The origin of the fig tree can be traced back as far as 5,000 B.C. Scientists believe it originated in western Asia, and was then brought by man into the Mediterranean region. Many people believe that a fig is a fruit without a flower, but the small flowers of the fig are actually hidden inside the green fruit. Most cultivars are self-pollinators, and will begin bearing fruit after a few seasons.
Dwarf fig trees grown in containers will generally reach a height of 6 feet and will be shrub like, whereas dwarf fig trees that are planted in the ground can reach a height of up to 20 feet. Species that are not considered dwarf figs are known to grow up to 50 feet.The branches spread out in a twisting manner, and in most instances the tree’s spread is greater than its height.
Fig trees should be planted in a hole that is twice the size of the root ball, and at a depth that is 2 to 4 inches deeper than the depth that it was previously grown in. It should be watered immediately but not fertilized. If you plant a dwarf fig in a container make sure that the container is large enough to give the roots room to grow, and that it is well drained. Fig trees can be planted towards the end of the dormant season in late winter--this will avoid damage from the cold.
The dwarf fig tree has a root system that is close to the surface of the soil. With this type of root system there is a tendency for the roots to dry out in hot weather. Therefore the tree must be watered regularly, especially during hot weather. A sign of water stress is leaf wilting. To maintain moisture in the soil it is always good to mulch around the circumference of the trunk of the tree, this will also keep the weeds down around the tree.
As the dwarf fig tree gets established it will need to be pruned for the first three years. This annual pruning is to shape the tree. Once it is established you will prune to remove any dead or diseased branches, to control its size in your landscape design, and to stimulate new growth. Pruning can be done in the fall after fruiting is complete.
Dwarf fig trees in containers need to be fertilized three or four times a year, using a fruit tree fertilizer and following the manufacturer’s directions. If your dwarf fig is not in a container, it will not require fertilization.
Watering should be reduced in the fall to encourage the tree to go into its dormant stage. When a fig tree is in its dormant stage it can cope with cooler temperatures much better than if it was not dormant. Some cultivars, when in their dormant stage, can withstand temperatures of 10 degrees F. Container grown fig trees will need to be taken inside if you live in an area that experiences freezing temperatures.