Common fig trees (Ficus carica) grow to between 15 and 30 feet outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness 6 to 10. In USDA zones 6 and 7, the cold will damage stems, but they will survive and grow again when the weather warms. Smaller cultivars in containers, however, grow to a height of only 2 to 3 feet. ‘Petite Negra’ (Ficus carica ‘Petite Negra’) begins producing figs when it is only 1 foot tall. It is hardy in USDA zones 7 to 10. ‘Chicago Hardy’ (Ficus carica ‘Chicago Hardy’) can reach a height of 12 feet when grown outdoors in the ground but usually tops out at 2 to 3 feet when grown in a container. It is hardy in USDA zones 6 to 10.
‘Chicago Hardy’ and ‘Petite Negra’ are self-pollinating so there is no need for a second fig tree.
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Set the potted fig directly in front of a south-, west- or east-facing window where it will be exposed to direct sunlight indoors. Outdoors on the patio or deck, set it in full sun. It does not have to be put outside in the summer but will grow more vigorously if it is. It can be put outdoors in the spring after the last expected frost and moved back indoors in the fall just prior to the first frost.
Ficus carica is the only edible Ficus species; all parts of all other Ficus species are poisonous.
Water potted fig trees when the top of the soil looks dry during the spring, summer and fall. Pour water evenly over the soil until it drains out of the holes in the bottom of the pot. Allow the top 1 to 2 inches of soil to dry before watering during the winter.Slow growth and water draining out of the bottom faster than usual when the plant is watered are signs it is root-bound.
Slow growth and water draining out of the bottom faster than usual when the plant is watered signal it is root-bound.
Repotting and Soil Requirements
Repot the fig tree in the spring after it begins to grow more vigorously if the container is filled with roots. Put it in a new container only 1 to 2 inches larger than the old one with a drainage hole in the bottom. Use houseplant potting mix that contains 1/3 sphagnum peat moss, 1/3 soil and 1/3 coarse sand or perlite. When the fig has reached its desired size, remove it from the container and cut the root mass down by 1 inch all the way around and on the bottom. Plant it back in the same container with fresh potting soil.
Give the fig tree water-soluble fertilizer once each week in the spring and summer. Select fertilizer with a balanced ratio like 10-10-10 or 15-15-15. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of fertilizer into 1 gallon of water. Pour it evenly over the soil after a regular watering. Do not fertilize the fig tree in the fall and winter. Slow growth and water draining out of the bottom faster than usual when the plant is watered indicate it is root-bound.