Figs

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Botanical name: Ficus

Plant type: Fruit

USDA Hardiness Zones: 8, 9, 10, 11

Sun exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun

Soil type: Any

Bloom time: Spring

Figs are a delicious treat that has tropical and subtropical origins. They thrive in areas with long and hot summers, though they can also be grown in containers. Figs can be eaten fresh from the tree, preserved, or used in cooking.

Planting

  • The common fig tree is the best choice to plant because its flowers are all female, meaning that they do not need another tree to create the fruit.
  • For container fig trees, grow them in soil-based potting mix and add fine bark chips. Keep the tree in full or filtered light. Be sure to add a high-nitrogen fertilizer every 4 weeks and water the tree moderately. It is important to keep the tree moist during the winter.
  • For outdoor fig trees, plant the tree in the spring in full or partial sun. Fig trees can grow in any type of soil as long as the soil is well-drained and contains plenty of organic material.
  • For container-grown trees, remove the plant from its pot and remove any circling roots by laying the root ball on its side and using shears to cut through the roots.
  • Dig a hole that is a few inches deeper and wider than the spread of the roots. Set the tree on top of a small mound of soil in the middle of the hole. Be sure to spread the roots away from the trunk without excessively bending them.\
  • Plant the tree 2 to 4 inches deeper than it was originally in the pot (check the color of the trunk to see the original soil line).
  • Space the tree about 20 feet away from any buildings or other trees.

Care

  • Be sure to water the young trees regularly to help them become established. In areas with dry climates, water fig trees deeply at least once a week.
  • Unless grown in containers, most fig trees do not require regular fertilization. However, if your fig tree is not growing much (less than 12 inches in one growing season), you can add 1/2 to 1 pound of nitrogen. Divide up the nitrogen into 3 to 4 feedings. Start applying the nitrogen in late winter and end in midsummer.
  • You can also apply a layer of mulch around the tree to help prevent weeds and keep in moisture for the roots.
  • Fig trees require little pruning. During the dormant season, be sure to remove all dead, diseased, or weak branches to encourage growth.
  • If you have an abundant growth of figs, you can thin the fruit to encourage larger figs.

Pests

  • Nematodes
  • Leaf spots
  • Rust
  • Thrips
  • Twig dieback

Harvest/Storage

  • You should harvest figs when they are fully ripe. The figs should be fully colored and slightly soft to the touch.
  • When picking figs, wear gloves or long sleeves because the sap from the tree can irritate your skin.
  • Figs are very perishable. Store figs in the refrigerator; they will keep for 2 to 3 days.
  • For long-term storage, you can freeze figs whole for later use. Another storage method is to dry the figs. You can also can your own figs.

Recommended Varieties

  • 'Brown Turkey', which produces abundant medium to large fruits. This type works best is warm climates.
  • 'King', which is well adapted for the cooler conditions found in the northwest. It produces medium fruit that are sweet and rich in flavor.
  • 'Kadota', which vigorously produces small to medium fruit. Its figs are rich and sweet, and it is the most commonly canned fig.

Recipes

Wit & Wisdom

Figs are an excellent source of potassium, dietary fiber, and calcium.

You can't grow figs from thistles.

Comments

hi, i want to start farming

By hemant patel

hi,
i want to start farming for figs and main for drying fruit and sealing so i am looking for full help on that

thanks

hemant

How are the figs harvested ?

By jay hudkins

How are the figs harvested ? , by hand or with clippers. The most common way.
Thank you ! jay

When figs are ripe they

By Almanac Staff

When figs are ripe they separate easily from the tree by twisting and lifting them upwards. No clippers needed.

Good Info on picking, storing

By David S.

Good Info on picking, storing and preserving. My tree has gone wild this year. Picking 4-5 per day. In Sacramento CA. Brown something variety. Giving bunches to friends and neighbors, but going to start freezing and making jam.

Just moved into a home with a

By Georgia Giles

Just moved into a home with a nice big Fig Tree, here in S.C.'s Piedmont! When will they ripen & how do you dry them? All tips for a large yield w/little damage from Birds appreciated! Txs, granny g

Most fig varieties have two

By Almanac Staff

Most fig varieties have two harvests during the year. One in early summer and one in late fall. You can dry figs by cutting them in half and using your oven or a dehydrator or putting them outside in the sun. At a temp. around 120 degrees the figs will take about 10 to 12 hours to dry in the oven.

Hi, I appreciate the info.

By Lou Eberhart

Hi, I appreciate the info. about figs, however, you didn't state a specific time/month/season of the year to start looking for ripe fruit. I am in zone 9 (so. central calif.), so I am guessing 'ripe' would be in late June maybe (as it gets very hot out here starting in may!) Thanks

Wherever you live, you judge

By Almanac Staff

Wherever you live, you judge the ripeness of a fig by skin color and flesh firmness. Fall crops do best in your area--generally September/early October. ‘Black Mission’ figs should be light to dark purple rather than black and should yield to slight pressure. ‘Calimyrna’ figs should be yellowish-white to light yellow and firm. It's best not to wait until the fig has softened if you wish to avoid bird and weevil damage. Get the fruit as soon as it is harvestable. Unfortunately, figs do not ripen further once harvested and will only keep a few days in the refrigerator.

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