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Fig Tree Not Growing (Solved!)

Growing a fig tree in your own backyard has many advantages. Many people prefer to grow their own fruits and vegetables in their garden. But there are often problems with the plants.

Poorly drained soil, inadequate watering, insect damage, low sunlight hours or overcooling are the main reasons why the fig tree does not grow. To revive the fig tree, repot it in soil with plenty of organic matter and in a pot with drainage holes. Water it when the soil is 5-10% dry, give it at least 6 hours of direct sunlight, and shelter it from cold winds.

Why is my fig tree not growing? Symptoms How to Revive
Underwatering The fig tree does not grow or grows slowly. Leaves droop and turn yellow. Water the fig tree as soon as the soil around it has dried 2 inches deep.
Overwatering Leaves turn yellow and droop. Young shoots turn black and wither. Do not water the tree until the top layer of soil is slightly dry. Next spring, transplant the fig tree to a less moist location.
Low soil nutrition The fig tree grows very slowly. The tree does not bear fruit. Put good quality compost in the soil. Mulch the fig tree with compost.
Not enough light The fig tree does not grow or grows slowly. The number of branches and leaves is miserable. Next spring, transplant the tree to a location with plenty of sunlight.
Improper feeding The fig tree does not grow or grows very slowly. There is no fruiting. Fertilize fig trees with slow-release fertilizer or water-soluble fertilizer.
Pest damage Young shoots begin to grow in the spring but then stop. Leaves may curl and turn yellow. There are traces of insects on the tree. Spray the fig tree with horticultural oil or acaricide depending on what type of pest is present.
Diseases Yellowing and lowering of leaves. Discoloration on the leaves. Cracks on the bark. Regular treatment of the fig tree with fungicides.
Transplant shock The fig tree does not grow or grows slowly. Shade the tree for several weeks or even months.

Underwatering as a reason why Fig tree not growing

Fig Tree not growing

Fig Tree not growing because of underwatering

Lack of water is the most common reason most plants stop growing and fig trees are no exception.

Very often in the summer in dry and hot weather plants do not have enough water to evaporate. As a result, the leaves droop, turn yellow or get brown spots. Young shoots do not grow or wither. All of this is the result of a lack of water.

The plants most at risk of dehydration are young plants that do not have a very large root system yet. This is also a problem if you grow a fig tree in a container.

For your fig tree to grow vigorously, you need to water it regularly. Check the soil around the tree as often as possible and if it is 1 to 2 inches dry it is time to water.

Water the fig tree with enough water to soak up the soil well. But of course, do not make a swamp. In hot weather, you might have to water once every 7 days, and in less hot weather once every 10 days.

Do not water in rainy weather. Also, watering is usually unnecessary in the winter.

As for potted plants, they need watering much more often. In hot weather pots usually dry out during the day, so water every evening. But be sure to use pots with drainage holes.


Wet soil over a long period of time also causes the fig tree to stop growing. Firstly, because water blocks the access of air to the roots and the tree begins to function improperly.

Secondly, root rot develops in very wet conditions. In this case, the roots can not deliver water and nutrients to all parts of the tree.

As a result, the tree stops its growth. Leaves wither and fall off. Young shoots fail to develop or turn black. The bark can also crack closer to the ground.

The first thing you can do is water less. Water the fig tree only if the soil dries to a depth of 1 to 2 inches. If root rot hasn’t started, the tree will eventually recover and grow back. To help the tree, you can shade it for a while to reduce the intensity of water evaporation. When you see the tree starting to grow you can remove the shade.

Once root rot has begun, even reduced watering will not make a difference. The tree itself should beat the disease if it has enough power. Next spring you can transplant the fig tree to a less wet location. Also, when replanting, use well-drained soil. But do not transplant the fig tree in summer!

Low soil nutrition

In addition to large leaves, the fig tree also has quite large fruits. All this requires a lot of energy from the tree and if the soil is poor, the growth will be slow or stop altogether. Also, you should not count on any fruiting.

First of all, this applies to heavy clay soils, which are almost no trace elements. Also, figs do not grow well in sandy soil.

In addition to all this, if the soil is still very alkaline the tree will not be able to receive any trace elements at all.

To remedy the situation you need to loosen the topsoil around the tree, but do it so that you do not damage the roots. Next, pour some good quality fresh compost and mix it with the soil you loosened.

Next, mulch the entire surface of the soil around the tree with the same compost. The thickness of the mulch layer should not be more than 2-3 inches. Also, do not deepen the base of the trunk into the mulch to avoid it rotting.

All this will make the soil more nutritious and a little acidic, and the fig tree will be able to absorb nutrients from it. The compost should be changed or new compost should be added every 2-3 years. You also need to fertilize the fig tree, but I will tell you about this later in this article.

Not enough light

Fig Tree not growing because of lack of light

Fig Tree not growing because of lack of light

Lack of sunlight is a common reason for a fig tree not to grow. In partial or full shade the fig tree will develop very slowly, there will be very few branches, the leaves will sag and the plant will often be sick. Of course in this case you can forget about the fruit of this tree.

The fig tree needs as much sunlight as possible. Its leaves are quite large and absorb a lot of sunlight to create very tasty fruits.

In general, a fig tree needs at least 8 hours of direct sunlight to thrive. But to get abundant fruit-bearing and good fruit ripening the tree needs all the light it can get. This amount of light can only be achieved by planting it in an open area without shade.

If you planted a fig tree in the shade and it does not grow, you need to transplant it to a sunnier location. But do not transplant it immediately, wait until spring to move it. The fig tree must be dormant at the time of replanting. When transplanting, do not damage the roots of the plant as damage can cause transplant shock which also stops growth.

Improper feeding

Improper nutrition is also a common reason why the fig tree does not grow. Fruiting takes a lot of energy from the tree and if the soil is poor it will not develop properly.

To stimulate the fig tree you need to fertilize it. The easiest way is to apply a multi-purpose fertilizer in the form of slow-release pellets once a year to the soil around the tree. The best time to fertilize in early spring. This will give you a good result as the tree will be fertilized all season long.

But if you want to get a better result, you have to use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Just dilute it in water as instructed and water the fig tree. Repeat this every 1-1.5 months and your fig tree will thrive.

Also, do not fertilize too often and with too much fertilizer or the tree will become brittle and sluggish. In addition, avoid fertilizing in late fall and winter.

Pest damage may be the reason why the Fig tree not growing

Pests can cause a fig tree to stop growing. Usually, in spring, the tree starts to produce young shoots, but suddenly their growth stops. The same happens to the leaves, they are not fully developed and their number is small.

Pests that can stop the growth of the tree succumb to the branches and leaves and feed on their sap. As a result, the tree has no strength to grow. Sucking pests can be divided into two groups: insects and mites.

The first group includes aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, and some others. If the distribution of pests is small, the tree will easily survive it. But if there are many insects, the tree can be seriously affected and stop growing. Twisting leaves and young shoots can also be symptoms.

First, inspect the fig tree as closely as possible. Look for various traces of insects and their eggs. If you find any, you need to spray the tree with horticultural oil. One or two treatments are usually enough, but sometimes you have to spray several times in a season.

The second group is spider mites

. They are hard to spot because they are so small. These pests create colonies on plants that are covered with their spider webs. Under their influence, the plant can stay dormant for years.

To get rid of them, you need to spray the fig tree several times with acaricide.


Fig Tree not growing because of disease

Fig Tree not growing because of disease

The disease is another reason why the fig tree can stop growing. Different diseases have different symptoms, so let’s take a quick look at them.

The first disease that will definitely stop the growth of a fig tree is root rot. I already mentioned it above. No plant will grow without roots so you need to reduce the amount of watering and next spring transplant it to a drier location.

Then there are the fungal diseases that affect the bark and cambium. They can be noticed by bark cracking. If something like this occurs with your fig tree, all you can do is regularly wash the cracks with fungicide. You can also fertilize the tree. Then if it is strong enough it will beat the disease itself.

In addition, various fungal diseases that affect the leaves can stop the growth of the fig tree. To keep it healthy, spray it with fungicide from time to time.

Transplant shock

At the end of the article, I would like to tell you about another reason why the fig tree does not grow. After planting or transplanting, every plant is under severe stress because the growing conditions change drastically. This is often called transplant shock. It is most common among trees and shrubs.

For example, you bought a fig tree in a nursery. There it was growing under light shade and with regular watering and an abundance of fertilizer. Also, the soil in the pot was very light.

Then you planted it in your yard in full sun and heavy soil. The plant may be slow to adapt to the new conditions and it will not grow all that long. In most cases, one year is enough for the transplant shock to pass. But sometimes trees can remain dormant for two years.

To make it easier for the fig tree to go into transplanting shock, you have to shade it for a while after planting. This can be done, for example, with a garden umbrella. Also, water the fig tree regularly, but do not overwater it. When you see the tree starting to grow, you can remove the shade.