I took advantage of the fall clearance sales at by big blue store and bought a Chicago Hardy in a 1 gal pot. Would there be an advantage to repotting at this time of year? Since it is small I can easily manage taking it in and out for the next few weeks. Will I gain any significant growth?
As I see it, the only advantage to actually purchasing the tree this late is to have it ready and going outside before the stores get their spring delivery. I have never done this before. Would any late season growth be worth the extra effort of storing it all winter.
If it’s been in the big box store all summer long in a 1 gallon pot it’s likely root bound already. That being said I’d probably just wait until next spring to re-pot it. The roots will not be growing over the winter and as long as you keep them slightly moist you should be fine. I’ve found that figs are very forgiving when they are repotted.
If you’re looking for new growth after repotting, I wouldn’t bother. Like all plants, figs usually sulk for a bit after being repotted. I’d say it takes two to three weeks for them to start showing signs of new regrowth.
If you were in the Deep South, you’d probably have another 2 months before you’d have to bring the fig in, but for where you are now…I don’t think the juice is worth the squeeze if you’re just looking for it to put on new growth.
If it was me, I’d probably repot it at some point before it breaks dormancy in the spring. That way, it can just focus on growing instead of being stressed from being repotted first thing. If you wait till it breaks dormancy, you’ll set it back a bit.
All that being said, figs are very forgiving plants, so you could probably stick it in your garage now, not touch it until spring, and it would be fine.
If the plant isn’t growing don’t force new growth now unless you have a heated greenhouse or some other way to support that growth until it can go dormant. Up north in most cases you want it to stop growing in August if not before. In zone 9-10 growth now should be OK. But I’d still not force it. You won’t get much root growth unless the top is growing also.
I respectfully disagree with the advice not to pot up at this time. In my experience, figs can put out a lot of root growth while dormant when stored in a cool garage. Last year I bought a couple figs in a similar size pot and potted them up to 5 gallon containers in November. By the time I planted them in the April, the roots had filled the 5 gallon container enough to hold the soil in place after I removed the pot.
Did this help them in the long run? I would guess yes, but I can’t say for sure since I don’t have a time machine.
In August, I received some figs in the mail, immediately repotting them. Then, 9 days later I decided to plant a few of them. When I took them out of the (larger) pots, I noticed that the roots had already expanded all the way to the edge, all in just 9 days. It held the soil together when I planted them out.
I’m not sure if the root growth would be as fast over the winter, but from npolaske’s post, it sounds like it wouldn’t hurt to try.
I wonder if the difference is the above ground vs below ground growth. I think it took longer for most of my figs to start showing appreciable growth in their stems and leaves. Maybe only once the new roots are established does the above ground growth resume.
My Lowes gets several shipments of nursery goods throughout the summer months. The fig I bought was from their final delivery short of a month ago. There was an older couple lining up all the fig plants on the sidewalk to select the best specimen. They have grown potted figs for years and were looking for something new. Their neighbor is also a fig grower (both keep in the garage over winter). I’ll pick up a second plant during the sale to compare roots next spring. I have a decent sunny indoor site to keep it going if I buy another one and repot it.