Grow Figs 101: Plant Fig Trees in Containers

Watch: Grow a Fig Tree in a Pot for Maximum Figs with Shirley Bovshow on Youtube

The summer heat is ripening luscious, sweet figs that are hanging from trees all over the country!

There are at least 200 different varieties of fig trees commonly grown from coast to coast and many of them are planted in pots.


brown turkey figs in bowl


If there’s a fruit tree that thrives in the cloistered environment of a container, it’s the fig tree!

Fig trees (Ficus carica) grow rampantly in the ground and spread their roots far and wide, often becoming invasive and destructive.

Not only does planting a fig tree in a container help to confine its roots, it also encourages greater fruit production!

This is reason enough to grow fig trees in a container, even more so if you have a small yard.


I presented on “Figs 101” recently on the Home & Family Show on the Hallmark Channel where I answered the following questions.


“What makes it possible to grow fig trees in different climates around the country?”


Fig trees become dormant in the fall so they are able to survive very cold winters (to about 20 degrees) without dying.
Fig trees can be pruned and trained to stay at a manageable size in containers, making them easy to move indoors during freezing temperatures.
There are over 200 varieties of fig trees suitable for short and long growing seasons.





Some popular, self-fertile fig tree varieties for colder climates include:



Brown Turkey


Read more excellent information about “overwintering” fig trees here.




“What do fig trees need to grow successfully in a container?”


  • A site that receives full sun for at least 7 hours per day.
  • Light, well-draining potting soil or equal parts peat moss, vermiculite and perlite.
  • Slow release tomato fertilizer applied during the beginning of growing season (it has an ideal ratio of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus).
  • Consistent watering.  Check the top 1-inch for moisture and water when slightly dry.


To ensure fruit production, you must fertilize your container grown fig trees. The trees depend on you for their vital nutrients!



18 inch garden containe for fig tree foodie gardener

“How do you plant a fig tree in a container?”


Use a large container, at least 18-inches in diameter to plant a 5-gallon size nursery tree.
Make sure the container is not too much larger than the root ball as fig trees like to have their roots “bound.”
Remove the fig tree from the nursery pot and open up the roots gently.


You want to just release the roots without going overboard.

Keep the roots intact.


Plant the fig tree at same height as it was in its nursery container.

Remove any “sucker” growth. Suckers can then be used to create new plants!

Water your tree.


Always select fig tree varieties that are “self-fertile” for successful fruiting.

Plant fig trees in spring, after the last frost, if you have short growing season.




 “When do fig trees flower and produce fruit?”   


Depending on the variety, fig trees will produce one or two crops during growing season.

The first crop is called the “breva” crop and is produced May-June.

The second crop comes in late summer and is considered the main crop.


fresh black mission figs in bowl foodie gardener shirley bovshow

Black Mission figs



“What fig varieties did you bring to Home & Family today?”

I brought some common fig trees and some fresh and dried figs provided by Melissa’s World Produce.


Italian Everbearing Fig Tree with fruit in container foodie gardener shirley bovshow 

Italian Ever-Bearing Fig Tree produces fruit similar to Brown Turkey  but larger.



brown turkey figs in wood bowl foodie gardener shirley bovshow


Brown Turkey figs



White Genoa Fig Tree with Fruit in Pot Foodie Gardener shirley bovshow


The White Genoa Fig Tree bears green fruit with pink flesh similar to the Green Kadota fig.



fresh green kadota figs foodie gardener shirley bovshow


Fresh Green Kadota fig



Panache fig tree in fruit planted in container foodie gardener shirley bovshow


Panache Fig Tree- green and white striped fruit with sweet pink flesh






dried black mission figs calimyrna figs almonds on plate foodie gardener shirley bovshow


Dried Calimyrna and Black Mission figs


I want to thank Green Thumb Nurseries for providing the fig trees for the show.

Thank you to Melissa’s for the fresh and dried figs.


Do you have any questions about growing fig trees?

Ask the Foodie Gardener!



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About the author  ⁄ Shirley Bovshow

I'm known as "EdenMaker," as well as a "Foodie Gardener" on the web, but you can call me "Shirley" anytime! When I'm not eating or growing my own food, I'm busy designing gardens and producing garden TV shows! When it's time to cook, I ask my family, "What country do you want to visit tonight?" Thank God for WeightWatchers, most of my fruits and veggies are "0-Points." Some of you know what I'm talking about!

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