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6 Steps Guide on How to Get Your Fig Plant Out of Dormancy

It’s far easier to overwinter some plants in their dormant state than it is to keep them thriving during the winter. However, reawakening dormant plants in the spring might be difficult. If your fig plant has been sleeping over the winter, now is the time to rouse it up.

Most fig plants in northern latitudes require winter protection, so whether your plant hibernated in a trench or stood stoically wrapped in plastic and blankets over the winter, once the warmer spring days have arrived, it’s time to shed those winter coats and soak the sun.

Don’t worry; I’ll explain to readers How to Get Your Fig Plant Out of Dormancy without destroying them in this post.

The plants take very little care during their dormant period, making winter plant storage a breeze! There’s also no need to worry about bugs or leggy leaf growth because they drop all of their leaves.

Dormant plants should be kept in the dark chamber for most of the winter, then wakened up in the spring (break their dormancy).

Although it is not warm enough to transfer the plants outside during those few months, letting them see some sunlight is their first cue to begin waking up.

It’s better to wake up plants slowly in the spring after forcing them to go dormant during the winter. If you try to jolt them up too quickly, you may end up doing more harm than good… The plant may die as a result of this.

How to Get Your Fig Plant Out of Dormancy
fig tree dormant via Pinterest

How to Get Your Fig Plant Out of Dormancy

Depending on your area, plants might take weeks to emerge out of hibernation in the spring. Bring a dormant plant back into indirect light to resurrect it inside.

To encourage new growth, give it a good watering and a shot of fertilizer (diluted half strength). No potted plants should be moved back outside until the threat of frost or freezing temperatures has gone.

Most outdoor plants only need to be trimmed back now and then to allow new growth to emerge. In the spring, a dose of fertilizer can assist encourage the regrowth of leaves, though it will usually happen on its own when the plant is ready.

1. Uncover The Plant In Stages

  • The plant may breathe and emerge from hibernation by gradually revealing itself without being exposed to unpredictable spring conditions.
  • After the plants are fully exposed, keeping a watch on the weather forecast is essential for predicting a nocturnal frost.
  • If frost is expected, a little protective shield must be applied temporarily to safeguard small developing fruit and leaves.

2. Avoid Overwatering

  • It’s important not to overwater a dormant plant because this could cause it to rot.
  • When it’s time to start waking it up, please give it a good drink of water, but make sure the excess water drains from the pot.
  • Begin watering the plant as usual after it begins to produce new growth.

3. Apply Mild Fertilizer

  • It’s also an excellent time to give it a mild fertilizer application, such as compost tea or all-purpose organic fertilizer.

4. Avoid Placing Plant in Direct Sunlight

  • Do not place a dormant plant in direct sunlight since this may cause the stem and leaf buds to burn.
  • When you first take the plant outside, put it somewhere to be protected from direct sunlight, wind, and rain.
  • Then, gently transfer it to its full sun location over a few weeks, giving it plenty of time to adjust to the intense sun.

5. Provide Proper Temperature

  • If the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit after transferring the plant outside, bring it back inside to keep it warm.
  • Once you’ve placed the plant back in full sun, the winter growth will be feeble and may burn off. This is very normal.
  • You can clip the plant’s weak growth if you want to, but it’s generally not essential.

6. Try Repotting the Plants

  • If your plant requires repotting, now is the time to do so; also, repotting aids in breaking dormancy in plants.
  • Most plants will thrive in general-purpose potting soil, but you can research the optimum sort of soil for your particular plant.

Don’t be disappointed if a dormant plant never awakens! It’s aggravating, but it happens to the best of us from time to time. Overwintering dormant plants and reawakening them in the spring takes some effort, but it’s well worth it.

How to Check if your Plant is Dormant or Dying?

It can be tough to tell if a plant is just dormant or dying. Sometimes a plant may look like it’s dead, but it’s just in a deep sleep and will come back to life with the right care. The best way to find out is to perform the following tests:

1. Snap Test

  • Choose the end of a pencil-sized branch or stem.
  • Then, while holding the branch, sharply bend it back on itself.
  • The stem will crack easily if it’s dead, and the contents will appear dry.
  • It’ll bend easily if it’s alive, and you’ll be able to see moist wood within when the stem cracks open.

2. Scratch Test

  • Scratching the bark of a young stem with either your fingernail or a knife is another common approach.
  • If you can see green, it’s living.
  • If the stem is brown, work your way down to the soil to see any green since the plant may show signs of life as you approach closer to the roots.
  • You’ll have to break off the dead stems at the height of about an inch or two near the new growth in this situation.

3. Inspection of the Roots

  • A dormant plant bears healthy roots even if it appears to be dead above the soil line.
  • Whether the snap and scratch tests don’t yield any results, try inspecting the roots after the plant has been removed from the pot to see if they appear healthy or if they’re fully shriveled or rotten.

Final Remarks

When a plant enters its dormant state, it’s important not to force it out of hibernation too quickly. Though it’s possible to transfer the plants outside during those few months, letting them see some sunlight is their first cue to begin waking up.

It’s better to wake up plants slowly in the spring after forcing them to go dormant during the winter. Then you’ll have a happy and healthy plant.

Moreover, some plants never awaken from their slumber, and that’s okay! You can clip off the weak growth if you want, but it’s generally not essential.

A plant enters dormancy due to environmental changes such as decreased light, temperature, or moisture. Once you’ve determined that your plants are entering dormancy, it’s important to know how to take care of them till they wake up.

To get the fig plant out of dormancy, it’s important to provide the right temperature, moisture, and light.

Your plants will be waiting for you on the other side, so plan carefully and follow the steps mentioned above to bring them back to life!

Now that you know how to deal with plants that have gone dormant, you’re well on your way to keeping your garden healthy all year long! Stay vigilant and keep an eye on your plants, and soon you’ll be able to enjoy their beauty all season long. Thanks for reading!

Joseph A. Gregory M.A.

Thursday 23rd of March 2023

Last Autumn while trimming my Chicago Hardy Figs to be winterized with burlap wrapping, I took the clippings to root them. One of the clipping is ready for a third pot. It is standing two feet tall with 5 leaves. I just set it outside for the first time. Do I need to take time introducing it to the outside environment? I just unwrapped the trees outside for spring. It showered yesterday so I don't think I should water them. I have some 10-10-10 which I can give them in another day or two.

Hoang Quang

Thursday 23rd of March 2023

@Joseph A. Gregory M.A.,

It’s great to hear that your fig clippings are doing well!

Yes, you are right. It’s important to take some time to introduce your fig tree to the outdoor environment after you just unwrapped it.

Start by placing it in a shady area for a few hours each day and gradually increase the amount of sunlight it receives over a few weeks.

If it has just showered, there is no need to water your plants—only water when the top few inches of the soil feel dry to the touch.

Regarding fertilization, it is not recommended to fertilize your fig tree every few days as this can lead to over-fertilization and damage the plant.

It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the fertilizer and use it only as recommended.

Wait until your fig tree has fully adjusted to its new outdoor environment before applying any fertilizer. It’s best to fertilize your fig tree in the spring before new growth starts and again in midsummer.

Hope this helps!