Figs are handsome plants but their roots must be restricted if they are to fruit well. Plant them in a sheltered spot, protect the young figs over winter, and feed in spring with a granular fertilizer and a dose of high-potash fertilizer in late summer.
When to plant: Winter.
At their best: Summer.
Time to complete: 2 hours to plant; 1 hour to prune.
You will need: Two-year-old pot-grown fig tree, paving stones, rubble e.g, broken bricks, wires, vine eyes, and twine, well-rotted organic matter – such as manure, granular tree and high-potash, fertilizers, clippers.
Dig a pit
To restrict the fig’s roots, dig a pit 2 ft (60 cm) square and deep, next to the wall. Line the sides with paving stones, but not the base. Add a 10 in (25 cm) layer of rubble to the base for drainage, and top up with garden soil.
Plant the fig
Fix horizontal wires to the wall. Water the tree, then plant it in the center of the pit at the same depth it was in its pot. Firm in and water well. Apply a mulch of organic matter, keeping it clear of the stem. Tie the side stems to the wires, and remove any that grow toward or away from the wall. Water regularly for the first year, and in dry periods thereafter.
Aftercare and harvest
In late spring the tree will produce some figs; then, in late summer, you will see a second crop of embryo fruits. In late autumn remove fruits larger than a pea because they tend to rot over winter, and protect the embryos against frost with fleece; these will ripen the next summer. Trim the tree in summer to encourage more fruit.
Tips: Pruning figs
In the spring after planting, cut back the main stem to encourage side shoots. The following spring, cut back these new stems by half, and remove weak growth. Cut over-long branches to 2 in (5 cm) to promote fresh growth.