Sister-Fig: Presently a Stick

Sister-Fig in Better Days

Bob, my artist-friend, traveled for a year in Australia.  It wasn’t the first time that he had left Mother-Fig in my care. And each time, he told me the heart-warming story of the lady who had passed Mother-Fig on to him years before and that at one point, the plant had even produced fruit! I was determined to keep her alive, although I was open to critical incidents and there were more then a few, particularly her constant battle with red spider mites!  But, with time, attention and much love, she thrived and was the most unusual plant!  It was fun to do drawings of her…such an unusual contour, smooth woody bark, beautifully-shaped leaves!  A real beauty and conversation piece!

Well, when Bob came back, I already had a well-established cutting, knowing that I loved Mother-Fig so much, and she came to be known as Sister-Fig.  I’ve had her for years now and she’s seen family and friends through many Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas celebrations.  There was always talk about Sister-Fig!  I continued to struggle periodically with her leaf drop and the reoccuring visitation of the dreaded mites (all because of her woody stem), but basically learned her ways and enjoyed her.

However,  this summer I left Sister for two months and have to report that things did not fare well for poor Sister-Fig.  Some of you might say, “Oh, just go back to Bob’s Mother-Fig and begin the journey anew.”  But, I fear that this is the end to this lineage, given that Bob’s Mother-Fig had succumbed some time before Sister.  (I secretly believe that she missed my ministrations.) 

I have cut down the main stems of Sister, have watered her and am hoping that she will somehow revive.  I am not looking to place blame in this situation for I know that it is a difficult thing to take up this sort of project in one’s life.  Tonight, however, I AM looking at the countless WordPress Blogs that deal with this very issue and I’m astounded!  I have NO difficulty understanding why the fig is of biblical stature!  A fig is just soooo hard to grow! 

Poor Sister-Fig!

I invite the wisdom of the experts.  Shall I abandon her at long last or hold out hope?

Ok…so…updates here.  This is what Sister-Fig looks like as she has come out of refrigeration!  Poor girl.  I’m hoping that I will see something green eventually.  For now, I’m watering my soil.  Thank you for the advice!  If she never comes to be, again…where would I purchase a fig?


Planted After Artificial Hibernation in my Fridge!


5 thoughts on “Sister-Fig: Presently a Stick

  1. Of course it suffered. It’s not a cactus!
    ok. one thing you can do to see if the wood is still alive. slice off a small portion of one of the stick ends to see if there is any green around the edges and filled white core. If you see this, the wood is still alive. You can also check this with one of the roots too.
    If it looks alive, remove the tree from the soil, wrap a damp (not soaking wet) cloth or paper towels around the roots, place into a plastic bag and let it sit in your refrigerator for 2 weeks. This will force it into winter hibernation.
    After 2 weeks, remove it from the refrigerator and plant it into your moistened soil. The best soil is a grow medium as it allows the water to pass right through to the roots and out the bottom. Be sure the soil is only damp, not wet. The best thing to do is to water the pot filled with the medium a day before you plant it in the pot and not when you plant it into the soil. The best pot for bringing it to life is a nursery pot that has holes at the bottom. You don’t want to contain the water as it passes through the holes.
    And then wrap the plant with a clear plastic bag and then set it outside in the shade with air temperatures not less than 70F (21C). Be sure the plastic is not touching the wood of the tree. Wrapping it this way will create a miniature greenhouse effect. Wait 3-4 weeks. If you don’t see any growth after 4 weeks, then the tree is most likely dead.
    Good luck!

    • So….of the stick, I found nothing alive…however, when I examined the root ball, I found some bits at the very end that were white and full of life, so I’ve followed your instructions with the damp paper towels and greenhouse-bag…I’m somewhat afraid of putting it in the fridge? Really? By the way, I believe that Stuart McLean has done a story about a fig tree? Will have to hung for it! Thanks again for your advice, and I’ll let you know the progress.

      • Any luck? Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, I wasn’t following your blog and didn’t see anymore of your notes on mine about the topic and I hadn’t clicked on that little check box at the bottom. The temperature in the refrigerator is only around 40F. It’s the normal minimal hibernation temperature for a fig tree, any higher than this then the tree may continue to die. There’s no need to fear. I do it all the time with my cuttings. It’s not like you’re placing it into the freezer which can cause death for the tree.

      • See updated blog post. :0) I really appreciate your guidance…I am just fearful that Mother-Fig’s lineage has come to an end with Sister-Fig. Sigh.

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