Thursday, 25 June 2015

Spreadeagle

You may remember my post last year about A Bargain Fig which I bought from Morrisons for the princely sum of £2. I thought I'd give you a bit of an update and also ask for your opinion.

This is the same fig tree now, as you can see the branches, which were definitely growing skyward when I bought it, are now spreadeagle. They've just grown this way, I don't know why.


I'm wondering if this is normal, should the branches have splayed as they have and will more upright branches begin to grow? It does look like new upright growth is springing from one of the horizontal branches already.

I'm not sure what to do now, whether to leave it be to grow as it wants to, or whether to try and train the branches in to a more upright position. What would you do?

There's one thing though, it was a tiny little twig when I bought it and it's put on quite a bit of growth in its first year. The leaves are beautiful and glossy.


I think it may be some time before I can expect any fruit though.

40 comments:

  1. Interesting. I don't have any suggestions but when I do my next Tree Following post I'll mention, and link to this post. Flighty xx

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    1. Thank you, it would be good to know if anyone has any suggestions.

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  2. I've got figs in pots and they do fruit quite early while they're still fairly small. If you want more of a tree shape you could cut off the left-hand branch and the tiny middle shoot and replant it so that the right-hand branch is more or less vertical. It's what I tend to do with things (I seem to have that problem quite a lot!) Although I do have a fig that's more of a bush. Once they get going they can be quite vigorous I think. They're one of my absolute favourite plants to grow. I shall look forward to seeing what you decide. CJ xx

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    1. That's a good idea, I might just do that, much easier than trying to train it once it's got ideas of it's own about how it wants to grow.

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  3. I had a potted fig tree and it did much the same as that. It was quite a 'saggy' plant. I'll admit I didn't have much success :( I kept it around for about two years and had no idea what was going on with it! It would randomly shed all (and I mean all!) it's leaves, sit there bald then grow more. I had a couple of figs but they never plumped up properly.
    Sorry I can't be more helpful but I can say yours is looking in a much better way than mine ever did!

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    1. I really don't know much about figs so I should do some research. My fig dropped it's leaves through winter but grew more as soon as spring arrived. It's looking healthy enough, I just don't like the way it's growing.

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  4. Gosh, I wouldn't know what to do with it, maybe losing attach it to a cane and gradually pull the right stem in closer over time! The leaves are lovely and glossy, it's worth growing just for that!xxx

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    1. I wondered whether to have a go at training it in that way but it does seem a lot of bother. I think figs are beautiful plants, I want to grow it for it's looks just as much as the fruit.

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  5. Unfortunately I don't know anything about figs - other than how delicious they are! We do have our own resident fig expert in Ontario who wrote a very successful book on growing figs (in pots) in a cold climate - Steven Biggs. I haven't read his book yet (titled "Grow Figs Where You Think You Can't) - don't want to get tempted to purchase a fig tree when I'm having trouble keeping up with what I already have going on - and I will DEFINITELY get tempted! Considering his success, I'm thinking it may be a book to consider getting from the library as it's bound to have some useful information & tips.

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    1. That book sounds really interesting but as you say, you do get tempted once you start reading something like that. I really need to do a bit of research of my own as even though I'm growing one, I don't know very much about them.

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  6. I would get it in the ground and train the branches into a ore upright position, if it puts out lots more growth fro the top you could perhaps next year cut these branches off

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    1. I really want to keep it in a pot if I can. From what I've read, figs like their roots to be restricted in order to produce fruit, though I don't know that much about them so I'm not sure how true this is. I suppose it's a matter of waiting to see what other growth it puts on over the next year or so.

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  7. me again having look more closley at your photo, the big branch looks to be the main stem support it with a cane to keep it upright it looks like it has just fallen to one side keeping it upright will encorage it to branch more and bush out and either get it in a larger pot or in the ground

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    1. The branch isn't very flexible so I'm not sure it would move in to an upright position but I could have a go at training it, pulling it in to the cane bit by bit. I think I'm going to have to really mull it over.

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  8. Figs are on my list of things to grow. I need some seeds first.

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    1. I wonder how long it would take to grow from seed. This one has put on quite a bit of growth in the last year.

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  9. My husband confirms what CJ suggests about pruning now. Keep in the pot. Put a strong 2 x 2 cm wooden support in the pot and tie the main branch to it so that the branch straightens as it grows. Also cut off the two small left hand branches. A cane is not strong enough to train it into tree. Anything else you want to know don't hesitate to ask.

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    1. I think removing the two shorter branches is going to be the way to go, though I hate hacking at anything. I think it's going to grow in to an odd shape though if I leave it as it is.

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  10. Do you know what variety it is.

    Are there ant signs of buds along the branches that you could cut the long bits back to? If I was feeling brave I would cut the long right hand branch back to a potential bud or bump in the stem as a first move.

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    1. It's a Brown Turkey. There are buds along the branches but I'm thinking of removing the shorter branches and then repotting it in to a larger pot at a more agreeable angle, that would be the easiest thing to do for sure, but the wound from removing the left hand branch would need to be below the ground to make it effective so I'm not sure if it would be an option. Perhaps training the main stem would be the best option.

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  11. I love figs too - the foliage is gorgeous. I think taking off the left hand one and encouraging the right one to grow a little straighter should help. Everything I've read about figs suggests they do best in pots. Good luck with it! Have a lovely weekend.

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    1. Figs are such attractive plants, I've been wanting to grow one for a while. I think I shall remove the left hand branch then either train the main branch to grow straighter or repot it to give it a bit extra encouragement.

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  12. Oh I'm sorry but I've no advice to give Jo but hope that the tips you've been given help and that your fig flourishes. Hope that you have a good weekend.

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    1. I may just try and tackle it this weekend. It's the first fig I've had so I have no experience of growing them, the advice I've been given sounds good though so I shall try and learn from that.

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  13. I have a similar plant. I have removed all but the main (leader) branch, because I want to grow it as a standard. However, like yours, it seems determined to be floppy! A stake may be necessary...

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    1. The problem I've got is that it's really sturdy, it's made its mind up how it wants to grow and that's that. It's going to need some firm handling to make it grow as I want it to. It looked to be growing very nicely when I bought it, it just goes to show how plants can suddenly find a mind of their own.

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  14. I've never grown fig. But my friend shared her experience on growing fig. She did grafting from the horizontal or spread branches. It's much better than just pruning, cause we also get new plants. You know that the price of fig tree is very expensive here.

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    1. I've no experience at all with grafting but this fig was a bargain at just £2 so it won't be the end of the world if something happens to it whilst I'm trying to rectify its shape.

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  15. It needs to be in a bigger pot. Figs as you can see grow very quickly at first and so need a bigger pot in order to encourage the main branch the one on the right to strengthen and therefore grow straighter as the weight of the length makes it grow sideways when the branch is not thick enough to support it. Put it in a bigger pot and it should straighten not sure how much though. Also you will probably get fruit sooner than you think as they do fruit early usually one or two figs until they are well established then crops will increase. Someone earlier mentioned then losing leaves they do this if there is not enough water to save energy as in winter and the leaves come back once correct watering has resumed. Also use tomatoe feed once a week on it. Hope this helps.

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    1. I will repot it and use a bigger pot. This is the pot I used when I first got it and as you can see from my post last year, it would have been lost in anything bigger. I'm looking forward to it starting to fruit.

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  16. Also if you intend growing it in a pot it is recommended that you repot every two to three years and if it is to go back in same pot trim the root ball and keep the soil fresh.

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    1. I usually do this with other plants I'm groing in pots so it will fit in with my usual regime.

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  17. I think that CJ's plan is a good one, I wonder why it grew like that though. Plants do some odd things sometimes don't they! xx

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    1. They do. It was nice and straight when I planted it. I hope I can manage to straighten it out again.

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  18. my friend has a fig, she has it trailed up the garage wall and it has grown like this, she has the biggest yummiest figs!

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    1. It's amazing just how they can grow. Our next door neighbours have one and it's huge, I can see some big figs on it at the moment so I'm watching to see if they ripen.

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  19. I seem to remember seeing my friends fig growing this way Jo. Think it is fine.
    It certainly looks lovely and healthy :)

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    1. It does look healthy, which is the main thing. I wonder how it would grow if I just left it as it is, it's already produced an upward pointing shoot so perhaps it would right itself in the end.

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  20. I have two compact varieties of figs in pots ('Petite Negri' and 'Pingo de Mel'). Growing them in pot is defnitely a good idea, since it encourages early fruiting. If you plant them unrestricted, they tend to put on a lot of growth but do not fruit as well. They bear fruit on new twigs, so it's good to encourage branching, but I think I would wait till winter to prune them back. Also: when you grow figs in pot, you can bring them inside in winter to protect them from heavy frosts. (I put them in our unheated shed). Though the plants are fairly hardy, the embyo-figs that are formed before winter are not and they are the only harvest that will ripen in our climate. Hope that helps a bit :-)

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    1. I think I shall wait until winter to do any pruning if I decide that's the way to go then, though perhaps I shouldn't bother if the fruit is borne on new twigs. I overwintered the plant in my unheated greenhouse over winter and I'll continue to do that whilst ever it's small enough.

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