Figs: when to plant and how to grow them properly?
Sweet and fragrant figs are a product of the Mediterranean. They are heat-loving and do not tolerate prolonged cold. However, this does not prevent the inhabitants of Eastern Europe to grow these fruits in their gardens and summer cottages. The main thing is to follow the requirements for the care of the tree, to protect it from diseases and pests.
When is the best time to plant figs?
Planting figs can be done in spring or in autumn. If the gardener decided to plant figs in autumn, it should be done not earlier than a month before the onset of frosts. The optimal period is from early September to mid-October.
Spring planting of the fig tree is more popular. It is done some time after the last frost is over. Depending on the climatic conditions of the region, it can be early April or mid-May.
So what is the best time of year to plant figs in the summerhouse? Most gardeners are convinced that spring planting is better. The fact is that planting figs in the fall does not allow the seedlings to take root. If the plants do not adapt to the new place, they may not survive the long winter with prolonged frosts and a lot of snow. They will either die or wither away.
How to plant figs at home?
Fig tree breeding begins with the selection of a suitable variety. The climate in Eastern European countries is not as mild and gentle as in the Mediterranean. Therefore, in temperate latitudes, it is better to plant figs of early, medium-early ripening varieties, or self-fertile varieties. Also suitable for cultivation at home will be the remontant varieties, which bear fruit twice a year, and frost-resistant figs.
It is important to remember that figs need plenty of light and heat. Planting figs outdoors should only be done in a sunny area of the garden, well protected from gusty northeasterly winds.
If you ignore this rule and plant a fig tree in a darkened place, it will not bear fruit. Under such conditions, the fruit simply will not ripen.
How to properly plant figs?
Fig trees are not demanding to the composition of the soil. But in order for the trees to root as quickly as possible, it is better to prepare a special soil mixture. Soil for figs should consist of:
- loose fertile soil;
- a couple of buckets of compost or humus;
- a couple of buckets of acidified peat;
- potassium or phosphate fertilizer, if desired.
All components should be thoroughly mixed, leaving a little fertile soil separately. This soil will need to be poured into the prepared hole. The layer should be about 5 cm thick and well compacted.
Next, you can move on to preparing the seedling. If it was bought with an open root system, the fig must be pruned. After that, the roots should be dipped in a "boltushka" of water and soil - so they will sprout faster.
Preparation of seedlings with closed roots is practically unnecessary. The only thing is that the plant needs hardening. To do this, you need to take the fig seedling out onto a balcony or into the open air, gradually increasing the time it spends outdoors. This usually takes about 2 weeks.
Planting a fig tree in the open ground is done in this order:
- First you need to prepare a hole by filling it with fertile soil mixture;
- If the seedling has an open root system, pour a mound in the center;
- The container plant should be planted on a level surface;
- The roots of the seedling should be straightened out strictly downward;
- The whole root system of the plant should be in the hole - this is the only way to keep it from dying because of a prolonged frost;
- Next, you need to fill the roots of figs with nutritious soil mixture, and then compact its layer;
- The seedling should be abundantly watered - at least 2-3 buckets of water;
- If the soil is saturated, you will need to add more soil;
- Prune the tree immediately after planting.
Large-fruited figs can be planted not only upright, but also in a slanted position. It is done by the type of breeding currants - at an angle of 45°. At the same time, experienced gardeners recommend deepening not only the roots of the fig tree, but also at least 2-3 buds below the root neck. In the future, this will simplify the task of ducking the seedling to the ground before frosts.
How to plant figs from seed?
It is worth noting that to grow figs from seeds, patience and strict adherence to technology is required. It is necessary to create optimal "subtropical" conditions for the germination of the fig tree:
- maximum light;
- enough heat;
- high humidity;
- free access to the upper part of the root system;
- peace in winter.
Figs will take a long time to germinate. It will take at least 5 years from sowing to the appearance of the first fruits. However, in this case, one will gain invaluable experience and will be able to grow almost any exotic tree in the future.
Growing figs at home is possible from seeds of Sunny, Black Pearl, Purple Sukhumi varieties. All of them are low-growing and self-pollinating.
It is better to sow in the first months of spring. The seeds should be thoroughly cleaned of mucus. The container will need to be filled with a mixture of equal parts of humus, peat and sand. It is important to keep the distance between the seeds. It should be not less than 2 cm. The seeds should be covered with a 2-centimeter layer of fertile substrate. At the end you need to carefully water the seeds and cover the container with foil.
For the seeds to germinate faster, you need high humidity and a room temperature of up to +27°C. In this case, the first seedlings will appear in a few weeks.
How to grow figs from a stone?
As soon as the first seedlings appear, you need to harden them. First you should gradually reduce the temperature in the room, and then expose the container with seedlings to fresh air. As soon as the seedlings grow to a height of 10 cm, they can be transplanted into individual containers. Do not make them too big, otherwise they will build up green mass, which will cause the fruit to arrive much later.
The care of the indoor plant comes down to its annual transplanting during the first 5 years of life. The volume of each pot should be 1 liter larger than the previous one. It is better to shake off the old soil.
At the bottom of the container should lay out a drainage layer. Pebbles are best. The thickness of this layer should not be less than 3 cm. To plant the plant, a mixture of sand, humus and peat will do. Breeders add crushed eggshells to the soil mixture.
The root neck of the fig tree should be on the surface. Fertilizer should be applied during transplanting.
Once a fig tree reaches the age of five years, it should not be transplanted more often than once every three to five years.
It is important to pay attention to the care of the fig tree during the growing season. During this time, the air temperature should be at least +27°C. The room should be well lit. If the weather outside is warm, you can take the young tree out onto a balcony and open the windows.
Water frequently and abundantly during active fig growth. As soon as the fruits begin to blossom, watering will need to be reduced. If the weather is too hot, the fig tree's leaves should be sprayed with warm water.
Don't forget that figs are deciduous trees. At the first signs of imminent winter, the plant should be rested. The fig tree rests from November to January in a temperate zone. During this time, it is important to place the tree indoors at a temperature of at least +10°C.
Care during the dormancy period is limited to watering the plant. It is important that the soil does not dry out. In January, the fig's buds will begin to swell. This signals that it is time to move it to a warmer location. Frequent watering and regular fertilizing should begin again. The first of these is nitrogen, which will speed up the development of the vegetative system.
The tree should then be fertilized every 2 weeks. Fertilizers should be alternated between mineral and organic fertilizers.
Fully ripe figs can hang on a tree for no more than a month. Do not store ripe figs for long, as they lose their flavor and aroma.
How to grow figs from cuttings?
This method is no less interesting. The key to success is the right choice and preparation of cuttings. They should be cut exclusively during the dormant period of the fig tree. The best choice for this is November. In this month, the leaves will give the wood all their micronutrients and fall off.
It is best to choose cuttings from 2 or 3-year-old branches of the tree. The part of the crown does not matter much. The permissible length is not less than 20 cm. The longer the cuttings, the more nutrients they contain.
It is better to plant cuttings in the open ground in April or May, when the soil is well and evenly warm. It is important that the buds do not unfurl before planting.
Rooting of fig cuttings will happen faster if you plant them in specially prepared soil. It should be steamed, thereby disinfecting the soil from diseases. The planting itself looks as follows:
- First, the ends of the cuttings will need to be dipped in ashes, planted in the ground and covered with substrate;
- Next, cuttings should be covered with cling film, watered and sprayed from time to time;
- As soon as the first buds appear on the cuttings, they can be accustomed to growth without covering.
Future fig tree care consists of watering and maintaining air temperature. Water the fig tree as the soil dries out. If it suddenly gets very cold, you will need to cover the plants again with cling film.Photo: taken from the internet