I use the term ‘autumn’ loosely because we don’t really have one in Sydney. We’ve turned the clock back one hour and the leaves on my edible fig trees have dropped. Summer is officially over.
We’ve had some rain and the temperatures at night have dropped to 16ºC though the maximum hovers between 24ºC and 25ºC, the temperature at which Londoners would be jumping into public fountains. In my garden the citruses are hanging heavy with fruit and the red devil (I know not its name) is flowering its head off. This is when I decide it is autumn.
Propagating figs in Sydney can be done any time of the year; our weather is so mild. It’s as simple as cutting a piece off the tree and sticking it into a pot, two thirds buried. It will put out root and all you need do is to pot it up as it grows, or not. It does not mind being a bit cramped nor about the quality of soil/potting mix you use. Here I am reusing some old potting mix from an annual that’s finished. Professionals may take more care but these are just pruned bits that would otherwise be thrown in the compost so I don’t waste resource or more than a few minutes on them.
If you want an instant tree you can try arial rooting (I use this term horticulturally). Select a branch; strip off an inch or so of the bark and any green bits and wrap the wound up in wet soil/moss, tie it securely with a piece of plastic and strings. The part you strip would be where the roots emerge. Here it takes as little as a month to happen; if you do it now you should have a new tree by September (our spring). I demonstrated this on ABCTV in a segment on Gardening Australia; I think there’s a link on my About Me page. That was in mid winter and that tree is now growing in the garden of an asylum seekers centre.
Every year I give away a number of fig trees that I’d propagated. This year I have decided to give away cuttings to save myself the trouble and they are easier to put in the post than trees, even bare rooted ones. Wrapped in damp paper and put in a plastic bag, a cutting will grow roots in situ until you’re ready to plant it, even if you leave it in the fridge.