With their lush, exotic-looking leathery foliage and succulent fruits, fig trees create a striking feature in the garden! Thriving in sunny, sheltered positions, figs will grow successfully in large containers or garden borders, with varieties bred to achieve heady heights or petite patio pot perfection.
Where is the best place to plant a fig tree?
Although figs thrive in the Mediterranean climate, they can happily grow in UK gardens as long as you pick a sheltered and sunny spot.
Growing a fan-trained fig tree against a wall will help produce the most fruits, as your plant will benefit from the heat of the wall during the night. Plus, you won’t need to stake your tree against winds.
How to plant a fig tree in the ground
Fig trees can be planted at any time of year when the ground isn’t frozen. Bearing in mind the mature height and spread of your fig tree, pick a sunny, sheltered spot in the garden and dig a planting hole about twice the size and depth of your plant’s nursery pot. Fig trees with restricted roots put more effort into fruit production, so line the planting hole with old paving slabs or rubble. Next, carefully remove your plant from its pot, place hold it in the planting hole and gently spread out the roots whilst refilling the hole and gently firming the soil around it. Make sure your tree is planted to the same depth it was in its nursery pot.
How to plant a fig tree in a container
Fill a 30cm wide pot with free-draining potting compost such as John Innes no. 3, place you fig tree in the centre and gently firm down the compost around it. Make sure your tree is planted at the same depth it was in its nursery pot. Leave a few centimetres at the top clear of compost to help with watering. Water well and place in a sunny and sheltered area.
How to care for fig trees
Spring – Remove any horticultural fleece and move any indoor plants back outside, Add a mulch of well-rotted compost or manure around your plants every year to keep the soil fertile and to suppress weeds. Pot-on container-grown plants every two or three years and top-dress any plants that are too large to move with fresh compost.
Summer – If grown in a container, your fig tree needs to be kept moist and will benefit from a weekly feed with tomato food as soon as the fruits start to form. You may also feed trees grown in the ground and remember to water them well during dry periods.
Autumn – Monitor container-grown plants for waterlogging and raise them up on feet if necessary. The fig fruits are ready to harvest during August and September each year. Ripe fruits begin to hand downwards and will feel soft.
Winter – Fig trees are hardy in most of the UK but their developing fruits are not. As the budding fruits are held on the plants throughout the coldest months, your plant will appreciate some protection in order to provide a bountiful harvest next summer:
If your fig tree has been grown in a container that can be moved, it is advisable to move it to a shed or greenhouse before the first frosts, moving it outdoors again once all risk of frost has passed
Larger plants and those grown in the ground should be wrapped in horticultural fleece or draped with a floating film crop cover.
When to prune a fig tree
Fig trees don’t have to be pruned but doing so each year will keep vigorous plants to a more manageable size and improve fruit production. Warning: the sap of figs is an irritant, so wear protective gloves! Prune your plant by removing dead branches in late winter, plus any undesirable and crossing branches. If you plant is becoming too large you can prune it back hard but this will lead to a loss of fruit the following summer.
What are the best fig trees to grow in the UK?
Best fig tree for a patio pot
Fig ‘Little Miss Figgy‘ is a naturally dwarf variety and a perfect patio fruit tree. Shortlisted for RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year 2021, this petite plant produces two crops per year on plants reaching 180cm tall and 120cm wide.
Best fig tree for a large container
‘Brown Turkey‘ is self-fertile and has been bred to perform in UK gardens. Available as bush or standard trees, this variety is excellent for growing in large containers where it’s mature growth (potentially 3 meters tall and 4 meters wide if unpruned) can be contained.
Best fig tree for a smaller garden
Fig ‘Dalmatie’ is one of the hardiest cultivars that’s highly productive and self fertile, offering some of the largest fruits with rich amber-coloured flesh and a fabulous flavour. With a neat and compact habit, plants reach 250cm tall and 200cm wide, making them the ideal choice for smaller gardens where space is at a premium.
Best fig tree for a large garden
Despite its modern look, fig ‘Panachee‘ is a traditional variety dating back to 1668 with very unusual striped green and yellow fruit. Reaching a mature height of 3 meters with a spread of 4 meters, this ‘Tiger Fig’ makes a dramatic feature in the garden – especially when fan trained against a wall.
Now you know how to grow fig trees!
We hope you find our guide to growing your own fig trees helpful. For more information, head over to our fruit tree hub page to find top tips on preventing disease, growing exotic fruit and much more. Share your images with us on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #YourTMGarden.
Vivacious new varieties to fill your garden with colour in 2024
T&M is proud to launch its fantastic new flower seed range for 2024, including sensational sunflowers and snapdragons, fiery zinnias, exquisite nasturtiums and giant-flowered rudbeckia.
New range highlights 2024
Sunflower ‘Beaches Mix’
Helianthus deblis Hardy Annual
Sunflower ‘Beaches Mix’ is ideal for growing in coastal gardens and other challenging locations. Unlike other sunflowers, these bushy plants are fast-growing, spreading by runners to anchor themselves in the ground, with flexible stems help prevent snapping.
This hardy annual helianthus boasts great drought-tolerance, coupled with resistance to salt spray, sea winds and poor, dry soils.
Impressively long flowering season
Tough but graceful, ‘Beaches Mix’ will produce an abundance of showy yellow flowers with dark centres from July to October, with each sunny bloom measuring approximately 7cm in diameter.
Great for wildlife or cutting gardens
A magnet for beneficial pollinators and with elegant, elongated stems, ‘Beaches Mix’ is a wonderful choice for wildlife gardens and makes a superb cut flower for indoor displays.
Sow: March to June Flowers: July to October Height: 1.5m (5ft) Spread: 60cm (24in)
Growing your own fruit trees at home in the garden or on the patio is easy to do! Read on to learn how to raise some of the most popular home-grown fruit – from crisp apples to mouth-watering mulberries, plump plums to fabulous figs! We’ll show you how to grow 10 popular fruits trees bred to be hardy in the UK.
Where to grow fruit trees
Lots of fruit trees can be grown outdoors in the UK and will offer harvests for many years to come. Pick a variety you enjoy eating and research where it will thrive.
It’s important to consider the mature size of your chosen tree – for grafted trees, research the fruit rootstock to learn about its expected height and spread.
For smaller spaces, grated family trees offer more than one variety of fruit per tree, plus there are dwarf patio fruit trees designed for container growing. Trees can also be trained against a wall to save space.
When to plant fruit trees
The ideal time of year to plant bare root fruit trees in the ground is in the autumn but if you plan to plant a larger pot-grown plant, these can be bought and planted at any time. Just make sure the soil is not frozen, too wet or very dry.
How to grow fruit trees
Whatever you decide to grow, a sunny and sheltered spot is needed and most, well-drained, fertile garden soil. If you aren’t lucky enough to have great soil, improve the garden soil with compost or grow your fruit tree in a container.
Stake taller trees and secure with a tree tie, before mulching around your plant to help it retain moisture. Water you tree often for the first couple of years, until it has established.
How to pollinate fruit trees
Some fruit trees are self-fertile but others will need another tree nearby (a pollination partner) in order to produce crops. If you only have space for one tree, opt for a self-fertile variety or check what fruit trees your neighbours are growing!
Tree fruit shapes
Fruits trees can be trained into a variety of shapes to suit your garden with common shapes including bush, standard, espalier and fan.
Bush: a common shape with an open head and a clear stem.
Standard and half-standard: a long clear stem topped with a bush
Espalier: a central stem with horizontal arms
Fan: branches radiate outwards from either side of a low stem
Besides the shape, the grated rootstock will play a big part in the size and vigour of your tree, so choose the best variety for you and your garden.
Best fruit trees for small gardens
For smaller spaces, grated family trees offer more than one variety of fruit per tree, plus there are dwarf patio fruit trees bred for container growing. Trees can also be trained to grow flat against a wall to save space.
Top 10 fruit trees for UK gardens
Apples are easy to grow, with a choice of cooking or eating (dessert) varieties to choose from. One of the most popular with customers is ‘Gala’, which offers a surprising sweet taste when eaten fruit from the tree.
‘Conference’ is the most popular pear variety due to its versatility – eat the fruits raw or cook them in delicious desserts! Available as full-size or dwarf trees perfect for patio pots.
Look no further than ‘Victoria’ for perfect plums every year! These sensational summertime sweet treats are part of the stone fruit family, which also includes fruits such as gages and damsons.
With their shiny skins and soft, sweet flesh, nectarines like ‘Fantasia’ are a real treat and a great size for sharing.
Pretty as a peach and just as sweet! One of the best English varieties, ‘Peregrine’ holds an RHS Award of Garden Merit and produces heavy crops of white-fleshed fruit.
Fabulous Apricot ‘Flavorcot’ is specially bred for the cooler UK climate and produces large crops of delicious egg-sized, orange-red fruits.
Cherry trees come in all shapes and sizes but petite ‘Sylvia’ is a self-fertile variety that’s ideal for container growing for excellent crops of sweet red eating cherries.
Citrus trees offer a super selection of sweet to sour and tangy fruits, including lemons, limes, oranges, kumquats, grapefruit, and more unusual yuzu fruits. These fragrant plants add a Mediterranean feeling to sunny summer patios but will enjoy the warmth of a conservatory in winter.
Mulberry bushes and trees are notoriously large, but ‘Charlotte Russe’ offers back garden growers the chance to grow these delicious mojo berries on a smaller scale. Winner of RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year award in 2017, this petite plant produces juicy Mulberries on both old and new wood.
Fig trees make a striking fruiting feature for the garden and can reach heady heights if not grown in containers. Lovely ‘Little Miss Figgy’ offers a naturally dwarf variety that’s ideal for a container on the patio.
Exotic fruit trees you can grow in UK gardens
Yes, some exotic fruits can grow successfully in UK gardens! Why not try growing some totally tropical Sharon fruits (persimmon), pomegranates, kiwis or Chilean guavas? Take a look at these exotic fruit trees and grow something delightfully different!
Now you know which fruit trees to grow in your garden!
These are just ten ideas to get you confidently growing fruit in your garden or outside space. Find your perfect plants on our fruit trees page, which features customer favourite, plus more exotic varieties to inspire you!
Find all the information you need to produce successful and great tasting fruit crops at our fruit growing hub page. Need more information on growing fruit trees? Check out our dedicated fruit tree hub pages, which includes pruning advice and much more.
Versatile new varieties to fill your plot & plate next year
Thompson & Morgan is proud to launch its fantastic new fruit and vegetable seed range for 2024, including heart-shaped cherry tomatoes, fast-growing chillies, black-coloured peppers, sweeter-tasting broccoli and super-sized basil.
New range highlights 2024
A tasty tomato to steal your heart with its looks & flavour
Tomato ‘Heartbreakers Vita’ F1
Tomato ‘Heartbreakers Vita’ F1
Solanum lycopersicum Bush/Determinate
‘Heartbreakers Vita’ boasts beautiful heart-shaped fruit – a shape that’s fully revealed when the cherry-sized fruits are halved for salads and garnishes.
Sweet & juicy This productive little bush tomato plant variety has excellent vigour, producing masses of juicy fruits with tender skins and a great, sweet taste rating 8 on the Brix scale.
Great for patio pots Reaching a height of just 50cm, this petite plant is perfect for growing in patios, pots, window boxes and in the greenhouse on staging.
Tomato ‘Heartbreakers Vita’ F1
Sow: February to April Harvest: July to October Height: 50cm (20in) Spread: 35cm (14in)
Tomato ‘Heartbreakers Vita’ F1 Code: KF2515 6 Seeds £3.49
A hot chilli with a Scoville Rating of 40,000 SHU, ‘Quick Fire’ is the fastest UK variety currently available, maturing in as little as 65 days from sowing.
Edible & ornamental
‘Quick Fire’ is an ornamental variety, bearing conical chillies that grow with an upward habit as they mature from green to red, with fruiting that can continue for up to three months.
Compact & perfect for windowsill growing
This compact chilli is great for growing in smaller spaces, thriving in containers and even on small windowsills. It’s ideal for year-round growing indoors in a sunny spot or in a heated glasshouse – simply sow successionally from January to June.
Chilli Pepper ‘Quick Fire’ F1
Sow: February to April Plant: May June Harvest: July to October Height and spread: 15cm (6in)
Chilli Pepper ‘Quick Fire’ F1 Code: KF2499 6 Seeds £3.99
A sweeter-tasting cross between calabrese & stem broccoli
Broccoli (Easy Floret) ‘Skytree’ F1
Broccoli (Easy Floret) ‘Skytree’ F1
Brassica oleracea L. convar. botrytis (L.) Alef. var. cymosa Duch.
A cross between calabrese and stem broccoli, ‘Skytree F1’ has a sweeter flavour, with well-segmented heads that are easy to divide into florets in the kitchen.
Quick maturing & easy to harvest
‘Skytree’ is a quick maturing variety, ready to harvest 65-75 days after sowing. Easy to harvest, a large head rises above a strong, mostly leafless stem for quick picking. Heads are uniform, with minimal yellow halo on the florets compared to other varieties.
Sow: March to June Harvest: July to November Height and spread: 60cm (24in)
Broccoli (Easy Floret) ‘Skytree’ F1 Code: KF2517 15 Seeds £3.99
Basil (Lettuce Leaved) ‘Sally’ Copyright: Rob Smith’s Allotment
Basil (Lettuce Leaved) ‘Sally’
Basil ‘Sally’ boasts big leaves with the same soft texture and intense, clove-like flavour as their smaller cousins. Their large size makes them perfect for wrapping around meat, fish or veg before barbecuing or roasting.
A highly ornamental edible
A lovely addition for the ‘Potager’, herb garden or summer containers, this large ‘lettuce-leaved’ variety produces softly crinkled leaves flushed with dark purple. The fabulously fragrant foliage looks great growing alongside hot-coloured annuals like as Calendula.
Sow: February to June Harvest: June to October Height: 45cm (18in) Spread: 30cm (12in)
Discover new vegetable seeds at Thompson & Morgan including exciting varieties of tomatoes, chillies, brassicas and herbs. With innovative improvements in taste, look and resilience, these new veg seeds will invigorate next season’s harvest.
Lilac is a quintessential cottage garden shrub, with varieties that range in size from large ‘standard’ specimen lilac trees to compact bushes for growing in patio pots. Lilac shrubs come in a fantastic range of coloured blooms with a lovely scent, making them a fabulous feature for every garden.
Learn how to grow low-maintenance lilac shrubs with this handy guide! These tough and undemanding plants burst into bloom every spring and need very little attention. They’re also wonderful for wildlife, with nectar-rich blooms that attract pollinating insects.
Where to plant lilacs
Grow lilacs in rich fertile, well-drained, neutral or alkaline soil in full sun. Great in the border or in containers, they’re must-have plants whether you have a balcony, patio or bigger plot!
Dwarf lilac plants will happily grow in containers in loam-based compost like John Innes No.3 on a sunny patio or balcony.
Lilac flowers smell great and have a distinctive sweet perfume, so position your plant where you can appreciate its fabulous fragrance as you pass by!
Wondering how fast lilac shrubs grow?
These shrubs come in all shapes and sizes, so check the mature height and spread when picking your plant. Plants always look best when they grow in proportion to the available space – too small and they lose impact but too large and plants can overwhelm your outside space.
When to plant lilacs
Plant lilac shrubs from November to February, when plants are in their dormant stage and have not started their spring growth.
How to plant lilac bushes
Pick your sunny position in the garden and dig a hole that will generously accommodate your plant. Carefully remove the pot from your plant and set the plant to one side. Put the plant pot in the hole to try it for size. Plant your lilac in the hole at the same depth as it was in its nursery pot. Fill in the gaps with soil and gently firm it down around the plant before watering it well. Adding mulch around the stems will help the soil beneath to stay moist.
For container growing, pick a pot that’s at least 60 cm in diameter and plant using John Innes No.3 compost.
How to care for lilac shrubs
Lilacs are easy to care for shrubs that only need checking a couple of times each year. Simply add mulch around the base of your lilac shrub annually each spring and deadhead spent flowers in midsummer, before pruning plants to your desired height and shape.
How and when to prune lilacs
Prune your lilac after it has finished flowering each year and you will prevent your plant from getting leggy.
Best lilac varieties to try
Lilacs are from a family of flowering woody plants called Syringa, which is part of the olive family (Oleaceae).
For large gardens:
Common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) thrives in UK gardens, bursting with purple blooms each spring, with a mature height and spread of an impressive 7 metres.
Lilac ‘Beauty of Moscow’ (Syringa vulgaris) seems to have a delicate two-tone effect as its white blooms unfurl from delicate pink buds. This variety reaches a height and spread of 7 metres.
For big borders:
Lilac josikaea (Hungarian Lilac) boasts sweetly scented pink flowers on plants with a wide, arching habit that have a height and spread of 3.5 metres.
Lilac ‘Primrose’ (Syringa vulgaris) is an unusual variety with creamy-yellow fragrant flowers, which reaches a height and spread of 4 metres.
For smaller borders and planters:
Standard forms of Lilac ‘Palibin’ (Syringa Meyeri) have a perfectly proportioned height of up to 150cm. With a neat and compact 60cm head of blooms and foliage on top of a clear single stem, these plants add instant elegance.
Dwarf Lilac ‘Flowerfesta®’ is available with either pink or white blooms and lets you enjoy flowers and fragrance for months! These neat and compact plants are perfect for patio pots, with height and spread of 100cm.
Now you know how to grow lilacs!
We hope our advice has given you all the knowledge you need to grow your own lilac shrubs! If you’ve been inspired to start growing one of these spectacular syringas, take a look at the great varieties we have on offer.