How much water does a fig tree need?

The common fig (Ficus carica) also known as the “the poor man’s food,” is native to the Middle East and the western part of Asia. It is one of the earliest fruit trees to be cultivated, with many different species naturalized in North America and Asia. In the Mediterranean, its fruit is widely used as sustenance and is eaten either fresh or dried, hence the name “the poor man’s food.”  

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There are over a hundred varieties of figs in various parts of the world. Often propagated from cuttings, they can grow up to 3 feet (1 meter) per season. The fig’s natural habitat is a dry, sunny region with deep soil as well as rocky areas and it is especially suited for seasonal drought. But this does not mean that you should forget about watering, especially if you wish to have a successful crop of fig fruits.

Avoiding Water Stress

A Fig tree may not bear fruit or drop off unripe fruits because of water stress. Water stress may come from too little or too much water. Water stress can send the tree to a survival mode and cause it to stop producing enough nutrients and energy needed for the production of fruits.   

Water the tree as soon as you see any signs of stress like leaves turning yellow and falling off or wilting slightly during the afternoon.

How much water does a fig tree need?

Although an established Fig tree can make do with only getting water from natural rainfall and can survive droughts, it helps to water your tree consistently especially during extended drought seasons. This is especially helpful if you want to be rewarded with an abundance of fig fruits.   As a general rule, a Fig tree needs at least 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water a week. Check the tree’s leaves, if they start turning yellow and dropping off then it’s a sign that the tree needs to be watered. Keep the soil moist but not soaked. Adding a layer of mulch around the tree can help retain moisture.

During dry summer spells, water deeply at least once a month to reach down to the deep roots.  Sprinkle water on the ground surrounding the tree for 45 minutes each week. You can also grow a fig in a pot.  

Like other trees grown in a container, Fig trees generally need to be watered more often especially during dryer months. Check the soil if dry and needs watering. Don’t water more than necessary, let the soil to dry out between watering. Water slowly and deeply to reach deep roots.      

You can cut back on the watering during dormant seasons.

Water for a young Fig tree

  • Container Planted – As stated earlier, fig tree growing in a container requires watering more often. Make sure your container has good drainage as Fig trees don’t like to be soaked in water. Water when the soil gets dry. Tip: stick your finger into the soil to check moisture.
  • Ground-planted – If your young fig tree can receive an occasional inch of rainfall every ten days during the dry season, then your tree is quite safe. Otherwise, if it gets exceedingly dry for a prolonged time, then a thorough watering is advised. Water slowly and deeply, and also soak the ground surrounding the roots. Keep a close watch on the tree’s leaves as they can tell you if the young tree is in dire need of water.