Fig Trees

November 27, 2005

Fig Trees lend an exotic presence and the flavor of tree-ripened fruits to the home garden. With extra care to provide winter protection you can succeed in growing a fig tree even in northern climates.

Growing Fig Trees

Many people prefer the taste of fresh figs even more than that of the dried fruit. By learning how to grow a fig tree you can enjoy large harvests of this unusual fruit right from your own back yard. You may even be able to coax two crops of delicious figs from your trees each season.

The first step is to select the best location in your yard for planting the fig tree. The ideal position will offer full sun, a southern exposure, and provide protection from prevailing winds and late frosts. Planting alongside of a brick structure or stone wall will give the fig plant a convenient barrier to the weather and allow it to absorb heat radiating from the stones or brick.

Sources and Varieties of Fig Plants

Fig%20Tree Fig TreesPurchase your fig tree from a local nursery or for better selection order from a mail order supplier specializing in tropical fruits. If you have a neighbor growing fig trees you can easily propagate a fig plant from cuttings, or by air layering.

Popular varieties include: Brown Turkey, Hardy Celeste, Italian Golden Honey Fig, Violette Black, Green Ischia, Black Mission, Desert King, Kadota White, and Osborn’s Prolific. Do your homework before purchasing to ensure the variety selected will grow well in your climate.

Planting Fig Trees

Plant the fig tree in average soil mixed with compost, but do not add manures. Figs are not heavy feeders, and over fertilization results in lush leaf growth at the expense of fig production.

One trick that you may want to employ is to dig a hole about three feet deep and line the bottom with bricks or pot shards. This serves to restrict the roots and prevent the formation of tap roots. Figs seem to respond well to this treatment, but it is not a necessity.

Growing Figs in Containers

The plants take well to growing in containers, which also makes it convenient if you have to move them to a protected area during the winter.

Potted%20Fig%20Tree Fig TreesFor winter protection, potted figs can be placed in an unheated garage or storage area. Move them after they drop their leaves and go dormant. They will not require light or much water while in dormancy.

Winterizing and Protecting Fig Trees

To winterize an in-ground tree, insulate the base with leaves or straw and wrap the branches with blankets, quilts, canvas, carpet, or carpet padding. Next, wrap with a layer of clear plastic, or cover with a clear plastic bag.

Another trick to provide winter protection is to actually dig the plant up and lay the entire fig tree on the ground. Then cover with a piece of old carpeting, a layer of soil, and a thick covering of leaves or straw. When spring arrives simply uncover the tree and plant it upright.

Even without going through the effort to winterize your northern grown fig tree it may survive if you planted it in a sheltered location. If cold weather does destroy the tree, all is not lost as new shoots will frequently sprout from the roots to reestablish itself.





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{ 370 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Sanft December 27, 2006 at 10:55 am

I planted a fig tree in a large clay pot. For 1 year it flourished and had good growth and many figs. Recently all the leaves dropped off and all I see are tiny green tips on the stalks, but no leaves or figs. I fertilzed well with water soluable and also other fertilizer. (citrus etc etc) I tried infrequent watering and frequent watering, but still no growth. I also fed with acidfier once…..what do I need to do to get this tree back to normal.
Thanks.

Kenny Point January 7, 2007 at 3:43 pm

Paul, where do you live and what type of climate are you groing your fig tree in? Fig trees will shed their leaves and go dormant for the winter, which is normal. They don’t require much in the way of fertilization and I wouldn’t use an acidifier on them. I keep my dormant potted fig tree in an unheated garage and water it sparingly a couple of times if that during the winter.

Daniel January 13, 2007 at 12:34 pm

Hi Kenny,
Your web site is great to read. You have lots of useful tips! My garden is most of my yard, which isn’t big but I make up for that by growing everything that I can. I grow several varieties of figs. Grocery figs are nothing like home grown. For candy-like sweetness, they must be picked when VERY ripe, otherwise they are insipid. Most of mine were grown from cuttings which is easy. I’m glad that you posted on this plant because people dont know what they are missing. Keep up with the great blogging! Daniel

F. Moore February 8, 2007 at 12:20 pm

Help-
An acquaintance gave me 5 or 6 fig tree branch starts. I live in the Midwest and it is bitterly cold (our garage is averaging about 20-25 degrees) Should these starts be in dirt ? Should I wait til spring ? Is garage light enough ? Should I wrap them to keep warm ? Thanks for any advice !

Andreas February 25, 2007 at 5:05 pm

Thank you for the interesting information. I plan to plant a fig tree this spring. A friend who lives just 5 minutes away has plenty of them in his garden and I will try to propagate with cuttings. The place where I want to plant is sheltered against west and north by the house and open to the south, so I hope the fig tree will do well without any special treatment. I’m looking forward to harvesting some fruits in a few years. Regards, Andreas.

Kenny Point March 6, 2007 at 10:31 pm

Regarding the questions about propagating figs from cuttings, you almost can’t go wrong and have many options. The fig branches can be kept cool or even refrigerated to hold them till spring, or they can be moved to a warm location to encourage the plants to root and grow immediately. The fig cuttings can be inserted into a sterile growing medium (not dirt or soil), or the cuttings can be wrapped in layers of moist newspaper and then be placed in a plastic bag until the roots begin to grow.

Mike March 8, 2007 at 10:38 am

I am planning on ordering a fig tree from a catalogue and I was wondering how many years old a fig tree must be in order to begin producing figs.

Kenny Point March 9, 2007 at 11:41 pm

Mike, Figs begin bearing fruit relatively quickly. You can anticipate a small harvest of your first figs the second season after the tree is planted. As the fig tree grows larger and matures, the size of your harvests will increase. Depending on the variety of fig that you order and your climate, the tree may even be able to bear two separate crops of fruit each season.

Scott March 25, 2007 at 12:52 pm

To Mike: I ordered a Dwarf Black Fig “Petite Nigra” from Parks, it came as a 6 or 8 inch tall twig in a 3 inch pot. Once it leafed out I progressively potted it up as it grew. Within 1 year it grew into a beautiful 7×7 foot tree and began bearing delicious dark purple figs exactly 1 year after I bought it. The 2nd year it produced figs all summer and this will be it’s 3rd year. I live in western Iowa so it gets really cold here, it spends the winter in a greenhouse that’s kept barely above or right at 32 degrees…

Karen April 4, 2007 at 2:24 pm

Hi Kenny. Beautiful information you are sharing… thanks. I am also, as much as I can, gardening chemical free. My intent is to eventually make my front and back yards edible lawn. That’s a tall order because I have a pretty big front yard here in Montgomery, AL. I purchased online a gourmet fig cookbook last week which arrived two days before I saw several dirt cheap fig trees at the Air Force Base here. I bought two. How much space should I provide between them? Happy gardening y’all!

Kenny Point April 4, 2007 at 9:26 pm

Hello Karen, thank you for the kind comments. The fig tree’s spacing will vary depending on the variety, your climate, and the manner that you intend to prune and maintain your fig trees. You don’t want them to crowd each other, and you want to have enough room to work around them and to harvest the figs as they ripen.

I would recommend separating the trees by at least twelve feet. With your warm climate fig trees will grow larger and will never suffer from dying back to the ground over winter, so fifteen or twenty feet between your fig trees may be appropriate unless you plan on pruning to limit their size. Good luck and happy gardening to you also!

Nitala April 28, 2007 at 2:58 am

Hi Kenny,

A friend of mine has bought a fig tree for a container on her balcony (in the Netherlands). She was puzzled by the treatment recommended: Acaricide treatment and fungicide treatment twice in winter. She’s doesn’t want to use chemicals (nor would I). What organic treatment would you recommend if she encounters any problems with mites and fungus?

Thanks for any advice,
Nitala

Kenny Point April 28, 2007 at 10:16 am

Hi Nitala, I would not use chemical funicides and doubt that the containerized figs will need them over the winter. Fig trees will loose their leaves and go dormant during winter and they require very little water or other care during that period. The fig trees should be stored in a cool, unheated area over the winter which should also help to deter insect pest activity. It’s more likely that your friend won’t experience any problems with insects or fungus attacking her fig tree while it is dormant during the winter. I have never used them, but Spray and Grow does carry a line of organic fungicide products.

Coryne Craparo May 8, 2007 at 7:42 pm

Help,
I have a fig tree in my backyard that grows well but it has not given us had any figs yet. I started this tree from a cliping 3 years ago. Can you recommended something I should do so my fig tree will bear fruit next spring? Does it need to be pollinated? Thank you for your advise in advance.
Coryne

Kenny Point May 9, 2007 at 10:15 pm

Coryne, I’m realy not sure what the problem is with your fig tree that is preventing it from bearing figs. Figs do not require another tree for pollination, it may be that you have a variety that is not suited to your growing region or seasons. I have also had fig trees which were poor producers. You can give it more time to see if it will start to bear fruit and also prune some of the branches back a little. If nothing helps I would just try planting a different fig variety.

Margaret May 11, 2007 at 11:42 pm

I have purchased a fig tree about 1 metre high and am wondering what size container I need for this (Carnica).

Nursery people could not advise me. Can you help please? I would like to get a container that I can put on a wheel base to move it .

Kenny Point May 12, 2007 at 8:42 am

Hi Margaret, I have a containerized fig tree that’s growing fine in a pot that holds about three gallons of soil. That fig tree is about four years old and I will probably move it into a larger container this year. You can start out with an average sized container and transplant the fig into a larger pot as it grows. Bigger is better, but you will want the fig’s container to be manageable and not too heavy so that you can move it to a sheltered location in the winter, your idea for the wheel base will help with that.

Joe May 14, 2007 at 8:42 pm

When I dug up my fig tree this spring,it had a white substance on parts of it. The tree has been up for two weeks now and has not started to bud yet. My friends tree started to bud and grow leaves after one week. What could be wrong with mine and what can I do to help it? Thanks.

Kenny Point May 15, 2007 at 10:17 pm

Joe, your fig tree should be showing signs of growth by now, if it doesn’t come around and start to leaf out the branches may have died back over the winter. If that’s the case the fig tree roots usually still survive and will send up new growth from the ground.

Francine Fuqua June 29, 2007 at 12:23 am

Help, I have a beautiful fig tree that has given us nice fruit. This year, many little sticks like things are sprucing up on the trunk, when I touch them, they are sawdust and disintegrate. and there is a tiny hole. I suspect borer worms. How can I treat it and still be able to eat the fruit? Any risk on a nearby smaller fig tree?. There are small figs all over the tree now, I do not want to lose them. thanks for the help.

Kenny Point June 29, 2007 at 4:03 pm

Francine, it does sound like your fig tree is being attacked by borer worms. I have never dealt with them but I have heard of gardeners inserting a piece of wire into the hole to kill the borers. If you could inject BT into the hole that should also kill the worms. Borers typically target weak or diseased trees but the neighboring fig tree would be at risk also so you should keep a close eye on it.

Donna V July 5, 2007 at 6:04 pm

Hi Kenny
Thank you for this wonderful website!
HELP – Please
Is it too late for me? I just got 2 fig cuttings and I would like to know how should I plant -start in the ground or in a pot? – should I try to root first of just plant – I live upstate NY – zone 5
Thanks very much!

Kenny Point July 5, 2007 at 6:33 pm

Hi Donna, no it’s not too late, dormant cuttings are usually used to start fig trees but your cuttings may still root. They will be better off inserted into a pot containing a sterile growing medium such as vermiculite rather than to try to root the detached cuttings directly in the ground. Keep them cool and moist in a shaded location with high humidity levels until roots begin to form. For fig trees that have leafed out and are growing an easy way to propagate is to place a branch in contact with the ground, cover with soil, wait for roots to form, and then sever the new fig plant from the parent.

Heidi July 10, 2007 at 8:24 am

Hi! I need someone’s help!!
I recently purchased a home that has a beautiful, mature fig tree in the backyard. I am not very familiar with fig trees but am excited to take care of this wonderful tree! It has started to bear fruit, but over the last month or so the leaves have begun to turn yellow around the outside edges and some leaves are dying all together. Could this be due to all the excess rain in my area this summer (Lousiana)?

Kenny Point July 10, 2007 at 9:26 am

Hi Heidi, there’s not much to go on in diagnosing the problem with your fig tree, but it could be a temporary issue related to your weather conditions or the excessive rainfall. It’s not uncommon for fig trees to shed leaves or drop fruit. To be safe you can take a couple of the fig leaves in to your local Agriculture Extension Office and have them evaluate the situation.

Juliana July 15, 2007 at 2:30 pm

I have a very healthy fig three which I planted a large pot (about 30 gallon pot). It was thriving up until a week ago. We live in So. California, the tree is by the swimming pool in a good sunny spot. In a week all the leaves have turned yellow (there is new fruit still on the tree) and they are rapidly falling off in large numbers. I presume at this rate within a week or two it will be a bare stick (like it becomes in the winter). We have watered it, put iron chelet in last week and have done all that we can think of to save it. Does anyone know what may be happening to this tree. P.S. in the same pot I planted a sprig of parsley, a sprig of oregano and a sprig of mint which are growing slowly and nicely, but not over-powering the pot. Is this the problem, a shared pot? HELP PLEASE!

Michael Penna July 16, 2007 at 12:29 pm

I Have a problem with birds eating my figs. Any suggestions? mjjoshua@aol.com

Kenny Point July 16, 2007 at 6:48 pm

Juliana, you could be over or under watering the fig tree. Did you use a light, soil-less potting mixture in the container? Does the container itself offer good drainage? Keep a close eye on the fig tree and adjust your watering to see if that will help. A few herb plants planted in the same pot would not create a problem.

Michael, it will require a little effort, but the only thing that I can suggest to protect your figs from the birds is to build some type of framework around the fig tree and then attach a fine mesh netting to prevent the birds from reaching the ripening fruits.

Preshie July 27, 2007 at 3:41 am

HI! This is such a great article and I thank you for such valuable information. I live on Staten Island, NY and there is a big and gorgeous fig tree in the back yard of my apartment. It gets minimal care but it’s doing very well. This year, I’ve decided to keep a very close eye on it and maybe harvest the fruit (my landlord wouldn’t let me do it before but he’s let up). I’ve never had a fig so I don’t know how to tell if they’re ripe. The tree has TONS of fruit on it. They’re still tiny but some are about half the size of the ones I see at the grocery store. How can I tell when it’s a good time to pick them? Thank you!

Kenny Point July 27, 2007 at 6:51 am

Some figs will change color as they ripen, but generally when the fruits soften they are fully ripe and ready to eat.

patrick August 8, 2007 at 8:39 pm

I have a fig tree thats got to be 40+ years old. I keep pruning it but I’m not sure if I am doing it right. Please tell me when and how to prune his tree. I live on Long Island, N.Y. Please e-mail me.

Thanks
Pat

Margene August 9, 2007 at 8:52 pm

My fig tree finally bore fruit in southern California last year. It was heavily pruned, and I don’t see any fruit yet this summer. should I keep looking or is it already too late? Should I NOT prune it back so much or ?????

Kenny Point August 9, 2007 at 9:01 pm

Looks like a lot of interest all of a sudden in pruning fig trees. Here in cold climate areas the important part of pruning is to make it easier for the gardener to cover and protect the tree during the winter months. In general figs don’t require pruning to the same degree as other fruit trees such as apples.
Margene, I would not prune the fig tree “heavily” but your tree should still bear fruit again this year.
Patrick, here’s a link to some good info on pruning fig trees.

Mary September 11, 2007 at 1:03 pm

Hi. I am new to fruit trees and to gardening as a whole. I was recently given a small fig tree as a gift and am trying to decide whether it would be better to plant it in the ground or let it grow in a container. I live in zone 9 with mild winters, high humidity, and plenty of rain. Most of my yard is shaded by a mature oak tree, and I can put the fig tree in a sunnier spot if it is in a container. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thank you.

Kenny Point September 11, 2007 at 5:50 pm

That’s a tough call Mary, in a warm climate such as your I would normally want to plant the fig tree in the ground since you won’t have any issues with moving or protecting the fig during the winter months. But with your limited sun exposure I would probably just try growing the fig tree in a large container. Good luck and let me know how the tree does.

Reza September 15, 2007 at 5:18 am

Hi, please tell me how to care for my 4 year old fig tree that I have been pruning way too much and not taking care of it in winters, this coming winter. I live in NJ which gets cold in winter, the tree is not so much a tree but rather a tall bush… so I think I prune it to much every fall, I have been cutting it back to about 2 feet tall. So can you help?

Kenny Point September 15, 2007 at 9:52 am

Hi Reza, there’s no need to prune the fig tree as much as you are doing, your biggest challenge is to find a way to protect the fig plant during your cold winter season. Read the article and comments above for ideas on ways to insulate, wrap, or even bury the fig tree to help protect it during the winter. You will probably have to prune the tree some to make it easier to wrap it up, but there’s no need to cut it back to two feet tall every year. If the fig tree hasn’t been dying back to the ground during the winter there’s even a chance that the fig can survive in your growing region without any pruning and a very limited amount of cold protection.

Donna Angarano September 29, 2007 at 8:32 am

I live in Alabama. My fig tree is 2 years old. It has lots of new growth and looks very healthy. It’s in full sun and is watered weekly. It has 50-60 figs, but they have not ripened. It did the same thing last year, (but only had 20 or so figs.)
What can I do?

Steve Likakis October 6, 2007 at 5:30 pm

Hi. I have a problem with figs falling off my 2 fig trees before they ripen. The 2 trees are 4 and 6 years old, they are from cuttings and they grow in my back yard. I live in Baltimore MD. The fig trees are 8 to 10 feet tall and they look very healthy. Every year the figs will grow nice and green to the size of a quarter. Out of the clear blue sky, they will start turning pale/yellow and one by one will gradually fall on the ground! Is there something I can do to make these trees ripen the figs OR I should go to a local nursery and buy already rooted fig trees? Thank you in advance.

Kenny Point October 6, 2007 at 9:35 pm

Donna and Steve, I really don’t know what the problem is that causes certain fig trees to have issues with ripening or shedding their figs before they are ready to be harvested. My mom has a fig tree growing in MD outside of the D.C. area that easily survives the winters without protection and is always loaded with figs that have no difficulty maturing under a variety of conditions from one season to the next. If your fig problems continue, the only thing that I can suggest is to try cultivating a different variety that may be better suited to your particular climate or growing region.

Mari October 10, 2007 at 5:50 pm

Hi! Will a fig cutting root in water? Thank you

Kenny Point October 10, 2007 at 9:27 pm

Mari, I’m not sure how well the fig cuttings will root in water but you can give it a try. Some backyard fig growers will wrap the ends of the fig cuttings in moist newspaper, place them in plastic bags to help retain the moisture, and watch closely until the roots start growing.

joe October 14, 2007 at 1:30 pm

Hi.
I live in northern NJ and just bought a home with a beautiful 6′ – 7′ tall fig tree. It looks like it’s in great shape – green leaves and dozens of small green figs.

The previous owner told me he “wrapped it up” in winter months, and not having a green thumb myself, have searched the internet for info on it. Assuming he meant using burlap, can you offer your advice on the best way to wrap this tall tree? And does that include covering the top of it?

Kenny Point October 14, 2007 at 2:11 pm

Joe, in late fall after the fig tree loses its leaves and goes dormant you should wrap the tree to protect it from the elements during the winter. If necessary cut it back a little to make it easier to wrap and cover. Use old blankets, cardboard, burlap, or other materials that will provide some insulation and protection to the fig tree. Follow that with another layer of plastic, a tarp, or some waterproof covering to keep things dry. The wrap should cover the top of the fig and you can use twine or bungee cords to secure everything. Without winter protection in cold climates fig trees are likely to die back to the ground and be forced to regrow from the roots each spring.

Theresa Shea October 19, 2007 at 7:19 am

I have a fig tree in a container. Our winters are very cold with lots of snow. When I bring it indoors, will it be OK to leave it in the fruit celler (do I cover it?) or should I leave it in an unheated bedroom next to a window. Please advise. Thanks for your help.

Kenny Point October 20, 2007 at 9:47 pm

Theresa, I think that the fig tree would be okay in the fruit cellar during the winter and you would not need to cover it there. I keep my potted fig in an unheated garage to protect it during the winter season. An unheated bedroom would probably still be too warm for the slumbering plant. The dormant trees will do just fine without any light so a window would not be necessary.

lorraine October 27, 2007 at 7:07 pm

I just bought a fig tree about 2 feet high. It has several figs on it now. Would it be better to keep it indoors and grow it through the winter or should I put it in the garage to become dormant. I live in CT where the winters are very cold. If I put the tree in the unheated garage do I need to cover it?

Kenny Point October 29, 2007 at 11:07 pm

Lorraine, you will definitely want to allow the fig tree to go dormant and rest over the winter months so don’t try to keep it growing inside a warm building. If you store the fig plant in an unheated garage it will do just fine without a cover as the structure should offer enough protection from the wind, ice, and cold temperatures, you can wrap and insulate the container with an old blanket if necessary.

Abby October 30, 2007 at 6:11 pm

Hi There. I’m located in upstate NY and I received a cutting from a friend over the weekend. It is in a pot in soil and seems already to have sprouted roots which want to come out the bottom of the pot. My friend advised planting it now. Temps at night by me are in the 20-30s but the days are 50-60s. I have a heated garage which is maintained at approximately 45 degrees and this would be the coolest area I have to keep the fig tree if it remains potted for the winter. Should I plant the fig tree and wrap it for the winter or would it be better to keep it potted? If I leave it potted, should I put it outside until the leaves fall (including overnight?) or should I put it out during the day and in the garage at night? Thank you much for your advice.

Richard November 6, 2007 at 1:14 am

Hi,

I just recieved a Italian Honey fig from mail order. It is only about 6 inches, has leaves and roots. Can I grow it indoors for a while til it gets bigger. I live in PA, zone 6.

Thanks,
Richard

Eden November 8, 2007 at 8:44 am

Hello,
I live in the Boston area and have a brown turkey fig tree in a pot outdoors. It has frozen here a few times, but the tree still has leaves on it and I am afraid to move it into our unheated garage until it looses all of it’s leaves. What should I do to protect this little tree for the winter? Is it time to move it in, or should I wait until it has dropped it’s leaves?

Thanks,
Eden

patrick November 9, 2007 at 7:46 am

The web site you gave me for “pruning fig trees” can not be displayed. Is there another web site that I can use?

Thank You
Patrick

Kenny Point November 9, 2007 at 11:14 am

Abby and Richard, I would recommend that you leave the fig plants outside until they go dormant and then move them to a cool area such as an unheated garage for the winter. Eden, I’m surprised your fig hasn’t lost its leaves yet. Give it a little more time to make sure that it has gone dormant, the frost or early freezes will not harm the plant as the soil will still hold some warmth. Moving it into an unheated area should provide enough protection. Patrick, I will check the link that I sent you about pruning figs, it worked for me a short time back.

Janet Ihaka November 18, 2007 at 9:15 pm

Kenny I live in New Zealand and have planted 2 fig trees in large pots. They are two years old and appear to be route bound. Is it possible to cut away some of the roots refill the pots and leave for another year. My first year I was rewarded with lovely fruit, this year they grew became yellow and fell off. Do you think I need to re pot?? The pots are both in a very sheltered place and the weather here is very mild even in the winter. Hope you can help.
Thanks in anticipation.

Kenny Point November 18, 2007 at 11:32 pm

Janet, sure you can root prune and repot your fig trees, but I would probably wait until spring. The figs may not be as root bound as you think though, and some growers claim that constricting the roots of fig trees can actually improve their performance in the garden. If your fig plants are in large pots they are probably okay, it’s not uncommon for the trees to experience periods when the fruits drop and it likely isn’t due to the containers or the root systems.

Alan December 21, 2007 at 1:27 pm

Hello! What a great site! I just purchased a kadota fig and I live in Oakland, CA. The plant was shipped in a sterile container and I was wondering when is the best time to plant. The temp at night has reached the low 30s and I don’t want to risk planting it in the ground right away but don’t have a garage or basement to store it. any suggestions?

Joe December 22, 2007 at 9:46 pm

My buddy trimmed his fig tree and i have about 25 branches that are about 4 foot long, that i received in the first week of december and have kept them in a garbage pail with some water. I live in central new jersey which is between zone 6 and 7. How should I propagate these fig cuttings now that it is December and freezing weather ? I do have an unheated basement where the temperature is right about 45 degrees. Please advise me. Thanks Joe

geo. February 19, 2008 at 10:46 pm

Why do the ole folks say plant a fig tree near the kitchen, please respond.

Kenny Point February 20, 2008 at 9:53 am

I don’t know George, I had never heard that saying about fig trees… but I would guess that it was just to help keep them in mind, have them in sight, and just make it easier to get to those delicious tree-ripened figs as soon as they were ready to eat!

Marion March 3, 2008 at 11:41 am

We recently purchased a four foot black fig tree. We live in St Augustine, FL, and have been told it is best to plant in a pot with screen in the bottom to keep the roots from protruding through the bottom. Could we also plant the fig outdoors? We do get freezing temps and frost on occasion during Jan and Feb at our location. If we plant next to a shed or garage would we still need to ‘wrap’ it?

Kenny Point March 3, 2008 at 9:18 pm

Marion, sure you can plant the fig tree outdoors in your yard. With your mild climate you won’t have worry about covering or protecting the fig during the winter as the dormant tree easily handle the minor amount of cold weather that you experience even if it is planted right out in the open.

Annmarie March 8, 2008 at 11:55 pm

Hi
I live in the south west of western australia and I have a fig tree planted in half a wine barrel. It has produced a lot of figs, but the figs fall off before they get a chance to grow well and ripen. The figs are falling and they are small and green ie not ripe. Can you please help me to sort this problem? Many thanks.

sandy March 17, 2008 at 6:59 pm

Hi, I want to go back to my old home and get some clippings from my old fig tree. The fig tree came from my grandfather, to my dad, and when we moved I didn’t take any clippings. Now I can take the clippings and root them. When do I cut the pieces from the tree? The tree is in central NJ, woodbridge area. Please advise. Very anxious to continue the tree here in my new home.

Kenny Point March 17, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Hi Sandy, I think the best time for taking the fig cuttings would be from when the tree goes dormant but before it begins leafing out in the spring. So now would be a great time to take the cuttings, I have heard of gardeners having some success even with fig cuttings that had leaves but I believe that using dormant fig cuttings is the best route for propagating the fig tree through cuttings. Also take a look at the article on propagating blueberries for some other ideas on multiplying fruit and berry plants.

Mark April 3, 2008 at 9:48 pm

Hello. I live in southeastern PA (near Delaware) and I just planted a Brown Turkey fig tree on the south side of my house in a corner. The tree was purchased for me as a gift, it is a baby tree, and it was in a pot. There are three branches to the tree at this point (the whole tree looks like what your hand looks like when you hold up three fingers.) Being a baby tree, there is obviously no growth on these branches whatsoever, yet. It’s just three naked branches (about 1/2 inch diameter) sticking out of the ground. So from the ground to the tips of the branches (all three branches are about the same length) is about 4 feet. I want this tree to be as fruit-bearing as possible, and I’d like it to be shaped in more of a low-ground/bush shape than a higher, bulbous traditional tree shape. My question is: should I prune this tree down at this early stage? If so, by how much and when should I do this? Or do I wait until the darn thing starts to actually look like a tree before doing any pruning? Thanks so much for your help.

Kenny Point April 10, 2008 at 10:36 am

Mark, I think I would hold off on pruning the fig tree and just wait to see what form the tree will take on its own. Fig trees are pretty easy to prune and here in the north outdoor grown trees will often self prune by dying back to the ground and then re-sprout from the roots to create a new fig plant. So I think they can handle pretty much anything that you can throw at them in the way of pruning.

susan April 17, 2008 at 8:31 am

I have a fig tree that I keep in a pot in the garage in the winter…. when is it safe to take it out in the spring?

Jim Varner April 17, 2008 at 8:51 am

Hi-
I have a fig in my yard that is having a problem getting started.
I cut back the dead wood before winter and now the shoots/leaves that are appearing have obvious distress…perhaps a fungus. I’ve not found that plant on my fungicide containers. Would you have any suggestions as to which chemical to use to try to save the plant before it gets worse. Thank you.

Kenny Point April 17, 2008 at 10:27 am

Susan, it all depends on where you live but I would venture to guess that it is safe to set your fig tree back outside. My fig has been out on the patio for a few weeks now and it can tolerate a bit of cold just fine.
Jim, before you do anything try to get a positive identification of the pest or disease that is affecting your fig tree. Take a sample of the distressed leaves to your local Cooperative Extension Service or Master Gardener Program and see if they can help identify the problem and offer an organic solution. Good luck.

Casey April 20, 2008 at 11:23 pm

Hi Annmarie
– very young plants get figs on them that fall off before they fully mature. When your tree is about 4 years old you should get figs you can eat. However, if you are fertilizing your tree too much it will harm fig production. Fig trees should only be fertilized 3 times a year or you won’t get any fruit you can eat

Louise Pasternak May 17, 2008 at 3:58 pm

I live in Virginia.I have 2 Celeste fig trees.But some animal eats every single ripe fig, before we ever get to taste one.

What can we do? It is so frustrating.

Thanks

Kenny Point May 18, 2008 at 8:11 pm

Hi Louise, the only thing that I can suggest to deal with the critters eating your figs is to use fencing, netting, or a combination of the two to make the fruit less accessible to whatever is doing the damage.

Michael May 19, 2008 at 11:58 am

Hello, I want to propagate from my Mother’s fig tree. It is very large,(25×25). Please advise me as to how to prune/cut for propagation & what is the best time(s) to do so. I reside in Birmingham, Al, zone 7/8. Thanks & Roll Tide!

Kenny Point May 19, 2008 at 6:42 pm

Hi Michael, figs are not difficult to propagate and spring is a good time to begin. Layering or locating shoots would probably be the easiest way to proceed. Take a look at the post about propagating blueberries for some ideas that will also work for propagating your mother’s fig tree, you have lots of options, good luck and Roll Tide! :-)

Duke June 13, 2008 at 9:28 am

Hi,
I live in Southern MD. I have a fantastic, large Italian Honey fig that grows unprotected and make two great crops a year. I would like to get a nice dark fig that would do well in this area. I have tried both Celeste and Brown Turkey but they have not grown large and produce almost no fruit. Any suggestions for a great dark fig that might match my Italian Honey fig’s size and production?
Thanks,
Duke Jones

Valerie Anderson June 19, 2008 at 10:45 pm

I live in Southern California. My backyard neighbor has a large fig tree. I was told it was a “fake” fig tree. This is the first year it has produced. There are large figs that are dropping off the tree. I have been throwing them away. Are they eddible? They are totally green on the outside and are white inside. Also, can I prune the tree on my side of the fence? I was told that when it is pruned it is like a lemon tree and once you cut it it is hard to maintain. Any help would be appreciated.
Thank you, Valerie Anderson

Kenny Point June 20, 2008 at 9:32 pm

Duke, you can check over at Edible Landscaping, they have a few dark figs listed including: Hardy Chicago, LSU Purple, and Violet de Bordeaus that might fit what you are looking for.

Valerie, I had never heard of a fake fig tree and if it’s producing figs then it’s doing a lot better than some of the real fig trees that I’ve planted in the past. I’m afraid that I can’t advise you as to whether the fruits of your fake fig tree are edible or not. Likewise in regards to the pruning, regular fig trees are not difficult to prune but it sounds like you may be dealing with a totally different beast. Good luck.

Missie June 26, 2008 at 11:42 am

I live in Las Vegas, We just moved into a new home where there is a fig tree. The home was my mother-in-laws. I know the tree has never had fruit before this year. But I know nothing about fig trees. HELP!!!, I don’t want to loose the fruit since it has never had it before and the tree is over 5 years old that I know of. THANKS FOR ANY ADVISE. Missie

Kenny Point June 26, 2008 at 12:38 pm

Hi Missie, fig trees are pretty care free and don’t require much in the way of attention. Sometimes there are issues with fig trees dropping their fruits before they mature but other than that it is usually as simple as keeping an eye on the fruits and picking them when they soften and ripen, and before the birds or ants discover them. Good luck and enjoy the fresh figs!

Annmarie June 29, 2008 at 2:58 am

Hi
What do you do to stop fruit from falling before they are ripe. This happened to my fig tree and I did not get any of the fruit. Thanks

Casey July 1, 2008 at 1:27 am

Hi ~ I recently moved my 2 year old fig tree into a larger pot and it’s grown like crazy! (nearly doubling in size) Its seems to be very healthy and I have 2 growing figs on it. However I’ve noticed that there are leaves growing out of the base of the trunk. They are completly different looking then the other “normal” leaves (small and roundish). I’ve been told they may be leaves the plant uses to feed on in emergency situations, is this true? And if not, why does my fig tree have 2 different kinds of leaves?

Fran July 6, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Hey there, your fig may be grafted if you bought it from a nursery. The easiest way to tell is to look at the place where the odd leaves are sprouting. If it looks thicker or gnarled compared to the rest of the stem, it probably is grafted. Some varieties produce better root systems, and some have better fruit. Grafting gives you the best of both worlds on one tree. Figs like to grow more like a bush than a tree with stems and leaves all the way to the bottom. Leave it that way if you can–it makes them sturdier.

Casey July 8, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Great! Thank you so much!

Tabetha July 12, 2008 at 11:15 am

Kenny,
An answer for all of those people whose trees are dropping figs before they are ripe, it may be that they have a variety of fig tree that does need pollinating. I do not know the varieties but just a suggestion for the fruit dropping. The varieties could probably be researched further.

Tabetha

Maria July 13, 2008 at 3:05 am

My black figs are loking great on the outside, but when I open them, the middle is yellow, hollow and crunchy, as if the seeds inside have sprouted somehow. Its not rotten, it still tastes good, but they are not all red inside. This didn’t happen last year. I wonder does anyone know why or how this happens?
Thanks,
Maria

Kenny Point July 13, 2008 at 6:11 am

Maria, I have never experienced those problems with any figs that I have grown, but did you notice much difference in the weather or moisture levels that the fig tree received this year compared to last year?

Maria July 17, 2008 at 1:02 am

Hello Kenny
I talked to a horticulturist friend and she said that this year, it got hot in Los Angeles (where I’m located) really early…as I recall, this is true, we had a heat wave in early May, then a week later, we had a cold, wet thunderstorm for a day, then it was hot a while, very bizarre weather.

I think I didn’t keep up with the watering the way I should have, that the weather required me to be more diligent in watering, this is my intuition. I have been diligent in watering since I’ve noticed the problem, hoping that the next crop of ripe fruit is ok. Do you think this will help?
Maria

Kenny Point July 17, 2008 at 7:28 am

I think that it will help with your figs, and if your fig tree is growing in the ground rather than in a container there is little risk of over water the plant.

Lib July 23, 2008 at 3:20 pm

Hi we have a fig tree in Virginia. It is only 3 years old. It’s in the ground. This year it didn’t make any fruit and lately the new growth is wilting, the leaves aren’t yellowing though. It’s on the south side of the house so it gets plenty of sun. It gets plenty of water because it’s next to our air conditioner. What do you think could be the matter with it?

Toshiko July 29, 2008 at 6:28 pm

Squirrel keep eating my Fig when they get ripe.
How can I keep them away from my Fig?

Camille August 2, 2008 at 9:59 am

Hi Kenny,
I have a cutting from a fig tree that my inlaws brought from Italy over 30 years ago. My dad took one cutting then my daughter took one now I have one. Their trees have already produced fruit. Mine seems to be doing quite well. My dad cannot remember how long his took to produce fruit. My daughter did after 3 years. How long before we see fruit. We planted it about 6 months ago in a container. It now looks like it is ready to go in the ground. I want this tradition to go down through the generations as part of our family history. When and where is the best time to plant it. I live in Tampa Florida. Thanks Camille

Kenny Point August 2, 2008 at 9:18 pm

Camille, you can expect about three years, two if your lucky before your fig tree will start to produce fruit. In your climate you can probably move the tree from the container and plant it in the ground at any time, just make sure that it gets plenty of water if the weather is hot out. Good luck in carrying on the tradition and history with your family’s fig tree!

Toshiko August 14, 2008 at 5:43 pm

I have black mission fig with birds trying to eat my fig when they are getting ripe.

I seen scratch from bird and I have been wrapping with paper towel so bird can’t get it them.
Is this OK to do?
Do you have any good solution to avoid from bird?
My fig does not get too big.
Should I get rid of some of the fig?

Pls help me.

Toshiko

Dominique Demetriades September 3, 2008 at 7:25 am

Hi, I live in South Africa and we are just going into our (very hot!) summer now. My fig tree is already full of very small figs. Last year every fig was full of tiny white worms. How can i prevent that happening again and is it already too late to treat the tree? If not , with what would I treat it ? I would really appreciate any advice as to buy figs in the stores is terribly expensive!
Regards,Dominique

susan wilkie September 3, 2008 at 7:20 pm

Hi, I live in Palm Coast Fla and this past May I took a root from my father-in-laws fig tree in NJ. For the 1st few weeks it looked like a dead stick in the ground. Then it grew like crazy to about 4 feet high. All green and happy. Recently it looks sick. The new growth on all 3 shoots are yellow, and the once green leaves are turning yellow and sort of curling under a bit. There is new growth sprouting out at the base of the original stalk. My dad seems to think that maybe I injured the plant when I dug around it to get rid of weeds. Do figs have surface roots? Help! I feel terrible. :(

Kenny Point September 3, 2008 at 8:17 pm

Susan, fig trees will send up suckers at times but I have never noticed shallow surface roots that could be easily injured. Your fig plant may just be suffering through the heat. Keep an eye on it and water as necessary and it will probably recover from its roots even if it dies back to some degree. You could also take a sample of the affected leaves into your local ag extension office to have them test for disease. Good luck with your fig tree!

Indu Modali October 14, 2008 at 9:22 am

I am trying to take cuttings of three fig trees I have in my garden. They are doing very well. I would like to develop new trees from these. I am not sure how. Do I take cuttings from the new wood and dip them in root harmone and wrap them in wet paper and store them in a plastic bag and them keep them in a warm place in the house? Please let me know. Thank you again. Indu

Kenny Point October 14, 2008 at 9:47 pm

Hi Indu, Here are links to a few comments that provide some info on propagating fig trees.
http://www.veggiegardeningtips.com/fig-trees/#comment-65008
http://www.veggiegardeningtips.com/fig-trees/#comment-55012
http://www.veggiegardeningtips.com/fig-trees/#comment-3998
Good luck with your fig tree cuttings.

Emily October 20, 2008 at 6:45 pm

I have a brown turkey fig plant in a 26″ container. It is 3 years old and had lots of fruit this year but unfortunately it didn’t get enough sun so the fruit never ripened – next year I’ll move it to a better spot. My question is this, I’m unclear as to whether or not the container and plant should be wrapped/covered if it is to be overwintered in my unheated garage. Is overwintering in the garage protection enough? Also, the unripened fruit is still on the plant, should I pull them off? I live in northwestern CT – very cold winters.

Kenny Point October 22, 2008 at 9:57 pm

Hi Emily, My fig tree survives the winter just fine in an unheated garage here in PA. Your winters are colder in CT but I still think that it would be OK. You can play it safe by providing a little insulation around the container. Definitely remove the unripened figs before storing the tree away for the winter.

Heather November 21, 2008 at 7:19 am

I have a beautiful LSU purple fig tree that I planted this summer. I live in Maryland and we are experiencing unusually cold weather. It was thriving up until the first frost. Am I correct with the information that I have that the plant will be dormant in the winter? I thought that it would bear fruit in the winter so I left it alone. Should I cover it, or just let it drop it’s leaves? They are withered and droopy now.
Thanks for your help

Kenny Point November 22, 2008 at 9:28 pm

Hi Heather, your fig tree will go dormant and won’t bear any fruit during the winter months. You are likely on the borderline of the growing areas where the tree can withstand the cold without any winter protection. My mom has a fig tree in her MD backyard that survives reliably without protection. If you want to be safe you can cover the tree to ensure that the branches and established woody growth survive the cold temperatures. Without protection you run the risk that the fig tree will die back to the ground. If that happens the tree’s root system would still survive and will send up new growth from the ground next spring.

Marcelle January 4, 2009 at 7:32 pm

I have Fig trees in my Orchard they have been loosing their leaves and falling to the ground is it normal for this time of year we have had hot winds and heavy rain has this done this?

Kenny Point January 4, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Marcelle, I wouldn’t worry too much if the fig trees have a small amount of leaf loss, but if it is a significant portion of the tree’s leaves then it could be caused by stress from the weather, insects, or disease. Are the fig leaves discolored, display spots, or have any sticky residue on them?

Marcelle January 4, 2009 at 9:13 pm

No there is no sticky residue or insects but there is alot of leave loss would this be due to stress or not enough water?

Kenny Point January 4, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Drought and lack of water create stresses of their own and could cause the fig trees to lose leaves but you indicated that there had been heavy rains in your area. If it has been hot and dry then I would provide the fig trees with deep irrigation on a regular basis and see if the trees recover and start to hold their leaves and send out new leaf growth.

laurelea kim January 11, 2009 at 5:31 pm

We live in Lake Havasu, Arizona (SW) our one year old fig tree was doing well last week and then some of the leaves yellowed and we pulled them off thinking they might be diseased. Then a few days later after a big wind almost half of the rest of the leaves which looked green and healthy fell off. Are we doing something wrong. It has not reached freezing here, but was in the low thirties. This fig is watered twice a week for about 15 minutes on a system.

Casey January 15, 2009 at 11:34 pm

Laurelea – I think your fig tree is just fine, all figs loose their leaves in the winter and turn yellowish before they drop. It can be alarming though! It will get leaves again in the spring and grow like crazy!

Julie January 24, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Hi,
We have 2 fig trees growing in pots inside. We live in south Jersey. Our house is very warm. The smaller one has developed some wonderful green leaves already (January). I’m not sure if this is a proper time for them to be growing. It is in a sunny window. Should these be trimmed?

Kenny Point January 25, 2009 at 8:28 am

Julie, I think the figs trees will do better if they are allowed to go dormant and rest during the winter months. I leave mine outdoors in the fall until a few weeks after the leaves fall off, then I move them into an unheated garage or storage building where they remain until spring. They get a little water about once a month during this time but other than that need no care and don’t sprout leaves until late March or April. Since your plant has broken dormancy (if it ever went dormant) I would probably just let it grow indoors until it is warm enough for it to go outside, but next winter keep it in in area where it will remain dormant longer.

sandy February 7, 2009 at 11:04 am

Well I left you a comment in march 2008. I did get one clipping out of 10 to root. I put it in a pot and it was outside all summer long, and it had alittle shoot of new growth, with two tiny leaves on it. Well when it got cold I brought it inside, because it looked as if it was dying. The dirt was saturated from being outside, I pulled it out and seen that the roots were gone. I have it in cup again, trying to get it to root. Its in my kitchen by the window. Do I have it in the wrong area of my home? Should it be in a cooler place, I worked so hard to get it to root, and now I feel as though its dead. How do I now if this clipping is still alive or just dormant? No roots are there.

Kenny Point February 7, 2009 at 5:56 pm

It doesn’t sound good for your fig cutting Sandy. If the plant lost its roots like that after leafing out it is probably dead and won’t recover. How were you rooting your cuttings, you should get much better results than one out of ten successes. I would try again with a new cutting and give the fig plant plenty of time to grow and get established before next winter arrives. Fig trees usually go dormant and are spend the winter outdoors under cover or in an unheated building like a garage.

kevin March 14, 2009 at 2:36 pm

When is the best time of year to take a cutting from my fig tree? And how long do I keep it in a rooting contain before planting it in the ground? My neighbor, who wants a clipping, says he’ll just stick the branch right into ground like his grandfather did. Lots of grandfather stories when you have a fig tree:) Thanks

Marcella Carlesimo April 28, 2009 at 11:56 am

I dug up my fig tree 2 weeks ago during 80 degree whether in Michigan and then it got cold 30-40 degrees over night for about 2 days, the ends of the fig tree have turned black, does this mean the tree has died and should I prune the ends of the branches. It is now in the 70′s and the tree ends have not changed.

Kenny Point April 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Hi Marcella, I’m sure your fig tree is still alive and there probably wasn’t even much damage done by the cold snap. I would just prune the discolored ends off and not worry about it.

Sal May 13, 2009 at 8:13 pm

I have had a Italian Honey Fig tree for about 4 years now it is about 5 ft tall, potted. Healthy, has great looking leaves and all but has not produced any fruit whatsoever… Can anybody tell me what is up with that.
Thanks
Sal

Alba May 22, 2009 at 8:28 am

This is May, and my fig tree still has no leaves. It is a 7 year old tree, and have always had luck with it. I did not cover it over the winter, yet when I pinch it it still seems green to me..what’s wrong?

Kenny Point May 22, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Alba, sounds like your fig tree may have died back to the ground over the winter. Check to see if there are any fig leaves or shoots sprouting out from the base of the plant. If it has died back you should prune away all of the dead wood.

Beth May 30, 2009 at 2:06 pm

I have a Violetta Fig in a pot that is two years old. It leafs nicely and starts to develop figs but then they fall off (at about two weeks). I do not notice any other problems with the tree and it’s supposed to be a good variety for our northwest climate.

Harvey Hoffman June 3, 2009 at 6:41 am

Our men’s club of which I am president recently purchases a fig tree from a local nursery which we planted on our church grounds. During the planting, much water was put into the whole which I dug and where we eventually planted the tree.

I thought too much water was hosed into the whole but was undable to stop it.

After a few days the one fig disappeared and the few leaves the tree possessed turned yellow and dropped off so the tree is basically a stick wiht the trunk and and two main branches.

The location is Virginia Beach, VA.

yesterday I dug up some of the soil which was water saturated and smelled bad (i.e. reducing environment). I shoveled out that saturated dark soil and replaced it with dryer clayey surface soil.

The soil contains grey clay a few inches below the surface where we planted the tree.

Is the tree dead?

From your other questions and responses, it sounds as though the tree may be in shock having gone dormant. The 1/2 inch branches and one inch trunk are green but contain no leaves.

Is there anything I can do to help the situation or is the tree gone?

Sincerely,

Harvey M. Hoffman
Virginia Beach, VA

Sandie June 3, 2009 at 6:07 pm

I live in North Central Florida, (Lake City area). We have had fig trees in the past, but when we moved where we live now and planted one, it looked like it was doing good, then it developed a little brown spot just above the graft, then the bark started splitting in the middle of the brown spot. The spot and split get bigger and then the tree dies. We have lost three consecutive trees to this same thing. Can you tell me what the problem might be and what we can do to stop it. We love having fresh figs and hate losing the trees. Thanks for you help.

Sal June 3, 2009 at 8:39 pm

There are a lot of differnt questions here about your fig trees. Go to figtrees.net and there is a phone number there to call. This guy has been growing fig trees for a long time and sells them also. There is a lot of information on his page. He is an Italian guy named Joe and talks some broken english. I just bought 2 fig trees from him and he shipped them potted and one has figs on it. He also sells the furtilizer for the fig trees so I got some of that too. He probably can answer a lot of these questions on the site as he answered my questions. The fig trees he sent me I have since repotted and they seem to be doing well so far. Time will tell.
Sal

Julia June 16, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Kenny,
While the fig trees were still in there dormate stage I transplanted a fig tree from my mother-in-laws home. the tree has been doing very well and I have been pleased with its progress, but anytime I plant something I have to place blocks on each side of it or bricks around it to keep my husband from cutting it with the lawnmower until big enough. Well my husband didn’t cut the tree with the lawnmower but he hit the block and it cut the bark. It looks like someone took a knife and just run it down the side of the tree and split the bark open about 3 inches. I found this two days after it happened because some of the leaves were turning yellow. I took one of my husbands hankerchiefs and wraped it around the split bark. Covered it good and tied it into place.
Is there hope for my fig tree? Is there more I can do to save it? Thank you for your help.

Harvey Hoffman June 17, 2009 at 12:59 pm

To Julia:

If you scratch the trunk below the wound and it is green under the bark, the tree is still alive.

Perhaps there is some type of salve or balm you can apply to the wound to protect the tree. Perhaps a local nursery could provide you with information regarding what you could apply to the damaged area of the tree.

My tree, relating to a previous comment I left on this site apparently turned brown and after a few trips to the local nursery, I concluded it was gone, and replanted with a new tree, covered under the one-year warranty.

Apparently, fig trees are very touchy when one is planting a new tree and they are very sensative to watering.

I was advised, a newly-planted tree needs to be closely monitored regarding watering for its initial six weeks.

Also, soil needs to be amended to suit local conditions.

I hope this helps.

Sincerely,

Harvey M. Hoffman
Virginia Beach, VA

Julia June 17, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Harvey,
Thank you so much for the information. I did call my local nursery and she told me that some people use wax to seal the cut or I could use foam pipe insulation (like they use to protect outside pipes from freezing in the winter),she said to wrap it around the trunk to protect it. She also said she sells what they call pruning sealer but that she was out. You just spray a little on it and then give water it with mircle grow.
Thanks again for the information
Julia

Kenny Point June 18, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Harvey, I apologize for the delay in responding to your question. It does sound like the fig tree may have been experiencing shock I hope the replacement is doing well.

Hi Sandie, I don’t have any experience with grafting fig trees but Bass at Trees of Joy may be able to help you with the problem.

Julia, I wouldn’t worry too much as trees can recover from wounds provided that the bark is not cut all the way around in a girdling manner. I just purchased a Black Mission fig tree over the weekend that has a bent branch with an obvious wound that had mended… it was the character of that branch that caught my eye and led me to purchase that particular fig tree.

shahin June 24, 2009 at 9:10 am

Hello, my name is shahin i am in los angeles i have a question about my fig tree. Why does the fruit on my 10 year old fig tree never ripen? its in the ground and got very big I get many large fruits but its always dry inside do i have to spray it with some thing because it may be sick can you help please. I have two more fig trees and there perfect.
thank you

me please? I have two more fig trees and there perfect.

sandy shores June 27, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Hi I have a fig tree that was cut back it started growing fruit the same year and looks very healthy. The problem is I went to pick a fig that felt soft and bugs ran out of the fig What do you recomend I use to treat my figs, I live in Middle Florida.

Kenny Point June 28, 2009 at 9:11 am

Hi Sandy, the first step is to do a little bit of research in order to identify the insect pest that is attacking your fig, and then seek out organic alternatives for dealing with them. A magnifying glass and a good bug identification guide, or a visit to your local Agriculture Extension Office or nearest Master Gardener program may help to determine what bug you are dealing with. That will give you important information that can be use to help plan your attack to combat the fig tree’s infestation…

Is it an insect that climbs the fig tree from the ground, if so a band of tangle trap or other sticky organic material wrapped around the lower trunk may do the trick of making it impossible for the pests to reach the fig fruits? Is it an insect that lays eggs on the fig tree’s leaves or branches that can be crushed before they even hatch out? Or is it a flying insect that enters directly into the fruit by way of the opening (eye) that is located on the bottom of the fig? In that case a different fig variety with a smaller eye may be the best alternative for enjoying a crop of bug free figs. Or maybe you can locate some type of physical barrier like the bags used in organic tropical fruit production that covers the individual fruits and prevents pests from making contact.

I would hesitate to spray ANYTHING directly onto a soft fruit with all sorts of nooks and crannies such as a fig, especially since the skin and all are consumed after the fig ripens. Good luck finding a way to prevent the infestation and eliminate the bugs that are ruining your fig harvest!

Pamela Darby July 5, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Kenny-
I have a beautiful fig tree that has a large crop of green figs at the moment. I love figs and am watching the developing figs closely. I have strung pie tins over them in the attempt to scare the birds. Today when I was showing a friend my soon to be bumper crop I noticed alot of Grandaddy Longleg spiders on them. Will they damage the fruit or should I leave them to eat any other insects that show up? The only other insect that I have seen was a strange looking leggy fellow with a reddish orange body. Thanks for your help.
Pamela

Kenny Point July 5, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Hi Pamela, I’ve never known the Daddy Longlegs to do any damage in the garden so I would just shoo them away and keep a close eye on the figs as they ripen because you’re likely to receive competition from other animals more than the bugs.

SHAHIN July 7, 2009 at 11:50 am

Hello, my name is shahin i am in los angeles i have a question about my fig tree. Why does the fruit on my 10 year old fig tree never ripen? its in the ground and got very big I get many large fruits but its always dry inside do i have to spray it with some thing because it may be sick can you help please. I have two more fig trees and there perfect.
thank you

Rose July 9, 2009 at 9:30 pm

I live in north Georgia.I have some fig trees they seem to die back in winter and comeback from the root in spring, but they don`t grow. The soil here is clay. What do we need to do?

Lily August 5, 2009 at 7:10 am

I live in west Ft. Lauderdale in a planned community at the edge of the Everglades. I believe I am in Zone 10. I have seen Black Mission Figs and Turkey Fig trees at our local nursery. I only have room for one on my patio. Which one would you recommend? Do they taste differently, and if so which one is sweeter?

Kenny Point August 5, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Hi Lily, I would recommend the Black Mission Fig as a popular variety. I purchased one this spring and like the tree’s form and appearance but can’t say how the flavor compares to the Brown Turkey fig variety. Looks like they are both suitable for growing zones 10 or 11.

Lily August 5, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Thank you. I just purchased a fig tree at Bah’s Nursery at Griffin and I-75. They weren’t sure what kind it was (maybe a Brown Turkey) but it was so healthy and already had some figs on it that I couldn’t pass it up for $12. It will be the “fig surprise”, but my 14 year old is happy as she was the one who wanted the fig tree. It has a new home on our patio.

Arren August 30, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Kenny–I also grow and sell fig trees in the north central part of Alabama. For people who live in the 7A zone (like the questioner of #133 Rose), she should know that you can grow figs in this region, but they need a protected area, and if she can’t do that, then mulch very heavily after the first frost to protect the lower limbs and root system. That’s really a lot of bother and it might be better to select a fig tree that you know grows well in your area.

Also, some people indulge in too much fertilizer late in the summer. Generally speaking, I do not fertilize fig trees past the middle of August in zone 7A. I also don’t fertilize at all after they’ve been in the ground for a full year. Too much nitrogen produces weak growth that may not harden off before the first frost or freeze. That could be her problem.

If these trees are planted in a lawn area, she may be inadvertently fertilizing them when she does her late summer/fall grass fertilizing, and when the first frost occurs (sometimes in mid-September in zone 7A), it can damage the soft growth and kill the tree down to the roots. As you are probably aware, fig trees are very shallowly rooted and the roots will extend way past the tree canopy very quickly. Hope this information helps.

Arren Graf

Kenny Point August 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Arren, thanks for the info about growing fig trees in Alabama. Also, feel free to share your website if you have one set up to market the fig trees that you grow and sell.

Ed August 31, 2009 at 12:56 am

My wife loves the fruit from fig trees…so, I set out and bought and planted a fig tree, about 1 1/2 ft. tall. Well, I live 30 mins. south of Phoenix and the summers are always brutal here…my question is, this little guy was doing good all through spring and early summer until about a month and half ago. Once it got really hot, the leaves shriveled up and I was only left with a brown twig…I still water it once a week. Is this tree dead or did it go into dormancy and will come back. Also, we have about the worst soil there ever was…I call it gravel dirt. Do you have any suggestions for growing trees in this type of environment esp. for figs.

Maria September 2, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Could someone please tell me why my figs never ripen? I live in Dallas, have had this tree for 5 years….Brown Turkey Fig…gets plenty of fruit…looks beautiful. Never ripens.

This is disappointing.

Kenny Point September 2, 2009 at 5:56 pm

Hi Maria, sorry to hear about your fig and I can’t tell you why it isn’t ripening, especially since you aren’t growing is a short season climate. I have heard of some gardeners rubbing a drop of olive oil on the bottom of the figs to held speed up the ripening. Other than that the only thing that I can suggest would be to try planting a different fig variety.

Mike September 3, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Kenny-I’m located on Long Island, NY I want to transplant from pot to ground, when is the best time to do this? The tree was a cut branch from last year that is now 6ft tall with no fruit. How should I prep the soil for transplanting? Any help would be great. Thanks

Kenny Point September 3, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Mike I would wait and plant that fig tree out next spring if you have a garage or unheated building where you could keep it over the winter. When planting just dig a large hole and add a little compost but nothing too rich. Figs are not very demanding and don’t require much in the way of fertilization after they are established. I feed my figs a couple of times during the growing season since they are planted in containers and they do fine with very little attention.

Mike September 4, 2009 at 7:12 am

Thanks for the info. Yes I have a garage and thats where I kept them last winter. What do you feed them? Do you trim the tree to keep it on the shorter side? The olive oil trick from post 141 works when temps are high. Would storing them in a greenhouse be ok for winter and would they still strengthen up on their own without having to move them in and outside for a couple of weeks?

Kenny Point September 4, 2009 at 9:41 pm

Mike, I use a liquid organic fertilizer like a fish and seaweed mix to feed my potted fig trees. I don’t do much pruning on the plants and storing the trees in an unheated greenhouse for the winter would be fine. There’s no need to strengthen up or “harden off” the fig trees… just move them outdoors in early spring while they are still dormant, but after temperatures have begun to warm up.

M. November 14, 2009 at 3:10 am

Having taken over two fig trees from my “Tata” aka Nonno/grandfather after his passing, my instincts have been to bury the fig trees as he had done – in Late October/November digging a long trench between the two trees, tying them, wrapping LOOSELY with plastic tarp, digging on the side of the tree opposite where they are going to lay, tipping the tree down, covering with plywood over the trench, a layer of plastic with openings for air at the “head” and “foot” sides of the trench, and dirt on top. Location is suburban Chicagoland. There are two fig trees – one white and one black. They are both about 6 feet tall. Questions: 1.) should I add some straw around the rootball in the hole? to prevent the concern I read about rodents, I can lay screen down over the hole 2.) fertilizers recommended and timing? 3.) backfilling of some dirt around the wrapped tree when in the hole? 4.) pruning – not knowing what my grandfather did, would the safest bet be to lightly trim one-half of each tree in the fall prior to burying and then the other half the following summer after fruiting or fall to avoid not getting fruits at all? 5.) having trimmed some 8″-12″ branches today, which I made the mistake of putting into about an inch of water – should I – leave some in the water, cut off the bottom that had been sitting in water and place sticks in the refrigerator, etc? Any recommendations appreciated.

Kenny Point November 15, 2009 at 10:50 pm

M, I would not fertilize the fig trees until spring. I don’t think that straw around the root ball is necessary. I would prune the tree in the fall to the degree that is needed to make it easier to wrap or bury the plants in order to protect them over the winter months. It’s probably too late to help you now but yes, I would have refrigerated the cuttings and saved the to grow out later towards the end of winter.

connie November 30, 2009 at 10:40 am

Hello. Just moved to lake havasu city, AZ. Enjoyed all the advice and comments of fellow gardeners. Originally from Alberta Canada. Different kind of gardening now. Would like to plant some fig and citrus trees in back yard. Any advice for this area? Am also hoping to establish a cactus corner focusing on native plants. Thanks for advice.

Ellen March 14, 2010 at 11:23 am

Greetings

I have a fig tree my mother bought for me and had kept it in a pot. When mother died, I took the tree and repotted it into a larger pot. It lived in pots for many a year. Finally we bought a house in Sacramento, CA, zone 9, where we planted the tree. It likes the place it is in and has preformed well. It has been in the ground for about 4 years.

Here is my question: we are relocating and I want to take my mother’s tree with me. Will we realistically be able to dig up and transplant this tree? It is mid- March. The tree is approximately 6′ tall and about that wide. All tips have green swell I can see from the window. I am uncertain how deep the tap root might be and if trying to take it with me will kill it if we don’t get the whole tap root. I read about digging trees up and laying them down for winter so I feel a little more optimistic. How long would it survive when dug up if not put into a hole immediately? Would putting it into another large, really large pot keep it thriving? Would I prune it back a bit?

I hope to save it, but if this is a dream, how would I take cuttings from it? I read about putting cuttings in vermiculite and keeping moist, but what do I cut? I read another post and the man dug down a bit to get suckers – or babies. He said there was a bit of crown and a wee bit of root. His tree looked far smaller than mine.

Should I try getting cuttings as a fall back and try digging up the tree? I would feel bad if it is fairly certain I will kill it if we attempt digging it up.

I appreciate any advise you have as you certainly are wise in the way of plants. Thank you, Ellen

Kenny Point March 14, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Hi Ellen, I think that you have a good chance of transplanting the fig tree because they seem pretty hardy and do withstand pretty severe root pruning in situations where they are buried in the ground for winter protection. I would prune the tree back pretty hard before digging it up and it should be okay to house it in a container for a while before replanting. You should definitely take some cuttings about six to twelve inches off the ends of the dormant wood to root as a backup just in case the tree doesn’t take well to being transplanted. Good Luck, I hope your mom’s tree survives and that you are able to take it with you!

angelo March 18, 2010 at 8:15 pm

great site. super helpful. kenny last year i tried tipping my fig tree over to winterize it and it snapped.it may sound crazy but i quickly applied electrical tape around the base. i just uncovered it and gave it the scratch test and it seems ok and green. what is your professional opinion. is it a goner?

Kenny Point March 18, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Thanks Angelo, I think that your fig tree will be just fine. Even if the trunk snapped and doesn’t survive the roots will send up new growth to replace it, so don’t worry. That’s funny about the tape; I would probably cut it back right below the point where it snapped rather than bother with trying to tape it back together. Good luck!

Bryan April 4, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Hello, I recently got a small black mission fig tree. It is in the pot. I’m planning to plant it outside tomorrow. The leaves are buds right now. I live in Pennsylvania, southeast, around 1 and half hour away from Maryland. I was wondering if it will be okay if I left my fig tree as unprotected in wintertime. Or I really should protect it. Won’t it kill fig tree if unprotected? Also, I want to know when it is actually ripen. Will the cocoa shells mulch protect roots during the winter? Let me know, thanks!

Angela April 5, 2010 at 7:20 pm

I am about to plant a fig tree in my central Texas (mostly-unfenced) yard, but am concerned about whether our native deer will find it to be their new favorite delicacy! Does anyone have information on deer-resistance of fig trees?

Kenny Point April 5, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Hi Bryan, the winter probably won’t kill the tree but if you don’t provide some protection from the cold the fig tree may die back to the ground and resprout from the roots in the spring. The easiest way to protect the tree during winter is to wrap it as described in the article.

Fran April 6, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Hi, Last Sept. we purchased a Celeste Fig Tree and planted it in the middle of our yard where it would get the most sun. We dug the hole and put peat moss mixed with the dirt, mounded up the dirt around the tree and covered top of the hole with gardening felt and mulch. We live in the Philadelphia area and had a terrible winter. As of yet, there is no sign of life on the branches. The tree is about 3 feet tall and has 4 “branches”. I am not sure if the winter was too harsh and it got too much water or if the plant may just take a while to show signs of life.

Bryan April 6, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Hi Fran,
I’m curious, your fig tree, does it has a bud or buds on its branches? If it does then your fig is showing a sign of life on branches.

Fran April 7, 2010 at 2:16 pm

As of today there is no sign of a bud. I am afraid that it may not have surrvied the winter.

Bryan April 7, 2010 at 6:18 pm

I see, I have read the internet that said sometime fig trees will die during winter time but when they die back then later their roots will shoot up a new fig tree. I think it must be 3 years old. I hope your tree will be okay.

M. April 7, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Living in Chicago, the winters here are bad as well. The tried-and-true method is to dig a trench the lengh of the tree, dig around the tree just enough so it will bend, tie it, place it in the hole, then cover over with plywood and soil. My grandfather, as did everyone who had inground fig trees did this for decades with excellent results. Alternatively, you can purchase a LARGE pot and either keep it in the pot year-long – although it will have to be removed bi-anually and the roots trimmed – and bring it in the attached garage (against the interior wall)in the winter and keep it covered. Another choice is to keep it planted in the ground during the growing season, then remove it and place it in a pot as described above for the winter.

Bryan April 7, 2010 at 6:36 pm

M, I’m curious, what if the fig tree is around 10 to 20 feet. How possibly can you dig it up since their roots has been developing and roots should be deep and long.

M. April 7, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Well, I have transplanted 2 different trees, which were both about 7-9 feet tall. Obviously when they were moved, the roots were cut; although the root ball was still about the size of 2-3 5-gallon buckets. Once they were transplanted, the same was done as was for years prior – the hole dug the length of the tree and about 2-3 feet deep, the branches tied, and then remove the dirt about 1 foot deep from the side of the tree opposite it is going to lay. Then, some of the new shooter roots will have to be cut. The rest is a LOT of bending of the tree by bending it back and forth from the trunk, along with going with a spade under the tree from the side it is to lay to pierece som of the small roots underneath so it will tip. Believe it or not, I got this job done with two 7 foot trees in a little over an hour by myself – although the first year this is done, expect a lot longer as the soil is compacted. I cannot even count on my hands how many Italians there are around here who do the same. To note, you can trim the tree to keep it a manageable size.

Bryan April 7, 2010 at 6:59 pm

I see, wow, to be honest, it seems it is a lot of work for fig trees to dig out and cover and all. If you cut the roots, won’t it effect to fig trees like grow slow or less produce fruits. I’m curious, Italians like fig trees? Myself, I am an italian. So most of italians do this strategy like you did?

M. April 7, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Around here in Illinois, at least.

Kenny Point April 7, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Any signs of life yet Fran? Fig trees will often die back to the ground if unprotected from harsh winters but the tree itself should survive and begin growing from the ground after the weather warms up.

April April 7, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Hi! In Nov 2008 I split a nice size 5 ft tree off my grandfather’s large fig in southern MS. Planted it here in East TN, in a spot that was often flooded and it died. All of the branches and trunk were brittle and dry when I went to see it today. No green wood. I dug up the root and some of it appears to still be green. If I plant it in a good spot will it grow a new tree? I appreciate any help you can offer!

Harvey Hoffman April 8, 2010 at 9:22 am

Comment 155

Fran,

It sounds as though you did all the right things regarding your planting. However, fig trees can be very temperamental during the planting process. I live in Virginia Beach, which, has a longer growing season. I planted the first fig tree and lost it. I replanted a second tree, as the original tree had a warranty. The second tree appears to have made it through the winter and now has buds.

Perhaps as your growing season is shorter, you may still have budding later in the Spring. You will need to continue monitoring the tree to look for this.

Otherwise, you may need to replant. Perhaps you have a warranty on the first tree in which case the dealer will provide you with a replacement.

I recommend that you purchase from a reputable nursery to obtain this protection.

If you can get your fig tree through the first winter, it is more likely that it will be alright in the future.

I have also heard of people wrapping or covering their fig tree to protect it from the Winter elements.

Good luck. Hope your tree comes around.

Sincerely,

Harvey Hoffman
Virginia Beach, VA

Maria April 9, 2010 at 8:14 am

Hi, love your page, my uncle about 3 yrs ago gave a beautiful black fig tree, we have it in an old whiskey barrel and have it on wheels in the winter we put in our garage. The first year we had it it had baby figs on it but throughout that summer we didn’t have any. Now last year the tree was gorgeous, leaves where big and green but not one fig! The only difference in the garage was it was heated that winter, now we just put it outside and it doesn’t have any sign of leaves, and I have family member with a fig that not only has leaves but also figs, do you think it’s dying and are we doing something wrong? Any suggestions?

Thank you, Maria

andre April 11, 2010 at 6:40 am

Hi, I want to ask Francine Fucua 2007 if she had any luck with the worms in her fig tree?

Felicia April 20, 2010 at 2:53 pm

I just planted an Italian fig tree in my yard in texas and it looked great that was Saturday an now today tuesday the leaves are limp. Is it in shock from being planted?

Jen April 30, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I live on long island and really want a fig tree. before I purchase one, I have to figure out storage in the winter so I can ensure survival. I have an enclosed south/west facing porch that gets plenty of sun but has no heat in the winter. On our coldest days you can breath smoke out there. Would this be a good area to put my fig in a container in the winter after it goes dormant? Would I need to wrap the tree to protect it from the sun? And how much do I water it? I see people say sparingly, but how sparing?

Amber April 30, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Hello,

I live in South Jersey… I have a fig tree in my backyard… Last year, we had good amount of figs but this year my figs are very small and falling from the tree… Do I need to do some thing to stop them falling from tree…

Amber

Kenny Point April 30, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Hi Jen, I think that enclosed porch would be suitable for over wintering your fig tree. It would not need protection from the sun, I water my fig trees very lightly once every four to six weeks during winter.

Kenny Point April 30, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Amber, this is probably the early (breba) crop and the tree will probably bear again later in the summer. The cold temps could be the culprit that is doing in your early figs.

Joey May 5, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I have a fig tree, I believe it has to b more than 40 years old. several years ago it was absolutely “Mammoth” and produced figs like crazy. Huge gorgeous luscious white figs. It actually did so for a few years. And then, it just up and did absolutely nothing. I noticed lots of mushrooms growing all around the base…. it got just very very sick. what can i do to give it a good boost?? looks like it may be a bit healthier this sprouting season. (I am in SW PA, Pittsburgh)

Kenny Point May 5, 2010 at 11:16 pm

Hi Joey, I would prune out any dead branches of the fig tree and possibly fertilize it with an organic fertilizer that is lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorus and potassium. Good luck and I hope that your fig tree returns to form!

Lauree May 8, 2010 at 11:52 am

We have a huge fig tree in our yard in San Diego. It is a mission or some dark fruit variety. The tree is healthy with tons of lush green leaves, and tons of fruit, right now. But the fruit is starting to drop. It did it last year too just as it started to get ripe. Three years ago, we had a huge harvest – no problems. I don’t recall it dropping much fruit back then. Nothing has changed about our watering. We have never fertilized it. If we should, what should we use?

Kenny Point May 9, 2010 at 10:06 am

Lauree, I have used an organic citrus fertilizer for my fig trees in the past. It is best to feed with a low nitrogen fertilizer that is higher in the phosphorus and potassium levels.

Jp May 11, 2010 at 5:37 pm

I have a question about a brown turkey fig tree that I purchased about year ago. After it lost the one and only fig last year, it came back this year and it looks good but there is no fruit. It is about six foot tall at this point. Should I cut is down to about 24 inch and go from there? I live in the Orlando area.

Thanks JP

Kenny Point May 13, 2010 at 10:16 am

JP, I would only cut the fig tree back in order to shape it or to encourage branching. Other than that I would water as needed, add a light dose of fertilizer or compost, and wait to see how it produces. Good luck!

TJ May 31, 2010 at 10:31 am

Kenny,
Do you have a good source for ordering the figs online? Lowe’s or HD doesn’t have it here in atl (zone 8).

Thanks,
Trupti

Kenny Point May 31, 2010 at 11:06 am

TJ, there are lots of sources online to purchase fig trees. I get most of mine from Bass over at Trees of Joy. Other sources include Edible Landscaping and Raintree Nursery.

Jen June 1, 2010 at 8:58 am

I went to a few specialty nursery’s when I was looking for mine and they had fig trees for about 60 dollars that were HUGE and beautiful- ( compared to the twig HD or lowes was selling for 30 ) I am sure ANY specialty place would have them in any zone- Do you know of any mom and pop places?

Susan June 6, 2010 at 10:45 pm

I live in southern New England and, last summer, purchased 2 Chicago Hardy fig trees from a nursery in my area. I was told by the nursery that these varieties of figs make great “patio pots,” so I placed them in 2 very large patio pots and they flourished nicely, though with leaves only and no fruit, the first summer. Before it became cold, I mulched them in their pots, as advised by the nursery, with straw. The nursery advised not removing the straw until after the last frost, and I followed that advice. It is now early June, and I have two reddish brown “sticks” in pots with no leaves. Shouldn’t these trees have leafed out by now?

Jerry June 9, 2010 at 11:47 am

I live in zone 5 ( central NY ) and wrapped a brown turkey fig with insulation for winter protection. Tree is leafing nicely and is about a 4ft high bush. Any idea when I should expect to see any figs starting and about how long do they take to mature?

Ken Givens June 9, 2010 at 11:47 am

Hello, I recently purchased a home that has two large( 10 feet +/-) fig trees. I have no idea what kind they are, but they are already loaded with green figs. What I would like to know is how do you tell when a fig is ripe enough to pick? Is there such a thing as an inedible fig? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Deb June 10, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Mid-June in Washington DC area – is it too warm and too far into the growing season now to take a fig tree clipping to start a new tree? I would like to start this now, but seems like most posts recommend dormant tree clippings instead.

TMT June 15, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Hi,

I purchased a turkey fig tree about 4 years ago, planted it in a large pot and for the first year we moved it to the garage for winter. Lovely leaves no figs.

Two years ago we planted it in the ground, and for 2 winters cut off the top 1′ from a 4′ tree. We then surrounded the base with dry leaves, covered it with newspapers, burlap, carpet padding and clear plastic making sure the top was covered.

We uncovered the tree last year in spring and the previous wood was dead. Our location is in Connecticut.
We cut it down to about 2′ tall and many new shoots came up from the bottom parts of the branches below the dead wood. The new shoots made many branches covered with leaves the tree really looked like a bush. Again no figs.
The same thing is happening this year, it is now June 14th and we have multiple branches with lots of leaves.

Can anyone help us to figure out if we are doing something wrong as we can not get any figs. Should we prune these multiple branches and leave only 2 or 3 taller stronger branches ?

I had a fig tree years ago when we lived in Westchester NY and covered it the same way. The tree looked more like a tree ( not a bush ) and although it also mostly died back over winter it produced lots of figs in September.

Both trees are the same variety “Turkey” Fig or Italian figs that turn brown and are ripe in Sept.

Can anyone offer any advice to help us with our relatively new tree ?

Thanks.

Kenny Point June 15, 2010 at 8:51 pm

TMT, how much colder is it in CT where you are growing the fig tree now compared to NY? If it is a lot colder in your new growing region that could explain the difference. Or maybe the fig tree was a bit more sheltered in the previous location. You may want to try adding more mulch and insulating materials, or consider growing your fig trees in containers that can be better protected during the winter months.

Bob June 16, 2010 at 6:26 am

Hi, Thank you for this wealth of information on your website.
We live in Ireland in Kerry, and have a fig tree planted in the garden almost 7 years now, I really don’t know what type of fig it is, but in these 7 years the tree still less than a meter high and has no more than 8 branches. every year around April we see few figs coming but only to fall at early stage one by one and today we lost the last fig on the push. It is in the ground and in a sunny area and I have a netting surrounding one side to protect from the strong winds we occasionally have here. Any help please. We would love to have even a few figs a year

Kenny Point June 16, 2010 at 6:42 am

Thank you Bob! I’m not sure what to say about your unproductive tree. You may just be spinning your wheels with a fig that isn’t suitable for growing in your region. Consider researching the specific varieties of figs that have been successfully cultivated in your area and try planting one of those.

TMT June 16, 2010 at 8:59 am

The temperature difference is only about 5 degrees. Do you think my tree will never produce figs if it is growing from new branches produced this year ? What about the multi-stemmed bushy appearance, is that style energy sapping for fig production ? Please advise, thank you.

Kenny Point June 16, 2010 at 9:00 am

Yes, I think that your growing season may be too short to produce fruit from the new growth that the tree sends up. No, the bushy form probably isn’t an issue and is the type of growth that I would encourage.

Jerry June 16, 2010 at 9:08 am

I live in zone 5… central NY near Syracuse. Right now I have plenty of growth but don’t see any figs on my Brown Turkey. If I am to get figs this year when should I start to see any? (2 trees 3 Yrs old in ground)

Mary June 27, 2010 at 9:33 am

I have a brown turkey tree, about six years in the ground, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The first few years I had figs, not a lot, but they ripened nicely. Last year they all fell off the tree before they were ripe. This year they are getting bigger, but have just started falling off the tree again. I figure it’s time to dig up the tree (which is about 15 feet high) and plant another variety. Do you agree? If so, which do you recommend for my area. I have clay soil and of course it is hot and humid.

Kenny Point June 27, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Hi Mary, it sounds like a nice fig tree that you have there so I would hate to just dig it up, especially since it has produced for you in the past. Have you tried fertilizing the tree at all and are you sure that it has received enough moisture as the figs are maturing? Do you have enough room to plant another variety and give the existing another season or two to see if it will do better?

Lianne June 30, 2010 at 3:25 pm

I have just purchased a Brown Turkey Fig tree- it is in a 15 gallon pot and I am about to plant it in the ground. It is about 6 ft tall and consists of the trunk surrounded by leaves-it has absolutely no branches and some of the leaves are very pale-
would you recommend changing this tree ?
Thanks
Lianne

roe marshall July 1, 2010 at 7:57 am

Hi, I just planted a 4 foot fig tree in a sunny spot in the yard, I have beern watering the tree every day, with temps at 90 the last week, I have noticed that the leaves are so droopy. there were some days I watered it twice, is it dying, and that is why the leaves are droopy. Also the leaves are not a dark green color but a light shaded green. Please tell me this tree is o.k.,lol, I have waited a long time to purchase one. Thank You, roe

Kenny Point July 1, 2010 at 10:56 am

Hi Lianne, I would just let it grow for now but if you want to change the shape or form you can try pruning by cutting the tree back in late winter or early spring. You may even wind up with additional trees if you try to root the pruned out section by dipping six to eight inch cutting in rooting hormone and placing the in a container filled with perlite. I’ll try to post an article soon showing an example of a fig tree that I cut back earlier this year.

Kenny Point July 1, 2010 at 11:02 am

Hi Roe, with this heat it is definitely not the best time to transplant trees or shrubs but the fig tree should recover in time. Just keep watering it as you have been and if there is any way for you to shade the tree for a while that would help also.

Steve July 10, 2010 at 7:19 pm

We live in Chandler AZ and purchased a home this winter with a mature fig tree. The past several weeks the leaves have been turning brown and curling up and dying. The figs have turned yellow and soft. I increased the watering and this has not helped. I think I may be over watering the tree but it is 105-110 degrees each day. Any ideas of what I should be doing.
thanks

Kenny Point July 10, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Hi Steve, it’s not unusual for the tree to lose some leaves under those conditions. Have you tried the figs, are they reaching a mature size? Turning yellow and soft could indicate that the fruits are ready to eat as some fig varieties are yellow at maturity. Is there any way to ask the previous owner if this is the normal behavior for the tree at this time of the year?

lianne July 11, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Thanks kenny- I actually changed it for a smaller tree- with loads of branches and suddenly it has begun to produce a number of tiny buds and figs- I am thrilled- what do I need to do watering wise

Steve July 13, 2010 at 7:51 am

Thanks Kenny-
I took a leaf sample to a local Nursery this past weekend. They told me to cut back on the watering. Once every 7-10 days. I do not have contact information on the past owners. I am going to give it a try.

Marina July 18, 2010 at 11:43 am

I purchased a fig tree (brown Turkey) in a 5 Gal. container in June. It had some fruit when I purchased it and has grown some more since then. The fruit are big but they are very hard and green. How long does it take for them to ripen? Do I need to repot it into a bigger container? The plant is in full sun and I water it frequently. I live in Minnesota so I need to keep it in a container.
I would appreciate any advise on furtilization, wintering, etc.
Thanks.

Kenny Point July 18, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Marina, ripening time will vary depending on many factors including the variety and climate so it is hard to say, but figs can be very slow to ripen. If your fig is fruiting it could probably use a container that is larger than five gallon but I would wait and transplant it in the late winter or early spring while it is still dormant. Check the “Growing Organic Fruit” category or enter “fig tree” in the search box on the right sidebar and you will find lots of information caring for fig trees right here on this website.

john gulino July 31, 2010 at 6:34 pm

My fig tree is growing but after 3 years not one fig. any suggestions?

jean August 4, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I was just given a fig plant which has been in a large pot for about 3 years. The tree is about 5 ft. When I took it to my backyard, it dropped all it’s leaves. I watered it and they all grew back 3-fold. Problem is, it never bore fruit for it’s previous owners (which is why it’s mine now) and I don’t see any evidence of buds this summer either –even though it looks really healthy. I’m in Boston, MA. It’s in a sunny location. We just went through a heat spell. If this is just not the right variety for my location, how will I be able to tell? (I actually don’t even know what variety it is.)

Kenny Point August 5, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Hello Jean, that’s a tough call, I would just care for it, fertilize it, and keep it watered properly to see if you get any better results than the previous owner… give it a complete season to perform and if it doesn’t move on and try another fig tree or just plant that one out as an ornamental if you have the room to spare for an unproductive fig tree.

Glenda August 9, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Why is my fig tree losing its leaves, can someone tell me what I need to do to keep the leaves on the tree till fall?

Glenda August 9, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Texas Deep East Texas,

My leaves are already falling off my fig tree anyone know the reason why, could it be lack of water, and or is it because its the end of the season for fruit, please explain, worried in Texas, LOL.

Taylor August 18, 2010 at 9:15 am

Thanks for all the great advice! By reading through the info written above and then looking at the comments with Kenny’s answers, I was able to get a really good picture of how to help out my fig tree. Thanks again! This is fig-tastic.

bruce August 18, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Hi I am growing a fig in a pot. Outdoors for summer but I live in zone 2 so it definately wont overwinter outside. I don’t have a garage. Will it go dormant in my dark unheated basement (I would guess the temperature doesn’t go below mid 50s, even thought there is not heat)

Chrissy August 28, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Hi, Hoping to get some more good info on planting me baby fig trees. I live in central FL and have 2 small fig trees about 4ft tall growing in 1 gal containers. I am not sure if I should plant them in the ground or just put them in containers.. I have had small fig trees in the past that just died. I have heard and read that nemotodes could be an issue, but how would one resolve that? I have a completely sandy soil. I am planting in a bigger container now, but dying to know before spring:)Thanks for any help!!

Bryan August 28, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Hello, I have fruits right now. They are bearing. It started last june-july. It haven’t ripen yet. How long and when are they suppose to be ready?

JEN August 29, 2010 at 9:42 am

Hey Bryan, this is my first season with figs, and I too have been watching my fruit grow daily since June/July I live in zone 7b, Long Island, NY… I started to harvest some ripen fruit about 3 weeks ago but still have many more that I am keeping my eye on. All I can tell you- is once they big and plump, the ripen process happens FAST- I mean less then a week fast- and let me tell you I am competing with the hornets since they LOVE figs… They fly around it daily, but once a fig gets rip, no joke, a hornet will attack it and eat it in seconds… I was watching a beauty grow, went to bed, figured I would get in the AM for my daughter to accompany her breakfast and it was gone- just the shell with barley no pulp left- an empty sac… SO all I can say- is keep an eye on them, it should be soon… once they are the size of what a fig should be- its days until its ready… I have a vern brown turkey fig.

JEN August 29, 2010 at 9:47 am

Chrissy, I am not a fig connoisseur ( yet ) but huge into my garden as well as other peoples… I have family in SC and FL and since there soil is SOOOO poor, when they plant they have to dig the hole for the root ball 4X plus the size of the container as well as deep, since that is the only area for growth the plants will have… I am very impressed with there gardens too… and that is what they tell me- the bigger the hole, the better the growth of the plant.. I would think for a tree you may want to go bigger… hope this helps, but its just my opinion..

Bryan August 30, 2010 at 12:08 am

Jen- hello, I see, I’m 6b zone, Lebanon area, PA. That’s odd because your figs are already ripen and my figs aren’t yet. They are still green since June-July. Still harden and haven’t change their color yet too. Oh wow, I hope this will not happen to me! I’m concerning that the birds may after it too like they did do to my strawberries. I have been watching them every 2 other days. Ugh, they are so slow and fall season is coming. I am hoping that they will be ready before cold weather comes. My fig is black mission. Probably it is a lot different from brown turkey fig? My fig tree is no more than 2 ft and produce a lot fruits. Right now, I have around 12 figs.

Aimee August 30, 2010 at 12:14 pm

My husband and I were lucky enough to move to an apartment in Brooklyn, NY with a backyard! There are four fig trees in the yard ranging in age from about 25 – 50 years old. Obviously, they are very well established, and they have been (particularly the largest, oldest two trees) producing delicious fruit so fast that we literally cannot give it away fast enough. It is raining figs right now. We must pick about 50 every day, and they just keep coming!

The landlords told me that they never wrap the trees during winter or give them any other special treatment of any kind. They also said that come fall, they basically saw or lop off the top branches of the trees so that they can collect the last of the figs from way up high, where it’s tough to reach even with a tall ladder.

That was about all the help I could get out of them as to how I should care for / prune these wonderful trees. They said they have basically been very “hands off” about their care and they just keep on thriving.

They are now under our care, and I’m wondering what, if anything, I should do to keep the fig parade coming next year. I’ve read some things that say I don’t need to bother pruning these well-established trees, and other people say I should definitely prune…but when, and how much to prune (and how? pruning saw? lopper?) is all a new mystery to me.

They create a lot of shade in our small yard, which is sometimes welcomed, but other times I wish we could let a little more sun in so that I could grow some sun-loving perennials.

Any advice as to how to care for these wonderful trees would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!

c. lyon September 2, 2010 at 8:20 pm

I would like to know why it seems as though june bugs fly into a fig tree a then drop dead.

Shari September 3, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I have 2 fig trees in Providence, RI. One is an $80 mail order brown turkey that arrived in a box 5 feet tall. We planted it fall and by the spring it was dead. We left it in the ground and new growth sprang up from the roots. The other is a brown turkey I spotted at Stop & Shop this spring for $12.99. This one I put in a pot so that I could try bringing it in for the winter. Neither tree gave fruit this year. The one in the pot is already turning yellow and dropping it’s leaves. Not sure how to help either plant.

Kenny Point September 4, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Hi Shari, sounds like you will have to cover your fig trees if you intend to leave them outside over the winter. I wouldn’t worry too much that they didn’t produce fruit in the first year or two, especially considering that the one tree died back to the ground and had to send up new growth. The tree in the container may be preparing for dormancy already so continue watering as needed but do not fertilize it any more this season.

Karen September 10, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Hi, I live in Brooklyn, NY and I’m really interested in buying a fig tree to plant in my front yard for next Spring. I really don’t have any experience with gardening or planting anything at all, but I do want to learn how to grow a fig tree because I like eating the figs. So I was wondering if you can help me by letting me know what’s the best type of fig tree I should purchase that can withstand the weather in NY and also be able to bear fruit when the time comes?

Your response is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Kenny Point September 10, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Hi Karen, I would recommend that you try growing the Brooklyn White fig variety as it has proven to grow well in your area and produces excellent fruit.

Aimee September 11, 2010 at 11:18 am

Hey Karen, I’m no expert by any means, but we do have four fig trees in our yard (also in Brooklyn) that are very well established and produce a lot of fruit. I think it might take a couple of years before yours would produce fruit, but maybe we could dig out a younger shoot from the base of one of our trees for you – our landlord has done that several times with these trees and was successful growing new trees this way.

Could be worth a try, anyway. You can email me directly at aimeejoy@me.com if you want to discuss it. :)

Jack September 22, 2010 at 7:46 am

Hi. I live in South Florida and have had a fig tree for years from a clipping of my Grandfather’s tree in Long Island, NY. While the tree was there, it grew like a weed! He protected it every winter and it grew bigger and bigger every year.
My tree (after 4 years, now) is still only about 2 feet tall! I get a bunch of leaves in the spring. They grow out for a few weeks then get brown spots on them and fall off. New leaves are constantly growing out, but it seems like the actual tree is not growing. I have tried cutting it back, replanting from the ground back into a pot (about 10 gallon pot). I have tried it in full sunlight, shade, and half/half. I am pretty much at a loss. I am not sure if I am giving it too much water (I live in Florida so it rains alot in the summer). The pot that I have it in now has the little dish at the bottom to keep the soil moist…should I remove that so the rain water drains out?
Sorry for the long question, I just want to keep the tree and get it growing!.

Maria September 29, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Hi Kenny. I live in zone 6 (central WA). I just bought a fig tree from a nursery and it arrived today. I bought it in the fall because I was excited to get one and my botanist friend had told me I could plant it now and the give it a little nitrogen in the spring and it would take off. But my father–a fruit grower–is telling me no way. I’ve read all the posts above and am now thinking that I should probably just plant it in a pot and put it in the garage until spring. It’s about 3 1/2 feet tall, with a healthy root system and no leaves. Is it already dormant? Is it okay to put it in some soil and just wait till spring, or is there something else I should do? Thanks in advance for your help. Your site is a wonderful service!

Kenny Point September 30, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Hello Maria, I would transplant it to a pot and leave it outside in a sheltered spot for now. Sounds like it’s dormant but it is pretty early for that. Once it gets cold outside move it into the garage for the winter and plant it or move it back outside in the spring. I’m not sure how cold your winters are or how much protection your fig will need to survive being planted outdoors through the winter without dying back to the ground.

Jack October 8, 2010 at 10:16 am

From September 22, 2010…does anyone have any ideas?

Jen October 8, 2010 at 10:51 am

Sorry Jack- No ideas…. but the only thing I can think of, which I am no pro, is that different planting zones effect different plant species differently… If it flourished on LI, but not in FL- maybe the temp of your zone is too much for that tree to handle since we are several zones apart from each other… Maybe you should look into a fig tree variety that flourish in hotter zones like your own, and texas, you may have better luck… though its not your grandfathers tree, the sentiment can still be there just by having a fig in general….

Maria October 15, 2010 at 10:39 am

Hi

I live in SC and I am want to move a fig tree from my inlaws house because they are doing renovations and want to get rid of the tree. Its not very large right now because they cut it down last year but it grew back. From what I understand it has been bearing fruit for 40+ years. My question is : would now be a good time to move it and should I immediatly put it in the ground or in a pot?

Thank you

Kenny Point October 17, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Hi Maria, if the fig tree goes dormant in your region then I would wait and move it after it has lost its leaves and become dormant. If you have to move it now than do so, in your area I would plant it in the ground since winter protection will not be a concern. The tree may be small since it was cut back but you will probably have a substantial root system to deal with since it is a very established tree. You can also try to root some cuttings or layer some of the branches as a backup to ensure that you can keep the tree going. Good luck.

Patrick October 26, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Great site. My question about figs is what would cause the fruit to be dry inside. The tree is about eight years old and came from a cutting.

Graham Dixon October 29, 2010 at 7:34 am

Hi,
We have recently aquired a small fig tree in a container which is now in our conservatory. During the summer it has produced 3 – 4 figs on all branches. None have developed bigger than a walnut and some have rotted while lately other have split open. We would appreciate any advice

Kenny Point October 30, 2010 at 7:09 am

Patrick and Graham, I really can’t offer a good answer about the problems with your figs because there are so many factors that could be involved… the variety that you are growing, weather, growing conditions, age of the tree, etc. I have about nine different varieties on my patio and they each perform differently… some fruited this summer, others didn’t. Of the ones that fruited not all ripened their fruits. One tree outperformed them all in spite of having to produce figs on new branches that had been cut back. My recommendation is to give the trees time to mature and if they don’t produce for you research and explore some other varieties that are known to yield well in your growing region.

Greg November 25, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Ken:
I have two fig trees, both of which are two years old. I live in Southern New Jersey, and winterize them standing up with the usual wire, leaves, wrappings, tarp, etc. They seemed to respond decent enough, but now with the branches getting bigger, my question is whether I should prune them prior to winterizing, or wait til spring? Thanks.

Kenny Point November 26, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Hi Greg, many people prune their fig trees in the fall to make it easier to wrap the trees and protect them during winter. You can prune them now or wait until spring, whatever is more convenient for you.

Michael January 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Hi Kenny

I’m wondering if you have ever heard of placing a one-inch layer of ground limestone on top of the soil of a potted fig tree. I saw this technique practiced by 2 elderly Sicilian gentlemen who ran a nursery in Plainview, Long Island, NY and featured during an episode of Martha Stewart’s show about 10 or 15 years ago. They claim that this mimics the favored growing conditions seen in the Mediterranean region where fig trees grow out of limestone outcroppings. Ever heard of it?

Kenny Point January 30, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Hi Michael, I have heard of using powdered limestone or limestone chips around fig trees but I have never tried it myself. Sounds like an interesting idea and I’ll have to do a little research on the practice to find out if it is intended to correct specific soil deficiencies or if it is for general use around fig trees.

sal January 30, 2011 at 11:16 pm

I learned a lot from the site below and he is also on facebook about potted fig trees. I have a couple of fig trees I bought a couple years back from him. He also will sell you a blend of fertilizer that he makes that works great. What I learned by trial and error and by asking Joe by calling him. If your in a cold climate your trees need to come into a garage or and enclosed breezeway in the winter. The plant must rest over the winter or it will not bear fruit the next year. Also every couple years you need to rootball the tree an put new soil in it. I simply use miricle grow potting mix which works well for me. I had some great figs this past summer. The rootballing I do in the middle of Jan while the tree is dormant. Keep the roots slightly moist. I water about 2 cups a month or so till spring. It dont take much. Also when you get shoots of the bottom of the tree that are about 8 to 10 inches during the rootballing process these shoots sometimes have their own root system on them and are easy to cut away for the main trunk and plant them directly in your potting mix. For cuttings from other areas of the tree I simply use vermiculite to promote root growth. I fertilize with Joes fertilizer mix once after rootballing and 2 more times during the summer months. I had some really nice big figs this year on both my trees. You have to call Joe and he will talk to you directly if you want to order trees or for information put I know he also has a facebook link. Happy Figging
Sal

sal January 30, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Sorry the website I was referring to was Figtrees.net

Cati Porter February 28, 2011 at 11:03 am

Hi there,

We have a volunteer fig tree in our backyard, evidently planted by the birds. Over the years it has grown up near the base of a palm tree and some bougainvillea and it produces delicious figs with a dark purplish skin and magenta flesh without any interference from me (I have a tendency to kill plants, so the fact that it’s survived and produces fruit is amazing).

My problem is that come summer time metallic green beetles take over the tree, and I have to fend them off in order to pick the ripened fruit. They only seem to be interested in the overripe fruit, and I’ve read that don’t lay their eggs directly on the fruit so I haven’t worried too much about that, but it is a pain to pick them. Is there anything I can do now, while it’s still dormant, to prevent or dissuade the beetles from taking over the tree?

Thanks for any advice you might have!

Cati

Kenny Point March 6, 2011 at 11:49 am

Hi Cati, I can’t think of anything specific that you could do now to discourage the beetles. Maybe you could loosely wrap the sections of the branches bearing figs with a light cheesecloth or floating row cover fabric to keep the bugs off of the fruit.

I would also try to positively identify the beetle and then research controls or beneficial insects that may target and be effective against it.

Liz March 12, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Hi, a friend gave me a branch of her fig tree that she had soaking in water for quite some time. The branch has roots that are 4-6 inches long. There are about a dozen leaves on the branch. We planted it today in a container with potting soil and watered it. Well, almost immediately, the leaves started wilting. Is this normal?

Kenny Point March 15, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Hi Liz, that is pretty normal for a plant that is stressed, such as when it is transplanted. Keep it shaded and watered to give it time to recover. I’ve rooted dormant fig cuttings and always potted them up after they developed roots but well before the started producing any leaf growth. Let us know how the tree recovers for you… if the leaves continue to wilt badly and look like they won’t revive, I would just trim away a portion of the leaf edges or even remove some of them entirely and hope for new leaf growth. The root system is more important at this stage and you don’t want to burden it with more leaf structure than it can support.

Anthony March 24, 2011 at 12:06 pm

I live in Massachusetts. I keep my fig tree in my new greenhouse. It has buds on it without any leaves.
Will these full mature without the leaves. The GH is about 66F.

Thankss for any info

r logue bovee April 16, 2011 at 1:38 pm

I live in phoenix. I have a mature 15 foot fig tree. produces lots of fruit but the fruit when ripe is soft but white and pulpy/fibrous looking inside. On the outside they are green figs and don’t change color when ripe. I water but do not fertilize. Any ideas?
thanks,
Rebecca

Kenny Point April 17, 2011 at 10:19 am

Hi Rebecca, did you taste the figs? That sounds like a perfect description of my figs when they are ripe and delicious. Fig colors vary, some fruits ripen to dark purple or black, while others are lighter colors including some that are green or yellow when ripe.

Ricardo April 17, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Hi Kenny;

I live in Coral Springs, Fl (zone 10/11), i bought a brown turkey fig tree, it is about 2′ h x 2′ w, already has some figs, still in a 3 gal. pot. I would like to plant it on the front southwest side of the house with a east wall on the side. How apart from the wall should it be?, will the roots damage the footing of the wall and the wall itself?, does lining the bottom of the planting hole with bricks help divert the roots away from the wall?.
By the way great info and useful indications to grow a healthy fig tree.

Thank you

Donna April 21, 2011 at 11:51 am

Hi Kenny,

We planted a BT fig in our garden last year, which we insulated & covered as suggested for zone 5, for the winter. Is it safe to remove the coverings now, or should we wait til the danger of frost has passed (usually middle/late May here in the mountains)? Many thanks!!

Kenny Point April 21, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Hi Donna, I hesitate to say this with the weather that we have had so far this spring, but yes, you should be fine to uncover your fig trees now. You really don’t want to keep them covered long after things start to warm up and as long as the temps don’t drop down below twenty degrees even the above ground branches should be fine. I moved my potted figs outside over the past couple of weeks and they are doing okay in spite of the cool weather.

Crystal G. April 26, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Hello Kenny,

My neighbors have a wonderful fig tree loaded with fruit. A few days ago they let me dig up one of their small babies. The small baby tree I dug up was actually growing alongside the big fig and I believe it was sharing a root. I used a chainsaw to separate the small fig from the big fig and I planted it in my backyard. I have been watering it but it seems to be sadder and sadder by the day. I was expecting the small fig tree to go into shock but not like this. It is looking really pathetic and I am not sure if it will make it. Do figs go in shock after being transplanted? How long will it take to bounce back? How long should I wait before giving up on it?

Thanks,

Crystal

Wayne Wilson April 27, 2011 at 6:48 am

Kenny,
We have a mature fig tree that was on the property when we bought our house. We live in So. California, Zone 9b.
The tree looks very healthy, and always puts on two crops of figs every year. Every year each crop comes to about 2 weeks of ripening and all of them drop.
We have tried watering more and also more frequently. However nothing we have done has kept the tree from droping the crops.

What do you guess is happening?
We havent fertilzed much and the tree always looks great and is a wonderfull shade and privacy barrier.

Wayne

Kenny Point May 1, 2011 at 9:52 am

Hi Crystal, it wouldn’t surprise me that the fig would go into shock, especially when separating it the way that you did, hopefully it will recover for you. Another way to propagate the fig tree would be to take cuttings or to layer a branch, trees created in that manner would suffer less from shock when transplanted. For now keep your tree shaded and watered and see how well it recovers.

Kenny Point May 1, 2011 at 10:02 am

Wayne, do you know the specific variety of fig that is on your property? Can you find out if the previous owner ever managed to get a harvest? I really don’t know what the problem is with your tree. I have heard that certain figs planted on the West Coast required pollination by a specific insect but if that was your issue I’m not sure that the figs would have even developed to the degree that they have. You may want to contact Bass over at Trees of Joy, he may be able to give you a better answer.

Tim May 5, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Hi Kenny,

I have read all of the posts for the last couple of yrs to find an answer to my question, but couldn’t. So, here goes….. I live in a rental house, and noticed a plant that had leaves like a fig. I have zero experience with figs, and kept cutting it back to the ground. Today, I decided to take a leaf to the nursery to see. It is a fig. A quick call to my landlord reveled that he had never had one planted, so it was probably a gift of squirrels. I live in the South San Francisco Bay. The fig is in the ground between mine and my neighbors driveway, against a fence. I am going to try to root a cutting, but would like to know if, left alone, when I could expect to see fruit? Thanks for all of the great information…

Tim

Kenny Point May 8, 2011 at 8:32 am

Hi Tim, it can vary but I have seen fig trees start producing fruit from cuttings that were just a couple years old, the average is probably about three years to get your first figs.

Connie Lunsford May 18, 2011 at 11:02 pm

I just recently planted a fig tree. I have been told by several friends that it will not produce fruit unless I have 2 or more fig trees. I have a single pear tree that produces a great deal of pears. I am under the belief that the bees pollinate the trees and that is how a single tree will produce fruit. Am I right or are my friends right?

Kenny Point May 22, 2011 at 7:32 am

Hi Connie, I don’t think that most figs even require insects for pollination, but they will produce fruit even if you have just a single fig tree.

Elizabeth Whitfield May 23, 2011 at 11:49 am

Hi,

I live in Atlanta, and I planted a Brown Turkey Fig about a year and a half ago. This Spring, there were a number of small figs on the tree that seemed to dry up and drop off. Now, there is lovely foliage, but nothing else. Have you ever heard of this happening? Thank you!

Best regards,
Elizabeth

Jenny May 28, 2011 at 6:04 am

Hi,

I live in the South East of England. I have a young fig tree that I purchased last summer at a local market. I was concerned that we have had bitter winters the last few years so during the winter I took it inside and it started to produce leaves. In the spring I put it outside and all but one of its leaves fell off. We have tried repotting it but it continued to lose leaves. Also my husband insists that it is kept in part shade and I think it should be in full sun – who is correct.

Many thanks for your help.

Jenny

Dotty May 29, 2011 at 6:05 am

Hi’
I live in southern Spain and have just bought a fig tree (don’t know the Variety).It it quite mature and pruned with an open centre.I repotted it into a large clay pot,with normal compost mixed with a little local sandy soil.After two weeks all the leaves have dropped off.There are some tiny fruits on it.How often should I be watering it and how often should it be fed? Do you think I have killed it or are figs quite hardy? Also will it be ok outside during winter? Help!!

Regards,
Dotty

Kenny Point May 29, 2011 at 8:56 am

Hi Jenny, I keep my fig trees in full sun and they do fine but they would probably tolerate a little shade. When you moved your tree outdoors did you harden it off by gradually exposing it to outdoor conditions or did you just set it out and leave it?

Aimee May 29, 2011 at 12:34 pm

I live in western Arkansas and I have gotten a fig tree this spring. I have kept it mostly in my sunroom but have moved it in and out of the backyard. It has gotten several new leaves and seems to be growing well. I noticed that some of the leaves have turned brown around the edges and fallen off, but from other comments i suppose thats normal or too much water. I have cut back on my watering, but I have noticed bugs on my tree. They are white and oval, but I dont know what kind of bug they are. They seem to be on the stems, under the leaves and a few on top of the leaves. Is there anything I can do to take care of them? I really dont want them to kill my tree! Please let me know what I can spray to get rid of them.

Thank you!

Aimee May 29, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I have looked online and I think the bugs might be mealybugs. I have done some reading about them and I think I may have come up with a way to get rid of them. I will let you know what it is and if it works. If you have any tips though, please let me know.

Thank you!

Dan May 31, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Hello Kenny,

So grateful for your knowledge and willingess to share freely. I have a mature fig tree (20+ years) in a home I recently purchased. Long story short – neighbor didn’t set his parking brake and his car rolled down the hill glancing off of the trunk of the fig tree taking about a 3′ x 2′ section of bark off the lower portion of the trunk on the north-east facing side. I’ve already carefully removed the jagged edges of the torn bark so it now reveals an elliptical/oval shape. Seems the tree took a decent jolt but the ground looks fine – no obvious indication of root damage besides a small trunk sprout being knocked off at ground level. What else can I or should I do to ensure the tree remains healthy and happy? Your advice is appreciated in advance. Thanks a million!

Dan

Jen June 1, 2011 at 8:48 am

I live on long island, New York and purchase a brown fig that produced wonderfully last year. Since I uncovered it this year it has yet to produce any leaves and its already june 1st, but when I snip a section off of a branch it is green and alive inside… what do I do? Lost in New York.

Corinne June 2, 2011 at 11:49 pm

I live in the Southwest and was fortunate enough to have a beautiful large black mission fig tree. Well, this past winter we had below freezing weather. I thought the tree had survived. I pruned the tree as usual and began spring watering. Well, it didn’t come back. I noticed the bark was cracked and splitting. The branches are completely dry – but new growth is coming up from the ground! It looks really healthy and is even bearing fruit. What do I do with the existing skeleton ( that’s what it looks like)? Do I cut down the tree and allow the new growth to take over? Should I just allow a few new growth limbs and cut the rest? Help!

JOHNNY June 8, 2011 at 7:52 am

Hi Kenny
I live in Montreal,Canada
Got my first fig plant from a nursury.Our winters are not to kind.
I bought a big bin .Can you tell me the soil that you have to use.
IS it recommened you make holes at the bottom of the bin.
what kind of fertilzer to use .
IS 10-10-10 GOOD ENOUGH
Thanks

Kenny Point June 8, 2011 at 8:09 am

Johnny, I use a light weight potting mix that is intended for container growing and contains ingredients like perlite and vermiculite. You should have holes in the bottom of the bin to ensure adequate drainage and you can cover the holes with a piece of screening to hold the soil in and prevent the holes from becoming blocked. I use an organic tropical fruit tree fertilizer to feed my fig trees but the 10-10-10 should be okay and some compost added every now and then would be great.

Tammy June 10, 2011 at 11:32 am

This is my first attempt at growing a fig tree, so not really sure what I’m doing yet! I have a black mission that I planted at the end of last summer. It came out of dormancy beautifully and has lots of small green fruit. In the last week I have noticed the leaves are turning yellow and dropping. How do I know if this is due to lack of water or too much water? The temps in Phoenix are getting up to 100, so even though it is on a
drip system (every 3 days/45 minutes) I have been deep watering additionally once a week with the hose. I have a lot of clay in my soil, so maybe I’m overdoing it on the water? I would hate to cut back on water if that’s not the problem… Thanks so much for any help!

Deborah June 18, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I live in Phoenix, Arizona and have a small fig tree I planted a year ago. This spring I got a wonderful black fig and was thrilled to see several new ones sprouting under the gigantic lush foliage of the tree. We recently hit out one hundred degree days and like someone who wrote from Chandler, my leaves are suddenly dropping. The little fruit are beginning to look like those dried variety you purchase at the market.

The soil is very clay like so I do not water as often and I did fertilize

Steven June 27, 2011 at 11:09 am

I live in Pahrump, Nevada. Two years ago I planted a fig tree and got quite a nice harvest of figs for being a first year. Last year, year two, the tree did not leaf out and I assumed it was dead so I cut it back. This year, year three, new growth has emerged and is now about three feet tall. Under these circumstances, can I eventually expect the new growth to produce fruit?

Kenny Point June 27, 2011 at 11:36 am

Sure, the tree should recover just fine and you may even get another harvest of figs this summer.

Jerry June 28, 2011 at 6:52 am

Live in zone 5, upstate NY and have 2 fig trees outdoors. They are 6 ft. tall and were wrapped all winter and have many leaves on them with no figs. Should there be any sign of figs stating if I’m going to get any this year.

Kenny Point June 28, 2011 at 7:30 am

Hi Jerry, yes I would think that you should be seeing some signs of tiny figs developing by now. Have the trees produced for you in the past or did you recently plant them?

Jerry June 30, 2011 at 6:56 am

Yes, the mother plant, brown turkey produced figs when it was in a pot that was brought in during the winter. This will be the 3rd year outside and last year the figs never ripened. I was hoping it would take a few years for the roots to take hold and get aclimated to the outdoors. I think they might bee signs of small figs developing but was wondering if this is normal for this time of year up here.

help July 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I recently bought a Sultane fig tree. is this a suitable fig for a pot? because I’m in zone seven. Vancouver Island Canada. I have no fig tree experience and anything you have to offer in tips is appreciated!

Kenny Point July 3, 2011 at 8:32 am

I have never grown that variety of fig but I would think that it would be suitable for container culture. Good luck.

Raven July 8, 2011 at 6:46 am

I recently bought a Black Mission fig plant from Lowes on clearance for $5. It had 4 very small figs on it and I was thrilled!! Where I live in NE OK, I have to container garden with high fencing. It is about a month later and the figs are growing!! Once again, I’m thrilled.

My question is, when do I harvest these wonderful 4 figs? I’m never eaten a fresh fig, only dried ones, so I haven’t got a clue as to what they look like.

Thanks, Raven

ronda graham July 10, 2011 at 8:52 am

my fig trees are in the ground yr 2 i having leaves turing yellow and falling off but still have a few fig growing slowly been very dry here watering with reg water can you help me i love to eat figs

Asif July 10, 2011 at 11:48 am

Hi,

I just planted a 6 ft Black mission fig tree in a 24″ pot and the leaves started dropping off overnight after a few days. The leaves look pretty healthy except for a few small yellow blotches. Some other details:
- came with fruit growing on it.
- new leaves seem to be sprouting fine
- pot has a saucer and the pot seams to drain
- plant is in full sun and temps are in the 80s
Help! Do you think it needs shade since it’s a new transplant?

Dawne Miller July 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm

I just received a white fig tree that was dug up from the ground and put into a pot for transportation purposes. I plan on putting it back in the ground but my soil is mostly decomposed granite (DG). What should I do to prepare the soil so the tree is successful. Since the tree was dug up, the leaves have curled and dried. What should I do about this? I live in El Cajon, CA. Thank you so much

ali July 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Hi. I am about to move house and don’t want to leave my lovely fig tree behind. It was planted about 7 or 8 years ago in the ground in a bucket, and is about 10 ft tall. I know the risk of moving the tree at this time of year. Do you have any advice as to what I should do before digging it up to minimise losing it and of course any tips when actually digging it up?
Many thanks for your help.

Katie July 18, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Hello. I live in Western NC but not in the mountains. My sister-in-law gave me a small (3 feet tall) fig tree. It has some figs on it and looks very healthy in the pot. However, I have been warned to plant the tree in a “sunny but sheltered” area. I’m not sure what that means. Could you please explain what would be best for my tree? Thanks!

Jeff McFadyen July 20, 2011 at 6:00 pm

I have a 10-15 yr old black fig tree which was given to me a couple of years ago and with a little guidance actually got it to produce about 300 figs last year, to which about half shriveled up and fell of for whatever reason. I classified it as a good year but was still researching how to maintain a healthy tree. I have it in a 22″ wide by 20″ deep rain barrel and bring it in the garage in the winter so it will not freeze. This spring I was told to cut out the roots around the base of the tree and replace the soil with something that has a little more nutrients in it, like sheep manure to promote new root growth. So…… in a 22″ radius barrel with the tree smack dab in the middle, with a 3.5″ trunk, I proceeded to cut the roots and remove the dirt. I cut about 4″ in from the perimeter and about 1′ down like I was told. This left about 5-6″ around the tree and the remainder of the depth untouched. My concern is that nothing has happened to the tree since I did this. The tree seems to still be alive because if I remove a piece of bark at the end of a limb I see water forming so I figure it still must be living. I did see it starting to bud about 2 1/2 months ago but it never did amount to much. They kind of just stopped growing and it has been about 2 months now. The buds are still there and when I break them open they are full of water too. I am really concerned that I shocked the tree by cutting the roots too much. At this point I am at a loss what to do. I do not want to loos this beautiful tree. Any help on what to do from this point would be greatly appreciated. I am also not sure what to do in the winter if it should make it till then. Do I put it back in the garage or in the house where it is warmer? Thanks for the help in advance, Jeff.

Kenny Point July 21, 2011 at 6:58 am

Hi Jeff, sorry your fig tree is struggling, I have never heard that method of root pruning. There is nothing that I can think of for you to do at this point except to possibly take a couple cuttings and see if they will root in case the tree doesn’t survive. Other than that keep it watered as needed and a bit shaded if it doesn’t have any leaves. I would move it back into the garage again this winter. I hope it comes around because it sounds like your were getting great production from it.

Virginia July 24, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Hi Kenny,
I have enjoyed reading a lot of the notes above and have learned much about the fig tree from your site. I always liked the fig newtons bought in the store, but until recently, had no idea just how sweet and wonderful a fresh fig could taste.
My husband loves fresh figs and we planted two (I think Brown Turkey) fig bushes a few years ago. Wow, have I learned we did almost everything wrong, lol. and they have continued to live. At least they are doing much better this year and actually have fruit that is ripening on the bush. So sweet and good. The thing this year is that we are having to fight bees (mostly yellow jackets) for the fruit. They seem to get to the ripe fruit and eat holes in the fig before we can get the figs picked. What would you suggest to keep the bees away?
I enjoy your site very much.
Thank you for any help you can provide.

Kenny Point July 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Hi Virginia, I’ve noticed more issues with the ripe fruits so maybe you could beat them to the figs by harvesting just as soon as they ripen. For a small number of fruits you could possible bag individual figs or clusters with some type of fabric or netting. Another idea would be to try providing something sweet to occupy the bees away from the fig trees. Good luck and thanks for visiting and commenting!

ken July 26, 2011 at 9:55 am

Please advise:
Recently my neighbor gave me a 8ft. fig tree in a pot.The roots had broken through to root in the ground.I had to cut them to move the tree.The leaves are drouping and i am afraid i will lose it.I watered it a lot,but it seemes to be dying.What can i do.Help!!!!
Thanking you in advance,Ken

David R July 27, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Sacramento California

Have a 4-5 year old The Calimyrna Fig Tree in the ground. Last year it gave delicious fruit for about 2-3 months.

This summer it has about 50 figs, but they haven’t ripened or changed color or drooped to show ripening. Its been about a month now.

The tree is pretty thick and I cleared out the sucker trees about a month ago. Do I need to thin out the branches a bit? I see one or two figs splitting open dry, green and hard.

I did put a little Kellogg organic fruit tree fertilizer about a month ago. Nothing yet.

Any suggestions?

Cheers, David

Beverly August 13, 2011 at 10:31 am

I’m new at this, so please bear with me. I have branches from a fig tree and need to know how I start growing a fig free from them. What do I need to do (water or soil) and how do I care for it. I live at the beach in North Carolina but plan to grow it inside first since Winter is approaching. Your help is very much appreciated. Beverly

Melissa August 13, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Such great information! Thank you! I have a fig tree that I planted in the ground 5 or 6 months ago. I finally got a ripe fig that hadn’t been “shared” by any critters, but when I tasted it, it had almost no flavor. I’d appreciate any insight you might have! The tree itself is very green and healthy looking.

Kenny Point August 14, 2011 at 8:08 am

Hi Melissa, some figs are just more flavorful than others and the taste of fruit from the same plant can vary from one season to the next depending on the weather and growing conditions. Did you feed the plant at all? That can also make a difference and I would start by fertilizing the fig tree with a good organic citrus or fruit tree fertilizer.

Kenny Point August 14, 2011 at 8:16 am

Hi Beverly, the best way to propagate your fig tree is with cuttings. Here is a link that has lots of cultivation information including a section on propagation.

Carol August 17, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Question: We have a fig plant in the office (Houston, TX) and it has lost most of its leaves except a few limbs with leaves at the end. It is approx. seven feet tall. Some of the leaves are healthy green but most are light yellowish green and do not look healthy. The limbs are long and spiney with some leaves at the very end. What would you suggest to get it healthy again? Also, is it safe to cut some of the limbs and replant in soil and then would the plant start sprouting in other places? Thank you

sandi clisham August 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm

I live in Maryland and planted four fig trees in the spring of 2010. During the winter, they must have died back because in the spring, they came up from the roots. What can I do to make sure they actually get bigger each year because if they only grow from the roots every year, they will remain the same size! It seems like so much trouble to wrap them every year, and even more trouble to dig them up. Any suggestions.

Kenny Point August 22, 2011 at 8:25 am

Hi Sandi, my mom lives in Maryland, close to D.C. and most years her fig tree survives the winter unprotected without any die back, but some winters it will die back to the ground and have to regrow from there. You could plant them in containers and move them into an unheated shelter for the winter or cover the plants. Even a modest amount of mulch and cover may be enough depending on what part of the state you are in. Good luck!

Kenny Point August 22, 2011 at 8:41 am

Hi Carol, I would repot the tree, improve the soil, fertilize, and root prune just a little if it seems pot bound. I prefer to prune branches when the tree is dormant and yes it will sprout new limbs where it has been pruned back.

Jen August 25, 2011 at 8:30 am

Recently I had people at my house, I live on long island. Someone saw my fig died back to the ground last winter and told me I should just heavily mulch the ground around the roots and not protect the tree itself, that the branches would most likely survive as long as the roots are protected… it doesn’t seem right, but is this true?

Kenny Point August 25, 2011 at 8:53 am

Hi Jen, if it gets cold enough in your area to kill the branches on your fig tree a mulch will not protect against that, so I disagree.

Joy September 4, 2011 at 7:55 am

Kenny, you are unlikely to have experienced them in your climate zone, but smyrna figs are a whole different ball game from our cold weather-tolerant figs. They require the fig wasp to be pollinated, and many even require a separate male plant (that does not have edible figs itself, usually a caprifig) as a pollinator. There are a couple of questions upthread about figs that need pollinators, or that grow to a certain size and then fall off. According to at least one site, http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/extension/homefruit/fig/fig.html some sorts require wasps and males for one of the two annual crops. In some areas, this adds up to “if it doesn’t fruit, dig it up and plant another.” But for other people, such as if they’re taking a “heritage” cutting, they might want to check if there’s another “useless” fig tree nearby that could actually be the caprifig male. Same’s true for people who know they have several good figs and one “useless” one. Taking out the “useless” one could stop the others from ripening, if they are venerable smyrna-type (wasp pollinated) figs.

I also notice that some british sites suggest trimming back each branch to 4 large leaves, if trying to get figs to ripen before winter. I’m wondering if you’ve ever resorted to that, as I’m thinking of doing it to my fig this year. It freezes back close to the ground yearly, then comes back as a massive bush from the roots, so it has about 15 spindly “trunks” of which 6 or 7 are trying to set 4 or 5 fruits each. All of them still rather small to have hopes of ripening this month. I grew up in warmer climates myself (thus the smyrna fig awareness) so I’m trying to re-tool my expectations and actions for a colder climate.

(I’ve tried insulating the plant before, but with the multiple skinny spreading stems, it doesn’t bundle very well, and the bundle tends to break and crack if heavy snow lands on top.)

Cathy September 4, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Hi Kenny, Great Site! Very informative.
I’ve just inherited some 2nd year cuttings, about 2 feet tall. My Dad, who propagated them, is not well & is unable to tell me what varieties they are, and they all look the same to my novice eye. Can you suggest a good site for identification? There’s supposed to be three different types, propagated off local trees & bushes.
Are there any heirloom varieties?
Thanks a bunch!

Kenny Point September 5, 2011 at 8:43 am

Thanks Cathy, I would recommend that you check over at http://treesofjoy.com Bass grows a lot of different fig varieties and he may be able to help you. As far as I know most of the figs that I have encountered would probably be classified as heirlooms.

Joe Marasco September 7, 2011 at 10:45 am

This year very early i had to full grown figs on my 5 yr old fig tree but now in September i have 9 figs (which i don’t think is very many) that are still very small and don’t seem to be growing!
What could be happening?

Connie September 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm

I have a small fig tree that is from a cutting. No signs of figs as it is too young for that. Only have about 3 or 4 leaves on tree so far. It has only been in the ground for about 3 months. I do not want to dig it up and transfer it to a pot for the winter so how do I protect it in the ground. I live in eastern KY and do get some low temps and some ice storms.

Nan September 10, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Hello Kenny,

I need your help. We accidentally cut about 1/4″ into the fig tree with our weed wacker. What can we do to “fix” this so that the tree doesn’t die? Thanks!

Etienne Steyn September 11, 2011 at 4:46 am

I have a problem with my fig trees. I planted them almost two years ago. They form fruit which swell out about half way and then all start falling off the trees. What can I do to get them to mature and ripen all the way? I live in Vanderbijlpark Gauteng South Africa. We have hot summers and very cold winters.

Angela September 11, 2011 at 8:39 am

Hi Kenny,
I live on the east end of Long Island I have had this fig tree for about 4 years now. My dad gave it to me and it was basically a branch. It now stands 5 ft tall and very full. My problem is that Just now Sept. the fruits are starting to come out. They never ripen and we never get a chance to enjoy the figs. Do you have any suggestions?

Regards,
Angela

Ester September 20, 2011 at 9:34 am

I purchased my first fig tree this year. Plant did great (only had three figs, though), but I’m happy anyway. I live in PA and want to know when to bring the pot inside. Is frost or temperature what I should be concerned with (or both)? Chilly mornings and warm afternoons is what we are experiencing right now.

SYED September 24, 2011 at 1:48 pm

I LIVE IN CHICAGO ILLINOIS, I HAVE FEW FIG TREES IN MY BACKYARD SOIL ALONG WITH BRICK LONG WALL, BUT THE PROBLEM IS TREE GROWS LOT OF FIGS BUT NOT ABLE TO EAT, BY THE TIME FIGS GROW BIG IN OCTOBER AND COLD WEATHER ATTACK, SINCE LAST 4 YEARS SAME THING HAPPENING, IT NEEDS FERTILIZER OR WHAT ? PLEASE HELP…

Rita September 25, 2011 at 8:29 am

Hi,

I have 2 cuttings that were already potted when I got them early this spring. I transplanted them to larger pots (about five gallon) and they have done extremely well. They are about two feet in height now ( a foot and-a-half bigger than when I got them 7 months ago), and rather than put them in even larger containers, I would like to go ahead and plant them in the ground. However, I have read that fig trees like full sun (although the ones I have seem to have enjoyed the partial sun on the edge of my porch), and that they go dormant in winter, and this is a good time to transplant. I live in southeastern Louisiana, and the area that I’m looking to plant them is about 15ft apart from each other, one at the edge of a large pond and the other about 6 feet from the edge of the pond. It is an open area, so they will receive all-day sun. There are no other trees near except a small cypress to the east, so there would be no barriers. What do I do? Is this a good idea and can I plant them now or should I wait till spring?

Kenny Point September 27, 2011 at 8:11 am

Hi Rita, fall would be a good time to plant the fig trees and it would probably be better to get them in the ground if they are going to be over wintered in the containers. I don’t know the specifics of the climate in your growing region but that will have an impact on whether the fig tree goes dormant and for how long. Fifteen feet apart is fine and you can always prune them to keep them at a more compact size. I’m not sure how well a fig tree will do right at the very edge of a pond though.

sandi clisham September 27, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Syed: Do you winterize them? I have the same problem and I live in southern Pa. They just don’t get ripe!!

jo ann September 28, 2011 at 6:47 am

I live in a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA. I have a massive fig “bush” and estimate that the original tree was probably planted over 50 years ago, as I have lived here for 33 years and it was very well established when we bought the house from very elderly couple. I have had a few years when the tree produced SO MUCH fruit, I was giving figs away to anyone who wanted them, and made lots of fig jam too. That was about 10 years ago when it was that productive. It got very sick about 6 years ago, it has gradually improved, and this year I managed to get about 2 dozen or so + figs. (white figs, I believe). Anyway —- I want to drastically reduce the size of this tree, more than just “prune”. Should I do this in the fall after all leaves have dropped? Can I begin now by giving it a really serious pruning, and then should I wait until Spring to start digging up and dividing/splitting the ancient old roots? Any advice will be deeply appreciated.

Kenny Point September 29, 2011 at 8:34 am

Sandi, it sounds like the season just isn’t long enough for the varieties that you are growing. Moving them alongside a stone wall or warmer location may help. Syed you’ve already tried to locate the trees in an ideal spot and it still hasn’t worked so you may be better off switching to a variety that will perform better in your particular growing region.

Kenny Point September 30, 2011 at 7:50 am

Hi Jo Ann, I would work on the tree during the period when it has lost its leaves and has gone dormant. I’ve never done anything as extensive as what it sounds like you are planning but I might divide the work into sections and do part of it this winter, then evaluate how the tree responds, and finish up the pruning and dividing the following winter. Bass over at Trees of Joy would be a great person to get feedback from before you get started. Good luck, let us know the results, and take some before and after pics.

grannieannie October 5, 2011 at 6:47 am

I’m in Delaware Zone 6 A fig grower in NJ recommended, if a tree isn’t bearing, wait until about May or June and then pinch off the terminal end of branches so that each branch has only 6 leaves. Yes, 6 leaves. It sounds barbaric, I know. This forces the plant to put its nutrition and growth into the little embryos that form the figs instead of growing longer branches and more leaves. I did exactly that to “most” of my branches on a Brown Turkey fig in a large pot I’d overwintered in unheated garage. We got figs in end of Sept and still getting them 1 a day in Oct. The plant is only about 3 1/2 feet tall.
The squirrels have not found it yet possibly because a droopy hydrangea covers some of it
Figs are ripe when they just start to droop a little or soft to pressure and I pick them right away
Other key learnings: I watered the pot in the garage about once a month during the winter—hard to remember so put it on calendar
Also got two transplants from it by laying lowest branches down in the pot soil, scratched a tad off bottom of stem, cover with a little soil and a rock to hold them down. Voila! produced two rooted newbies- gave one to daughter-in-law in VA who said it is about 4 ft tall same year. I’m keeping one to try to grow it outside over this winter with covering. If it fails, still have garage-wintered one.
QUESTION: for us northern gardeners- what is best tasting fig us northern gardeners???? These are nice but I’d like an early producer

Kenny Point October 5, 2011 at 7:32 am

Annie, that is very interesting, will have to try it the next time I have a fig tree that refuses to bear fruit. It’s hard to say which is the best tasting fig and the same tree can taste differently from one season to the next but I really like the Brooklyn White fig.

Edith Wiethorn October 13, 2011 at 8:28 pm

What a good website – thanks! I am considering growing potted fig trees indoors in a loft with good light from three sides. I have had good luck with productive citrus trees & blooming Hibiscus bushes in clay pots on dollies that can be moved for grouping or following the light. Reading your comments, I am still unsure if a potted fig tree will go dormant & lose leaves simply due to day-length, even if the loft is warm, with radiant-heated floors & sunny. Citrus stays productive year around. What do you think re figs? Will they go dormant indoors?

Kenny Point October 14, 2011 at 7:59 am

Thanks Edith, from what I understand figs are grown in some tropical areas where they do not go dormant. I have always grown them in the Northeast and allow them to go dormant before bringing them indoors so I can’t tell you how well they will adapt to growing actively year-round. If you try it please let us know how the fig trees perform.

Dom November 2, 2011 at 9:12 am

Hi l live in northeast has a 6 month old fig tree I planted in may. Worried it won’t survive so I’m going to cover it. But, it still has all it’s leaves and slot of non ripe figs on it. Can I still tie it up and cover it? Or do I first pull off all the leaves and figs before covering.
Thanks in advance for the advise.

Patricia November 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Hi. I live in northern Maryland. I have a potted fig tree which I brought into my unheated mud room which has windows on 2 sides a week ago. The tree has lost all its leaves so I guess it has gone dormant. Can I leave it in the mud room for the Winter or should I move it to our barn where it will be in the dark? Thanks!

grannieannie November 28, 2011 at 8:53 am

I live in northern DE and also have a potted fig (Brown Turkey). Last yr it stayed in the pot in our attached garage covered in clear bubblewrap. The garage gets lots of light so it wasn’t in the dark. It did fine there and had many figs in Sept.

Remember to give it water once in awhile even when dormant! Mark the calendar

Kenny Point December 17, 2011 at 11:00 am

Yes, the dormant fig tree is okay to keep in complete darkness but it will also do fine if you leave it in the unheated mud room where there are windows and daylight.

Marie December 20, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Hi,

I live close in the OC, So Cal and want to plant a fig tree in the corner of our backyard. It is a sunny corner so I think it will work great. Can you recommend a variety for our climate? Thanks!

sheela January 10, 2012 at 9:52 am

My fig tree is doing extremely well, very green and full of fruits, but all the fruits have little white worms and are falling off. What do I do? I live in Johannesburg SA

Kenny Point January 11, 2012 at 7:55 am

Hi Sheela, I would try spraying the fig tree with Bt which is a natural control that is usually effective against caterpillar type insects.

shazza January 23, 2012 at 3:20 am

Greetings from NSW Australia. I found a fig tree on my property recently and was most delighted. It is covered with mini developing figs and all seemed to be going well until a couple of days ago when I noticed leaves yellowing and dropping off. It’s the height of summer here – I’ve thrown a couple of buckets of water over it but might there be another problem I need to tackle???????

Debbie February 24, 2012 at 10:44 am

Live in Houston. I have a fig tree that is just now starting to get leaves. I transplanted this tree, from it’s original pot, last spring but realized later that the soil, even though I added phosphorus, hummus and fertilizer, I placed it in isn’t very good. Not long after the this first repotting the leaves started to turn brown and fall off. I want to Re-pot into better soil but am afraid to interrupt it’s new growth. Should I leave alone or risk the repotting into a better soil? Should I just add fertilzer to the current soil? Please help!

Andrea February 28, 2012 at 3:30 pm

I’m not sure what’ happening with my fig tree. I only put it in the container a few months ago, it’s been growing well and has two fruit on it. The issue is that in the last week or two, the fruit on the tree appear to be getting smaller! They’re not ripening, which I can understand and I was patiently waiting for, but the fact that they’re shrinking now has me concerned.

I live in Melbourne, we haven’t had a great summer or that much sunlight and it’s possible that the tree is overfertilised.

grannieannie February 28, 2012 at 10:52 pm

I’m trying something new with my fig tree prunings after seeing this on YouTube. When you prune your tree take the pruned branches and root them in water. I used branches the size of my little finger and twice as long (some half that diameter) and put them in a mug of water, kept them about room temp (warmer would have been better) and they started showing roots in 2 1/2 weeks. Now I have 4 in little pots of sandy soil. I’ve layered branches under the ground before but thought this looked like a quick way to get a “forest” of figs trees.

Umesh April 22, 2012 at 3:52 am

Hi Kenny,

I posed this earlier on he other page. Perhaps this is a more appropriate place so I am reposting this here.

I have a one year old fig plant. It had 3 figs and 5 leaves when I first obtained it from a nursery and planted it in a container about six months back. Since then it has has sprouted about 10 leaves and 5/6 more figs. There are no branches on it. It has just grown vertically to about 30 inches above the container. I have not added any fertilizers because one of the internet sites suggested that you should not be adding fertilizers to a fig plant.

Is this correct? How do I make sure that there is growth of new branches? Is pinching or trimming the apex the way to go?

How often should I water it? I water this plant with about 1/2 to 1 gallon of water once every day.

The plant is in the sunny side of the garden in India. It can frequently reach 100 degrees fahrenheit in the afternoon during summer.

Thanks for all the information on this site.

Kenny Point April 22, 2012 at 6:35 am

Hi Umesh, I do feed my fig trees with an organic citrus fruit fertilizer, especially if they are grown in containers. I also trim my trees back to promote branching depending on the age and size of the tree, but don’t cut it back too severely. Water it enough to moisten all of the soil in the container. You should see some water draining out of the bottom of the container. During the hot summer months daily watering is recommended for potted fig trees. Good luck!

Greta May 13, 2012 at 6:44 am

Hi,
I live in East Orlando, Fl. I have a fig tree that did really well in the pot this past season. After planting it into the ground in the spring it remained healthy and was growing, but last week the leaves began to yellow and fall off. Now all of the leaves are yellow and I fear I’ll loose the tree if something isn’t done fast. Can you help?
Thank you, Greta

Rene May 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm

We recently planted a fig tree in our back yard. We had a fence around the tree to keep the dogs out unfortunately they knocked it down and ate the tree. All that is left of the tree is about six inches of trunk. Is there any chance that the tree will grow back or is it done for?

grannieannie June 5, 2012 at 9:37 pm

My guess is you’ll probably see some buds appear. Might take awhile. People say a fig can look dead when killed by frost but new life springs from the roots. What you’re describing doesn’t sound so bad; your doggies just got too enthused about pruning it. Did the dogs by any chance leave some twigs behind?
I tried rooting some fig branch prunings in water. That worked and I now have 3 new little fig trees from those pruned branches.

Brandi June 19, 2012 at 2:21 am

Hi Kenny,
I have a 10+ year old kadota fig in the ground. It is big, excellent color, beautiful leaves and tons of fruit. It has been a heavy-bearer of excellent fruit for years (Kadotas are the best, IMO). This year, I am getting so much fruit loss (typically I don’t get ripe fruit until July, here near Sacramento CA), the fruit is drying up. I’ve always had a handful do that right before most ripening, but this year there is much, much more than normal, it breaks my heart to see the biggest (and they are BIG) and most beautiful ones yellow and shrivel. I’ve read most of the last 3 years of posts and didn’t find an answer that seems to apply to a robust, mature, happy tree. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Christine June 24, 2012 at 1:15 am

Hi Kenny,
I live in sunny Hermosa Beach, California. I just bought a fig tree about 3 ft tall with only 5 leaves and no fruit. Unfortunately, there is not a good sunny place to plant so I ended up planting it in a large container. It receives water 3 times a week and is placed in a sunny spot. What can I do to promote fruit growth this year?
Do I need to move it during the winter to avoid wind and rain?

Kenny Point July 1, 2012 at 9:36 am

Hi Christine, in your climate the fig tree should be fine outdoors in the sunniest spot that you can find. It sounds like a young and small tree so it may not fruit for you this year. I would focus on pruning to develop a good shape and then just give it time to mature and begin fruiting.

Kenny Point July 1, 2012 at 9:56 am

Hi Brandi, sorry for the delay in responding, how is the tree doing now? It is odd that the tree would have problems all of a sudden when it was so productive in the past. Did you dissect a fruit to see if there were any signs of insects causing damage from within? Has your weather been any different this season compared to past years? I hope things recover and return to normal for you.

Rebecca July 2, 2012 at 7:27 pm

My figs turned dark purple and wilted. This is the first tree for me and waqs excited to see figs growing., not sure wht happened

Rebecca July 2, 2012 at 7:43 pm

My fig tree is a celeste fig tree

Kenny Point July 8, 2012 at 9:25 am

Hi Rebecca, I’m not sure what happened to your figs but it is not uncommon for them to shed fruit for various reasons… drought, high heat, poor pollination, etc.? I’ve had trees that never really produced well and I finally just replaced them. I would give it a little time and if you continue to see the same results maybe try a different variety. Was your tree potted or planted in the ground?

Jan July 9, 2012 at 7:48 am

Some of the branches of my fig tree are dead and full of bugs, ants larvae, but there is also good branches with fruit coming off the same branches, what can I do to rid it of bugs in the dead parts? Can I spray the dead section with paint?

Kenny Point July 9, 2012 at 8:40 am

Hi Jan, if you want to spray you can try an insecticidal soap spray. You can also just prune out any dead portions of the tree or sprinkle cinnamon around the base to help deter the ants. I wouldn’t worry too much if the bugs aren’t causing any visible damage to the fig tree.

Bertha July 26, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Hi
I get lots of fig but they don’t ripen. I was told to dip a tooth pick in olive oil and dab it on the eye. Have you ever heard of this?

shiva August 5, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Hi I have a fig tree in my back yard which has a lot of figs. How should I protect the figs against crows? They eat all figs.

Judy S. Syphers August 23, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Hi Kenny! We have a very prolific fig tree that is about six years old. This year, a lot of the figs have long brown spots, looking like tree bark,
on them. Could you tell me what could be causing that? We did have a
slight cold spell and the growth paused for a long time so we think that
maybe the cold ruined the ones at that stage of their cycle. Have you heard of this? We live in Southern California, in the Mojave Desert. Judy

Jackie August 25, 2012 at 8:17 pm

I have a fisrt year fig tree. It looks like a bush in that it is growing approx 8 stems from the ground. They all look healthy but there is no fruit. what could be wrong?

grannieannie August 31, 2012 at 4:08 am

Jackie, you might need to wait a year. Here is an update on my June 5 experiment that might help. The twigs (from prunings in Jan. that I rooted in water in hot Florida then planted in the ground in Delaware this year)now have young figs. I don’t know if they’ll ripen in time before fall comes. However, I read somewhere to use citrus fertilizer and applied some to the holes when planted and am guessing that is why they’ve grown so incredibly well and are more than 3 feet high, almost in full sun. Am going to try leaving some covered outside for the winter to see if they’ll survive here. Maybe a little fertilizer on yours next yr but don’t overdo it!

marlene walker September 2, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I have a huge 15 foot fig tree that was never trimmed and fell over. It’s leaning on a fence is seems to be OK. Is it OK to trim major branches off to get it bac k up? It’s September in a very hot climate (Houston).

Kenny Point September 3, 2012 at 7:34 am

Hi Marlene, it’s best to trim large branches when the tree is dormant but you can trim now if the branches are broken or to help the tree stay upright.

Daniela Spada December 11, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Hi we have several fig trees and most of the time we bring them in the basement. My basement is heated and my tree sprouts leaves and then whent it’s time to bring it ouside after the cold subsides it drops it’s leaves and it has to start all over again. How do I stop it from sprouting when inside?

lindsey April 20, 2013 at 12:52 pm

i live in northeast corner of alabama.i just got a brown turkey fig from a local nursery,do i have to plant in a shelterd area or can i plant out in the open.would rather plant it out in the open next to this big pecan tree i have.it would get all the morning sun and a good bit of the evening sun.

Kenny Point April 23, 2013 at 5:55 am

Hi Lindsey, I think that your fig tree will do fine out in the open sincce you are in a warmer growing region you shouldn’t have to worry about winter protection.

Connie April 24, 2013 at 9:14 am

I planted a fig tree a couple years ago and each year it gets nice leaves on it but so far this year I have seen no leaves so I am not sure if it died this winter. What time during the spring do the leaves usually appear? It does not appear to be dead.

Kenny Point April 24, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Connie, you didn’t mention what area you live in but here in PA all of my fig trees have begun showing some signs of new growth. Sometimes winter cnnditions can kill the branches nut even then the fig tree will usually resprout from the ground because the roots are still alive, so don’t give up hope for the tree yet.

TJ April 26, 2013 at 7:18 am

My fig in Georgia is green with tiny little green figs already as of 26th April. The leaves haven’t fully “come out” and still developing…the tree still looks naked and it is still wintery here in GA.

Connie April 26, 2013 at 10:19 am

Kenny, I am in KY. The leaves have come out for the past 2 years but just not this year. The stem and branches do not feel dead so I am hoping that maybe next month they will come back out. I do plan on leaving it alone though and seeing if it gets any leaves next spring.

Kenny Point April 27, 2013 at 7:29 am

TJ, that is normal… those are the “breba” figs which are an early crop that is produced on the previous season’s wood. They are more common on some fig varieties than others but it is not unusual. I think your definition of wintery there in GA is obviously different than ours here in PA! :) Good luck with your fig trees and on making it through winter!

lindsey April 30, 2013 at 12:35 pm

just planted my brown turkey fig tree. I read in a magazine that figs roots can cover as much as 50ft.and i planted my fig about 15ft from our underground storm shelter,is this to close? Should i dig up and move it further away?and if so how far away should i plant it from our storm shelter?

Jerry A April 30, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Never had a problem with roots. In fact I live in upstate NY and plant my fig trees 2 ft from foundation so the roots can get winter warmth from the heat radiated from the foundation. I have even moved them from time to time with never any problems. This is based on the Brown Turkey fig so I see no reason why you would have any problems.

Kenny Point May 2, 2013 at 5:45 am

I have grown them close to buildings also and never had a problem. Some gardeners line the planting hole with bricks to restrict root growth so I don’t think the roots are very invasive.

Stefanie June 16, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Hello..I just bought a fig tree which is approx. 3 feet tall. The tag only called it a “Hardy Fig” which does not require cross pollination. I wondered how old this tree would be and when it may produce fruit. I have planted it outside in a full sun area as recommended but see no signs of fruit on it. I am in zone 5b.

Thanks so much!

Angelo July 6, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Hello, I live in Western NY (Buffalo) and bought 3 fig trees (each about 6-7ft tall) last year in the fall and planted them in the ground. In preparation for the winter I put 3 metal stakes into the ground used zip ties to secure 1″ Styrofoam insulation to the stakes and then covered them over half way with plastic, so they could breathe. I uncovered them in the spring and all three of them died and dried out. However, now they all have shoots coming from the ground and are about 1-2 ft tall. Will these bear fruit? if so, How long will it take for them to bear fruit? and what can I do this fall to make sure they wont die off again? Sorry for all the questions but I love fig trees and really want this to work.

Thanks in advance!

Kenny Point July 7, 2013 at 6:39 am

Hi Angelo, it sounds like you didn’t provide enough insulation to protect the fig trees through the winter. At this point the trees could still produce a late crop of figs but it is questionable whether they will have time to ripen before summer ends. I might try to pack the insulation with dry, shredded leaves or wrap the tree with an old thermal blanket before adding the insulation. Another option would be to plant the trees in containers and move them into an unheated garage or out building during the winter months while they are dormant. Good luck with your figs trees!

Coral Springs Fl December 3, 2013 at 3:49 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Backyard Fruits.
Regards

Andy January 30, 2014 at 11:18 pm

I live in the Middle East where temperatures can get up to about 45 degs. My garden either has full sun, or full shade. Can you tell me where the best place would be to plant my fig tree, and roughly how much water it will need, ie should it dry out between watering or should the soil remain moist. Thank you.

Kenny Point February 1, 2014 at 10:34 am

Hello Andy, I would plant it in full sun and let the soil dry out a bit between deep waterings when needed. Good luck!

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