Please help. My first fig tree has some issues.

AnaCostaOctober 15, 2013

Hi guys!

I purchased my very first fig tree a few days ago, and I planted it in a large vase and watered it, not too much though.

Now I already have 2 problems with it:

1) Shortly after, two or three days later, some of the baby figs fell. Today I opened a few to see what was wrong with them and all had larvae in them. I read up on it, and presume it is fig wasps. This shouldn't be a problem as I intend to keep my fig indoors for the time being. Please correct me if I am wrong and must do something urgently.

2) Please see the attached photo. One and possibly two leaves are going yellow, like as if they were stained. I need your help in identifying this problem and in administering the proper treatment. Is it fig rust? For the time being I have left the affected leaf on the tree, but placed a transparent plastic bag over it (probably useless lol).

Thanks for reading, any help will be immensely appreciated!

Edit: I can add that the tree is indoors, in Portugal, it has new leaves appearing from top and trunk, and one fig is actually ripening quite well, while the others are still young.

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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


I think the baby figs dropped because of changing environment from full sun out door to partial sun indoor. Your fig tree shocked a little bit and it will adjust to the indoor environment in due time. The leaves turned yellow could be the lack of sun or too much moisture in the soil. Before you water it, just feel the soil for moisture. If it is too wet then hold off on the water, and rotate the pot in sunny spot.


    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 9:44AM
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Thanks Tony. Yes, I tried putting her right next to the window so she'd get max light, but winter is coming, and the isn't much light, and not for very long, the nearby buildings block the light after 17:00pm. So it might be that.

I doubt it is over watering, I was kind of zealous. When I repotted the soil was moist, so I just watered her a bit the first day (half a liter or so), and then another bit the second day (even less), and haven't done any more watering since (3days now). I won't water it again until the top soil is dry again.

As to the figs themselves, some had larvae inside them, others didn't. I guess some fell because of the larvae and others because of the repotting. If I catch anymore larvae I'll photograph them and put the photo here.

This post was edited by AnaCosta on Tue, Oct 15, 13 at 10:25

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 10:22AM
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Oh gosh, I just read up on the fig wasps and realised the fruit I love only exists because of them. :S

Now I feel bad for the ones that went down the drain this morning...

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 11:07AM
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most common figs don't need the wasp. at least ones in the US because the wasp is only found in CA to my knowledge.

what type of fig is it?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 11:30AM
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Hi Melike,

That's good to know, it was sounding like a really complicated process for a city dweller.

I have no clue, there was no description when I bought it. I am in Portugal though, so I doubt it is an American one. I'll put a photo of her (I have given her a female name) here so you can have a better look. I have taken the plastic bag off the leaf since.

If you can tell which one it is and need a better photo let me know. The ones I have on me doesn't show the whole thing.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 11:37AM
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A bit of the trunk here, if it helps. That's all I have on my mobile :-)

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 11:39AM
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I phoned up the shop. They aren't sure but they do know it is from the Algarve (south of Portugal), which leads me to think it is an F. carica, and that's all I know.

Hopefully the one ripening fig will help me identify her better. I'll photograph it once I am about to pick it. It does look like it will stay green, not purple for sure.

This post was edited by AnaCosta on Tue, Oct 15, 13 at 12:41

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 11:50AM
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Sorry, most forum users are US so I assumed that as default. You probably have the wasp where you are. As far as ID goes, that can be difficult...

The guys on the figs4fun forum may be able to help (some portuguese members on there)

Here is a link that might be useful: Figs4Fun

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 9:32PM
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Yeah reading up on it I think I won't be able to avoid the wasps lol :-) Thanks for the tip, I'll give those guys a shot. So far I am thinking it might be a Pingo de Mel, but only becuse I found a really similar fig photographed in a Portuguese Wordpress culinary blogger who helped me bit :p

The ripe fig dropped on my hand this morning (probably the only one I will get, so I have to mentalize myself about cutting it, weird, I feel silly... it's a fig!), so I will check how it looks soon. If it is red inside, it might just be a Pingo de Mel.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 4:37AM
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post pictures of the inside here and at the Figs for Fun forum also

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 11:38AM
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Here's a photo of the inside of the only ripe fig I got. It didn't smell like anything, tasted over-ripe, had a milky glaze to it, not transparent, and there was something very small in it that seemed to be a fungus.

I'm suspecting this is a Pingo de Mel fig, but not sure of its name in English. Could it be a Honey fig or a Blanche fig (don't knoe if those two are the same)?

Thanks Eboone. I also posted in the fig4fun forum, but had to link to here as for some reason it wasn't letting me attach photos there. Might be because I am using a tablet.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 11:44AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I just had this notion that "mel" in Portuguese would mean "honey". Could your fig tree be, in English, "Peter's Honey fig"?

Here is a link that might be useful: Google search: Peter's Honey Fig

This post was edited by milehighgirl on Wed, Oct 16, 13 at 14:38

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 2:22PM
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Hi Ana - all edible figs are Ficus carica, but there are different varieties.

Do you really have nowhere you can put your fig outside? It would be much happier. Don't worry about the wasp thing - figs fruit in the UK and we certainly don't have fig wasps here.

Pingo de mel translates as Honey Drop. This source doesn't say the interior is red.

Here is a link that might be useful: Honey Drop

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 4:35PM
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Hey Florauk,

I've been in contact with a Portuguese guy who knows a lot about our fig trees. He says my tree is probably a variety of the Pingo de Mel, but not the Pingo de Mel. He says it isn't fertilized by the wasp, even though the wasp can visit it.

I can put the tree in my varanda, but all plants I had there, with the exception of my cactii, have been plagued with pests, and I am too afraid to let her out there, into the wilderness of my city varanda. I've had aphids, red spiders, caterpillars, conchinillas, some fluffy white thingy I forgot the name, you name it, I've had something die with it.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 5:52PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I have the impression that your climate is quite similar to mine here in the California coastal range. Figs are not bothered much by pests, and I also think yours would be much happier on your veranda. Al

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 7:43PM
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I agree - I would definitely put the fig outside if you have a space. They are pretty tough - I'm sure you've seen the conditions they will tolerate. It should be going dormant soon and losing its leaves for winter. Keeping it artificially warm and moist indoors will encourage it to grow soft and sappy and not have a proper winter break. It is much more likely to have problems inside.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 5:17AM
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I see... The only reason it is inside is the pests. At the moment I have caterpillars of some sort chewing at one plant. Would caterpillars try to chew my fig tree?

Thanks calistoga and florauk!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 5:25AM
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As calistoga said, figs have very few pests. They are a hardy (in your region) outdoor plant. Keeping it indoors will encourage pests, not protect it from them. And pests are not the main thing to consider. It needs light and air. It's like keeping a child permanently indoors to stop it being hit by a truck but it gets rickets from lack of sunlight and becomes obese from lack of exercise.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 12:24PM
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Florauk, this is exactly why I bought the tree, asides from me loving figs and the smell fig trees give. I was all "oh they are tough trees, she will be fine" and then once I got her home, I just started chickening out.

I have been warned that caterpillars may chew her, but I will use the protection I was suggested. A pity nobody sells diatomaceous earth, it might help. Once I have prepared everything I will move her outside, probably by sunday :-)

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 12:50PM
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I think you are anticipating problems which may never happen. And even if you do get some caterpillars they are easily picked off a small tree like that.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 1:18PM
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Yeah, a predictable behaviour on my behalf, expect the worst and be overprotective lol, must work on that.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 1:20PM
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