Figs: Delicious, healthful and easy-to-cultivate. No wonder we crave figgy pudding during the holiday season! I mean, what’s not to love? Especially when these sweet treats come from Fig Trees.
But the good news is that Fig Trees are ideal for year-round enjoyment.
And though many are intimidated by caring for their own at-home fruit tree, you shouldn’t be daunted – Fig Trees are actually easy to buy and plant. With a bit of planning and our care tips and tricks, you’ll have your own harvest in no time.
Fig Trees: Why Buy?
So, why else are Fig Trees a must-have? Well, their versatile fruit is an amazing source of fiber, for starters. But the Fig itself is so delectable that you’d never know you’re eating a heath food. Plus, this sweet, nutritious nature’s candy is super easy to help thrive and eventually harvest.
Vitamins for Health and Taste
Because the fig has its roots in Northern Asia, where a tropical climate with a high level of sun exposure is the norm, adequate sunlight is vital. That means that whether you’re planting your tree indoors or outdoors, you should place it in an area that receives six hours of sunlight or more per day.
If you’re planting it in the ground outdoors, it’s best to plant Fig Trees beside a structure, like a brick wall or other plants. This ensures that your Fig Trees get proper exposure without too much sunlight.
All right, so you’ve chosen your desired area, indoors or out, and have your Fig Trees on hand. Thankfully, once everything is scouted out, it’s pretty figgin’ easy during the remainder of the process.
Indoor or Outdoor Planting
When you’re planting Fig Trees in a container, transfer the plant from its shipped container to a new pot. The container should be twice the size of the root ball, leaving room for establishment, and should have drainage holes on the bottom. After you’ve planted your Fig in its chosen container, ensure you water well to settle the roots and help establishment.
The steps are similar for ground planting. To help your Fig Trees’ roots get established in the ground, dig your hole two to three times the size of the root ball and loosen the roots as you place it in your hole. Backfill any dirt and tamp down gently, watering the tree after the process is complete.
Basically, planning is effortless and planting is even easier. But what about long-term care? Luckily, we’ve got you covered – just keep these tips and tricks in mind, and you’re well on your way to enjoying home-grown deliciousness.
The first rule of (green) thumb: The watering needs of Fig Trees depend largely on the soil and the weather. However, Fig Trees generally need around 1 to 1.5 inches of water each week, either from irrigation or rain.
To feed your Fig Trees, we recommend using a general-purpose fertilizer with a formula of 8-8-8 or 10-10-10. And it’s best to provide fertilizer for Fig Trees only when symptoms of slow growth or pale leaves are apparent. Also, if you plant your Figs in sandy soil, you’ll probably need to fertilize annually. You’ll also need to fertilize any of your Fig Trees that are surrounded by other plants that compete for nutrients.
It’s best to split the feeding over several months though, which ensures your trees don’t get too much nitrogen at one time.
Pruning and Pollination
After your Fig Trees are established, prune them during the dormant winter season. Start by removing any branches that are not growing out from your selected fruiting wood, as well as any dead or diseased areas.
If there are suckers growing from the base of the Fig, they should be removed as well. And for larger, sweeter fruit during the next year, cut back the main branches by one-third to one-quarter. This helps your tree put more energy to the remaining fruit!
As far as pollination goes, our Fig Trees are self-fertile, meaning they bare plenty of fruit without a pollinator.
Pests and Solutions
First, common species that may threaten your Fig Trees include a few beetle types, spider mites, vinegar flies and nematodes. Another, more serious pest is the fig tree borer (Phryneta spinator), which hatches larvae that then feeds on the bark before tunneling into the tree.
Control is difficult when the larvae are in the tree, but insecticide can be inserted into the larvae tunnels with a syringe (test the solution on a leaf first to ensure that it will not harm the tree). Enclose the lower portion of your tree in shade netting to prevent further eggs in the bark.
Shade netting placed on the ground around the base of the tree will also help to stop newly emerged beetles from climbing your tree.
Diseases and Solutions
Anthracnose: A group of fungal diseases that cause black or brown spots on the leaves, which gradually turn yellow and wilt. Treat this ailment with a fungicide.
Aspergillosis: A fungus that causes the flesh on the inside of the fig to turn green and powdery. If left untreated, the ripe figs rot and the tree sheds its leaves.
Fig rust: Rust causes leaves to develop small orange spots that increase in size as the season progresses, but it can be controlled with copper-based fungicides.
Fig mosaic: This is caused by a virus, spread by mites, that produces blotches on the leaves. The only way to treat it is to kill the mites with miticide or horticultural oil.
Phomopsis canker: This fungus enters the tree through pruning wounds or injuries, but removing the infected branches is the most effective way of controlling phomopsis canker.
We’ve gotten to the best part! And because our plants are grafted, you may get fruit within the first year. You’ll know your figs are ready to be harvested once they droop, soften, and change color, generally.
Keep in mind that it’s important to examine your figs first before picking because they don’t ripen off the tree. It is best to eat them right off the tree or shortly afterward, but you can place your figs in the refrigerator for up to two to three days to get the same straight-off-the-tree quality.
Compare and Contrast
There’s a lot to love when it comes to all Fig Tree varieties, but we’re highlighting five of our favorites to showcase just how adaptable and coveted these fresh little cultivars are.
1. Black Mission Fig
The main draw of the Black Mission? You don’t have to worry about your climate. If it gets cold where you live, you can plant these Fig Trees in a pot and bring indoors during freezing temperatures.
Plus, its size is adaptable to your needs. You can pot and prune the plant to keep it more manageable and small, or you can plant it in your yard and watch it expand.
2. Celeste Fig
A large number of figs from a tree that wards off dried fruit beetles and protects against spoilage. Even better? The Celeste withstands temperatures down to 10 degrees and is resistant to diseases as well.
Basically, Celeste = huge quantities of high-quality figs without hassle.
3. LSU Purple Fig
The LSU is known for being a hardy tree that delivers super-sweet fruit with little effort. Bred by the Louisiana State University College of Agriculture for superior disease resistance, it blends ease with amazing results.
And best of all, it produces fruit as early as the second year, with small yet succulent crops.
4. Chicago Cold Hardy Fig
No matter how cold it gets, the Chicago Hardy Fig comes through. The Chicago Fig can literally freeze over and still come back strong the following spring, producing bushels of plump, delicious figs you’ll love.
Add to that the deep purple hue of the fruit and a silhouette that responds well to pruning, and you have a stunning, functional tree that will enhance any planting location you choose.
5. Yellow Fig
The Yellow Fig Tree tops the charts in terms of flavor, with a mouth-watering combination of textures and flavors makes each piece super delicious. Furthermore, the Yellow Fig is ideal for container growing but is also extremely hardy and resistant to diseases.
But its best feature? A double harvest, with fruit in both July and September – you’ll never run out of figs!