How to Germinate a Fig Seed

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The fig is a delicious fruit that grows on attractive, bushy trees. To grow new fig trees (​Ficus​ ​carica​) for fruit, it's better to use branch cuttings, but you can also germinate fig seeds if you want a decorative fig tree. That's because fig trees come in both male and female varieties like avocado trees. If you grow a fig tree from a seed that happens to be male, the resulting fruit won't be edible, so there's a bit of luck involved.

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How to Germinate a Fig Seed

Step 1: Choose the Right Seeds

While it is possible to grow fig plants from seeds gathered from fresh fruit, not all fig fruits you can buy from the grocery store have been pollinated. If they haven't been pollinated, they don't contain "true" seeds. For better results, buy a packet of fig seeds.

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Step 2: Plant the Seeds

Select a container with drainage holes and fill it with seed-starting mix (this method has been shown to work better for figs than peat pellets). Sprinkle the seeds from the packet onto the surface of the mix and press gently. Cover the container with plastic wrap and place it on a sunny windowsill. Figs prefer warmer climates, so if you don't have a sunny windowsill, use a grow lamp to get things started. Keep the seeds moist by watering them with a spray bottle. The seeds should germinate within a few weeks or up to three months.

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Step 3: Feed the Seedlings

Once the seeds have germinated, feed the seedlings with half-strength plant food at two weeks and again at four weeks. After a month, you can increase the quantity of plant food to full strength.

Step 4: Transfer the Seedlings to Individual Pots

Once the seedlings have four leaves each, they are ready to be transplanted into individual seedling pots. Fill each pot with a general potting soil and gently move each seedling.

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Step 5: Keep the Seedlings Indoors for Their First Winter

Keep the seedlings in a warm, sunny indoor area for their first winter and stop feeding them plant food. You can resume feeding them in early spring. Introduce them to brighter light in the weeks leading up to planting them outdoors.

Step 6: Plant Them in the Ground

After the last frost of the spring, the seedlings can be transplanted into the ground outdoors. Plant them in an area that gets a good eight hours of sunlight per day and that has sandy, slightly acidic soil (pH level of 6.0 to 6.5). Space them 10 to 20 feet apart from each other and from other trees so they have room to grow.

The fig seedlings will continue to need about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water per week. If this isn't provided through rain, make sure to water them weekly.

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