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In the Garden | ASK THE INDOOR GARDENER

A Fig Tree That's Missing Only the Figs

June 09, 1996|JOEL RAPP | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

QUESTION: My fig tree, which is about 5 years old, never gets any figs. Well, it gets little tiny figs but they always drop off. I take it outdoors in the summer, and during the rest of the year I keep it in a sunny window and water it every couple of weeks. Is there a trick to bringing the fruit to fruition?

ANSWER: Your fig tree (Ficus spp.) is probably root bound and suffering from a lack of water. All it takes is one dry period in the pot and the fruit will drop. Fig trees are very fast growers, and I'd suggest you root-prune it every spring before vigorous growth begins. Remove the tree from the container and prune all the roots back by a third. Repot the fig and add fresh potting mix and about a cup each of bone meal and lime. These amendments will add phosphorus and calcium, which figs crave. Incidentally, a good variety of fig to grow in containers is Petite Negri, a dwarf that produces two crops, one in June and one in September.

Pomegranates Can Be Grown Indoors

Q: I've never been able to figure out how to eat a pomegranate, but a friend of mine told me he heard you could grow them indoors. Is that true? Will pomegranates really produce fruit in my apartment?

A: Absolutely, if you can locate some dwarf pomegranates (Punica granatum) or dwarf pomegranate seed. These miniatures flower and bear fruit readily indoors if kept in a bright, sunny window and watered often enough to keep the soil slightly moist. By the way, I've never had any luck eating pomegranates either. I think you're supposed to suck on the seeds, but don't take my word for it; check with a cooking expert.

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Are your palms pooping? Are your ferns flopping? Send your houseplant questions to the Indoor Gardener in care of the Real Estate section, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053. Questions cannot be answered individually.

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