A review of the steps to take to best care for your fig tree
Yellowing leaves is natural this time of year. Your tree is starting to go dormant for the winter.
Hello Fig Fans! Welcome to the first F-mail from Dancing Bear Farm. I'll start by saying that if you prefer not to receive these emails, please unsubscribe below. Some of you signed up for this at various markets and some are from past emails to me with fig questions. If you can think of someone that might like to receive this, feel free to forward it to them or send me their email address.
Today we'll go over general care for your fig tree and what to expect for the near future.
Fig Tree 101:
Figs like it dry rather than wet.
Do not over water.
Some city water may have chemicals that the fig won't like. Try filtering water and make sure it is not too acidic.
Figs will take a frost. It tells them it's time to go dormant. I recommend leaving it outside until it frosts, and then bringing it inside.
Leaves will yellow and fall off. This is the best time to prune.
Up to 2/3rds of the tree may be cut off.
Email a photo to me if you need help.
Plant will not need light but doesn't have to be dark.
DO NOT LET THE PLANT DRY OUT!
Water every 3 weeks to one month over the winter.
When the first real leaves come out it will want light. If this is before the last frost of the spring it should stay inside. A grow light will do if you can't give it a sunny window.
Move outside after the treat of frost is past.
Unless you got your tree very early in the spring at the preseason sale, your tree should be fine in the same pot through the winter.
All of them will want to be potted up into a larger pot in the spring. You can do this after it is safe for them to go outside.
I've had good results going right into the largest size pot you can get inside. 15 gallon is probably the minimum size to achieve a good amount of fruit. 20 or 25 gallon if you have space will give better results over all.
"Soil" for the pot should be light and well drained. I put "soil" in quotes because the potting soil you'll buy at the local garden center has no "soil" in it. Soil or dirt from your garden will turn to brick in a pot and the plant will not be happy. This is true of just about any plant in a pot.
Potting soil will be a mix of peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, maybe compost and some other non-dirt components. Figs like a sweet soil so it's best to mix some lime into your soil. I also mix in an organic fertilizer blend, maybe a couple of cups for a large pot.
Get soil damp before filling the pot. This is important because potting soil right out of the bag is like a dry sponge. It will repel water until it gets wet.
If you fill a pot with dry potting soil, the middle of the pot will never get water. Slowly add water to the soil as you turn it. A fine mist is good for this.
Time is also a key ingredient. After adding amendments and water, let the soil sit for a while. Go have a cup of tea or do some weeding in the garden. This gives the water a chance to move around the soil by itself. This is good.
The original pot is now filled with roots. The tree should pull out and stay together.
Fill your big pot enough so the tree will come just about to the rim. Leave the roots alone at this point.
Fill around the sides and a little over the top of the old root ball. Gently pack the soil around the tree. Make sure it is solid in its new home.
Give it a good watering to help it settle in. Add a little more soil to the pot to account for settling.
Figs like to be a little constrained in their roots, but...
They will need root pruning every 4 years or so. More on this in a future F-mail.
So to review :
Your tree is not dead, just resting.
Pruning is important and not hard to do.
Do not let the pot dry out over the winter. That will kill the tree!
It can take cold, even freezing temperatures but only for short periods of time.
Bring inside for the winter.
Feel free to write with any questions not addressed here. I'll be sending a reminder out in the winter and again in the spring.