How to Grow
Fig Trees: Care Tips
Fig trees are surprisingly well suited to growing in the UK, perfect for pots and have attractive, scented foliage - not to mention the sweet, soft fruits. Here’s our step by step guide to successful Fig Tree growing.
Most common Fig tree questions
When can I plant Fig trees?
The best time for planting fig trees is in late Winter or spring.
This should give it plenty of time to get established before the coldest weather sets in.
What kind of soil do Fig trees need?
Figs prefer loamy, well-drained and moisture-retentive soil.
They will do well in any type except heavy clay, so if your soil is of this type, be sure to mix in plenty of compost.
How much sun do Fig trees need?
Figs need full sun to produce fruit.
Position your tree in a warm, sheltered spot outside or under cover in a greenhouse or conservatory.
How do you plant Fig trees?
Choose a sheltered sunny spot by a South or East facing wall.
Fig trees have long roots, so they will need a deep hole. If you’re planting in the ground, add plenty of gravel and manure - if possible, make a wall around your tree roots with paving slabs, to restrict their growth.
If planting in a pot, choose a large, deep one and put broken crockery in the bottom for drainage. Cover with compost and firm into place.
How far apart should I plant Fig trees?
Fig trees should be planted 5-6m apart.
Can I grow Fig trees in pots?
Fig trees are best grown in pots, as their roots need to be restricted.
Choose a large, deep pot with good drainage and repot every two to three years.
Can I grow Fig trees outdoors?
Many varieties of Fig are hardy and will do well outdoors.
However they will produce more fruit when grown in a warm place such as a greenhouse or conservatory. Check to make sure the variety you buy is suitable for the UK climate.
Do Fig trees need support?
Compact and standard varieties of Fig tree may not need support.
If your Fig tree is larger, however, it will need to be tied to a wooden stake. Outdoor Fig trees can also be trained into fans or espaliers.
How do I prune my Fig tree?
Fig trees are vigorous and need pruning annually.
Remove dead or weak branches in Winter and prune lightly into shape in the Summer. Fig trees grown outdoors can be trained into a fan shape against a wall or fence, to create light and space for the fruits to develop. Never prune Fig trees in Spring as they can bleed sap, weakening the tree.
How much water do Fig trees need?
Fig trees need regular watering.
This is especially important when growing in pots, which should never be allowed to dry out.
Do Fig trees need feeding?
Feed your Fig trees weekly with tomato food once fruits start to appear.
Your trees will also benefit from an annual mulch of manure or well rotted compost to discourage weeds and add nutrients to the soil.
How to care for Fig Trees
In colder areas, fig trees need protecting over Winter.
This is especially important for young trees. Cover the branches with a horticultural fleece or if in a pot, move the tree indoors to a shed or greenhouse. Move back outside in Spring, and give your tree a good mulch. Figs in containers should be repotted every two to three years.
When will my Fig tree produce fruit?
A young Fig tree may take a couple of years to bear fruit.
Once established, your tree will produce up to 50 fruits in a season.
How to harvest Figs
Harvest your figs when they are hanging down and soft to the touch.
This will typically be at the end of the summer, towards Autumn. If any of the full size fruits have not ripened by October, they probably will not and you should remove them.
Common Fig tree problems
Birds and Squirrels
Birds and squirrels will eat your crop if you’re not vigilant.
Cover the tree with netting or scare them away with a water spraying or sonar repelling device. Smearing grease on the bottom of the trunk or sprinkling chilli flakes around the base may also help.
Wasps are attracted to split fruit.
Keep them away by picking ripe fruits promptly before they split, and by clearing up any windfalls regularly.