Growing Guide: How to plant and care for Fig Trees

Growing Guide: How to plant and care for Fig Trees

Will Sibley

Figs suit pot growing really well as they respond to the restrictions of a pot by producing larger numbers of figletts (ie little figs!).  If you can provide lots of sun and the right sized pot, then you will be really well rewarded for your efforts for many years - read our guide below to help you on your fig growing journey.


Figs can be grown either in large containers:  20+litres or straight into open soil. If the latter method is used, then a root restricting pit made of paving slabs dug into the ground is advisable. Fig trees can grow large quite quickly and restricting the roots will give a much more manageable tree and much more precocious cropping. If growing in a container it is best to use a loam based compost like John Innes No 3. 

The site should be in maximum sunlight and the benefit of a wall or fence providing reflected heat is most desirable. As a rule, it is better to grow fig trees in poorer soils with plenty of drainage. Incorporating stones or plaster rubble in the soil mix is a very good idea.


Figs are grown from a cutting rather than by grafting, so the tree should be planted to a depth that adequately covers the roots. The soil mark on the main stem where it was grown in the nursery is a good guide. The soil should be backfilled in layers and thoroughly tamped down to ensure good contact with the roots.

If the tree is to be grown as a standard tree in a tub or planter or as a standard in the open ground, then a stake and tree-tie should be used for additional support.


Mulching on a regular basis is not necessary for figs but is a good idea in the year of planting to ensure that there is adequate soil moisture for the tree’s establishment.


In the first year this is important, but should be confined to once a week to ensure that the soil is moist right down to the root area. In the second and subsequent years, watering should be confined to the months of June, July, August and September when there is fruit upon the tree.


Although the best results for growing figs occur when the roots are restricted, figs are a very hungry tee and a regular feeding programme should be adhered to. A good quality feed should be used at regular intervals throughout the growing season, starting in April and continuing through until late September


There are many ways in which figs can be pruned and a good pruning guide should be followed. Pruning can take place in spring, summer and autumn, but avoid the winter months.

Please note

During the growing season fig trees will exude white sap from the pruning cuts. This can run out rather like milk. It is a very sticky substance very similar to latex and can irritate and burn the skin. Please take precautions. The sap will only exude from pruning cuts and not from the tree in normal circumstances.

Buy fig trees online

Visit the Fig Section on our website to discover the varieties of fig tree available to order. We sell only the highest quality plants and each tree comes with a lifetime advice package.