Italian Honey Fig Tree*


I have an Italian honey fig tree. How do I care for it in the winter time? I understand that they lose all their leaves in winter which is normal. How often should I water this plant and should I feed it. I live in Toronto in a condo on the waterfront.


The key to overwintering your Italian honey fig (Ficus carica ‘Lattarula’) tree is to allow the tree to go dormant.  The first step is to taper off watering the tree approximately one week before your first expected frost and expose the tree to a few light frosts. This encourages the sap to move down the stems and the leaves to drop. The plant is not hardy for Toronto’s climate and should come indoors for the winter. Before bringing it inside remove any remaining leaves and fruit and inspect the plant and potting soil for insects and repot if necessary. Spray the plant with water or insecticidal soap to kill off any lingering pests or eggs, and move it to a dark, dry location that stays just above freezing  between (0C-10C), such as an unheated shed or garage. If your overwintering site is light, wrap the plant in dark fabric to prevent it from breaking dormancy early. Water the fig tree sparingly once every three of four weeks during winter storage.

In the spring a few weeks before last frost (usually May 9th) start watering the plant again and gradually reintroduce it to sunlight. Move the plant back outside two weeks before your last frost date. Place it in a warm, sheltered area (for example, against a brick wall), water it thoroughly, and apply a granulated organic fertilizer to the soil. If frost threatens, either bring the plant inside for the night or wrap it in a heavyweight row cover. The fig should begin to leaf out and grow actively within a few weeks.

The following article gives more detailed information on your fig tree.

Good Luck!