Fig trees are commonly associated with the sweet fruit they bear however they come in thousands of species, many of which do not produce fruit and have variations in their appearance. Growing a fig tree can be a source of pride for some as these trees prefer specific conditions to thrive, including how often it should be watered.
Fig trees should be watered every 10-14 days and are considered to be drought resistant. The soil around the fig tree should be consistently moist, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between each watering. New fig trees may need to be watered more frequently until the root system is established.
Although many varieties of fig trees can be grown both indoors and outdoors, the care required for them remains fairly similar.
How to Tell if Fig Trees Need Water?
Typically, fig trees are drought tolerant and only need to be watered every 10-14 days when the top inch of soil has completely dried out. The soil should not be allowed to completely dry through however as this dehydration can cause the leaves to wilt and lose their vibrant deep color.
How Do You Know When Your Fig Tree is Sufficiently Watered?
You will know if your fig tree has been sufficiently watered when the leaves are sturdy and have a deep vibrant green color. Fig trees that produce fruit will yield a decent quantity of figs that are larger whereas a tree that needs water will produce smaller and fewer fruit.
If your fig tree is potted, the water should start to drip through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot at each watering session. It is important that there are drainage holes, as fig trees do not like to sit in saturated soil.
Can You Overwater Fig Trees?
Although the soil should not be allowed to completely dry out around the fig tree, it is possible to overwater them. Being a drought-resistant variety of tree, fig trees do not like to sit in pools of water or soil that is oversaturated.
When overwatered, fig trees will start to drop their leaves and are at risk of experiencing root rot which can weaken and kill the tree.
What are Signs of an Overwatered Fig Tree?
Signs of an overwatered fig tree can be determined by the state of its foliage. The leaves will start to discolor, become soft, and start to drop. Your fig tree may also experience root rot if it has been overwatered, which weakens the tree and eventually kills it.
How Long Can a Fig Tree Go Without Water?
Fig trees can survive up to 14 days without water. They are fairly drought-resistant plants that survive if the top layer of soil dries out however if the soil dries out completely, the tree may become dehydrated and distressed. If this occurs, the leaves will start to wilt, discolor, and fall off.
Should Fig Tree Soil Be Moist?
While the soil around a fig tree should not be oversaturated to avoid root rot, fig trees do prefer consistent moisture in their soil to thrive. For fruit-bearing trees, sufficient moisture is important for the production of figs in both size and quantity.
Why is my Fig Tree Turning Brown/Yellow?
The leaves of your fig tree may be turning brown or yellow for a few reasons. If your fig tree is dehydrated, the leaves will start to discolor, wilt, and eventually drop. Dehydration may also occur in outdoor fig trees during extreme heat and dry weather conditions which can cause the leaves to be prone to scorching.
If your fig tree has been overwatered, it can lead to root rot, in which case the leaves will soften, discolor and drop. If you have an outdoor fig tree, it may also be impacted by pests or diseases which will cause a change in leaf color and health.
Why Are the Leaves Falling from my Fig Tree?
Typically, if the leaves are falling from a fig tree, it is indicative of overwatering or dehydration. When a fig tree is dehydrated, the leaves will start to wilt, dry out, and fall off of the tree. If a fig tree has been overwatered, it is at risk of root rot. The leaves will become flimsy, lose their vibrant color, and start to fall off.
Do Fig Trees Need Fertilizer?
Fig trees do well when fed fertilizer 1 or 2 times per year. Using an all-purpose granular fertilizer that is high in nitrogen, fertilize your fig tree once at beginning of spring and once again later in the summer (particularly for fruit-bearing fig trees).
How Much Sunlight Do Fig Trees Need?
The amount of sunlight a fig tree needs depends on the species. Fruit-bearing fig trees prefer full sun for 6-8 hours per day. This also allows the fruit to grow and ripen well on the tree.
Other non-fruit-bearing varieties of fig trees prefer lots of indirect or diffused sunlight as exposure to direct sun can scorch the leaves. These varieties can handle a few hours of morning sunlight but should be kept out of the hot afternoon sun.
Will Temperatures and Humidity Affect Fig Trees?
Fig trees are sensitive to temperature, only tolerating temperatures as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 85 degrees Fahrenheit ideally. This can vary slightly based on the species but this general range holds true for most varieties.
If you live in a climate that experiences significant temperature and weather fluctuations, an indoor potted fig tree is the best option for you since you can control the climate inside of your home.
Some varieties of fig trees are native to tropical areas and for this reason, they prefer high humidity. If the soil or the air around your fig tree is too dry, the leaves will also remain shriveled and dry.
Will Fig Trees Survive in the Winter?
Outdoor fig trees do not do well in cold winter conditions, only tolerating temperatures as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in an area that experiences cold winters, consider a fig tree that can be kept potted indoors. You will better be able to control the temperature and humidity conditions inside of your home as opposed to exposing it to the elements outdoors that would hinder its growth and lifespan.
Will Fig Trees Survive in Direct Sunlight?
Fruit-bearing varieties of fig trees thrive in direct sunlight to produce higher quantities and sizes of figs. Figs also ripen on the tree and stop ripening once picked, making direct sun exposure an important factor in the ripening process.
Fig trees that do not bear fruit can handle a few hours of direct morning sunlight but do best in areas that receive indirect or diffused sunlight to avoid scorching.
Fig trees come in many varieties and given that they purify the air around them it is no wonder that they are kept as both indoor and outdoor plants. Because they are particular about the conditions they grow in, it can be helpful to follow this guide to ensure you are customizing the conditions to your fig tree.
Janice is a retired High School teacher who is spending her leisure years keeping busy with all sorts of projects. Aside from freelance writing, she’s an enthusiastic amateur chef, home wine maker, and tends a large raised-bed vegetable garden, while at the same time running a Bed & Breakfast.