How to Grow Figs in Pots
General Care of Pot Grown Figs
These instructions apply specifically to Brown Turkey figs but they will also work for any member of the family Ficus carica whose fruit will reliably ripen outdoors in the UK.
You should repot your fig every 3-4 years when it is without leaf, in winter. When the pot is as large as you can cope with continue repotting every 3 years or so by removing about 25% of the rootball. Trim down the sides and remove a bit off the bottom. Then you can repot in the same sized container with fresh compost under and around the remaining (reduced) rootball. The roots will regrow and fresh nutrients will be available to the plant. We recommend John Innes No. 3 compost for this.
Fig trees grown in pots should be fed and watered at regular intervals. Between the time they break into growth and the end of August they should be watered and fed with tomato fertiliser every fortnight. In the middle of this 2 week period, they should be fed and watered with a more balanced fertiliser. So they get fed and watered weekly. During hot spells check the compost and water (but don’t feed) more often if it dries out.
How Figs Fruit
Figs fruit on the previous year’s wood (a bit like summer fruiting raspberries). The tiny fruitlets from the previous autumn begin to grow larger from about the end of March and by late summer they ought to be ready to pick. Ripening is heat dependent so figs tend to do better planted against a wall or in a sunny corner.
Figs can crop 2 or even 3 times a year in warmer climates than the UK. In long summers, figs that are grown under glass/plastic can repeat crop but the second crop may fail to ripen unless the weather in August is good.
When grown outside in the UK figs only produce a second crop in freak summers.
Don’t be fooled by clearly unripe but more developed fruits on the tree later in the season. These will neither ripen nor last through the winter so it is best to simply take them off.
You can tell when figs are ready for harvesting because:
- the colour of the fruit changes
- The fruit is soft when squeezed
- Sticky juice (nectar) can appear at the bottom of the fruit
- Splits can appear int he skin near the stalk
For instructions on how to prune your fig please see our article - Pruning Brown Turkey Fig Trees.