Figs

PrintPrintEmailEmail
Your rating: None Average: 3.4 of 5 (14 votes)

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

I have a fig tree that is 8

By JC Tate on August 15

I have a fig tree that is 8 years and full of fruit but the figs fall off before they ripen

Some fig varieties will drop

By Almanac Staff on August 15

Some fig varieties will drop fruit prematurely in hot weather, regardless of the quality of plant care. Or, there are certain fig plants that requires cross-pollination by a special wasp or they don't set a good crop. You may want to bring a sample to your local cooperative extension or local nursery specialist.

what color should the figs be

By wbudgell on August 10

what color should the figs be when they are ready for picking?

Figs are harvested when

By Almanac Staff on August 11

Figs are harvested when they're almost fully ripe.  The ripeness really depends on the variety of fig that you are growing.  For example: ‘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.

There is a fig tree on my new

By SaraAnt

There is a fig tree on my new property, I'm not sure what kind. It is mid-July here in Vegas and they have turned from green to dark purple and are soft to the touch. Assuming it was ripe I cracked it open and the inside was seedy and light colored (greenish-yellow), I scraped my teeth along the insides but it was very bitter and drying, similar to an unripe nut. I have never had a fresh fig before but am pretty sure they taste better than this! Any ideas?

Reply: I believe your tree

By Gibson on July 26

Reply: I believe your tree needs deep watering to plump out the individual figs.

SaraAnt, We're not sure where

By Almanac Staff

SaraAnt, We're not sure where you live or your zone, but here is a page with fig varieties which might help you identify your tree: http://www.treesofjoy.com/fig-varieties-collection

I live in Florida and have a

By John Korothy

I live in Florida and have a fig tree in a pot. It's about 5 or 6 yrs. old. I get good fruit which ripen and get soft, however, when picked they don't have much flavor. Can you tell me what to do? Thanks

It could be the variety that

By Almanac Staff

It could be the variety that you are growing: Some varieties have a richer flavor than others. Or, it might be that you are giving it too much water, which can sometimes affect the flavor. If you think that might be the case, cut back on the water a little.

We have a (4) year old brown

By Bernadine James

We have a (4) year old brown fig tree that put in a lot of growth with plenty of figs but they are seeming not to ripen. We added 13-13-13 and fruit tree stakes in early spring.what do you thing went wrong, we get rain often.

If the fruit are not reaching

By Almanac Staff

If the fruit are not reaching maturity and ripening properly, the usual reasons are excess fertilizer or drought. It sounds as if you are watering. A fertilizer of 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 is ample. Also, you mentioned lots of fruiting. If plants are excessively vigorous, the usual solution is to stop fertilizing them. 

I have been given a root and

By valentina

I have been given a root and branch and leaves of a 50 year old spring fed Callatli white fig
(prounced properly?)
As I am moving in two months I have put it into a trash container which has holes in it. Lots of sand an good fertile soil.

Question. It lived in the same area @2,000 feet we are at 4.000 -2,000 feet further up. As I am moving to another part but down to two thousand feet should this matter during the summer months? or shall I move it to a friends garden at ground level and hose feed it?
I can get stream water very easily.
It sit next to the Magnolia tree which is early monrning sun and until mid day ish then the sun goes over the house so it may get a little over head but no afternoon sun after 4pm.
I have a well five feet down where the roots can stay cool but no sun.
I really want to make this work out-
Anybody?

We are not familiar with this

By Almanac Staff

We are not familiar with this perticular fig variety. Most fig trees prefer full sun. Plant the tree in a spot that has about the same climate as the parent tree has.

I live in Escondido, CA

By Katie Rodriguez

I live in Escondido, CA (Inland from San Diego) My fig tree is beautiful and has small fruit BUT it is growing sooooo tall. Can I top the tree and shape it a bit without damaging the fruit???

All the old growth on my fig

By Keith Coon

All the old growth on my fig tree seems to die off each year and new growth starts from the root system. Is this normal? I can't remember the variety that I planted. I live in west central Missouri. The fig is planted in the ground. It has plenty of sun, water and drainage. It has been in the ground about five or six years. Is there something I can do to prevent the old growth from dying?

I live in zone 6 and plan to

By James Xenophon

I live in zone 6 and plan to grow my fig trees in containers that I will bring into my greenhouse during the winter until or unless they get too big. When container growing, how big of a container should I plan on and does the size of the container affect the size of the tree or fruit?

Grow fig plants in half

By Almanac Staff

Grow fig plants in half whiskey barrels or other large, suitable containers of about 30-gallon size. Casters on the containers
are helpful for the time when you need to move the fig plants inside. Certain cultivar grow better in containers than others. Try the ‘Petite Negri' fig plant.
To grow figs in a container, make sure that the soil is loose and well-drained with lots of compost or well-rotted manure; You can lighten heavy soils by incorporating a soil-less growing mixture containing perlite and/or vermiculite. Also be sure to water more often; as the fruits form, the plants need 2 to 3 gallons of water each day.
After fig leaves drop in the fall, shape your plant by removing suckers and heading back long branches. You can move into a protected area such as a garage the tree should go dormant.

My kadota fig tree produced

By Sherri California

My kadota fig tree produced figs the first year I planted it. It did not flower or produce figs last year, and there is no evidence of flowering this year. What could be wrong? We live in the high desert of Southern California, excellent soil, partial shade.

Fig trees do not usually

By Almanac Staff

Fig trees do not usually produce a good crop of fruit until the third or fourth year after planting.

I've had 4 fig trees in

By Johnsun

I've had 4 fig trees in containers for 4 years, never seen them fruiting...

Anybody can help me please?

What kind of figs are you

By Almanac Staff

What kind of figs are you growing? Some varieties require male and female plants to produce fruits.

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.

Make fig jam!! When I make

By LindaFP

Make fig jam!! When I make it, I can't keep any "in stock!" Good with sweet -- butter, biscuits, bread, etc. and fabulous with savory -- meats, cheese, etc. Go to pickyourown and use their instructions -- the jam is easy to make, makes a great gift. I have a Black Mission Fig and in a good year can harvest 50 pounds. Lots of jam.....but I always run out.

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.

Post new comment

Before posting, please review all comments. Due to the volume of questions, Almanac editors can respond only occasionally, as time allows. We also welcome tips from our wonderful Almanac community!

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.