Potted fig tree pruning is not easy task. There are many factors involved in potted fig tree pruning. Some of them include; time, money, space, tools and manpower required to do it properly. You need to consider all these things before deciding how to prune your fig trees in containers.
You may have noticed that there are several types of potted fig trees available at your local nursery or online shop. They are classified into two categories: those with fruit and those without. Those with fruit are usually sold as single-fruit plants and those without fruit are usually sold as multi-fruits plants. Single-fruit plants produce one small fruiting body each year while multi-fruits produce multiple fruits each year.
Fig trees in containers come in different sizes and shapes. Some of them are dwarf, medium size, large size and even giant sized. All of them grow well in containers but some of them require special care when growing in containers.
Before you go ahead and purchase one, it is best if you know how many fig trees in containers you need. You can collect some information on the types and number of them that you will need through online research. But of course the best way to do this is to speak with a professional or someone who has experience in container gardening.
If you wish to have a single-fruit potted fig trees, then getting it from the local nursery is quite easy. You can always look for one that is suitable for container. If you are more of a do-it-yourself type of person, you can go online and search for plans on how to make your own container for your potted fig tree.
Your first concern when growing potted fig trees is choosing the container. The container should have good drainage and at least a few air holes to allow the oxygen in. It is best if you use a clay pot rather than plastic pot because clay pots allow better drainage.
You can grow potted fig trees in almost any type of container as long as it has good drainage. If you are into creative container gardening you can build your own custom container and plant the tree directly into it. This will cut down the cost of buying a specialized container.
Potted fig trees are plants that can adapt easily to change. Even if you re-pot it into a new container, it will still grow well. Fig trees in containers are easy to care for and they only require minimum effort. Even so, you have to be careful on how you treat them especially during winter time.
The first important thing when growing potted fig trees is potting mix. Since container gardening does not allow for a lot of soil, it is important to choose the best quality potting mix you can find at the garden center. It is best if you use a organic based potting mix that is free from chemicals and other toxins.
You can also use your own homemade potting mix provided that it is free from disease and has the right texture for good drainage. If you decide to use your own mix, then add a bit of perlite to make the mix airy. Perlite is a naturally occurring substance that helps in promoting drainage.
You can start by placing a two to three-inch layer of composted manure or dirt at the bottom of your container. Then place a layer of small gravel on top of this layer. The gravel serves as a barrier and helps keep the compost or soil from leaking out. After this, you can start adding your potting mix.
There are two ways on how you can place your fig tree inside the container. If you have a large enough container, then you can plant the tree directly into the center. A smaller tree can be planted with the base of the tree placed just above the potting mix and then anchored using fishing line.
If you do not want to plant the tree directly into the soil, you can add a planting tube or drainage pipe in the middle of the container. This will keep the tree standing above the soil level. You may also build a small platform using bricks or wood and then plant your tree on top of this platform. This way, you can easily adjust the height of the tree as it grows.
You have to remember that container grown trees do not have a large root system like those planted directly in the ground. If your potted fig trees are large, then place them in a large container or even two containers. This allows the tree enough space to grow.
You may also place mulch at the bottom of the container. This will prevent the soil from drying out quickly. Just make sure that the mulch you use is free from weeds, seeds, and other contaminants because these can easily be brought into your home with the tree.
The next thing you have to take note of is watering your potted fig trees. Container grown trees need more water than those planted directly into the ground. Water your trees heavily when you first plant them. Then water them every day if the weather is very hot.
Watering can be done using a watering can or even a hose if you have an outdoor tap.
Trees in containers dry up quickly so check the soil daily. If the soil is dry, then water it right away. Do not over water your trees though because this can cause the roots to rot and can eventually lead to fungus infection.
If you notice that the leaves of your trees start to turn yellow, then you probably need to water it more often. This can also happen if the weather is hot or if there is not enough drainage.
When you water, make sure that you don’t water the crown or the root area of the tree. The crown should never be wet and the soil should be dry around it. The crown is the growing tip of the tree.
When planting containers, choose a sunny location. If you don’t have a spot in full sun, you can still grow figs as long as you place the tree where it will get morning sun and shade in the afternoon. However, if you want your tree to produce figs, then the tree needs to get at least six hours of direct sunlight every day.
Figs also need air circulation to prevent fungal growth and rotting. Make sure there is at least two to three feet of space all around the tree so air can easily flow through.
If you are planting more than one container grown tree, keep enough space in between the trees so they do not touch each other. This will prevent the transfer of possible pests and diseases.
When it comes to watering your potted fig trees, make sure that you water the soil and not the leaves or the crown. Over watering can cause fungal growth on the leaves and this is difficult to remove. Fungal growth on the crown can kill your tree.
Take note that container grown trees are more prone to pests and diseases because of the confined soil. This is more common with figs so you need to keep an eye out for these problems as they may require the intervention of chemicals.
Insects and other pests can be easily brought in from other trees or plants so make sure to inspect new trees that you add to your potting mix.
Also, if you have other plants and trees in your yard, keep in mind that the fig tree may also be vulnerable to pests and diseases specific to those plants.
This is one reason why it is best to keep your fig tree inside the house. Of course, there are also other factors to consider if you intend to grow your tree indoors.
Growing Fig Trees Indoors
There are several reasons why you may want to grow a fig tree indoors. Perhaps you don’t have a yard or garden or perhaps you just want to grow a fig in a pot. Either way, growing a fig tree in a container has its pros and cons.
Grow a Fig Tree in a Pot
One of the benefits of growing a fig in a pot is that you can easily move it around. This is especially helpful if you live in an apartment or somewhere where you are not allowed to have trees inside the house. The tree also does not require much space. It can grow in a container that is about 12 inches across and 18inches deep.
The bigger the container, the larger the tree will grow though.
As mentioned, when you move the container around, you can also move the tree. Just keep in mind that when you water the tree, you need to do it less often than if it was planted in the ground. Check the soil every day and when it feels dry on top, water your tree and make sure that water gets down to the roots.
If you’re really busy and do not have time to water your tree every day then choose a smaller container for your tree.
Grow Your Fig Tree in the Ground
If you live in a colder climate, then growing your fig tree in the ground may be more suitable for you. Just like most other trees, figs also grow much better in the ground as opposed to pots. Dig a hole and plant your container grown fig tree in it. Keep in mind that when planting a tree in the ground, you need to give it space to expand.
Plant the tree at least as wide as the pot it’s in.
The advantage of planting your tree in the ground is that it will grow bigger and stronger than if you kept it in a container. The disadvantage is that you need to be careful when watering the tree because overwatering can kill it just like underwatering.
You can tell when a fig tree needs more water because its leaves start to droop. Do not water it excessively however because this can also cause problems.
If you live in a colder climate where the temperature drops below freezing, then it is best to grow your fig tree in a pot and put it somewhere indoors throughout the winter months.
Sources & references used in this article:
Influence of root pruning and water stress on growth and physiological factors of potted apple, grape, peach and pear trees by S Poni, M Tagliavini, D Neri, D Scudellari, M Toselli – Scientia Horticulturae, 1992 – Elsevier
How to Manage and Identify Fig by S Nix – About. com, 2010 – figs4fun.com
Water relations of field-grown Quercus virginiana Mill. from preharvest through containerization and 1 year into a landscape by RC Beeson – Journal of the American Society for Horticultural …, 1994 – journals.ashs.org
Pruning roots affects tree quality in container-grown oaks by EF Gilman, C Harchick, C Wiese – Journal of …, 2009 – meridian.allenpress.com