Growing Figs in a Pot

A question came from Santa Cruz, CA this week:

I want to get a fig tree that will produce fruit we can eat and need
some advice. We live in Santa Cruz County, CA in an apartment with no
private yard (or dirt) so it will have to be in a container. We have a
patio area that is tucked into a corner of the building and gets full
sun most of the day. What type of tree, container, soil, etc. should I
get?  Thank you, Michelle

Hi Michele,

Santa Cruz falls under Hardiness Zone 9a-10a, so you’re in good company for growing figs.

Container – Figs actually grow well in containers because they tend to produce more fruit when their roots are restricted.  I found several sites that suggest a 15″ pot for planting your fig.

Type of tree – Here are a few of the varieties that grow well in Zone 9:

Brown Turkey
Peter’s Honey
Green Ischua

Your local nursery will most likely carry fruit trees that grow well in your zone.  They may have other suggestions as well.

Soil – use a good quality potting mix that is suitable for containers to get you off to a good start.  Make sure it has good drainage (perlite or course sand should be in the mix) as figs don’t like wet feet.  Peat moss or Coir (from coconut hulls) and compost are good additions as well, along with an organic fertilizer that is specific for fruit trees.

Care and feeding – You may need to prune the roots of your fig tree every 3 years to keep them happy in a container, even though they like growing in a cramped environment.  Water should drain well from your pot, and in doing so, it may require regular, if not frequent watering.  You can feed your fig tree with Bone Meal (a source of phosphorus), which will help with fruit production.

Good luck with your fig tree.  Keep us posted on your progress.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Daniel Betancourt

    Remember don’t fertilize during dormant season, go to YouTube look up Ross the fig Boss and there are a few others that give great expert advice, I’m a beginner also and had my first figs, but some were water by squirrels lol, good luck,

  2. Cecil

    Thanks for the advice. How much bone meal in my 15inch container fig tree? Should I also mix in lime?

    1. Christy

      Cecil, I’m afraid you’re not going to like my answer. I don’t generally make recommendations for specific amounts because it all depends on what’s in the soil already. I highly recommend doing a basic soil test for NPK and then basing the amounts on the results. Bone meal is phosphorus, so check your second number (P) and base amounts on that, if it is deficient. Lime is used for a number of reasons. Are you wanting to change the soil pH, or increase calcium and magnesium? All of these things should be tested before applying more. More is not necessarily better.

  3. Michelle

    Fig tree update: Two places on the tree are showing signs of new growth. And, I think there is a third place also; hopefuly it will be more apparent in a few more days. I’m so excited! Now people will stop making fun of the “stick” I planted, ha ha.

  4. Christy Wilhelmi

    I think watering it once a week should do the trick, unless you notice it drying out really fast.  It’s still cool though, so you shouldn’t have a problem.  Good luck with the fig!

  5. Michelle

    I got the Freecycle fig tree and planted it last week; I hope it works out. It looks like a stick right now but it came with a small root-ball and a few small roots growing off of it. Hopefully it will take off and grow. How moist should I keep the soil? It there anything else I should do to help it out? Thanks for your advise.

  6. Michelle

    Thank you so much for your advice. I have a pot (1/2 wood wine barrel) and will get some soil this week. The local garden store told me a black fig does well here and they had a good looking one so I put it on hold. Someone also posted that they had a small black fig tree to give on our local Freecycle group; hopefully they will choose to give it to us.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.