In the UK, figs are best grown in a pot or container which can initially be 35 cm in diameter and successively 45 cm in diameter and at least 40 cm in depth.
In northern locations, if the container is mobile, it can be brought into a shed from November to March to protect the fruiting tips from frost. If the tree is left outside during the winter months. it is best to wrap a double layer of garden fleece around the main branches to stop the tips of the branches being damaged by winter frosts.
For a more permanent arrangement, the container can be buried, with the rim just above ground level, or a container can be built using bricks and mortar. The larger the container, the larger the tree.
Watch a video about how to grow fig trees in the UK.
Here are our tips on how to prune fig trees:
- Plant the fig tree during dormancy, from November to March.
- Prune in April, cutting back all branches by about a third. The concept is to encourage the tree to channel energy into root development.
- In June, prune new growth back to 5-leaf length.
- Next winter, from November to March, select a few of the strongest branches, choosing those that are at least a 45° angle from the trunk, and cut off the others. The aim is to create a well-balanced, evenly-distributed structure, ideally with a bowl-type shape canopy.
- From the third year on, prune every winter.
- Remove any dead, diseased or damaged wood.
- Cut off suckers growing from the base.
- Cut off some of the secondary branches, especially those which form an angle less than 45° with the main trunk – these branches are not strong enough to be sustainable.
- Remove branches that cross other branches or rub against another branch.
- Prune back fruiting branches by about a third.
- If there are a lot of long, non-fruiting branches, about a quarter of these can be pruned back to 2/3 inches length. Remember that fruit only develops on last year’s new wood.
- According to the strength of growth, prune again in late May, and again in late June if necessary.