The common fig tree -- scientifically known as Ficus carica -- is a deciduous semi-tropical tree with gracefully spreading branches and lobed leaves. The delicious, bronze-coloured figs it bears are technically not a type of fruit, but a seed receptacle. Fig trees, which originated in the Mediterranean, adapt well as an indoor pot plant and can be trimmed to keep their height to a manageable 1.25 metres. By providing your fig tree with proper conditions, you can have an attractive indoor tree that bears figs.
Select an indoor location for your fig tree in bright, indirect light -- a few hours of direct morning sun can work well, too --i n a place that is not exposed to drafts. Under a south-facing window is ideal. Provide a pot that is at least 25 litres in capacity, but take care that it is not disproportionately large compared to the fig tree's root ball. Figs are happier being somewhat snug in their pots and can even do well when a little root-bound. Use a good-quality commercial potting soil.
Water your fig tree, using room-temperature water, to keep the soil slightly moist at all times. When the very top layer of soil begins to look a little dry, this is a good indication that it's time to water. Irrigate until water seeps from the bottom of the pot, then empty the saucer. To avoid root rot, do not allow your fig tree to sit in standing water.
Mist your fig tree daily with tepid water to provide humidity and prevent spider mite infestation.
Take your fig tree outdoors in the summer to benefit from the natural sunlight, warm temperatures and increased air circulation. Bring it back inside before the first autumn frost.
Watch for excessive and prolonged leaf loss, especially if it is not in reaction to a recent move. This can be an indication of over-watering or insufficient light. Fig trees will sometimes lose leaves when moved to a new environment, but this condition usually resolves in a month or two.
Feed your fig tree with a 1/2 tsp of 15-15-15 fertiliser per 4.5 litres of water twice a month during the growing season. Don't fertilise your fig tree from late November until mid March.
Repot your fig tree every two to three years, adding 2.5 cm in diameter to the current pot size. Water the tree well before starting, so the root ball will hold together. Use fresh potting soil, and do not pack it too tightly; air needs to be able to get to the roots. Don't fertilise your fig tree for a month, to allow roots to establish themselves.
Fig trees produce a milky sap that can be irritating to some people's skins. If you are sensitive to it, wear gloves when handling your fig tree.
Tips and warnings
- Fig trees produce a milky sap that can be irritating to some people's skins. If you are sensitive to it, wear gloves when handling your fig tree.