I’m growing two figs in pots on my roof deck. One is a Violette de Bordeaux and the other is a Janice Seedless Kadota Fig. I chose these two varieties because they grow well in containers, and also for my coastal climate.
This is a Violette de Bordeaux fig. This little tree is suffering the effects of not enough water. I found it wilting a few days ago, probably from a combination of the hot weather we’ve been having, and I have deep-watered for a couple of weeks. Sorry little tree!!!
This is a Janice Seedless Kadota Fig. It’s growing much faster than my other little tree. It’s growing in the same kind of pot as my other tree but didn’t suffer from the lack of water. Weird since they always get watered at the same time. Ah, the mysteries of gardening….
This ‘Honey Delight’ fig was my tree until we sold our big house and I had to relocate a lot of my potted plants. My ‘now’ neighbor planted this in her front yard and it has grown three times the size since it was in my yard. I can see it from my roof deck, so I don’t have to miss it too much! And I get figs!
So, here’s a little info on the care of fig trees:
Irrigation: Young fig trees should be watered regularly until fully established. In dry western climates, water mature trees deeply at least every one or two weeks. Mulch the soil around the trees to conserve moisture. If a tree is not getting enough water, the leaves will turn yellow and drop. Also, drought-stressed trees will not produce fruit and are more susceptible to nematode damage. Recently planted trees are particularly susceptible to water deficits, often runt out, and die.
Pruning: Fig trees are productive with or without heavy pruning. It is essential only during the initial years. Trees should be trained according to use of fruit, such as a low crown for fresh-market figs. Since the crop is borne on terminals of previous year’s wood, once the tree form is established, avoid heavy winter pruning, which causes loss of the following year’s crop. It is better to prune immediately after the main crop is harvested, or with late-ripening cultivars, summer prune half the branches and prune the remainder the following summer. If radical pruning is done, whitewash the entire tree.
Fertilization: Regular fertilizing of figs is usually necessary only for potted trees or when they are grown on sands. Excess nitrogen encourages growth at the expense of fruit production, and the fruit that is produced often ripens improperly, if at all. As a general rule, fertilize fig trees if the branches grew less than a foot the previous year. I feed my figs in pots with diluted fish emulsion. By diluted, I mean more water than suggested when mixing.
By June, we should be getting a good harvest off my neighbor’s tree. Time will tell if I’m going to get any fruit from my little trees this year. I’m assuming not from the little tree that was under watered, but miracles do happen occasionally! We’ll see!