Fig trees come in a wide variety of cultivars and hybrids. Many ornamental figs are small and can grow in containers outside or as houseplants, but what about an edible fig tree, known as a common fig, (Ficus carica)?
Can you grow a fig tree in a pot? You can grow the common fig tree (Ficus carica) in a pot. You’ll need to train the fig and prune it regularly to manage its size. Make sure the fig is getting enough sunlight every day and take it inside when the weather gets too cold.
This article will focus mainly on growing the common fig tree, the most popular fig cultivar, in a container that you can keep in a small corner of your garden.
Read more to find out all you need to know about planting, growing, and caring for fig trees in containers.
How To Grow a Fig Tree in a Pot
Although growing a fig tree in a container is no different than growing other fruit trees in containers, the fig tree has some special requirements if you want it to grow and bear fruits.
Those requirements vary depending on your region, growing zone, and microclimate.
Best Fig Tree for Container
- Petite Negra: A dwarf variety (3-6 feet tall) ideal for containers. The black-skinned fruits are abundant and packed with flavor.
- Brown Turkey Fig Tree: A popular variety that grows in Zones 7 to 10. The fruits are sweet and full of flavor. Find healthy saplings here.
- Celeste Fig Tree: At maturity, this tree reaches 10 feet tall and wide and grows in Zones 7 to 10. It’s pest and disease resistant.
- Chicago Hardy Fig Tree: Easy to grow and produces a lot of fruits. Best suited for Zones 5 to 10.
Planting a Fig Tree in a Pot
Due to their sensitive nature when it comes to sunlight and temperature requirements, fig trees need special care when planted in a pot.
Moreover, since the soil or growing medium in the pot dries out faster than if you plant the fig tree in the garden, watering is a crucial aspect of the tree’s success. Here are some tips to consider.
- Make sure the container has drainage holes at the bottom.
- Use a soilless potting mix with higher water retention and good aeration.
- Water the tree when the top inch of the soil is dry.
- Feed the tree with synthetic fertilizers — not organic fertilizers.
- When the weather cools down, move the pot indoors.
- In the spring, transition the tree to being back outside gradually.
Fig Tree Container Size
The container should be large enough to hold enough potting mix to keep the tree sustained for a long time between irrigations. It should also be large enough to be stable and not prone to tipping over.
When the roots reach the walls of the container, it’s time to repot the tree in a larger pot.
Best Soil for Fig Trees in Pots
Use soilless potting mixes when growing a fig tree in a pot. The potting mix ideally should have peat moss, sand, coco coir, perlite, and other components in equal portions.
This potting mix has higher water retention than regular soil and the space between the grains improves aeration. That way you won’t have to water the tree so often.
Light Requirements for Potted Fig Trees
Like many other fruit trees, sunlight plays a major part in the growth of the fig tree. On average, the tree needs between 6 and 8 hours of sunlight during the spring and summer.
Partial shade in the peak heat of summer, especially in the afternoons, will protect the tree. Direct sunlight also helps the fruits ripen faster.
Watering Potted Fig Trees
Regular watering is essential to the success of the fig tree. The rule of thumb is to only allow the top 1 inch of the soil to dry out before watering the tree.
Fig trees are rather tolerant to drought and irregular watering, but will grow best when watered consistently.
Keep in mind that potted trees tend to lose moisture faster than those growing in the garden even if the potting mix has peat moss for high water retention.
You will need to give the tree between 1 and 1.5 inches of water a week depending on the weather conditions.
Best Fertilizer for Fig Trees in Pots
There are many good fertilizers for potted fig trees, but the one I recommend is Jack’s Classic. The fertilizer is packed with micronutrients and other trace elements that fig trees need to grow and thrive.
Simply mix it with water and apply every 7-14 days.
Potted Fig Tree Winter Care
Fig trees are not tolerant of frigid conditions in the winter. Frost can damage the tree as well. However, since this is a potted fig tree, you can easily move it indoors before the first frost.
Keep the tree in a cool and dark place shielded from the elements. A garage or your basement will do. You can also place it in a dark room.
Water the tree once a month — just enough to keep the roots from drying out. When temperatures start to warm in the spring, slowly acclimate the tree to outdoor conditions once again.
Can a Fig Tree Survive in Low Light?
Like most fruit trees, fig trees need plenty of direct sunlight to survive. Low light will not allow the tree to grow a full canopy of leaves for photosynthesis.
Insufficient light will also negatively affect the harvest size, and any fruits that are produced may not ripen properly.
Do Fig Trees Do Well in Pots?
Not all fig trees do well in pots. Choose a dwarf fig variety with a small root ball that doesn’t need a lot of space. Some ornamental fig tree varieties do well as houseplants and thrive in pots.
Fig trees do well in containers as long as you provide the right care and make sure that the tree gets water regularly and plenty of sunlight in the spring and summer.