Fiddle-leaf figs are such popular houseplants, it’s hard not to want more.
Luckily, the spread lets you get as many as you can at no extra cost. Due to their picky nature about conditions and changes, they are not the easiest plants to propagate. But in this case, the reward is more than worth it.
Can it be propagated from a single leaf?
You may have seen pictures of people ficus lira leaves in line in water, with long healthy roots apparently indicating successful propagation. As simple as this method may seem, unfortunately it does not lead to a full fiddle leaf fig tree in the long run.
Individual leaves do not contain the proper tissues to make new branches. Rather, they are tied with a knot and may still produce roots, but these roots only keep the leaf alive for a short time and do not enlarge or develop into a full plant.
If you are looking for a cool feature for your windowsill, this method will definitely work. It is also easy to make and easy to maintain.
Simply remove a leaf from the main branch with a piece of the node intact and let it sit in a glass of water at room temperature. Keep most of the leaf out of the water to avoid rotting and leave only the lower part of the petiole in the water.
If you are looking for a new fiddle leaf fig, it is best propagated with stem or branch cuttings.
How to propagate by stem cutting
Clean and sharpen your tools
With soft stems, scissors are usually enough to cut. But when it comes to thick Fiddle Leaf branches, the right tools are essential to your success.
Start with strong, sharp pruning shears. If they haven’t sharpened in a while, now is the perfect time.
Be sure to clean them thoroughly when sharpening them as well. Use a 5% bleach solution to sanitize them, or plain soap and water if they’ve been cleaned before. Tools can harbor harmful bacteria, so this preventative cleaning stops the potential spread of disease.
For those who recycle a jar, take the opportunity to also scrub the jar. Soil-borne pests and diseases can linger in debris, taking up residence in healthy new soil, and ruining your chances of successful propagation.
Choose a branch
Propagation is best done in spring or early summer before the weather gets too hot. This takes advantage of the growing season, allowing you to choose a branch with new green growth. These branches are easier to root and are more likely to produce new growth.
You should start with a large, established plant to avoid shocking the parent plant. Choose a healthy branch with lots of dense foliage and no signs of disease. You should also have different sets of leaves from tip to bottom – the more nodes the better.
Take your pruner and cut the branch about 10 inches. Cut just above a node to encourage new growth, as you would when pruning.
Try to make as clean a cut as possible. The branch takes time to heal, and at this time it is even more vulnerable to diseases and pests. The smoother the cut, the faster the plant will recover.
Turn off the steam and remove the leaves.
If you cut above a plant node to ensure successful regrowth, you must prune the branch just below the lowest node for successful rooting. Cut this section with your scissors at an angle.
Since the bottom half of the cutting will be buried underground, you will need to remove some of the large leaves from the cutting. It also gives the plant more energy for root growth rather than leaf maintenance.
Simply cut or tear off the leaves from the lower half of the cutting. A leaf or two should be left on top to keep the plant happy, but not so much that the cutting has trouble developing roots.
The next step is optional, but can go a long way to rooting and growing the cutting quickly. Take the top leaves and cut them in half horizontally. This reduces the amount of moisture the leaves need to stay green and healthy, focusing energy and resources on root growth.
Cutting the leaves in half is not as aesthetically pleasing, but it increases the chances of success. The choice is yours.
carrot in water
The easiest method for rooting is simply in a glass of water. Make sure the glass is high enough to accommodate the cup without falling.
Filtered or distilled water is best because chemicals in tap water can inhibit growth. You can also use recycled rainwater. Work the branch into the glass until the bottom half is covered, leaving the top half and leaves out of the water.
Place the glass in a warm place out of direct sunlight. Make sure it stays clean and oxygenated by changing it every few days. You can also clean the glass between water changes if needed to prevent bacteria growth.
While rooting in water is faster and easier to control, rooting in soil will produce the strongest roots, limiting transplant shock later. Since the branches are woody, it is also much more reliable than rooting in water.
Start by preparing a loose, well-drained potting soil. A combination of coir (or peat), perlite and sand drains well and offers the least resistance to new root growth. Fill a medium sized pot with this mixture of soil and water to pre-moisten.
Drill a hole in the ground with your finger or a dowel. Dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone to promote root growth and place it in the hole avoiding the sides to retain as much rooting hormone as possible at the end.
Once half buried in the ground, press down around the cut to hold it in place. Place the pot in a warm, humid place, away from direct light. If you don’t have a room with enough humidity, place a clear plastic bag around the pot to retain moisture and improve conditions.
Keep the soil evenly moist under the roots. Do not add too much water, as this can quickly rot the stem.
Within a few weeks you will notice root growth or new green growth emerging during the cut if your efforts have been successful. Once the roots are several inches long, you are ready to transplant.
Choose a large pot and fill it with special potting soil for indoor plants. You can also make your own mix by adding two parts potting soil to one part perlite and one part coconut fiber. Transplant the cutting into the new pot and water well.
Look for signs of transplant shock in the first few weeks after the transplant. Since Fiddle Leaf figs aren’t fans of change, keep them in the same space until they’re well established before moving on to the perfect spot in your home.