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How to Care for Potted Fig Trees

Fig trees are a popular tree to grow potted in the home rather than planted in the ground. They grow very well and even produce figs without a lot of special attention. They go dormant during winter so there is no need to find a sunny spot for them in your house or greenhouse during freezing weather.

Pot fig trees in plastic, clay or wooden planters. Try not to plant in a black or dark-colored pot because it will attract the sun’s rays and possibly overheat the roots. An adult fig tree should be transplanted into a 15- to 20-gallon container. Make sure that the container you use has an adequate drainage hole in it.

Use a light, friable but not overly rich potting soil mix for growing potted fig trees. Use a mixture of one part indoor potting soil, one part vermiculite, one part compost and one part builder’s sand. This will ensure that your fig tree gets good drainage and enough, but not too much, nutrients.

Position your fig tree outdoors in a warm, sunny spot that is sheltered from strong wind. You can grow a fig tree in an unheated greenhouse during the summer months as long as it has adequate ventilation. Move indoors in late fall before freezing weather sets in for good. Set it in an unheated garage or basement and allow it to go dormant for the winter months.

Water fig trees when the soil is dry an inch below the surface. They will need to be watered more frequently during the hot summer months than during the dormant period in winter. As long as the potting soil is loose, well-drained and the pot has a drainage hole, it is hard to over water potted fig trees.

Fertilize your fig tree with a slow-release organic fertilizer. Choose a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus (the second number on the label) or one that is formulated for fruits and vegetables.

Prune the roots of potted fig trees every 3 to 4 years. Lay the pot on its side and remove the pot. Prune off about one-fourth of the roots that are growing at the outside of the root ball. Add some fresh soil on top after returning the root ball to the pot. Remove about one-fourth of the branches of the fig tree at the same time that you prune the roots. This is necessary because you are reducing the amount of roots so the amount of top growth must be reduced as well.

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