How to Grow Figs
Many people wonder how to grow figs. These fruit trees are among the easiest of the fruit trees that can be grown. They grow happily in both the ground or containers, making the perfect for all kinds of gardeners. Let’s take a look at when to plant fig tree and how to care for your fig tree.
How to Grow Figs
When it comes to fig tree care, you should know that growing fig trees requires well-drained and fertile soil. The best soil for growing fig trees would be loamy soil that has plenty of organic matter cut through it. Also, be sure the area gets plenty of moisture. The perfect pH for growing fig trees is a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.5.
When thinking about how to grow figs, you should know that they should be protected from cold winter winds and direct winter sunlight. Unseasonably warm temperatures can cause your fig trees to grow. If this happens too early in the season, and then another freeze sneaks in, your growing fig trees will be damaged.
When to Plant Fig Trees
For good fig tree care, remember that a northern exposure keeps your fig trees dormant until the time comes that they should be blooming. You can set your dormant, bare-rooted trees out in late fall to early spring. For easy fig tree maintenance, you should choose fig trees that are free of root-knot nematodes.
Fig tree maintenance is not a lot of work. You can plant your growing fig trees about 15 to 20 feet apart. If you are going to train your trees to be bushes instead, plant them 10 feet apart. Either way, there is little fig tree care you will have to administer.
Fig trees like full sunlight and adequate room for growth. Be careful not to have too much nitrogen in the soil. You can fertilize the soil at a rate of one pound of 8-8-8 each year of age of the tree, or each foot tall the tree is. This is to a maximum of 12 pounds and then you would maintain the same rate each year.
With regard to fig tree maintenance, you should fertilize your trees annually. If you have heavy soil, fertilize the tree when the buds swell. If you have loamy soil, you can fertilize with half the amount required when the buds swell and the other half can go down in late May.
Good fig tree care requires some pruning. However, fig trees don’t require much. You should prune in late winter just before growth begins so you don’t injure the plant.
Harvesting your figs can be done as soon as the fruit is softening. Figs are not tasty until they are ripe, so you will need to let them stay on the tree until fully ripe. Figs will stop ripening once they are removed from the tree. You can store them in the refrigerator for a week or two until you are ready to use them in recipes or eat them.
By Jackie Carroll
When you consider the number of fig tree varieties available, choosing the right one for your garden is a daunting task. Most home landscapes have room for only one tree, and you want a fig tree that produces an abundance of sweet, tender figs with a minimum of fuss. Here are some suggestions to help you make the right choice.
How Many Types of Fig Trees Are There?
There are over 700 named varieties of fig trees, but many of them are of no use to home gardeners. All of the varieties fall into four fig types:
Caprifigs – Caprifigs only produce male flowers and never bear fruit. Their only purpose is to pollinate female fig trees.
Smyrna – Smyrna figs bear all female flowers. They have to be pollinated by a caprifig.
San Pedro – San Pedro figs bear two crops: one on leafless mature wood that requires no pollination and one on new wood that requires pollination by a male flower.
Common figs – Common figs are the type usually grown in home landscapes. They don’t need another tree for pollination. Figs that require pollination have an opening that allows the pollinating wasps entry the internal flowers. Common figs don’t need an opening, so they are less susceptible to rot caused by insects and rainwater entering the fruit.
Here are some different types of figs in the common group that perform well in home gardens:
- Celeste is a small to medium-size brown or purple fig that grows on a fairly large tree. It produces dessert quality fruit that ripens earlier than most other figs.
- Alma figs aren’t much to look at but the fruit has excellent, rich flavor. It ripens late in the season.
- Brown Turkey produces a crop of large, tasty figs over a long season. The fruit has attractive flesh and few seeds.
- Purple Genca, also called Black Genoa or Black Spanish, is a large, deep purple variety with sweet, red flesh.
One of the best ways to find a variety suitable to your area is to visit a local nursery. They will carry fig types suitable for your climate and can make recommendations based on local experience.