How to Grow A Fig Tree in a Pot

Fig trees include both edible and ornamental varieties, as well as the more unusual banyan tree. However, they can be grown in containers if you choose the right varieties and the pot is big enough. You can grow them outdoors in USDA Zones 5 through 11 or move them inside for the winter.


Choosing a Container

The two most important qualities when choosing a container for a fig tree are the size of the container and how well it drains. If you want an edible fig, you need a container at least 30 inches in diameter and equally deep. Figs are not only drought tolerant, they will suffer if over-watered, so your container should have plenty of drain holes to prevent waterlogged soil.

Container Materials

Almost any kind of material should be fine for a container. Plastic is sturdy and won’t break, although it may leave a little to be desired esthetically. Glazed ceramic pots are attractive. Unglazed ceramic pots may need to be watered more frequently in hot, dry weather as they transpire. Consider a dolly or other way to help move a heavy pot.

Fig Varieties for a Container

To grow figs in containers, choose a smaller tree or prune heavily – which may decrease the fruit crop. Try these varieties:

  • Blanche or Italian honey fig – slow-grower.
  • Brown Turkey or Negro Largo – smaller cultivar, tolerates pruning.
  • Celeste – small cultivar, usually used for dried fruit.
  • Ventura – compact, late season fig; good for cooler climates.

Soil for Container Figs

While figs aren’t really fussy about soil, when you grow in a container, you have to make sure the soil meets the tree’s nutrient requirements. Soil must also drain well. Good garden soil with coarse sand added to improve drainage is a good choice. You can also use commercial potting soil with the addition of some chopped tree bark.

Fertilizer for Container Figs

Figs are relatively slow-growing and in their native habitat they typically grow in poor soil. They can’t tolerate a lot of nitrogen, which may split branches or promote leafy growth instead of fruit production. Use a balanced liquid organic fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 8-8-8 or 10-10-10. Dilute the fertilizer by half with water and apply monthly in spring, summer and early fall.

Watering Container Figs

You must be more careful about water with figs in containers than figs in the garden or orchard. The limited space increases the risk that they will dry out, especially in hot, windy weather. However, over-watering causes plenty of problems, such as root rot. Water if the top inch of soil is dry and make sure the water drains away.