How to Grow Fig Trees
PlantNet's Guide to Fruit Trees
Follow our guide to growing the best fruit trees in the neighbourhood! Get professional tips and tricks on all things fruit trees.
Hardy, tasty, and stunning are all words used to describe our Sweet Temptation Fig™. Perfect eaten straight off the tree, with your morning yoghurt, or for desert – fig trees are ideal to have a stones throw away from your back door! Never grown a fig tree before? Keep reading for our tips and tricks to caring for your fig!
Where to plant your fig tree
Planting your fig tree in an area where they get sun all day is vital. Place your fig tree on the northern side of your house to maximise the amount of sunshine acquired. If you are planting your fig in the ground, ensure the soil is very well-draining to avoid root diseases. Creating a mound, raised garden bed, or planting your fig tree on a slope are all good ways to ensure drainage around the roots is adequate.
If you have a container garden, or want your fig to grow in a pot, advance the pot size of your fig tree in stages. You should only increase by 2 sizes each time you repot your fig. At maturity your fig will need a pot at least 50cm wide. Our Sweet Temptation Fig™ is a slow growing (vertically) tree, meaning it’s happy growing in a container. The Sweet Temptation Fig™ is also narrow – that means your tight, sunny balconies can finally be filled!
5 steps to planting your fig tree
- Test your soil. Remember: your soil is unique. Ensure you test your soil before changing anything! A simple ribbon test and pH test are a good start. You need to do this six weeks before planting your tree.
- Work with your soil. For general soil conditioning, use organic material, such as manure and compost. Dig the organic material into your soil before letting the site rest for six weeks.
- Get digging. Before planting, dig a hole twice as big as the root system (or pot). Ensure you loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole.
- Place your plant. Put your plant in the hole and backfill the hole with well-draining soil. The soil should come up to the height of the pot. Stake your fig to ensure strong, upright growth. Figs are particularly susceptible to wind damage when young.
- Mulch your tree and pull out a hose! Mulch the surface of the soil with straw-based mulches, such as sugar cane, barley, or pea straw. Water your plant in well with a seaweed solution to promote healthy root growth.
Do fig trees need fertiliser?
Quite simply – YES! Your Sweet Temptation Fig™ comes potted in a premium potting mix with fertiliser. Once this fertiliser expires (after approximately 6 months), you should fertilise. The best time to fertilise your fig is once it starts to grow after winter. A good fertilizer to use will have an approximate NPK ratio of 14N-5P-22K, and you should be able to find this at your local garden centre.
PlantNet has created a great guide for fertilising deciduous fruit trees in pots from trial work completed by PlantNet over a 3 year period. Please note that these recommendations are specific to apples, pears, and stone fruit. You will need to adjust the recommendations to suit figs. A great plan to follow for figs is Trial 2.
All fertilisers should be watered in well after application.
Watering fig trees
When young, fig trees require regular watering as they are sensitive to dry spells. As the tree ages, they become almost bulletproof! To keep the soil moisture levels up for your fig tree, ensure you apply fresh mulch at the beginning of spring. This reduces evaporation which is especially important in warmer climates.
Stay on top of your local weather forecast and adapt to your conditions.
Common fig tree pests and diseases
While the Sweet Temptation Fig™ is a generally hardy plant, like all fruit trees it is susceptible to a handful of pests and diseases.
- Fruit flies affect the fruit of the tree by laying eggs in ripening fruit. Nets are always the best option. Using fruit fly traps will reduce the pest burden, but ensure affected fruit is removed and destroyed.
- Fungal issues like anthracnose and rust can affect figs – check your tree proactively and spray with copper-based fungicides if any signs are spotted.
- Fig blister may attack the inside of ripening fruits, which can be spotted once the fig is opened for eating. Destroy affected fruit to mitigate further infestations.
Learn more about common fruit tree pests
Birds and flying foxes: Cover the plants with netting when fruit starts to appear.
Following the directions on this page will ensure that you have success with your Sweet Temptation Fig™, and that you will rarely ever struggle with these pests and diseases.
Pruning Fig Trees
Pruning fig trees is a good way to promote a healthy tree and tasty fruits. Prune when your fig is dormant and focus on removing dead wood.
Allow your fig to have 4-6 main branches for fruiting for optimal fruit quality. You don’t need to prune the Sweet Temptation Fig™ when you unbox it.
Fig trees are easy to care for, but you may need to invest some time into them while they’re young. Our final fig tree tips are to:
- Protect your tree from the cold in its first winter by placing it undercover (in a pot) or covering it with horticultural plastic.
- Reduce insecticides when figs are flowering so that wasps may continue to pollinate them.
- Leave fruit on the tree until it is soft to squeeze. Figs don’t ripen on the kitchen bench!