Tropicals forum: Fig trees indoors?

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Name: Lee Anne Stark
Brockville, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5a)
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threegardeners
Aug 16, 2012 9:31 AM CST
I ordered 2 fig trees in the spring and OMG!! do those things ever grow fast!

Has anybody ever successfully overwintered them indoors?

They're "Hardy Chicago".
Name: Mike
WI (Zone 4b)
Cactus and Succulents Amaryllis Plumerias
johnsonm08
Aug 16, 2012 10:55 AM CST
Hi,
I have 'Brown Turkey' here in south central WI z5a also. I have overwintered it for 3 years with no problem. Follow the plants cues for dormancy -keep it in the coolest room of your house --if it has leaves water normally --when the leaves start to yellow and drop very little to no water---The Problem is the fruit- the season just isnt long enough for it to mature. When it has to come in for the winter the fruit just drops off :(
Mike
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 20, 2012 11:12 AM CST
Some figs have two crops a year here. Maturity for my 'Celeste' is 4 months for the fruit. I harvested the first crop a few weeks ago, and it is putting on another start now.

So, I'd bet if you can get your overwintered trees setting fruit by May, (in a warm winter) you might have ripe fruit by the end of August. Bring them into the sun indoors, earlier than it is safe outdoors you might have even a better shot at some fruit. Get it leafing out in a sunny window in March?? Big pot with casters on it, right?
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Lee Anne Stark
Brockville, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5a)
Perpetually happy!
Forum moderator Tip Photographer I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Critters Allowed Cottage Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Keeps Goats Keeper of Poultry Frogs and Toads Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian
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threegardeners
Aug 20, 2012 12:45 PM CST
Do they have to have a dormant period?
My thinking is that if I can keep them growing all year long....?
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 21, 2012 4:25 PM CST
Even down here in Florida, mine loses its leaves from December into late Feb. So I'd say the answer is yes. Thumb of 2012-08-21/dyzzypyxxy/f79892
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Mike
WI (Zone 4b)
Cactus and Succulents Amaryllis Plumerias
johnsonm08
Aug 25, 2012 10:57 AM CST
Just the shock of moving it indoors seems to trigger the leaf loss (and fruit dropping)....
Maybe if you have a greenhouse and dont move it out for the summer you can extend your season enough to get fruit--then the normal dormant period as E above noted wont interfere.
In a house there just isnt enough light to maintain it year -round.
Mike
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
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Onewish1
Sep 1, 2012 4:37 AM CST
mine did great in the basement last year.. but they were small.. anyone know if I can cut them back before bringing them in to fit under the shelf??.. they got a nice early start with the lights on them in late winter
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 4, 2012 4:18 PM CST
If you wait until the leaves drop to bring them in, I would think you could prune as much as you need to.

I sure wouldn't prune any more than you absolutely need to, though! You'll set them back for next year if you prune too much.

What are you going to do next year when they're twice as big? Shrug! Eventually you want a small tree, right?

Ask for a greenhouse for your next birthday, maybe?? There are inexpensive ones available.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
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Onewish1
Sep 4, 2012 8:41 PM CST
I have a GH... but too cheap to heat it all winter Rolling on the floor laughing but I planned on planting it in the ground .. and fractured my ankle and didn't get to it.. have to hope for the best
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 4, 2012 9:11 PM CST
Um, I have a friend in Salt Lake City who kept his greenhouse above freezing all winter using just tubs of water. Those 14gal. storage tubs you get at any big box store. Daytime, the water heated up when it was sunny - clear sunny ones are the coldest days. Nights the water kept the GH warm and humidified. He had amazing plants for years. He said a few days when it was cloudy he'd walk out with some hot water to add to the tubs.

Might be another alternative to pruning your figs way back this winter? Shame about your ankle, btw. Guess you couldn't hire a local teenager to dig a couple of holes for you?
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
[Last edited by dyzzypyxxy - Sep 4, 2012 9:23 PM (+)]
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Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Onewish1
Sep 5, 2012 4:15 AM CST
can always try it.. but I live with a ton of trees around the house.. I have a feeling those tubs of water will just freeze though.. but always worth a shot
Name: Franklin Troiso
Rutland, MA (Zone 5b)
Life is to short to eat rice cakes
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herbie43
Feb 11, 2013 2:50 PM CST
i know very little about fig trees but i do have one which was given to me by a co-worker three years ago. the "tree" more like a big bush right now, is grown in a 10 gallon container. each fall when all the leaves fall off i put it in my unheated basement and cover it with a large black plstic garbage bag. i water it once a month and in the spring i take it out, usually around april 15th. if i see a branch that does not show signs of leaves growing after a month i cut the tip off to see if it is green. if it is then i leave it alone. if it breaks off easily in my hand then i go down a liuttle further and do it again until i see green. if not green then i remove the entire branch. i have no idea what kind of fig i have but it is green and then turns purple when it ripens. last season i got over 3 dozen very large and very sweet figs from it. i feed it fertilizer for vegetables.

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frank
Name: Mother Raphaela
Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery NY (Zone 4b)
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MotherRaphaela
Aug 17, 2014 8:42 AM CST
Thanks for the input here. Just went out to bring in my plants since it started getting down to 43 degrees at night and discovered to my horror that my fig tree which looked absolutely fine last week is dropping all of its leaves! So I went to see if anyone else has tried this without a greenhouse, and going on what you all have said here, I'm going to assume (hope!) it just decided it was winter. I'll repot it and put it in the basement and check on it every once in awhile to see if it's alive and if it is, in December start watering more and bring it up under lights. (?) If you don't hear from me again, it just died Sad Thumbs down I'll try to remember to get back here and let you know what happened if it lives! Smiling

That's it in the center, surrounded by some of the other refugees from summer camp that are obviously in much better shape...


Go with God.
Mother Raphaela
Thumb of 2014-08-17/MotherRaphaela/d64776

Name: Lee Anne Stark
Brockville, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5a)
Perpetually happy!
Forum moderator Tip Photographer I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Critters Allowed Cottage Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Keeps Goats Keeper of Poultry Frogs and Toads Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian
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threegardeners
Aug 17, 2014 5:44 PM CST
We ate our first home grown figs the other day!
Name: Mother Raphaela
Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery NY (Zone 4b)
Cat Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Container Gardener Garden Procrastinator Seed Starter Permaculture
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MotherRaphaela
Aug 18, 2014 10:18 AM CST
Lee Anne, Any hints about how you managed this up in Canada? You are warmer than we are, but surely not tropical!

Thank you! Mother Raphaela
Name: Lee Anne Stark
Brockville, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5a)
Perpetually happy!
Forum moderator Tip Photographer I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Critters Allowed Cottage Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Keeps Goats Keeper of Poultry Frogs and Toads Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian
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threegardeners
Aug 18, 2014 6:23 PM CST
I kept them in a sunny window all winter, didn't let them go dormant. Treated them just like my other houseplants. When I put them out in the spring they started growing little figs :)
We've only had 2 figs so far.....they take forever to ripen!!
Name: Mother Raphaela
Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery NY (Zone 4b)
Cat Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Container Gardener Garden Procrastinator Seed Starter Permaculture
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: New York Sempervivums Bee Lover The WITWIT Badge
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MotherRaphaela
Aug 18, 2014 7:40 PM CST
Thank you for the hint. I had hoped to do that, and didn't realize that our nights getting cooler would make it go dormant so quickly. We haven't had a frost, but it has been in the lower 40's (Fahrenheit -- not sure what that is Celsius) a few times and that seemed to do it. I wonder how long a winter it needs before I can bring it out of dormancy and start next year's figs? I discovered that it made 2 little tiny figs, that are all dried up, so it did try! I'll go exploring...

Again, Thank You!
Name: Lee Anne Stark
Brockville, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5a)
Perpetually happy!
Forum moderator Tip Photographer I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Critters Allowed Cottage Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Keeps Goats Keeper of Poultry Frogs and Toads Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian
Image
threegardeners
Oct 1, 2014 8:03 PM CST
So...we got 5 figs this year!!

There are still figs on the tree but I'm pretty sure they'll drop when they have to transitiong to being indoors this winter.

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