Fig Trees- Growing, Pruning, and Caring for Ficus carica Varieties

Fig trees, Ficus carica, produce a tasty, edible fruit we all know as figs.Find fig tree facts and information, and learn how to grow and care for fig trees in your yard or garden.

"Fig Trees"

Fig tree (Ficus carica)

Fig Tree Facts

Fig trees are deciduous trees that have been around a long time. They grow in warmer Zones 7-9 and originally were more of a desert tree. Try to choose a sunny location with well drained soil. Figs grown for drying do best in sandy soil. They should be spaced 10-25’ apart depending on the cultivar and the soil type.

In climates were temperatures fall below 20 degrees, figs may be grown indoors in 10 to 15 gallon half-barrel or other large containers so you can move them indoors in the winter.

Fig Tree Care

One year old cuttings will fruit within a year of transplanting. Shade young trees from hot midday sun. Apply low-nitrogen plant food twice a year to in-ground trees or use slow release fruit spikes for trees in containers. Water them during hot or dry weather to prevent premature fruit drop, but do not allow trees to stand in water. Stop the watering after harvesting.

Fig Tree Pruning

Prune fig trees heavily in fall or winter when trees are dormant to remove buds of the early-season (breba) crop and increase the main crop. Trees are fruitful for up to 15 years. One interesting fact is that Insect pollinators actually enter the open end of the developing flower to pollinate it.

Propagation- Figs are best propagated by cuttings of mature wood. Used rooting hormone and plant cuttings within 24 hours. They may also be started by air layering or by seed.

"Ficus carica"

Ripening fig fruit

Fig Fruit (Harvesting)

Unripe fruits are gummy with latex which can irritate the skin. Wear gloves when working with them. Most cultivars bear two crops each year, with the early (breba) crop producing acid fruits inferior to those of the main crop that follows. You will know they are ripe when the fruits soften and turn downward.

Pest and Diseases- Fig trees should be protected from root-knot nematodes with a thick layer of mulch, or use a labeled nematicide for serious infestations. Prolonged high humidity or drought may invite scale insects. Scrape them off the bark. Pick off and destroy the leaves that are infected with rust and follow clean cultivation practices.

Fig Cultivars

  • ‘Brown Turkey’ has a small, early breba crop and a large main crop in midsummer.
  • ‘Celeste’ produces one heavy crop of short duration, and rarely produces a breba crop. It is more tolerant of cold than heat.
  • ‘Black Mission’ and ‘Kadota’ cultivars are preferred for dried or candied figs.

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