Overwintering Hardy Chicago Fig
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Julianna
Posted on: October 26, 2010

I would like to make sure I care for my figs over the winter in the best way possible. We bought two from Richters this spring, and were delighted to find several tiny green figs on the plants late in the summer! Is it correct that we should bring them indoors, put them in a sunny window away from direct heat, and continue to water as needed through the winter?

BTW: We are located near Windsor, Ontario, Canada, in zone 6. The figs have dropped their leaves for fall and seem to be dormant. Our indoor winter temperature for the house is between 55 and 65F.

The plants need about 300 hours of chilling in the winter for proper growth, but the temperature must not drop below -5C (20F). You can do this by leaving the plant out of doors until a hard frost -bring it in on nights when it is supposed to be too cold - and when it has had about two weeks of this cold treatment bring it in and keep it over the rest of the winter at 10C (50F) nights and 15C (60F) days. Moving it closer to a window and dropping a plastic sheet over the windowsill to keep in the cold over night could solve your too warm night problem.

The other way to keep it out of doors for the winter in zone 6 is to bury the whole plant sideways in soil and pile insulation on top, finished off by maybe a board and plastic sheets held down by rocks or bricks. Dig up and replant upright as soon as you can get into the soil in the spring. This whole operation is easier if you keep the rootball in a large pot that you bury in the soil and just tilt up in spring or sideways in the fall.

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