Fig Tree - yellow brown leaves


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Hi everyone, I am an extremely amateur gardener. I have a potted black Spanish fig tree that is two years old. I live in the Watsonville, CA area. The tree gets morning lights and the afternoon is shaded. I had it somewhere with full light but then the leaves started to turn brown so I thought maybe it was too hot. The leaves continued to turn brown/yellow. I water it a few times a week. Thank you so much for your help!
 

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Welcome to the forum @hlancaster :)
Figs will have yellow/brown leaves when the plant is stressed. Generally the tree likes best to be in a sunny place. Brown on the leaves often shows signs that the plant is overwatered.
This tree would probably be better if it is re potted into a pot that is slightly bigger, and thereafter increase the size of the pot about once in every two years - each time just increasing the size by a little.
Make sure your plant is in very well draining soil/compost and give it a nice bright sunny place. Water well when it is really dry about once a week, but always check that it is actually dry.
If you raise the pot onto bricks or blocks of some kind it will help it to drain properly. Good luck.
 
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Thank you Tetters for your help. Ok in that case I’ll get it back into full sun. I was worried that the browning was the leaves burning as the sun can be quite strong here in California in the summer time. The outside temperature is pretty mild though, usually does not exceed 80.

I will also go one pot size up. You mentioned well-draining soil. I have some cactus/citrus potting mix that has some sand in it. Would you recommend that for a fig tree as well or should I just go with regular potting soil? Very appreciative of your help. Thank you for taking the time to provide that advice.
 
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The compost you use for cactus should be quite suitable, and perlite may help. I think it could do with some fertiliser when you repot it.
If you can get hold of ''Blood fish &bone'' or slow release Osmocote, or Growmore granules, that would help. Don't bother with that miracle grow rubbish though.
I'm sure you will already be aware that it is definitely best left in a pot, because if you were to put it in the ground the roots would travel south at a hundred miles per hour.
 
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Overall, your fig looks healthy. It is fine for the oldest leave to turn brown if they are being replaced by new leaves at the growing points.
You might want to prune that side branch, especially if you do intend to keep the tree as a container plant.

You can keep any tree in a container for an indefinite number of years, but it's growth and fruiting will be lessened and ultimately the tree will decline. If you do have the space for a fig tree in the ground, I would recommend planting it. Fig trees are well adapted to California's climate. I grow several in my garden. I presume you have moved from the Pacific Northwest to Watsonville?
 
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In the UK we tend to favour growing the fig in a pot - as they grow, they do need to be in a biggish one. The reason for this is that there is more resulting fruit, as the fig roots are contained and the fig puts all the effort into the production of fruit.
The other reason for this is that we can reach the fruit to make it easier to gather it when it ripens, meaning we don't need a massive ladder to reach it.
 
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In the old Victorian walled gardens fig trees were planted outside but they had a stone slab buried directly underneath them about 2 feet deep. This was presumably to stop the tap root and control the vigour of the tree.
 
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Some years ago I moved to a new house where there was a fig tree in the garden. The fruit was right up in the gods, and when I did climb up to look at the figs the wasps had had them all :( I cut the tree down and grew one in a large pot instead.
 
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Overall, your fig looks healthy. It is fine for the oldest leave to turn brown if they are being replaced by new leaves at the growing points.
You might want to prune that side branch, especially if you do intend to keep the tree as a container plant.

You can keep any tree in a container for an indefinite number of years, but it's growth and fruiting will be lessened and ultimately the tree will decline. If you do have the space for a fig tree in the ground, I would recommend planting it. Fig trees are well adapted to California's climate. I grow several in my garden. I presume you have moved from the Pacific Northwest to Watsonville?
Hi Marck, yes just moved a few months ago. Thank you for your advice. In California would you place the fig in a place with more sun or try to keep it partial sun? I do plan to prune that side branch. I was thinking of doing it during the late fall. Is there a good time of year to prune fig trees?
 
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Edible figs (Ficus carica cvs.) will grow best in full sun.

With a young fig tree you probably will want to encourage multiple main trunks for a lower but wider tree. This will make make harvesting the figs easier.

Actually, if you plant your tree in the ground at a 45º angle you could keep that low branch and turn it into a second main trunk.
I would plant it that way now but not do any pruning until the beginning of the next season, in late winter (February or March)
At that time, I would just cut the tips of both main branches to encourage further branching.

Pruning is a complicated subject, especially for fruit trees, so please do additional research beyond this Forum. There are many different ways to prune and the best method depends on your needs and growing space. For example, a two-dimensional espalier against a wall or trellis would be another option.
 

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