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8 Reasons Why Fig Tree Not Growing

Planting a fig tree in your backyard can be really rewarding. A lot of folks enjoy having their own fruit and veggie patch. However, sometimes plants can be a bit tricky.

If your fig tree isn’t thriving, it could be due to a few reasons like not enough water, too much water, sickness, really hot or cold weather, too much fertilizer, or not pruning it right.

To have a fig tree that gives you lots of fruit, it needs to settle in properly. It likes soil that doesn’t hold water for too long, plenty of sunlight, and warm weather to grow in.

1. Underwatering

Fig Tree not growing

Fig Tree not growing because of underwatering

Not getting enough water is a big reason why many plants stop growing, and fig trees are no different. Especially during the hot and dry summer months, plants might not get all the water they need, leading to droopy, yellow, or brown-spotted leaves.

Young plants with smaller root systems are especially vulnerable to running out of water. This can be a bigger issue if your fig tree is growing in a pot.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Regularly check the soil around your fig tree. If the top 1 to 2 inches feel dry, it’s time to water.
  2. When you water, make sure to give it enough so that the soil gets thoroughly wet.

2. Overwatering

Keeping the soil too wet for too long can also halt the growth of your fig tree. When the soil is overly damp, root rot can set in, making it hard for the roots to supply water and nutrients to the tree.

This often leads to the tree stopping its growth. You might see leaves wilting and dropping, young shoots not coming up or turning black, and even the bark cracking near the base of the tree.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Only water your fig tree when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil have dried out.
  2. Consider shading the tree for a bit. Once you notice new growth, you can remove the shade.

3. Poor Soil

Besides having big leaves, the fig tree also sports sizable fruits, which means it needs a lot of energy. If the soil isn’t rich, the tree’s growth can lag.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Add some high-quality fresh compost to the soil where the roots are.
  2. Then, spread the same compost as mulch over the soil’s surface around the tree.

Remember to refresh the compost or add new layers every 2-3 years to keep the soil nutrient-rich.

4. Not Enough Light

Fig Tree not growing because of lack of light

Fig Tree not growing because of lack of light

Not getting enough sunlight is a typical reason for a fig tree’s stunted growth. In areas of partial or full shade, a fig tree grows slowly, sprouts fewer branches, has droopy leaves, and is often prone to illness.

Fig trees thrive on sunlight. Their large leaves soak up a lot of sun, which is crucial for producing delicious fruit.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Ensure the fig tree gets at least 8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  2. If needed, consider moving the fig tree to a sunnier spot.

5. Nutrient Deficiencies

Poor nutrition is another frequent issue that can hinder a fig tree’s growth. Producing fruit requires a lot of energy, and if the soil lacks nutrients, the tree won’t grow as it should.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Use a multi-purpose, slow-release fertilizer once a year around the tree. Early spring is the ideal time for this.
  2. Be careful not to over-fertilize; too much can make the tree weak and slow-growing.
  3. It’s best to skip fertilizing in late fall and winter.

6. Pest Damage

Pests are culprits that can halt a fig tree’s growth by clinging to its branches and leaves and sapping their strength. This leaves the tree too weak to grow.

Common pests include aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects, among others. A small number of pests might not pose a big threat, but a large infestation can seriously harm the tree, causing it to stop growing. Signs of trouble include leaves and new shoots that twist or distort.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Start by examining the fig tree carefully for any signs of pests.
  2. If you spot any, treat the tree with horticultural oil. One or two applications should generally do the trick.

7. Diseases

Fig Tree not growing because of disease

Fig Tree not growing because of disease

Disease is another factor that can stall a fig tree’s growth, particularly fungal infections that target the bark and cambium, noticeable by cracks in the bark. Fungal diseases affecting the leaves can also impede growth.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Apply a fungicide to the fig tree, covering the leaeve, trunk, and branches.
  2. For best results, apply a second round of fungicide 10 days after the first.

8. Transplant shock

Every plant goes through a tough time after being planted or moved, often experiencing what’s known as transplant shock. This is especially true for trees and shrubs, as their growing environment changes significantly.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Provide some shade for the tree right after planting.
  2. Make sure to water it consistently, but be careful not to overdo it.
  3. Once you notice new growth on the tree, it’s safe to remove the shade.