Want to grow container fig in massachusetts

garychemMay 20, 2006

Hi all, I would like to grow 1 or 2 contained fig trees. I know nothing about them except I really like the fruit. I've heard stories from friends where there outdoor planted fig trees did poorly after a tough winter. I live in northeastern Massachusetts near the New Hampshire border, Zone 5. I would like to plant them in ornate pots so I can bring them in in the winter.

Is there any problem with this? What can I expect? Will the plants look good, with leaves, during the winter in a warm house? If this is not an option will they be OK in a warm basement, approximately 65 deg F if kept wrapped up? What should I do? Thanking you in advance, Gary

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Will the plants look good, with leaves, during the winter in a warm house?
Yes, Yes (for a while) and NO, NO (long term).

If this is not an option will they be OK in a warm basement, approximately 65 deg F if kept wrapped up?

Figs like to go to sleep (dormant) in winter, best at
temps ~20-40*F.

Pot in a large container; bury 1/2-1/4 pot outside in summer
(roots will come out of drain holes and 'graze').
Dig up in November (before it gets real cold outside) and
store in an unheated garage for their winter sleep...

Thought that I had already submitted this,
hope that it is not one of those instant doubles...

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 3:35PM
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My garage temperature in the winter can almost be as cold as the outside temperature. Actually it can get as cold. For example, what if we have several days where the temperature gets below 0 degrees? Will the plant be Ok.

Not sure what your last lines of message meant. This is my very first day on the forum.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 4:51PM
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Just ignore my last statement.
I do have a small electric heater that kicks in when temp
falls down to around freezing (32*F). Zero (0*F) is preety cold and will kill figs.
As I said, they require 20-40 *F during winter.
Below that they may die, above that they will break dormancy.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 5:06PM
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An other alternative is to bury the whole pot outside,
cover with some water proof shield (e.g., tar paper)
and add mulch on top. Natural heat from deep down (earth)
will be enough to keep it alive.
But this is more labor intensive.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 5:15PM
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Gary, I hesitate to add this info as I always seem to be odd man out on the subject of dormancy. Two years ago I had six young trees of an unnamed fig variety, I planted five in-ground and kept one in a pot to be sure I would keep one alive in case of winter kill. This potted tree was placed in our laundry room, temp of 65F, all winter, then planted in-ground when danger of frost was past. Well, guess which of the six trees produced the most figs, by far? Yep, the one kept green and growing all winter in the laundry room. Go figure. I must add that the tree benefited from ample window lighting, and I tried very hard NOT to water too much, thus restraining growth.....Elder

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 10:27PM
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sergnic(z9 Italy)

Gary, no one odd man, simply you have a situation very particular... The fig with temperatures over than 40-45°F simply remain wide awake, and therefore with the leaves, in fact it loses the leaves only if it has cold, and it goes in dormancy. If it is wide awake needs of a lot of light, ...(a lot!) and produces also more latex (that is reserve substance). The humans have difficulty to valuate the light. The normal (artificial) light of a dining room (that seems a lot) is NOT sufficient.
Your laundry instead is an heated greenhouse.. For the winter not having an heated greenhouse, il better the cold (between limits) and so is not necessary the light.

The temperature range has to be the indicated one.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 4:49PM
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Gary:Lay them Flat(poted fig) on the floor of the cold Garage Next to the south side wall ,cover them with an old blanket,and they will have 30-35 F all winter,Ideal for your figs.Hope this will help.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 8:48PM
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Just some thoughts. I see a lot of talk about putting the figs into containers and then into an unheated garage. It is doubtless that many fig growers are aware that winters in New England are downright frigid. It remains humid here even when below freezing. Moreover, the unheated garage thing: My unheated barn can fall below zero. I'm sure I am not unique in this aspect. My sister's garage is attached to her house and her garage remains a steady 20F.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 4:23PM
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