Wintering a fig tree in the Pacific Northwest

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Maya, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. Maya

    Maya Member

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    I live in Vancouver, BC, right by the water. This past spring I purchased a dwarfed fig plant from a grower back east, advertised as ideal for container growing. The plant is meant to grow to only 3-4 feet. It arrived and I planted it in a deep (18"), wide (21" diameter) pot and it has been thriving, now already measuring 2 feet, with lots of healthy looking leaves. Now, as the winter approaches, I am worried. Some people are telling me that it will likely not survive the winter and that I should winter it in our garage or wrap it in burlap and burry it underground. I have read similar concerns on old gardening threads about wintering fig trees, but they all seem to come from much colder climates than Vancouver. Does anyone on this forum have any experience in wintering a fig tree in Vancouver, BC, and if so, would you please advise me. Many thanks.
    Maya
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Your problem is that it is in a pot. This makes it much more vulnerable to cold. You will have to protect the pot from freezing up like a brick during cold spells. I simply drag my tender tub plants into the garage, as needed.
     
  3. Tree Nut

    Tree Nut Active Member

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    Why not just plant it in the ground permanently? I have a brown turkish fig and it has produced fruit since I planted it severakl years ago and I live north of Squamish. Perhaps your fig isn't quite as hardy as the Brown Turkish?
     
  4. Maya

    Maya Member

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    Thanks Ron B. and Tree Nut for the advice. Yes, I had a hunch that its being in a container made it far less hardy. Do you think that if I moved it into the garage (ours is not heated but certainly more protected from the elements than the patio) once the temperature dropped below 5 celsius or so and if I wrapped its pot in warm blankets that would be enough to protect it? Would the lack of significant light there not hurt it though and under those conditions, would I need to water it much? I read somewhere that once a week was more than enough under those conditions... do you think that would be sufficient?
    I would plant it in the ground permanently as Tree Nut suggested except that we are in this current house only for another year or so, and I would love--if I figured out how to make it survive the winter--to move it to my next place with me.
     
  5. Dana09

    Dana09 Active Member

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    Here on Vancouver island, I have 2 Desert King figs that have been in pots for 2 yrs now and wintered it easily in the garage which does not freeze in winter but does not stay warm either.
    I think it helps to make sure the pot is touching the floor/ground of the garage as that seems to prevent freezing on some outdoor plants like some potted above ground bamboo outdoors I have. If that is off the ground it dies but wintered on the ground lives on for another year. Garage the fig tho.

    Leave the fig outside til it drops its leaves as it does go dormant for winter and makes for good storage. Don't water too much, best wintered on the dry side but don't dry it out completely either. Test and water from the bottom only if required. A stick left inserted in the soil will tell you if it is wet enough inside the root ball.
    Good luck. Mine fruited this year.
     
  6. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    In addition to the measures already mentioned, you can hedge your bets against losing it by rooting a few cuttings this winter: it's easy. Take them in November, they should be well rooted by the spring. Won't adversely affect the mother plant. Consider it a form of insurance; you can always sell or gift the clones.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2011
  7. Maya

    Maya Member

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    Thanks to both of you, Dana and Woodschmoe.
    Dana, I am glad that you had a positive experience with wintering the potted fig tree and I hope that my experience would be as successful. Probably conditions in coastal Vancouver are pretty similar to many parts in Vancouver island... The plant has thus far not lost its leaves and therefore I will wait a bit longer. Hopefully the temperature will not dip too much in the next week or two before it starts to go dormant.
    This being said, Woodschmoe's suggestion is great too. If I take a few cuttings and they survive, I have even better chances of having one or more fig plants in spring! Of course, I have absolutely no experience doing that, but I saw that there is a post on this forum that addresses the matter so I'll follow those recommendations.
    Thanks again...
     

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