fig - Knowledgebase Question

tucson, Ar
Question by earthlingltd
February 25, 2009
I took a 'sprout' from a neighbor's fig tree, ( a branch that had dipped into the soil and sprouted) and stuck it in a vacant 14 inch pot. It is doing wonderfully and is now putting out leaves. Is there any way to keep it small enough to stay in the pot? I live in an an apartmentand would like to keep it small. Bonsai maybe?

Thank you

Answer from NGA
February 25, 2009


Congratulations on your success! You can grow your fig tree in a container but you'll need to prune it back each year and repot it every 2-3 years as its root system gets larger.

Container grown fig trees yield as much fruit as those planted in the ground, but they require different care. They need more fertilizer, lime, and water. The best fertilizer to use is one that is lower in nitrogen, but heavy on the calcium and phosphorous. The first feeding is done in the Spring, as soon as you see new growth.

Feed again every 30 days with a diluted liquid fertilizer (20-20-20) The last feeding will be done in October.

Make sure that during the summer months you water your trees frequently. Keep them moist and do not let them dry out or become water stressed. By the end of August you will start cutting back on the water, this prevents the fruit from splitting.

Prune your tree in late winter or early spring to keep it small. You should change the pot every year, going only 2 sizes up each year, until you reach a 24" to 30" diameter pot. At this point every 4 years you must root prune your fig tree. Take the tree out of the pot and cut one-quarter of the roots away, making a root ball. Replant the tree in the same pot with 3 parts potting mix and 1 part organic compost. This must be done while the plant is dormant, either in the early Spring or late Fall. Enjoy your fig tree!

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