So you’ve pruned your Fiddle Leaf Fig and placed the cutting in water for it to grow – now what?!
Recently I posted over on Instagram the process of taking a Fiddle Leaf Fig cutting from water propagation to soil. After getting a bunch of questions, I thought I’d expand on the process, which is what I like to call, ‘post-propagation’!
Don’t get me wrong: I think propagation is in general quite a simple and easy process, which is successful more often than not. But if you like details, or want to know exactly what I do to propagate successfully, here’s how to plant & care for Fiddle Leaf Fig cuttings.
If you haven’t already, check out my post on three ways to propagate a Fiddle Leaf Fig. The below deals mostly with transitioning a cutting from water to soil, seeing as water propagation is most common and most successful. Let’s dive in!
Post-Propagation: When Can I transition a Cutting from Water to Soil?
This is one of the biggest questions I get asked – when is my cutting ready to be planted? And while the answer may vary depending on the cutting or plant, I like to wait until there’s at least 1-2 inches of roots growing first.
I also make sure that there’s baby, micro-roots growing out of these main roots. This may not be necessary, but I like to wait for these. This is because the tiny roots are usually the ones that feed the plants, while larger roots are more there for stability.
When you can see these micro roots, your cutting is ready for post-propagation!
How To Choose a Pot to Plant Your Cutting in:
There’s a few specifics when it comes to pots, especially for Fiddle Leaf Figs. So here’s some tips on picking a good one:
- Choose a relatively small pot. I would consider a small pot to be no more than around 4 inches wide. And this is because Fiddle Leaf Figs like to be snug in pots, so they really don’t need a lot of room. A larger pot can result in excess soil staying wet for longer, which can promote overwatering issues.
Fiddle Leaf Figs also like to fill out their roots in a pot. So if the pot is large, they’ll spend their energy doing that rather than growing up top (the growth we really want to see!)
- Choose a pot that has drainage holes. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter too much if its plastic, ceramic or terracotta as long as it has holes! If you’ve got a pretty pot you want to use that doesn’t have a drainage hole, consider a) drilling a hole in the bottom, or b) planting in a plastic pot and putting that pot inside the decorative one.
Getting the soil right for your Fiddle Leaf Fig Cutting
Fiddle Leaf Figs like well-draining soil. Having a well-draining soil means you don’t have to worry so much about overwatering them. And it also enables you to ‘flush’ out the soil (pour enough water in the pot until it drains) to make sure there’s no chemical buildup from fertilizers or tap water than can harm the plant.
I mix a regular potting soil with whatever I have on-hand that can help with drainage: usually this is horticultural charcoal, bark chips or mulch. I generally don’t measure this mix but just add a handful of each in. But if you’d like to get technical, consider mixing 5:1:1 of potting soil to horticultural charcoal and bark chips or mulch.
Horticultural charcoal is great for plants because it has antibacterial properties, adds chunkiness to the soil and helps prevent overwatering by soaking up excess water.
Bark chips add chunkiness to the soil and help with drainage too. And mulch can add chunks and also nutrients to the soil.
Once your soil is mixed, I like to dampen it before planting the new cutting in.
Potting a new Cutting
Take a look at your cutting and note how long the stem is before a leaf starts. The main aim in potting your cutting is to get the roots as deep in the soil as possible, as this will help them to not accidentally dry out. But also beware that if any part of a leaf or leaf petiole is touching the soil, it can potentially rot and we don’t want that. So leave any leaf part above the soil.
Fill your pot about 3/4 full with the soil mix, then gently place your cutting on top. Fill in with remaining soil until as much of the stem that needs to be is covered.
Press the soil around the plant to help hold the cutting in place. Depending on your cutting, you may need to use something to help prop the plant up until it can hold itself up.
I also like to water it straight away to keep the roots damp. Water will also help fill any gaps or holes in the soil and hold the cutting in place.
Post-Propagation Cutting Aftercare
Place your post-propagation Fiddle Leaf Fig cutting in a bright spot or sheltered spot outside for extra light & air flow. Read this post on general care tips if you need info on caring for Fiddles.
Normally I only water my Fiddle Leaf Figs once the top 1-2 inches of soil has dried out. This is because they like to dry out a little between waterings.
But because the roots are new, we don’t want to run the risk of them drying out! So for the first couple of months, I’ll water once I see the top layer of soil is drying out. At the moment in Australian summer, this is a couple times a week for me.
When Should I start Fertilizing my new cutting?
New cuttings can be delicate and fertilizer can be too strong for them, so don’t fertilize straight away! I like to wait until there’s signs of growth on the cutting (new buds or leaves) before boosting it with fertilizer. I also have a dedicated post if you need help or recommendations with fertilizer for Fiddle Leaf Figs.
You can always use a gentle Seasol solution to help condition the soil and get them strong & healthy.
Still got questions about post-propagation? Leave me a comment – I reply to them all! Or come follow me over on Instagram for plant updates and tips.