Ficus is a genus of approximately 850 different species of woody shrubs, vines and trees that are most often referred to by their collective name, fig. Many fig tree cultivars are fruit-bearing, including the common fig (Ficus carica), weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) and rubber tree (Ficus elastica). If you have access to a few fresh, ripe figs, you can easily harvest their seeds and germinate them to grow your own fig trees at home.
Soak two or three fresh, ripe figs in a bowl of clean water for one to two days. Use your fingers to break open the figs, exposing the seeds and pulp. Return the figs to the water for an additional one to two days. Scoop out any pulpy material that floats to the top; any viable fig seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Pour the water in the bowl through a strainer and spread the seeds on a paper towel to allow them to dry slightly.
Combine equal parts peat moss, perlite and finely ground volcanic rock to create a coarse, well-draining growing medium in which to germinate your seeds. Pour the growing medium into a 4- to 6-inch-deep tray with drainage holes in the bottom.
Mix the fig seeds with 1/2 cup of wood ash or fine horticultural sand. Distribute the mixture evenly over the surface of the growing medium in the tray.
Water the seeds to settle them into the growing medium and encourage them to germinate.
Place the tray in a location that receives four to six hours of bright sunlight per day. Water, as needed, to keep the growing medium evenly moist; the seeds should germinate and sprout in approximately seven to 10 days.
Wait until each seedling forms four to five healthy leaves before transplanting them to individual planting containers.
Avoid keeping the growing medium in the tray too wet, as this will encourage the seeds to rot rather than germinate.
Tips and warnings
- Wait until each seedling forms four to five healthy leaves before transplanting them to individual planting containers.
- Avoid keeping the growing medium in the tray too wet, as this will encourage the seeds to rot rather than germinate.