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  • Growing Figs on Balcony , do I have enough sun?

    Hello all, I am a new member here and honestly I've become obsessed with figs and gardening in general, even though I'm lacking a backyard at the moment. I haven't successfully grown figs yet and this is my first attempt, firstly I apologize for stupid questions. I read through a lot here about grow lights etc, but most of what I found is asking about indoor growing. I live in zone 9A and my balcony faces SW, however the bottom is not of the balcony is full and not exposed and there are some trees in the way, so far in spring the fig tree probably gets around 4 hours of direct sunlight hitting it a day.

    I have two brown turkey fig trees, i got the first one as a gift since I was starting to really get into gardening and I love fig jam and fresh figs. Anyways, do I need a grow light for both of them, if so how long do I keep it on and which one is recommended? One I recently got from stark brothers is the bare one in the picture, the other one I got from a local nursery about 2 1/2 weeks ago and it was bare but is now growing lots of leaves and I can see some tiny, what I would assume figs growing on it. Sorry to ask a newbie question, but I've read that figs need 8 hours or more to grow properly of direct sunlight. Can anyone help me figure what I need to do. I moved them as far to the corner as I could and even lifted the tiny one on a chair for maximum possible sun exposure.

    pics of balcony :

    Thanks so much
    Last edited by jrtdi12; 03-25-2017, 09:41 PM.
    Zone 9A

  • #2
    First of all, welcome to Ourfigs. With a max of four hours of sun your two trees will prob put on and keep some leaves. As for fruiting you will prob have a few figs. Ripening them is questionable. I have 18 trees that receive about 5 hours of direct sun. They produce a few and ripen a few.

    I can't answer about grow lights for trees that large. I use T5 lights from Home Depot for my small cuttings and up to one gallon and that works fine for me.
    newnandawg 7b Newnan, GA


    • #3
      Welcome to our merry band of fig and fruit lovers. One question for you: How large is your balcony?


      • #4
        Thank you for your response. I'm not sure if this matters since I'm a newbie with gardening but since it's Las Vegas the sun is quite strong. In the plant world not sure if time is more that matters. Thanks for the advice. I measure my balcony and it is about 15 foot in length and 8 foot wide. It's a perfect rectangle.
        Zone 9A


        • #5
          I didn't think about this , but maybe there is a kind of fig that does well with 4 hours of sun a day? Was reading about the improved Celeste and Osbourne prolific in some forums and people said it can do with a lot of shade and produce a lot of fruit, not sure if that is true
          Zone 9A


          • #6

            Your balcony is a big one. I think you will enjoy turning it into a fig patio. Keep us posted!


            • #7
              Geez! 9A?...Don't worry. figs will come. there are people doing it in zone 4....

              Give them as much sun as you're able...even if it means befriending someone with a better balcony.... and feed them a good fertilizer.... feed them and they will come
              Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6


              • #8
                I hope that's true! I was told not to give them fertilizer from the guy at the nursery. So confusing! So should I feed them some fertilizer. I just took them out of the pots they came with and put it in with new potting soil. Any certain kind of fertilizer recommended here?
                Zone 9A


                • #9
                  Potted trees will always need some sort of fertilizer. As someone bestowed upon me some time back. "You get out, what you put in". Nothing grows without food.
                  Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6


                  • #10
                    Do people use a slow release or like miracle gro? I should add that I don't mind it. i just wish i knew before i repotted it. I'm a total newbie with anything beyond succulents and cacti.
                    Last edited by jrtdi12; 03-27-2017, 10:20 AM.
                    Zone 9A


                    • #11
                      The answer is 'yes they do". Not to he cheeky....just that could I ask 100 different growers and get the same number of answers for what's best. Personally I like lower nitrogen fertilizer's. I also like to use less than the recommended amount, slightly more frequently. But that's me. In my conditions, with my plants
                      Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6


                      • #12
                        AscPete had a nice post on fertilizing. I prefer organic and use a mix of granular and liquid.

                        Four hours of light isn't ideal but could work. I would think the prolific/early ripening varieties may be your best bets. Mt Etnas (Sal's GS/Hardy Chicago), Nordland, Sister Madeline's Green Greek are some that have produced pretty good figs for me in low light situations. Some other varieties have produced poor figs.

                        If you do decide to light it up, I'd probably add light at the start or end of the day when the sun isn't shining. HID lamps are probably still best if cost isn't an issue. LEDs are coming a long way.

                        A cheapo light meter might help you figure out how much light you are actually getting to the trees.

                        Adequate fertilization of potted fig trees will reward you with more edible produce at the end of the fruiting season. Providing the fig trees with proper readily
                        Don - OH Zone 6a Wish list: Verdolino, Black Celeste


                        • #13
                          Welcome JR! in my limited experience gardens, orchards have similar, yet very different requirements they both revolve around food, water and light. Any veggie that does not grow fruit or is a root vegetable, lettuce, onions, greens normally do not need full sun and will do well in partial sun, but they will flourish in the "right" condition; on the other hand fruit trees, tomatoes, peppers require full sun and will not flourish in the shade.

                          Full sun is defined as at least six hours per day. Partial sun is when a plant needs 3-6 hours of direct sun per day.

                          As newnandawg posted Maturing fruit is the issue. If I were you, I would not be willing to wait a year or two to find out that the natural light was not enough. I would install grow lights as powerful as possible that can be raised and lowered with the growth of the tree, then connected to a timer. That obviously is a hedge, but I think for the limited expense your problem will be, which figs to grow, not will they they produce fruit.

                          Also, I find that my smaller figs like Petite Negri mature earlier than larger fruits like Paradiso, secondly besides small, a fig that matures quickly would also help.

                          Good luck! And again Welcome to OurFigs!

                          Wish List: 🙏🏼 Mavra Sika


                          • #14
                            I'd just like to thank everyone for so much information. I really hope I can be part of this community. I really love figs and I love fig trees, I just hopefully am able to grow them! I Ordered a light meter and I also got some miracle gro fertilizer the slow release shake one. I read on the forums some people said ti was good. I don't want to mess up so I will just go with this for now.

                            Grow light wise there is just so much information out there, and most of it is for marijuana and not fruit trees. I don't know what to believe, so first I am going to measure the amount of light I am getting and then go from there.

                            I also ordered a chicago hardy fig tree and a petite negri. I have no idea if these will give figs in their first year. I couldn't find many people selling a petite negra so I bought one that claims to be 6 inches in height but it will 'grow fast'. Hope thats true! I will keep this thread updated if I have any luck. Seriously, thanks guys. I was scared to ask because sometimes people in forums can be quite snippy, but you all are awesome and I really appreciate it.
                            Zone 9A


                            • #15

                              "be part of this community" . You are a part of this community!

                              One or my petites last year came out of dormancy at 12" after it had been cut down the fall before.. This fall ( I had been ill and not able to properly prune it) .....It was in its second year and 6-7 feet tall. Lots of nice little figs too! If you want to hedge your bet on the petite, I'll be happy to send a rooted cutting. Just Pm your address.

                              Click image for larger version  Name:	Petite N.JPG Views:	1 Size:	73.8 KB ID:	150981 .
                              I always get confused, Petite Negri or Negra. Here is the petite "n" that i'm talking about. Photo was taken in October. the stake is 5'. after this photo, I air layered and pruned back. my son has his eyes on the AL - It is awesome at at about 2 feet and full of roots. Daughter has not seen AL yet! This year it will have enough time to ripen the fruit. It is out of dormancy and outside now!


                              Wish List: 🙏🏼 Mavra Sika


                              • jrtdi12
                                jrtdi12 commented
                                Editing a comment
                                sorry I just saw this now. for some reason I didn't notice the notifications. That'd be awesome! I would be happy to pay for the shipping. Is this offer still available? Thanks sooo much.

                            • #16
                              Good luck! This was my little balcony last season. It's even more ridiculous now! Try to keep a lockdown on how many plants you end up with. I, thank goodness, am moving soon, but ended up with 10 varieties of figs. 13 fig trees total, 2 pomegranates, 2 mulberries, yerba matte, and a few other things. You may not get a ton of fruit with limited light, but these trees grow pretty well with minimal light from what I've noticed. They're worth growing for the leaves alone. Worst case scenario, you get to make fig leaf tea like this guy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=970P8Jd6y9E
                              You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 1 photos.


                              • #17
                                I had 6 rows of figs in my backyard garden last year, each row at increasing distances from my very large mango tree. The furthest away got the most hours of direct sunlight, those closer were shaded for a greater part of the day. The ones closest to the mango grew well, but only produced a couple of figs. The row furthest away provided most of the fruit I was able to harvest. Hours of sunlight are key. Otherwise, you will just be growing vegetation. Intensity of sunlight is only important for large, dense canopies, where the additional intensity is needed to penetrate down to the lower interior leaves. For young plants with only one or two layers of leaves, this is not helpful. Hours of sunlight are what you want to get, and if that means supplemental lighting, well, consumer LEDs have gotten pretty inexpensive. There are some good posts on that topic here if you search for them.