by Jerry Meislik
Figs can be propagated from seed. This is a long process taking years to get reasonable sized plants that can only then just begin bonsai training. It is a good way to obtain unusual or rare material that can not be found as cuttings or plants.
Cuttings are the easiest way to propagate figs. Cuttings of branches of even large size can successfully be rooted and provide a rather quick way to obtain new plants that are ready to bonsai.
Many people do not realize that some figs can be propagated from root cuttings. Large roots can be buried almost up to their tops and watered when nearly dry, kept warm, in good light they will sprout leaves from the cut end. It can take up to 6 months for sprouts to appear from the top of the root cutting.
Interesting shaped trunks can be derived from these root cuttings without using complex wiring.
Species that can grow from root cuttings include Ficus salicaria, the Willow Leaf fig and Ficus natalensis.Until recently my efforts to grow Ficus microcarpa, the Chinese Banyan from roots were all total failures; although the roots remain alive from one to two years they just do not sprout leaves and finally die having exhausted their stored energy reserves.
Jim Stone of Santa Fe, Texas provided me with photos of root cuttings that he took that did sprout for him. So I guess Ficus microcarpa can be sprouted from root cuttings.
Thanks for thephotos and information from Jim.