Container Fig Help

dbaylessOctober 19, 2011

Help! I recently brought all of my houseplants inside because (believe it or not) we have already had frost in Northern Indiana. My Chicago Hardy Fig has dropped all its leaves since coming inside, yet there are still five small fruits on the branches. It also looks as though there are a few leaf buds on each of the branches.

Is there anything I should be doing to help save this plant? It is with the rest of my container plants on a table in the sunniest location I can provide. (However, with our short winter days, I may get a grow light to help with them.) Any advice is appreciated!

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Put it back outside until temperatures are predicted to be 27 or lower. Then move the tree into an unheated garage to over-winter, with the container directly on the floor. Toss a little snow on the container from time to time - only enough to ensure the soil doesn't dry completely.

Overwintering your tree indoors will find you with a severely weakened tree in spring (if it makes it) that will probably struggle to show you anything like a spring push of growth; whereas a tree allowed to rest quietly in the cold garage will wake in spring with a store of energy, ready for the kind of spring growth Mother Nature had in mind when she made the seasons.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 9:02PM
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Thanks for the suggestion! I will put it back outside. Our garage is detached and will likely be just as cold as it is outside since there is no heat. Is there a problem of it getting too cold?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 12:17PM
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I have 5 of them.

I took Al's sugegstion last fall and my Chicago trees benefitted greatly. I got over 20 fruit on each tree at only 2 years old. The sad part is, is that I didn't like the flavor of these or of any of my other figs for that matter:-(.
The temps in my garage can dip as low as in the 20's.
The only other extra thing I did for them was provide a very porous mix.

I will say that I have friends that tell me that they are hardy to 10 degrees above 0 in containers and they have had success with the method Al speaks of too. Throwing snow on the top, which is a must, keeps the soil hydrated.
They must never dry out completely, or that will kill them before the cold does. The mix needs to be moist at all times but not wet.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 4:19PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Your figs will taste better as your trees get older, Mike. It's not uncommon for the fruit of young trees to be rather boring. Hang in there! ;-)


    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 6:02PM
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Al, that is encouraging!

I literally almost threw them away and or planted one or two in the ground just as an experiment to see if they would live. If they died so what, and now I am going to keep them safe thanks to you. You just saved their lives.

I really appreciate that pal, along with all your help and support as always.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 8:09PM
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