wrap around the moss and Fiddle stem. Wrap it firmly around the stem but still leaving some air pockets around the sphagnum moss. 

  • 6

    Once you see a new root you can cut off the stem

    After several weeks you should start to see new roots growing out of the moss. Once you see this you can slice the cutting off your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree, remove the film and pot the cutting into fresh potting mix. Handle your new Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree cutting with care as the fresh roots will be delicate and are easily damaged. 

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Propagation FAQs

Common problems when propagating a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

Propagating Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees won’t always be successful and you may run into several issues along the way if something isn’t quite right. But monitoring your new Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree cutting will help you spot any problems early and you should be able to fix it and have a successful propagation.

We hope you have found this complete guide to Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree propagation useful. Each and every time you propagate your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree (or any other houseplant) you’ll find the process slightly different. There’s no exact timeline of when to expect root growth as it depends on so many factors. But as long as you are caring for your cutting properly and it’s in the right environment, there shouldn’t be too many major issues. Soon enough, you’ll have a whole new Fiddle Leaf Tree to enjoy! 

Check out our full Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Care Guide that has all the information and top tips to help you care for your plant after propagation. We also have a lot of common issues listed so if you ever have a problem with your Fiddle Leaf, you’ll know straight away what’s causing it and how to fix it. 

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