How to graft a Fig Tree ( Complete Procedure)

Last Modified

March 13, 2023 by Hirah Ehsan

The process of grafting fig plants is simple. The rapid and easy rooting ability of figs makes them one of the most sought-after cloning plants among gardeners. A gardener or homesteader could not possibly imagine a more fulfilling hobby than growing plants from their collection without paying a cent.

Despite the fact that figs have been rooted for centuries, few growers graft their trees, mostly because grafting is not necessary for a sturdy, vigorous tree that resists disease. Generally, grafting is not necessary, because it requires additional materials and labor and can lead to weak points in the tree or sucking shoots from the roots.

However, there have been a few occasions when it has been necessary. The process of tree grafting involves taking a root (scion) from an existing tree and affixing it to a rootstock to form a new tree. This process is known as “tree surgery. It seems complex, but the process itself is rather simple and rewarding.

A grafted fruit tree won’t immediately impact your property, but it will improve the wildlife’s food options over the long run. The process of grafting fig plants is simple. A grafted fruit tree won’t immediately impact your property, but it will improve the wildlife’s food options over the long run.

How to graft a fig tree

1. Right Tolls

With the right tools, you will be able to perform grafts more successfully. For apple trees around which you wish to graft, and for pear trees around which you wish to graft, as well as persimmon and cherry trees, you will need the rootstock of the appropriate species.

Your local extension agent is the best source for rootstock suited to your region. A vendor or a vendor’s representative can likely obtain rootstock for you. The nursery also offers rootstocks. If you want to graft the part of the tree you intend to remove the scion (the portion of the tree that you intend to graft), you will need sharp pruning shears.

Cutting the rootstock and scion with a razor-sharp knife is essential. Also, Exacto knives are used. Joining the pieces together can be made easier using grafting tape and grafting sealants.

2. Scion selection

To the greatest extent possible, match the scion wood’s size and angle to the rootstocks. The best scion is one you can collect from the branches that have four to six buds and is no more than ten or twelve inches long, and not the water sprouts at the base of the tree. It is also ideal for the scion to have a close diameter match to the rootstock.

3. Rootstock cutting

Partially score/cut roots one or two inches below the intended graft location to clear sap flow pressure. Wait for the sap to drain off if there is any. Whip and tongue grafts are used when scion and rootstock have similar diameters.

Scions that are slightly smaller than rootstocks can be cut in rootstocks so that the width of the cambium will match the scion. When the scion diameter is only 3/4 of the rootstock diameter, use cleft grafting.  

Using a cleft graft, we recommend that the top of the scion not exceed 1/2 the diameter of the roots. You may consider going down to the roots if you want a thicker area.

4. Grafting

Slice the scion into a wedge with a blunt end that is equal in length and depth to the wedge you took out of the rootstock. Scions should be inserted into the rootstock split carefully. Examine the two pieces carefully to make sure that the outer cambium layers come as close together as possible.

As you are whittling the scion end, make sure it matches up cleanly and solidly. It is important to maximize contact between rootstock and scion because the entire process depends on it.

5. Wrapping the scion and rootstock union

To keep it from being moved after it’s already in place, we wrap the scion with Parafilm before placing it. Stretch the Parafilm a lot when placing it over the scion as this creates a better seal and makes it easier for buds to push through.

Rubber bands are usually placed on top of Parafilm before wrapping Parafilm around the union area. However, I always wrap the rubber bands around the area before wrapping Parafilm around it. Thus, the rubber band is held in place a bit better by the Parafilm, which provides less chance for the scion to move. Buddy Tape has been applied to both the joint as well as the wood itself in order to prevent the graft from drying out.

Probably the best grafting tape on the market, Buddy Tape is known for its extraordinary elasticity. To make sure the rootstock stays in close contact with the scion after wrapping the scion, secure the rubber band around the rootstock at the graft union. Ensure a strong bond between the union and its members.

It is possible to cover the union with grafting sealant. With time, the sealant and tape will age and break down. There’s a danger of girdling, which may cause damage and ultimately kill the tree if you use too much tape or grafting sealant.

While continuing the work, place the graft into a bucket of water in order to prevent drying out of the scion. Plant the unions as soon as you are ready to put them in the ground.

6. Planting

If you have recently grafted trees, be sure to plant them in a fertile area that won’t be tampered with. The root should be placed in the hole about one to two inches from the surface of the soil where you grafted the scion. Tie a small piece of fluorescent-colored ribbon to the tip of the graft so you can easily see it. 

Reason for Grafting a fig tree

Our fig trees need to be grafted to achieve multi-graft fig trees. An extra-large tree with multiple grafts is especially helpful for people who don’t have much space. It’s often very beneficial to have many kinds of fig trees on a single tree. The reason is that different varieties of figs can be harvested at different times throughout the season as well as diversifying the dishes you can make with them!

Fig grafting is also used to increase the vigor of varieties that aren’t prone to vigor naturally, which is why we are doing it right now in greenhouses. Even some of the world’s most delicious and highly sought-after varieties are not vigorous. The root cause of this may be a variety of traits.

When cuttings are stressed from fig mosaic virus or too much cutting, we have found that grafting them onto a variety that is vigorous can help them regain vigor.

Since Desert King fig tree species in the Northwest are abundant and remarkably vigorous, we often use them as rootstocks.


  • Establishing fig trees requires regular watering. When you live in an area with a dry climate, water your fig trees deeply weekly.
  • You can grow fig trees in containers, but they do not require fertilizing.
  • A nitrogen supplement can be added if your fig tree is not growing as much as it should. Make three or four feedings of nitrogen. Apply the nitrogen late in winter and let it soak in until midsummer.
  • To prevent weed growth and keep roots moist, you can apply mulch around the tree.
  • Pruning fig trees is not necessary. If possible, remove decayed, diseased, and unhealthy branches during the dormant season.
  • It is possible to thin fig fruit if abundant growth results in large figs.
  • When the weather gets cold, you can bring fig trees inside in containers.
  • Make sure your environment is moist.
  • You may experience fig trees dying back to the ground when you live in an area that experiences a particularly cold winter. The tree’s underground part will likely be unaffected if it is a hardy variety.
  • The tree should be pruned while it is still dormant and new growth should be observed in the spring.

Frequently Asked Question

Do fig trees grow well in specific places?

It’s best to plant in the Middle South near a wall that has southern exposure to benefit from reflections of solar energy. ‘Brown Turkey’ and ‘Celeste’ are two cold-hardy selections in the Upper South. If you store them in cool garages or basements during the winter, you can grow figs in large pots.

What is the best way to harden a fig tree?

It is necessary to let the plant spend several hours outdoors each day and bring it back indoors by evening. Plants need at least two weeks to become accustomed to their new environment. You can transplant the young tree outside after it has hardened off.


It is easy to graft figs. There is no professionalism or experience required. Just remember some caring tips and follow the procedure mentioned above. You will easily graft your fig tree and will save time. We hope so you find this article helpful.

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