How to Grow Fig Trees

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About Growing Mediterranean Fig Trees in Your Yard

Figs are an interesting fruit to grow. Perhaps not as popular as an apple tree, fig trees are low maintenance, and produce an abundance of fruit. Native to the Mediterranean, Fig trees prefer warmer climates, with a long growing season. However, you can succeed in growing fig trees in more northerly areas. The key to success is to provide a little protection to your trees, in both the spring and the fall. Winter protection is also important in northerly regions.

Did You Know? The lifespan of a fig tree is 150 – 200 years. So, you can plant a tree and it will produce fruit your whole life.

Plant Hardiness Zones: 6 – 9.

Fig Tree Propagation

Fig trees are grown from seed. It takes three or four years to go from the seedling stage to a fruit-producing tree. Most people don’t want to wait that long. Even though figs are easy to grow, they are not a popular, home-grown fruit tree. Your local garden nursery may have young trees in stock. Or, they may not. You can always purchase them online.

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Planting a Fig Tree

Select a location in your yard that receives full sun. Dig a deep hole. Add plenty of decomposed compost, if available. Mix thoroughly with regular garden soil. If the tree you have bought is inside of a peat pot, leave it in the container. It is helpful (but not required) to slit the container to allow roots to more easily exit the container. While making the slits, be careful not to cut the roots, as you can do more harm than good. If your tree is in a burlap bag, remove the bag. Gently spread the roots in the hole you have dug.

Bury the plant up to where it was in the container. Soak the soil thoroughly. Add more soil if needed.

When planting trees in more northerly climates, select the sunny (south) side of your house or shed. This will allow warmer temperatures, in spring and fall, and extend the growing season. 

Ideal Soil pH: 6.0 – 7.5.

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How to Grow Fig Trees

Plant new trees in full sun. Once your new fig tree is planted, it should grow quickly.  

Fig trees require little care and maintenance during the season. Insect and plant disease problems are uncommon. So, you do not need to spray them. Animals seldom eat them either.

Tip: Fruit tree fertilizer spikes are a great way to boost the growth of your new tree. The spike slowly releases a fertilizer specifically formulated for fruit trees.

The size and number of fruit are dependent upon several things. As a rule of thumb, more figs on a tree, resulting in smaller individual fruit. Sometimes, mother nature pollinates a profusion of blooms. Sometimes frost nips a portion of the blooms. Removing a few of the baby figs will make the remainder grow bigger.

Harvest fruit after it turns completely ripe. Signs of ripeness, are soft and dry feeling fruit.

Harvesting Figs

Harvest fruit after it turns completely ripe. Signs of ripeness, are soft and dry feeling fruit.

Pruning Fig Trees

Like other plants, pruning established trees is healthy for them. It results in a bigger crop. Prune the  trees in the fall, after the first frost.  Plants can be cut way back, to encourage new growth, and keep the size of the tree manageable.

Winter Care and Maintenance

In warm, southerly areas: No special care is needed. Just trim the tree back, if desired, and wait until next spring.

In colder, northerly areas: Trees can die in cold winters. Cut the tree back and provide winter cover. Some people wrap the entire tree and fill the wrap with insulating materials. Materials can include straw, old rugs, clothing, balled-up appears, etc. Smaller trees can be carefully bent down towards the ground, then covered up.  

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