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Fiddle Leaf Fig Propagation

Learn about fiddle leaf fig propagation and how to root new cuttings.

Learn all about fiddle leaf fig propagation!

I’ve written all about how to care for a fiddle leaf fig in the past. And in that article, I gave an overview of the fiddle leaf fig propagation process as well. Today I’m expanding on what I shared in that article to walk you through a more in-depth tutorial for propagations this plant. It’s easy, I promise!

Fiddle leaf fig propagation overview

  • You can propagate fiddle leaf figs through cuttings in water and soil.
  • Take a stem cutting with a few sets of leaves; remove a few of the bottom-most leaves to expose the growth points.
  • Make sure the cutting isn’t too large and doesn’t have too many leaves.
  • For water propagation, place the cutting in water, refreshing weekly; root growth appears as white cauliflower-like clusters.
  • Once rooted, plant the cutting in well-draining soil, maintaining soil moisture and humidity for the new plant.
  • For soil propagation, plant directly in soil; keep the soil moist and humidity levels high.

Rooting a fiddle leaf fig cutting in water

One of the easiest ways to propagate a fiddle leaf fig cutting is in water. I don’t always favor rooting cuttings in water because the transition to soil can be rough. But I find that fiddle leaf fig cuttings—also known as ficus lyrata—root quite well in water and transition easily to soil.

When propagating in water, I love to be able to watch roots sprout and grow. Plus plant cuttings just look great in glass containers—just like a vase of flowers. Below are the steps I recommend following when propagating a fiddle leaf fig cutting in water.

large fiddle leaf fig tree

Step 1: Take a cutting from a healthy plant

The water propagation method is best for smaller cuttings. When taking a stem cutting, make sure it has a few sets of leaves and you get at least several inches of stem. Remove a few of the lower leaves to expose growth points. Make sure you’ll be able to keep those areas of the stem submerged in water.

You’ll also want to make sure the cutting isn’t too large and doesn’t have too many leaves. This is another reason to remove the bottom leaves. You want the new plant’s energy to be spent on developing a new root system—not on keeping the existing leaves alive!

You can also cut the leaves in half to conserve energy, but I don’t love this approach because I like the plant to look complete when I plant it. I have tried it to experiment, though.

Red circles showing areas you could remove leaves to expose growth points
Red circles showing areas you could remove leaves to expose growth points

Step 2: Put the cutting in water

Put the cutting in water in a sunny spot. I have mine in my test tube propagation station that I built. Refresh the water every week or so. You’ll soon begin to notice growth on the bottom of the cutting.

The growth will be white and will look like little cauliflower clusters. This is good! But don’t pull the cutting to plant it just yet. Be patient and give it another few weeks to start sprouting some good new roots. 

This will help reduce the shock when you transfer the plant to soil. It will already have a nice root system developed, which will hopefully help it adapt to its new conditions quickly. You might even notice new growth from the top of the cuttings while they are rooting in water! If so, this is great!

fiddle leaf fig propagation
new roots growing in water on a fiddle leaf fig cutting
new roots growing in water on a fiddle leaf fig cutting
new fiddle leaf fig roots growing in water

Step 3: Plant the newly rooted cutting

Once your cutting has a sufficiently developed new root system, carefully plant it in a pot with fresh well-draining soil. Water the plant and keep the soil moist until you notice new growth sprouting from the bud on the top of the cutting.

You can cut the larger original leaf or leaves in half to help conserve the plant’s growing energy. This way, the plant can divert more of its energy to establishing the new plant’s root system.

new growth sprouting on a fiddle leaf fig plant propagated from a branch
fiddle leaf fig cutting planted in soil
fiddle leaf fig cutting planted in soil
fiddle leaf fig cutting planted in soil

And here’s this plant a few months later! It is enjoying some sun outside in my backyard every afternoon. Since it was so hot out, I made sure to keep it watered every day. It’s did wonderfully, and about a month after this photo, I plucked off that little half leaf.

propagated fiddle leaf fig cutting

Rooting a fiddle leaf fig cutting in soil

You can propagate cuttings directly in soil, too. This takes a while—don’t worry if you don’t see new growth on your plant for a while. There’s a lot going on under the surface! Your new plant is dedicating all of its energy to developing a brand new root system.

Just repeat step one above to take a great cutting. Then plant directly in soil. You can dab the soil-end of the cutting in rooting hormone powder, which will help speed up the root development process. You can get rooting hormone online (affiliate link) or in any local nursery! One bottle lasts forever, too.

After you plant your cutting in soil, make sure to keep the soil moist and cover the above-the-soil area with something like a plastic bag. This creates a greenhouse effect that will help the cutting root and grow. Once you notice new growth sprouting on the top of the cutting, the plant is rooted.

propagated fiddle leaf fig cutting

Propagating a fiddle leaf fig from a branch

I also want to talk a bit about how to turn a branch from a fiddle leaf fit bush into a tree. The fiddle leaf fig comes in two forms: bush and tree. A bush has multiple branches, giving the plant a fuller look. The tree form has that waif-y look that everyone associated with fiddle leaf figs—a tall, single branch with a bobble head look of leaves at the top. The difference lies in pruning.

Here’s how I split a stem off of a fiddle leaf fig bush. While repotting my fiddle leaf big bush, I exposed the root system and gently broke apart the roots. I separated one of the branches that has lost quite a few leaves on the bottom, ensuring I left some of the root system attached. I did not remove the roots by cutting the branch off with shears or a knife.

beautiful fiddle leaf fig bush
fiddle leaf fig bush with multiple stems
fiddle leaf fig stem
fiddle leaf fig plant propagated from a branch

I then followed all of the instructions for propagating a fiddle leaf fit stem in soil…except it was a lot faster that using a fresh cutting! That’s because I was basically dividing the plant and keeping some of the existing root system in place. I did make sure to keep the soil moist until I noticed new growth, which took about two weeks.

Here’s a photo progression of what the first new leaves looked like over a few days. Exciting!! The two new leaves photographed here only took about a week to grow to the size of the other leaves. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this gorgeous plant progresses over the next few months, especially through spring and summer growing season!

new growth sprouting on a fiddle leaf fig plant propagated from a branch
new growth sprouting on a fiddle leaf fig plant propagated from a branch
new growth on a fiddle leaf fig plant propagated from a branch
new growth on a fiddle leaf fig plant propagated from a branch

Caring for a new fiddle leaf fig plant

When you notice new growth sprouting from the buds on your new plant, you can begin treating it just as you would any other fiddle leaf fig plant. Fiddle leaf fig plants like well-draining soil and stable temperatures.

They like a lot of bright, indirect light and don’t like being near temperature fluctuations like heat or AC vents or open doors or windows. Once you find a spot where your fiddle leaf fig is happy, don’t move it!

woman holding a fiddle leaf fig plant
fiddle leaf fig plant in a sunroom with other plants

In conclusion…

Propagating fiddle leaf figs, whether through water or soil, is a rewarding and achievable project. The key to success lies in selecting healthy cuttings, monitoring root development, and providing the right environment for growth. 

By following my guide, you can successfully propagate new fiddle leaf fig plants. Have you propagated this plant before? How did it go? Let me know in the comments. Happy planting!

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collage of plants with text overlay that says how to propagate fiddle leaf fig cuttings, learn the easy steps

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