GROWING Fig Trees: The 11 Mistakes to Avoid Checklist is UPDATED!
Growing fig trees is a rewarding experience, but even expert fig growers make mistakes and you can bet I've made all of them. I've updated an old article about avoiding these mistakes. In this article, I share with you all of the possibilities of how you can fail so that you can succeed. Check it out here: It's worth its weight in gold.
You can also get the companion to this information in poster form, here: Each poster I've created is beautiful and easy to read. You can also find the Fig Tree Timeline, the Fig Flavor Profiles, the Varieties of Ficus Carcia Collage, and the Fig Commandments also in poster form. They'll arrive in an 18x24-inch size and were designed in Canva. The material is 9 mil, 210-gram Photoart Paper with a satin finish. They're not only informative, but they're also simply gorgeous.
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Growing Fig Trees: The 11 Common Mistakes Growers Make
Fig trees growing in containers have limited nutrients available in their potting soil, and nutrient leaching occurs each time they're watered, leading to the depletion of soil nutrients. Regular applications of fertilizer cannot be ignored or forgotten.
Using a slow-release fertilizer like Florikan or Osmocote is a one-time application that saves you from the chore of frequent fertilization, making it nearly foolproof.
Over-pruning fig trees can remove fruit-bearing buds and lead to unchecked growth the following year. It's essential to maintain the right hormonal balance, promoting controlled growth and fruit production. Excessive cold damage from winter pruning can also affect fruiting in the following season in the same way.
I recommend light, careful pruning, removing only dead, diseased, or crossing branches and any growth that does not contribute to the tree's overall structure or fruit production. It's also wise to leave a good amount of the previous year's growth to preserve the apical and lateral buds, as that is where the fruit will form.
Container fig trees have a high water requirement, especially during warm summer months. However, in overly saturated potting soil, they are susceptible to root rot due to their fibrous root system. A consistent watering schedule, possibly through drip irrigation systems, can promote healthier fruit development and prevent issues like fruit splitting. It's also important to recognize signs of both underwatering and overwatering and adjust watering practices accordingly.
Forgoing the Dormancy Period:
Forcing fig trees to grow indoors during winter may increase pest pressure, deteriorate soil health, and cause stunted growth, root rot, and even death. Forgoing dormancy may also set a poor precedent for the upcoming growing season, leading to slow initial growth and reduced fruit yield.
Fig trees, especially those grown in containers, can be affected by sunburn, which impairs their ability to photosynthesize, reduces energy generation, causes defoliation, and potentially stunts growth. Rapid light transition followed by inadequate shading or protection is a common cause of sunburn.
Insufficient training can lead to poor or no fruit production. Training fig trees involves selecting and nurturing healthy shoots from a young plant, followed by strategic pruning and staking to create well-positioned scaffolds for sunlight and photosynthesis maximization. The process requires careful maintenance, an understanding of plant hormones, and ensuring sufficient sunlight exposure for fruitful harvests.
Choosing the Wrong Variety:
Fig varieties greatly differ in taste, texture, and appearance, having adapted to various climates over time. Choosing the right variety suited to your climate and taste preferences can dramatically enhance the fig cultivation experience, preventing issues such as fruit splitting or poor production.
And if you're unsure, you can always ask for recommendations from me, local growers, friends, neighbors, or online communities who have experience growing figs in similar conditions to yours.
Harvesting figs at the right time is crucial to their flavor and quality. Overripe figs can spoil, while underripe figs can be bland. The most reliable sign of ripeness is the softness of the fruit's neck. Figs start ripening from the bottom. If the neck is ripe, you know the rest of the fruit is.
In commercial production, figs are often harvested at 50-60% ripeness so they can withstand the rigors of transportation and storage, but this approach sacrifices taste and quality. As the fig remains on the tree, its taste improves, and it becomes more delicious each day until it reaches peak ripeness.
Late Frost Damage:
Late frosts can damage new growth, buds, leaves, and fruits. Understanding the different frost warnings and advisories, and knowing how to protect your trees from frost, can greatly improve the chances of a successful growing season. Protection strategies include covering sensitive plants or moving them closer to a warm structure or indoors.
Not Repotting or Planting Fig Trees:
Keeping fig trees in small containers for too long can inhibit their growth and health. Once established, fig trees should be repotted to larger containers or planted in the ground to allow for root expansion and improved fruit production. Repot fig trees in at least a 3, 5, or 7-gallon-sized pot.
Improper Winter Storage:
For fig trees grown in containers, winter storage is crucial to prevent cold damage and premature awakening. Fig trees should be stored in environments maintaining temperatures between 15-50F throughout the winter season.
Check out all of the 11 mistakes in more detail, here!