You can plant a fig tree in our latitudes, even if it originally comes from the Mediterranean region. We’ll show you what to look out for and how to care for the fig tree properly.
If you are a fan of Mediterranean plants, you have certainly considered planting a fig tree in your garden. Actually, the plant with the sweet fruits grows mainly in warmer areas in the Mediterranean region. However, there are now many hardy species that you can also grow outdoors in Central Europe. If you live in a region with a harsher climate, you can alternatively plant the fig tree in a container. In this article we will show you how to plant and care for the exotic fruit tree properly.
Planting hardy fig tree in the garden
If you want to plant your fig tree outdoors, you should make sure that you only go for hardy species. This is because Mediterranean plants normally only thrive in regions with a lot of sun and very warm temperatures. As one of the consequences of climate change, we now have increasingly mild winters in Europe as well. This means that you can now plant the fig tree in regions where it could not thrive in the past. It’s best to go to a garden center to find out which fig tree suits your regional climate.
- The right location: The heat-loving fig tree should always be planted in a fully sunny spot where it is protected as well as possible from drafts. For example, a bed in front of a stone wall or house wall is particularly suitable, as these give off additional heat. Also, keep enough distance from neighboring plants, keeping in mind that the fig grows very wide and spreading.
- The right soil: A fig tree does not make too many demands on the soil. If the soil at the site is very compacted, you can loosen it with some compost. To make sandy soil retain water better, you can add some bentonite.
- The right time for planting: Early spring is the best time to plant the fig tree. It is best to wait for the Ice Saints, because after this time you usually no longer have to fear frost in the soil.
Planting fig tree in the open ground: To ensure that the fig tree bears fruit, it is best to buy only self-fruiting species. These are usually available as young plants in pots.
- First dig a planting hole that should be twice as large as the root ball of the fig tree.
- Now loosen the soil a bit and spread some expanded clay as a drainage layer.
- Mix the excavated soil with some compost.
- Now place the young fig tree in the hole and fill it with the soil-compost mixture.
- Press the soil down lightly and water the fig tree generously.
Planting a fig tree in a container
You can plant a fig tree even if you don’t have a garden or live in a rather cooler region. Because as a tub plant, the fig tree is suitable even if it is not hardy. In winter, you can easily bring the heat-loving plant indoors. Especially small-growing species can also be grown on the balcony or terrace. Here you can find out how:
- The right location: If you want to grow Mediterranean fruit on your balcony, the fig tree in a tub is very suitable for this. It is only important that your balcony is very sunny and well protected from the wind.
- The right soil: Loose and well-drained soil is a must if you want to plant the fig tree in the tub. Therefore, it is best to mix some garden soil from a specialist shop with about a third of sand. This way the substrate retains moisture better.
- The right time for planting: It is also best to plant the fig tree in a container in spring.
Plant fig tree in a container:
- Be sure to choose a pot with a drainage hole to prevent waterlogging. The pot should have a capacity of at least 20 to 30 liters.
- Lay a drainage layer of expanded clay at the bottom of the pot.
- Now pot the young fig tree and fill the pot with the garden soil-sand mixture.
- Finally, press the soil down lightly and don’t forget to water the fig tree.
- Note: Be sure to use peat-free soil to protect the bogs.
The right care for the fig tree
After planting your fig tree, it is important that you take proper care of it. Even though fig trees are overall very hardy and easy to care for, there are a few things you should definitely keep in mind:
- Watering: In order for the roots of the fig tree to form properly, it needs plenty of water, especially in the first few weeks after planting. Especially potted plants need regular watering from spring to fall. In winter, the fig tree does not need as much water. It is best to use rainwater from the barrel.
- Fertilize: If you have already mixed in soil from compost when planting, your fig tree will not need additional fertilizer for the first few years. If your fig tree grows in a container, you can give it some additional compost soil every spring starting in the second year.
- Harvesting figs: Depending on the variety, your fig tree may fruit once or twice a year. Usually you can harvest the figs in summer or autumn. The figs are ripe when they give slightly under pressure. If you wash the fruit well, you can eat the ripe figs with the skin.
- Propagation: To propagate your fig tree, you can use cuttings. To do this, simply cut a strong shoot from the tree and let it take root in a glass of water. Change the water daily and place the jar in a warm place.
Winter protection: Even if your fig tree is hardy, you should protect it from winter frost, both in containers and outdoors. If you grow figs in the garden, mulch and cover the root zone with autumn leaves to prevent frostbite. If your fig tree is growing in a container, it is best to bring it indoors during the winter. Let it overwinter in a dark place (for example, in the cellar or garage) at temperatures between zero and ten degrees. Fig trees need this cold period to produce fruit again in the spring. Water the plant only enough so that the root ball does not dry out.