Fig trees can be both ornamental decoration and a food source. Many love them for their excellent leaves and delicious fruit, making them a staple tree in plenty of gardens. However, some choose to keep their trees potted.
Potted fig trees provide a stable environment and compact space to plant your fig tree. In general, the best soils for potted fig trees contain well draining soil, slow release nutrients, and natural ingredients like peat moss and earthworm castings. With proper fertilizer, fig trees will grow 2-3 feet inside per year.
Understanding what you are purchasing for your plants is an important part of being a gardener. If you would like to learn the best soil, continue reading below!
Do Fig Trees Grow Well In Containers?
Fig trees can grow amazing in containers. Fiddle leaf figs are a common species used for this exact reason. However, fruit-producing figs such as Chicago Hardy Fig Tree can do well in containers.
Any dwarf tree will do well in a container, because of their specific breeding for their size. Fig trees love having pots the right size for them. This means you will need to do frequent pot changes as your tree grows.
You can purchase pots of various sizes to help your fig tree transition throughout its growth. Whether you purchase from a nursery or propagate from cuttings of your own, knowing about growing a potted tree is important for your journey.
You may intend to plant your potted fig tree in the ground after it has reached the proper size for it. This could permanently solve your growing needs.
One benefit of growing figs in a pot is the option of bringing your tree inside if you are not in the right growing zone. Fig trees grow well in zone 5 and below. Once temperatures drop below freezing, cover your tree to protect it from the cold.
Varieties Of Fig Trees For Containers
If you are looking to plant a potted fig, the variety of tree is important. Some of them will fare better than others in these conditions.
Black Mission Fig Tree
The Black Mission fig tree is a sought-after variety for potted planting. It produces fruit twice a year and is rather easy to maintain.
It produces a fruit with dark purple skin and beautiful pinkish flesh. The fruit is also very resistant to spoiling, which makes it great to eat fresh or process for the entire year.
LSU Purple Fig Tree
The Louisiana State University College of Agriculture produced this variety to be disease resistant. These trees also produce three crops a year, giving you a bountiful harvest.
The LSU Purple fig is very hardy and perfect for container growing. It is also self-pollinating, so this may be the tree for you if you only plan to plant one!
What Is The Best Soil Mix For Fig Trees?
There are a few ways to pick the right soil mixture. This mostly involves understanding the correct needs of a fig tree. Fig trees are very forgiving with soil requirements.
Clemson Cooperative Extension suggests making sure the soil is free of root-knot nematodes.
Though typically figs love loamy well-draining soil, any excessive rocks or other debris can hinder root development. Adding various growing mediums, such as vermiculite or any other non-soil additive, can help lessen soil, which is important for drainage.
It is important to research the different nutritional needs of the trees you plan on growing. Understanding components inside your soil is important. This knowledge will help you decide on what to add to mix the best quality soil for your needs.
Commercial potting mixes usually contain these additives. Here are some great commercial potting mixes to purchase online:
Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix
Miracle-Gro is a fan-favorite brand. The Miracle-Grow Indoor Potting Mix contains coconut coir which is a fantastic additive. It retains moisture well, does not harbor fungus gnats as much as other mediums, and provides excellent nutrients.
Coconut coir is a more sustainable alternative to peat moss to bulk soil. Though lower in nutrients, this creates a better draining soil.
They claim it harbors fewer fungus gnats, which is a pro for anyone wanting to bring their plants indoors.
Fox Farm Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil Mix
Fox Farm Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil Mix is a superb organic option. This mix in particular is advertised specifically for ficus plants, which makes it the ultimate medium for growing an indoor fig tree.
The ingredients are luscious mediums for growing plants. It is an optimized soil with earthworm castings, bat guano, and aged forest products. These are wonderful plant foods.
Earthworm castings help by providing excellent nutrients to plants. It is also good for the environment since earthworms take waste food projects and turn them into plant superfoods!
Bat guano is the manure of bats, filled with slow-release nutrients. These nutrients feed your plants slowly and naturally release beneficial microbes into the soil.
Aged forest products are bulk in this soil. It is like good compost and naturally helpful to plants.
Black Gold All Purpose Potting Soil
The Black Gold All Purpose Potting Soil is an inexpensive alternative. It is nutrient-rich and contains compost, peat moss, perlite, and earthworm castings. This soil also has an added slow-release fertilizer to deliver the nutrients your fig tree requires to thrive.
Homemade Soil Mix
There are a few online recipes for a homemade potting soil mix. The University of Florida has one consisting of two parts soil, one part coarse sand, and one part perlite. However, you can substitute the perlite with pine bark.
A benefit of making your soil mix is the control. You can mix in anything you feel works best for you. If you want it to be all organic and eco-friendly, you can.
Adding other things into this mix, like animal manure and things like mushroom compost, can allow you the opportunity to experiment with various ideas.
How Do You Prepare The Soil For A Fig Tree?
Preparing the soil is important for planting all plants. You should sterilize your medium by baking it in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for thirty minutes. This is important to kill any diseases and the dreaded fungus gnat.
Fungus gnats come from potting soil and can wreak havoc around your home. Once they are buzzing around, they are the bane of everyone’s existence. They are a lot like fruit flies in their manor.
Is Peat Moss Good For Fig Trees?
Peat moss is an amazing medium for most plants. It makes a fantastic addition to potting mixes, and you can use it as a seed starter. This is possible because it does not contain any weed seeds or any other harmful microbes.
Sphagnum moss is what makes peat moss, which means it is an amazing water retention medium. However, you should always mix it with other mediums for efficient draining.
What Are Good Soil Amendments For Potted Fig Trees?
Soil amendments can be important to all plants. This helps retain nutrients inside of the potting mix. Potted plants struggle to maintain nutrients because of their smaller habitat and the lack of available nutrients.
In-ground plants have a continuous supply of fresh organic matter, which provides them with nutrients. Potted plants are limited, so you will need to supplement them with either specific amendments or a broad-spectrum fertilizer.
Is Epsom Salt Good For Fig Trees?
Epsom salt is high in magnesium. Magnesium is important for fig trees because it is essential for photosynthesis, or how plants make their own food.
Epsom salts are a natural and cheap solution to any deficiencies. They are readily available in almost every grocery store.
Are Grounds Beneficial To Fig Trees?
Coffee grounds, either used or fresh, can be a great fertilizer for most plants. They are high in nitrogen, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and many other nutrients. These nutrients are important for developing the tree.
Coffee grounds are acidic, but luckily fig trees like slightly acidic soil. You can use the coffee grounds straight, or after making yourself a nice cup of coffee to reduce the acidity. Other applications include mixed into water, composted, or mixed in with other nutrients.
Should I Put Perlite On My Potted Fig Tree?
Perlite makes a wonderful additive to provide drainage to the soil. The soil will not compact with this additive. Perlite adds no nutrition to the soil.
It is made of crushed volcanic rock and makes a wonderful additive to help drain the soil. This great additive will also aerate your soil.
Do Potted Fig Trees Need A Lot Of Water?
Fig trees in pots require to be watered slightly more than if a tree was in the ground. While figs love well-draining soil, potting soil dries out quicker than usual.
You should water your potted fig tree as the soil begins to dry out. This will help make sure your tree receives all the water it needs.
Add things like perlite and other amendments to your soil to help increase the drainage. This is important for various reasons. Perlite does not interfere with roots but also adds the drainage quality needed inside the soil.
Pros Of Potted Fig Trees
Potted fig trees are a wonderful addition to any plant lover. Anything from fiddle leaf fig trees to fruit-producing figs. They are both parts of the ficus family.
Some pros of planting fig trees in pots are:
- You can take the trees inside
- If you move, you can take the tree with you.
- You can figure out the best area for your tree.
- Better control over the growing season.
You should consider these pros if you are contemplating growing a fig tree. These benefits may appeal to you. Especially if you live somewhere like an apartment complex or rent your home.
If you live in the north, being able to bring your tree inside allows you to grow figs at home. If you do not own your home, being able to grow a fig tree inside a pot gives a non-permanent solution to you growing a fig tree.
Some areas of your yard are not conclusive to certain plants. Being able to try areas out for your trees can help decide whether you want a plant permanently in that area.
Fiddle leaf figs are a common houseplant. They make a wonderful ornamental plant for your home. While they do not produce figs, they look fantastic.
Cons Of Potted Fig Trees
Potted fig trees can be wonderful, but they aren’t for everyone. Some people cannot maintain potted trees in the way they need.
It’s not a good idea to plant fig trees inside because:
- If you are forgetful, you may not care for the tree.
- A constant need for water
- Increased need for fertilizers
- If bringing them inside, you may get fungus gnats
You need to weigh the needs and wants of yourself and determine if potting a fig tree is right for you. Figuring out what you want in a tree can help with this decision.
Trees in pots need fertilizers since they do not have the constant nutrients available to pull in. In nature, decomposition helps add more nutrients to the soil. In a pot, this process does not happen, so you need to supplement it artificially.
Fungus gnats can live in the soil. When you bring the plants into your home to winterize them, they can invade your home.
These plants have an increased need for water when inside a pot. If you are forgetful, this can harm your plants. Make sure you can care for the increased needs of a potted fig.
How To Care For Fig Trees
Fig trees are a fun tree anyone can grow! Whether potted or in the ground, figs require the same amount of care just slightly tweaked.
Figs are in the ficus family along with mulberries and jackfruit. Figs are a beloved fruit in Mediterranean countries and have needs similar to these countries.
Figs love a hot environment. They dislike winter and require protection from the cold. Combine this with great sun exposure and you need a minimum of seven hours a day.
Mulch your trees to help maintain moisture and add nutrients. Nutrient requirements are minor. They do not need to be fertilized often when planted in the ground.
A fig tree will do well with occasional pruning. Prune any dead branches or branches in excess to help prevent excessive water build-up that may cause fungal issues. This will also help maintain the size of the tree, making it easier for fruit to be harvested.
That’s A Wrap!
Potted fig trees can be an excellent plant for some people. They do have increased needs for nutrients and can pose a risk of fungus gnats. Though can make a wonderful addition as a houseplant.
Knowing the correct way to care for these trees is important for any gardener interested in potting fig trees.
I hope this helped you on your journey to growing trees!
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Crisosto, H., Ferguson, L., Bremer, V., Stover, E., & Colelli, G. (2011). Fig (Ficus carica L.). In Postharvest biology and technology of tropical and subtropical fruits (pp. 134-160e). Woodhead Publishing.