Winterizing Plants in Pots

Kim Eierman

Kim Eierman

Founder of EcoBeneficial!

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Winterizing Plants in Pots

Hi Kim, I attended one of your classes at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, I hope you don’t mind my asking you a question.
Just returned from traveling in South America and missed timely wrapping the fig tree growing since this summer on my terrace in a pot.  In the meantime there were numerous sub-freezing temperatures.  Is it too late to wrap the fig i.e. is the damage done or would wrapping still be useful? Would appreciate your input.

Answer:

Thanks for contacting me.  I hope you enjoyed your trip to South America, even if your fig tree didn’t get to come along to enjoy the warmer weather!

I am no expert on fig trees, my expertise is with native plants, however, there are some basic principles which apply here.  By wrapping, you are trying to create a warmer micro-climate for a plant which is not hardy in your region.  Essentially you are trying to prevent the plant from freezing above and below ground, which would kill this tropical/subtropical plant.  Since the tree has already gone unprotected through several sub-freezing temperatures, it may be too late, and the damage may be done, but why not try to save the plant?  You have nothing to lose.

I would wrap the plant asap, heel the pot into a nice deep pile of mulch, and follow the tips in these articles on winterizing fig trees in northern climates:

http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/figs-new-england

http://awaytogarden.com/how-to-overwinter-a-potted-fig

Good luck!  Let me know if you are successful, come spring.

Best,

Kim

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