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Rooting Stem or Green Fig Cuttings and a Hydroponic DWC Fig Cloner


  • Rooting Stem or Green Fig Cuttings and a Hydroponic DWC Fig Cloner

    Fig Cuttings Bubble Cloner;

    There are simple proven methods for rooting green fig cuttings, (1), (2), (15), (16) which are standard stem cutting rooting procedures utilizing standard containers, potting mixes and plastic "Humidity Domes". More sophisticated (complicated) equipment has been used to successfully root fig cuttings like the automated intermittent mist systems, (3) and Aeroponic Cloners. A forum member, Dennis, Snaglpus shared his success with Aeroponic Cloners, (4) and a link in his Opening Post (OP) led to a topic in another forum on building DIY Cloners, (5).

    Hydroponic Deep Water Culture Cloners (9), (10), (11) or DWC Bubble Cloners, are some of the simplest hydroponic devices, the available internet build instructions (12) are simple and easy to follow. A DIY bubble cloner for pre-rooting fig stem, green or summer cutting can be build from a dollar store plastic shoe box and aquarium supplies at a material cost of under $20 for a 12 site cloner. When used for fig propagation the bubble cloner is only used to pre-root the cuttings, once rooted they are up potted to a standard cutting mix. The DIY Bubble cloner could be made in a larger size, but I opted for the smaller size and water volume because better results have been reported when the water or nutrient solution is replaced weekly, for the 6 qt shoe box this would be ~ 3 quarts.

    I decided to test the simple Hydroponic cloner on green fig cuttings since I had all of the materials already on hand except for the 2" net cups and an aquarium air stone (I've since eliminated the net cups and drill 1-3/4" holes to mount the Neoprene Inserts). The Hydroponic cloner is modeled on a DWC Bubble Cloner, (6) . The air stone and net cups cost less than $4.00 total, the foam inserts were cut from 1/2 of an old dollar store knee pad. A similar commercially available 4 site Deep Water Culture or DWC Hydroponic Cloner that uses the same bubble principles, (10) and can be purchased for around $30.00, (8 site - $60.00), a 24 site OxyClone (7) which uses a small water and separate air pump costs $50.00 including shipping.

    For cloning fig cuttings I decided to use the experience gained from rooting summer or green cuttings with a method posted by forum member Dan A. aka DAN_LA, King Fig , (8). My observations from using this method was that the area of the cutting that produces the healthiest root initials was above the water line and only the bottom end of the cutting has to be in water to maintain the active vascular system. This water rooting method was 100% successful in rooting an initial test group of green fig cuttings.

    The Bubble Cloner produced roots within 21 days and the rooted cuttings were ready for potting within 28 days. Although the Cloner required additional Labor, equipment and energy (electricity) it was successful in rooting collected green cuttings withing a short time period with relatively minimal effort and cost. I was also able to fabricate additional shoe box cloners and used them for propagating other plants which grew surprisingly fast, pinched Tomato suckers rooted in only 3 days.

    DIY Bubble Cloner Material list;
    1 10" Bubble bar - $2.77 (17*)
    1 Sterilite 1642 "Shoe Box" - $1.00 ea. (18*)
    1 Single Aquarium air pump - $6.77 (17*)
    1 Kneeling pad 3/4" neoprene - $2.00, (18*) or 12 - 2"x 3/4" Hard Neoprene Inserts - $8.00 (13)
    1 airline - $1.88 (17*)
    1 roll tape
    1 Black plastic bag or small piece of black plastic (to shade the reservoir)

    Bubble Cloner Instructions - Fig Stem Cuttings;
    1. Take ~ 6 inch long cuttings. Remove larger leaves, leave the top 2 and trim if needed in order to reduce transpiration.
    2. With a clean, sterile blade, re-cut the bottom of the cutting Just below the bottom node, keep the cuttings well hydrated (in a vase).
    3. Place a clone in each neoprene insert with ~ 3 inches below the insert.
    4. Place clone machine 2 feet below fluorescent lighting or in a partially sunny window (light is required).
    5. Fill the reservoir with ~ 3 quarts of spring water.
    6. Adjust pH level to 5.5 - 6.5 if needed.
    7. Maintain water temperature at 72 - 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
    8. Start air Pump and run cloner 24 hours a day (if there is a power failure the clones still have access to water).
    9. Mist the leaves with water once or twice daily.
    10. Clones will root in approximately 14 - 21 days.
    11. When roots begin to emerge add 1/2 tsp. of water soluble fertilizer per gallon of water to aid in root development.
    12. The solution should be changed weekly to remove any bad microbes and or maintain strength of the nutrient solution.

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    18. Dollar Store
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