Optimizing Winter for a Fig Plant

For those of us who grow figs in cold climates, where winter lows reliably plummet below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, this time of year brings some nervous expectation. You want the buds to pop out and start growing, but not too, too soon.

Fig stem beginning growth


Except for maritime climates, such as in the Pacific Northwest, where winters are what I term “coldish” rather than “cold,” figs need some sort of protection in truly cold winter climates. The challenge in maritime climates is using variety choice, pruning, and site selection to get fruit to ripen in the relatively cool summers. In these climates fig buds gradually unfold usually in synch with the gradual warming weather in spring.

Not so for protected figs in truly cold winter climates, whether plants are in a pot or in the ground, wrapped or buried. For directions here, allow me to excerpt my recent book, Growing Figs in Cold Climates: Read more


Potted Figs, but First a “Haircut”

Temperatures here have dipped into the lower 20s a few nights and still dip readily to around freezing, which might lead some of you to believe I have been neglectful of my fig trees, which are still outdoors. Not so! They are subtropical plants that can take temperatures down into the ‘teens.

Today I moved all my potted figs to their winter home. As I wrote in my book Growing Figs in Cold Climates, fig, being a subtropical plant, likes cold winters, just not those that are too, too cold. My plants went either into my basement, where winter temperatures hover in the 40s, or into my walk-in cooler (also used for storing fruits and vegetables) whose temperature is nailed at 39°.

Potted fig

One of my friend Sara’s figs in summer

I always prune my figs before nestling them into the basement or the cooler. Then they can be carried without errant stems slapping my face, and the pots can be stored without undo elbowing neighboring potted figs. 

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