How to Transplant a Fig Tree

Figs vary in size from container plants you might grow on a table top to trees that may be 50 feet tall. You might need to transplant a fig because it’s outgrowing its pot or because you’ve propagated new plants and they’re ready to go to a permanent home. However, sometimes you need to move a mature tree.


Types of Fig Trees

Depending on the variety, fig trees grow outside in USDA Zones 6 to 11. There are over 700 different kinds of figs, some of which are basically shrubs and others which are true trees.

  • Fiddle leaf fig – a common indoor fig tree, technically a tall shrub with a single trunk.
  • Chinese banyan – can grow 50 feet tall or be used as a bonsai specimen.
  • Edible figs – ficus carica – vary from 10 to 30 feet tall.

Transplanting Newly Propagated Figs

Although fig trees may grow from seed in the wild, most gardeners propagate them from stem or leaf cuttings. The cut ends are treated with rotting hormone, placed in a small pot and allowed to develop roots, which may take several months. They are then transplanted into the ground or a larger pot for growing on. It’s simple – turn the plant out of its pot and replant at the same level.

Repotting a Fig

As happens with most container plants, eventually a fig is likely to outgrow its pot. Choose a container only one inch larger (in diameter) than the previous pot. Too much space increases the chance of soggy soil. Remove the plant, gently brush away soil and replant in new pot at the same level with fresh potting soil. Water in well and place in bright indirect light.

Transplanting a Small Mature Fig Tree

You can probably transplant a fig tee up to about 10 feet in height with some help. Transplanting causes stress, so choose the healthiest specimens and make the move in winter. Water well two days before transplanting. Dig a trench around the tree and try to keep the root ball intact. Lift onto a tarp and move to the new location. Plant at the same level, tamp dirt in well and water.

Transplanting Large Fig Trees

Moving a large tree is not a job for the average gardener. A backhoe is usually required. Prune the tree ahead of time to remove dead or broken branches and decrease the size of the canopy. Prepare the new planting hole and soak the soil. Use chains to lift the tree and pad the trunk well to prevent injury. Settle the tree in its new location, tamp in soil and water well.