STARTING WITH FIRST YEAR FIGS
This is written for those starting out growing figs from 4” or quart size containers that will eventually go outdoors.
Figs are easy to grow, very hardy plants that like heat and are drought tolerant when mature. Our plants are started with cuttings from mature fruiting plants. As such they “think” they are older than they really are and will fruit at a very early age, usually the next season. Most figs have 2 crops per year. The first, or “breba” crop grows early on branches from last year’s growth. The main crop grows on branches from the current season’s growth and will mature later in the year.
We recommend planting figs outside in ground, only in the late spring, usually late April and only when they are at least a 1 gallon size or bigger. That way they have all summer and fall to grow and develop a good deep root structure to withstand the winter period.
If you have received a smaller fig in a 4” or up to 1/2g container in the summer or fall, we would have started it from cuttings in the early spring, so it is just a few months old. We recommend after purchase within 4-6 weeks to move it up to a standard 1 gallon size container so it will continue growing well. Do not move to a larger container like 3 or 5 gallon because the soil will stay too wet and figs like it a little on the dry side. You must use a well draining potting mix, do not add soil or dirt! At this point you may want to decide if you want to grow it as a tree form or as a bushy style. If growing as a single trunk tree, now is the time to choose a trunk, tie it to a small bamboo stake and train it be straight. Also prune off any small limbs from the trunk or suckers coming up from the ground.
It can be kept outdoors this summer as long as you realize that small containers dry out very quickly and it’s moisture content is monitored appropriately. We would recommend shading from afternoon sun also.
Grown in ground, figs do not require high fertility, but container growing is somewhat different. During the growing season up to about the end of October they should be fertilized every 2-3 weeks. Because of the wash through in small containers most of the fertilizer will flush out, so more frequent application is required. A general purpose fertilizer is fine with a higher N content than P or K. As growth slows over the winter every 6 weeks fertilization is fine. Once a month flush the plant with lots of water so that it comes out the bottom quite a bit. This will remove out any accumulated salts that might inhibit growth.
Your goal is to grow this plant indoors through this winter so that we get it big and strong to plant out the next spring. Figs do well as container plants and many people grow them in decorative pots on the patio or back yard. They may bring in for the winter before first frosts or leave out for a few frosts and put in a cool garage to keep dormant in dark until spring time.