[NAFEX] figs

Lucky Pittman lucky.pittman at murraystate.edu
Mon Aug 4 12:54:12 EDT 2008

I'm in zone 6; albeit 'hot' zone 6, in southern west-central KY - 
about 70 miles NW of Nashville TN.
For a number of years, I had several figs in-ground in my 
orchard.  For a couple of years, I tried covering them with piles of 
leaves hauled home from residential areas in town.  They all froze 
back to the ground, whether covered or not, so I just stopped 
bothering.  Most would re-grow from the roots/crown, but rarely were 
able to set and ripen fruits before freezing weather set in in Nov, 
though I did get a good crop that ripened on LSU Purple one year.
Subsequently, I rooted cuttings from all I had in the ground, as well 
as any other varieties I've accumulated since then, and keep them in 
15-gallon pots, which I stick into the crawlspace underneath our 
sunroom whenever temps start dropping into the 20s in late fall.
I still have a couple of survivors out there in the orchard - one of 
which is LSU Purple; I've not looked recently, but guess I need to - 
it may be ripening some figs now.
My biggest problem with potted figs is keeping them watered - they're 
planted in a soilless potting mix, with extra pinebark fines mixed 
in, so they're really well-drained, and if I don't water them daily, 
they dry out rapidly.  If I leave town for even a couple of days, I 
can't really count on my wife or kids to water them adequately, and I 
come home to wilted fig plants that have aborted their fruit.
I'm thinking about doing 'pot-in-pot' with them, to alleviate this 
problem, but it'll require digging some pretty good-sized holes to 
sink another 15-gallon pot in the ground to set the one containing 
the fig into, but it should alleviate some of the problem with their 
roots drying out - but then I might have a very difficult time 
getting them up in the fall, as I'm sure they'd send some roots out 
into the surrounding soil - it's very common for me to have cut some 
pretty substantial roots that have exited drain holes in order to 
move my pots in every fall..\

Lucky Pittman
USDA Cold Zone 6
AHS Heat Zone 7
Hopkinsville, KY 

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