Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fig Cutting Variety Codes - decipher your stems!

Okay, just a quickie post here.
For those of you who are now opening packages of fig cuttings.....
and the labels are history, jostled to the bottom of the package?

Look on the stems of the cuttings and you will see little abbreviated "codes" on the stems.  We learned this trick years ago when we had to keep hundreds of cuttings straight.  

from (great blog name!)
Rule:  Never rely on labels.

Here are the codes (on the stems) you might find in your package, depending on what you requested or (if you said to "just send an assortment", on what we picked out for you):
  • CEL = Celeste
  • AL or ALM = Alma Gold
  • VB = Violette (Violette de Bourdeaux)
  • BAT = Battaglia Green
  • SP = San Piero
  • CH = Chicago Hardy
  • BC = Blue Celeste
  • PAN = Panache
  • IGH = Italian Golden Honey

Now that your figs are safely with you and being potted up (or bagged up, depending on which method from the How to Propagate Figs webpage (tab above) you chose), you can add your own lovely labels!

** Remember, descriptions and photos of the figs are on my earlier post, which you might want to bookmark for later reference!


  1. Cuttings arrived in short order and appear to be in great shape. I'm reading the various rooting methods. One question I have is whether the wax should be removed? Thanks!

  2. Hi, Laura! Glad the cuttings arrived in good shape!

    As a rule, you should not have to remove the wax - it takes the place of allowing the fig cuttings to callous over before planting and seals the "injury" to prevent disease. Some folks like to lightly recut their propagation wood just at sticking, which neatly remove the wax - others just pot it up as is. You might want to try a few either way - that's the best way to decide what works for you! Wax should not interfere with the development of the root callous, which is kind of bumpy/whitish where rootlets will form.

    The important thing is to get at least two nodes under the damp sterile medium so they will begin to consider forming roots, rather that leaf development.

    Good luck!

  3. Sybil,
    My cuttings we on my doorstep when I arrived home today. They are nice and healthy looking .I'm glad that you included the P.S. at the bottom of your letter, as Two of the tags were missing. I will keep you posted on their progress . Thank you so very much.


  4. Have fun with them, Cody - and thanks again for being part of the fundraiser!

  5. Hi Sybil,
    I set up my cuttings to try the baggie method. Made 2 bundles per the "Figs 4 Fun" web page. Checked on them today - I think I may have used too much water. There are some tiny fluffy bits of mold on some of the buds. If I move quickly, are these salvageable? Should I move them to the plastic cup method so the tips can stay drier? Spray with diluted hydrogen peroxide? My figgies need help!!

  6. Hi, Laura! I'd gently wipe off the bits of mold and move them to the cups. To me the baggie method seems way too damp.... If you pot the cuttings in some perlite/vermiculite (50/50 mix, you can use the extra stuff to lighten soil in any other potting you do), and maybe put a clear bag over them if your air is dry - - but don't seal it!You can dip the lower part of the cuttings in Rootone or one of the other rooting hormone products if you want to encourage them even more. Keep the mix moist but not wet - make sure your containers have good drainage and keep the cuttings in a warm, out of direct sunlight place. It takes time - several weeks. I've always thought of starting them in clear plastic drinking cups so I could monitor the root development without disturbing the cuttings.... just a thought....

  7. OK, will do! I picked up vermiculite yesterday, and I shold have rooting hormone around here somewhere. Thanks for the advice!

  8. Well, I've succesfully killed all the fig cuttings. Oh well, it was a fun experiment and for a very worthy cause. I never seemed to beat the fluffy fungus. Hopefully you'll do another fundraiser sometime...

  9. would you like to trade a few fig tree cuttings I have sevral great varities as well. Or I'd love to buy some cuttings if possible. I'd like to try your BAT, SP, and BC I look forward to hearing back from you please feel free to contact me at

  10. Hi, Daniel! Thanks for coming by the blog! We're not taking any cuttings this year - it's the year to let the girls rest a bit. We whacked them like made for the fundraiser last year! I'm saving the few we take for a prop & swap I'm teaching at the little library here in Virginia Beach where I work. A few go each year to a rehabilitation program for blind US veterans in Georgia. That's gonna be it! But don't fret - you will find lots of swap minded folks on either forums or the fig forum at


The sharing of ideas, experience and helpful information between one gardener and another has always been the very best of gardening traditions.