Fig Tree Care and How to Grow a Fig Tree in a Pot (or the Ground)
Figs are one of the tastiest fruits you can grow in your garden as well as in container. Fig trees are incredibly attractive with their uniquely shaped green foliage when the trees aren’t in the stage of fruiting. The best part about growing fig trees is they will have one of the shortest wait times when compared with other fruit trees, usually 1-2 years after planting. However, these trees with all the perks, they have reputation in northern garden for not being winter hardy enough to try.
Fortunately, you don’t need to struggle and fight against the harsh environment when you grow them in containers. Let’s see how to care for them when growing in containers.
Growing Fig Trees In Containers:
Figs are perfect fruit to grow in containers and it makes a beautiful patio plant. Whereas figs planted in the ground focus their energy on developing roots and take more than 8 years to produce fruit. But, growing fig trees in container means that the plant easily occupies root zone of their pots quickly and spent their energy to produce fruit. Container grown fig trees produce fruits within 4-5 years.
Caring Fig Tree:
Most of the fig trees survive in cold temperatures -4F (-20C). Many varieties are hardy to zone 6 with winter protection and only few varieties survive even in colder winters with protection. If you feel it is colder than that at your place, keep it indoors where it’s protected.
Half whiskey barrels are ideal to grow in containers, but any container large enough to accommodate the root ball plus additional growing space would be fine. However, you can always transplant tree in later years as it outgrow the container.
Figs crave for sun, so choose a spot where it gets maximum sunlight throughout the day. The soil PH should between 6.0-6.5 and plant new fig trees in spring after all danger of frost for your area has passed.
To grow figs, you can use regular potting soil or make your own potting mix as long as it is loamy, well drained and contains plenty of compost. As you plant the tree in container backfill it with 2 inches below the top of container and take care to ensure the point where trunk meets the root ball is level with the soil.
You should water it only when the top inch of the soil feels dry. Remember that container grown trees dry out more quickly when compared with garden ones. If you allow the tree to dry out too much, the stress may result in losing its leaves or lessen fruit production.
Mix compost or manure tea each month to promote healthy and prolific fruit set. When fruits start to begin, provide tree with adequate water to produce juicy and plump fruit.
How To Propagate New Fig Trees:
Figs can be propagated with cuttings, in late winter or spring take cutting of a branch from previous season’s wood. Choose a branch which is 10 inches long and press it in to sterile potting medium. Water it to encourage rooting and cover the pot with plastic bag or cloche to prevent scion from drying out before roots.
Allow the surface of potting medium to dry out between watering. As figs root quickly, cutting that are started in early spring will be ready to pot in the fall season.
How Long Before The New Fig Tree Produces Fruit:
Container grown figs started by cutting produce fruit four to six years from the time cutting is made. The first year after propagation, the cuttings start to establish root system and once the tree begins to fruit you can easily expect two crops each year.
Pests And Diseases:
Container grown figs are often troubled with spider mites, white flies or aphids when grown in green house. You can spray strong stream of water to knock off the pests easily from the plant. Or neem oil or any oil soap spray is completely safe to use on figs.
Don’t spray oil if the temperature is above 85F because the leaves can be damaged by excessive heat spraying.
When To Harvest Figs:
Ripe figs are soft to touch and as they over ripen the skin can split. Know the color of the ripe fruit of particular varieties of figs which will help you to harvest them at the right time. Ants and wasps are attracted to sweet scent of ripe figs, so you should harvest them quickly once they become ripe.
Fresh figs are perishable, keep them in refrigerator and eat within a week. For longer preservation, figs can be dried, frozen, canned or fermented.