Care for a potted fig tree by using well-drained potting soil, watering it regularly and fertilizing the tree every month during its growing season. Lightly prune the tree after the growing season to keep it pot-sized.
First, choose a fig tree variety that grows well in your climate and self-pollinates. Brown turkey fig trees grow well in colder zones, while Adriatic fig trees thrive in warm climates. Next, choose a light, 15-gallon container for the tree that can be hauled indoors or moved in cold climates. Plant the tree in well-drained, high-quality potting soil mix with compost. Make sure the base of the trunk is at soil level.
Place the plant in a location that gets plenty of direct or partial sun. Water the plant until water runs through the pot's drainage holes once the top 1-inch of soil starts to dry out. Empty the pot's tray immediately, as sitting in water can cause root rot. Fertilize the plant once a month through the growing season to the late summer by soaking a handful of fertilizer, compost or organic material in water overnight, and then pouring it into the pot.
Lightly prune the plant once a year in the fall by trimming back leggy limbs or removing dead and damaged wood. In cold areas, cover the pot and roots in a blanket, and bring the plant indoors during the winter. Apply some dormant oil to remove any pests.
The plant can be pruned to control its size and shape, using small clippers to snip off top growth above a leaf node or leaf scar. Removing stems from the main branches results in a bushier appearance. Fig trees tend to attract insects called scale, which are identified by a sticky residue deposited on leaves and surrounding surfaces, such as the floor or table. Scale resemble tiny brown spots and can be removed from leaves and branches by wiping them with ammonia or alcohol. The leaves should be dusted regularly, explains SFGate.