Guidelines for 2nd Year

Jean PopowitzMarch 23, 2012

Hi! I successfully rooted several different varieties of figs last year and they summered in 1-gallon pots. I stored them in my unheated but bright garage all winter. They started leafing out this week so I've increased the water, put them in my garden cart and wheeled them outside where they receive filtered sun. I am prepared to bring them in the house if temps fall.

I think my next step should be repotting because the pots sat on the ground last summer and roots are hanging out of the bottom. What size pot next?

Then fertilizer (and yes, I've read the appropriate posts).

But then what? Do I pinch back this year or let them grow? Do I have to bury the pots later in the spring or are there other methods?

What are the general growing guidelines going forward?

I guess I'm nervous because, after investing a year, I'd hate to blow it!

Thanks for your help!

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Sounds like you are off to a very good start with the small rooted cuttings. Now is the time to pot those new treelets into 5 gallon containers using a good mix...I use Al's quick-draining mix in my containers...and grow them throughout this season, using a good fertilizer program. I use Dyna-Gro, Foliage Pro 9-6-3, and Pro-Tekt for all my plants. This can be purchased in Hydroponic Supply stores.

I would not pinch back any new growth this year, nor would I let figs develop, so that the tree could start building some basic structure for the future. Decide how you want your trees to grow, that is, tree-form, or, bush form. Go to You-Tube and check out all the fig tree videos for pruning and training, and read some of the postings on this forum that discuss the questions that you have about growing, pinching, watering, containers,...whatever. Everything you'll need is right here, and we will all answer your questions. You are not going to blow it, so don't get nervous. The hard part is over. The best is yet to come.

If you will keep you new trees growing in containers, your unheated garage will probably be where you will be storing the Figs over the Winter. I grow my Fig trees in large containers, and store my trees in an unheated, storage shed. Search this forum for suggestions on how to over-winter figs.

Let us know what varieties you are growing. You will need a good, short-season, fig variety for your best chance at getting figs to ripen in our short, growing season. Look up: "Bill's Figs" located in Flemington, NJ... he'll give you good advice on what figs varieties to grow in your area. Remember, full-sun, regular watering, good fertilizer schedule, proper winter care = figs next year. These trees will become your "botanical children". :)

Good luck, and happy growing. Keep in touch.


PS...I have been growing containerized fig trees since 2007, and it gets better every year. Growing in containers is vastly different than growing figs in-ground. You must be more careful about keeping trees properly watered and fertilized...even if you go on vacation! I put my trees on dollies so that they are easier to move around. The trees are planted in cheap, Home-Depot storage tubs, 18 gallon, with holes drilled into the bottom for drainage. Voila!...A portable, rolling, supply of fresh, sweet figs! Now go do it!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 6:18AM
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Jean Popowitz

Thanks Frank!

Boy we sure lucked out this week with the weather! I spent yesterday and today doing some early gardening in the yard. I wheeled my babies into a sunnier spot but am ready to pull them into the garage if it gets too cold. Although I haven't posted much here, I've been lurking on and off for a couple of years. It took me a while to decide on varieties and get brave enough to tackle trying to root the cuttings. I have to say it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I did modify the "modified baggie method" and had about 80% success rate. Not so lucky with the pomegranates I was trying to root at the same time.

I purchased my cuttings (some from Herman & Bass) on eBay last year: Sal (Gene strain), Marseille v. black, Blue Celeste, Brooklyn White and Hardy Chicago (I think, the puppy ate the ID stick). My Dyno-Gro order is in, although I'm not quite sure how the Pro-Tekt works into the fertilizing schedule. I had trouble keeping up with the water in the little pots on our sunny patio. I think the 5 gallon size will be easier to keep from drying out by mid-day. I ended up stacking stone around them to keep them from toppling over and to help shade the black plastic and they were much happier and I may bury my pots this summer. I do have some travel plans this summer (I'm going to be a GRANDMA!) but I will move the pots to where they will be watered by the sprinkler system...not ideal but better than baking in the August heat.

Next on my list is to gather the ingredients for Al's mix & get to potting. I do plan to grow mine in pots since we still have another move ahead of us (hopefully to our retirement home) in about 10 years. I wonder if it's ok to transport them over state lines. I didn't know about the you-tube videos....that will be fun to watch.

Thanks again for the welcome!


    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 10:07PM
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Judy...Judy...Judy...(with a Carey Grant affectation)

Congratulations future Grandma! What a wonderful gift from God Almighty!!!

Now...your "botanic children"... You say you've been lurking on this forum for quite some time, so you must have a good grip on a growing strategy for your figlets. The E-bay, fig cuttings that you ordered last year, are probably small and you will want all this year's growth to be directed into making leaves and wood, and not fruit. Not yet anyway. If you can't resist, just let 2-3 figs grow, but not many. Get the treelets into larger containers, planted in Al's gritty mix, and sit back and watch them take off, letting them develop some structure. Then next spring you can prune away some branches and wood that doesn't conform to your designs. Keep in mind that the "bush" shape is harder to store than the "tree" shape, with a single stem, which can be stacked to save space. Picture four containers/pots making a square, and the fifth resting in the center, but on top of the four bottom pots, like a pyramid. With a single-stem tree, this is easier to do than with a spreading, multi-stem bush. I counted six fig varieties from the E-bay order, and then there are your rooted space might be an issue.

Yes, bury your pots into the ground, but I would lift the containers out every month and trim the roots that will grow out of the MANY DRAINAGE HOLES, or you'll be sorry you neglected this step. Fig trees are very dynamic growers, and they will try to root themselves wherever they are resting, in this case, into the ground.

The Dyna-Gro "Foliage-Pro" and the "Pro-Tekt" formulas will work for all your plants, which will make life easier. "Pro-Tekt" and "Foliage-Pro" will have to be mixed with water separately, or the solutions will form clumps. Read Al's postings about fertilizing container grown plants for a scientific explanation.

In ten years, you will need another truck to move your trees over state lines! :) Start a special, gift-tree for your Grandchild, and watch the tree grow along with the new baby. Fast-forward five years, and anticipate some good teaching sessions,... and the tree bears fruit easily, so the child-future-gardener will feel a sense of pride when tasting the fruit, AND... Grandma's a hero!!!

Yes, the You-Tube videos of fig-growing/culture/training are very interesting. Skip the videos produced by the smarmy, degenerates at TY-TY nursery...never order anything from them.

Again, Congratulations! Go forth and be figful.

Frank, from The Bronx

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 7:09AM
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