Just Figs

Figs ripening on the tree in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Figs ripening on the tree (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

I became enamored with figs the moment I saw a voluptuous tree in my friend’s greenhouse.  What initially intrigued me were the bold, deep green tropical leaves.  And then my gardening friend, Victoria, told me it actually produces fruit!  Wow, now you’ve really piqued my interest.  I started asking Victoria more questions, such as: what kind of care do they require, how do I overwinter and will it fit in my car?  She assured me that figs grow easily in a container, the only requirements are lots of sun, water and occasional (organic) fertilizing.  The tricky part was over-wintering (unless you live in zones 7B-11), which entails finding a spot inside that will provide natural light and above freezing temperatures.

Fig Tree in container in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Fig Tree growing in a container (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Confident that I would figure things out, I bought a small fig tree (ficus carica) and a large container for it to grow up in.  Once home, I filled the container with soil from my composted manure pile and planted the fig.  By the end of the autumn it was three times its original size (but no figs) and I had to find a place to protect it from the winter cold.  Because it was too heavy to carry, I put the container on a dolly and rolled it into our insulated garage.  I kept it near a window for light, but away from the garage door to avoid drafts.  Watering it only when it was completely dry, I watched as the remaining leaves yellowed and dropped away while it went dormant.

** Here’s some other types of fruit you can easily grow in the colder climates ~

Fig's attractive tropical foliage in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Fig’s attractive tropical foliage (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

And then something amazing happened for a ‘black thumbed’ indoor plant person like myself.  New leaf buds began to form on the bare branches.  Signs of life. Yippee, I didn’t kill it!

Scrumptious figs ready to pick in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Scrumptious figs ready to pick (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Next spring, I rolled it in and out every day, so it could get the warm days sun but avoid the cold evening temps, until it was safe to leave out.  Ficus carica wants full sun and good ventilation, so I parked it in an open area of the driveway where its needs would be met.  I also pruned out a few branches that were crowding other branches.  Later that year, it produced a big crop of figs, so many I had to give some away because they don’t store well.  I shared with the neighbors, friends, family and all the animals around.  However, my horses gave me the upturned nose.

Figs are a delicious snack anytime in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Figs are a delicious snack anytime (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

And this year, there are much more where that came from.  I figured out that less is more with fertilizing, too much and the tree won’t produce figs, just lusher foliage.  So, to sum up: abundant fruit (great source of calcium & fiber), plenty to share, and a gorgeous tropical garden element to boot. What more could you ask for?

*Caution:  Use care picking fruit during the warm part of the day; bees also love figs and it is easy to get stung accidentally!

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Comments

  1. Anne Nelson says:

    Thanks for writing a great article. I do not have any more space in my yard for a fig tree, so I was elated to hear I can successfully plant in a container, on the patio. An old family friend had somehow grown a fig tree from my parents’ tree (shoot? Dropped fig that grew?) 35 years ago, and it started sending up shoots. She dug it up, put it into a container for me. Now I will have a tree with sentimental value. I will have to ask my brother if my parents tree was from a shoot from our grandparents tree. That would be incredible. Glad to have it, hope it lives!

    • Thank you, Anne. Depending on the type of fig and your zone, you may have to bring it into a protected location during the winter. I keep mine in our garage and then bring it out in spring, which has been successful for the last three years. Growing in a container keeps the tree to a more manageable size, but requires watering and fertilizing on a regular basis. I got figs the first year on my fig tree, though, so it is definitely worth the effort. Good luck!

  2. hello kathy, where did you buy the grey container at the following URL housing the lovely fig tree? thanks
    https://agardenforall.com/2012/09/23/just-figs/

    • Hi Nick! I purchased that fiberglass (faux cement) container from a local garden center that is no longer in business. However, I jumped on the internet and found a site with lots of options if you’re interested: plantcontainers.com. Because the fig itself is so heavy, a real cement container would make it impossible to move! Thanks for reading!

  3. Hey Kathy. It is really nice to read your article.
    Could you please give the detail, what’s kind of fig in the picture of “Fig Tree growing in a container”?

    I found this picture on Ebay website, and the guy use this fig tree to describe his fig as a “Ficus Carica Viola, blue mountain found.

    Should this be considered as a copy right? I am going to report this to Ebay Center.

    • Hi Arnon, The fig in each picture is the same tree, which is a Ficus carica (common fig). Where I live in zone 5 Connecticut, it is not winter hardy so I store it in a protected garage over the winter. As you can see it does well in a container. Thank you for the “heads-up” about the photo mis-use on EBAY. Yes, my photos are copyright to my website and no one should be using them without permission. That said, I am often happy to share my photos with permission. Thank you for writing!

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