How to Grow Beautiful and Productive Fig Trees

Ficus carica

The occasional pejorative use of the term “fig leaf” is wholly undeserved.

The leaves of the fig tree (Ficus carica) are quite lovely – large, beautifully shaped, and generous in their provision of shade.

It is entirely unjust that the leaves of this lovely tree have been so maligned throughout history, likely due to their part in the biblical story of Adam and Eve.

Any plant that gives us food, beauty, and shelter surely deserves our respect and admiration, rather than our scorn.

A close up of a purple blue fresh fig hanging on a branch.

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Let’s see why!

Origins

Native to the Middle East and northwestern Asia, the tree was brought to North America by Spanish missionaries in the early sixteenth century.

Easy-to-grow figs are among the oldest fruits known to humankind and are members of the Moraceae family, which includes the mulberry.

A close up horizontal image of a fig tree planted in a home garden next to a wooden fence pictured on a soft focus background.
Photo by Ralph Barrera

These trees can be left unprotected in USDA Hardiness Zones 8-10. Gardeners in northern zones can grow these plants in containers and bring them indoors when temps drop below 10°F.

These trees are relatively fast growing and can grow to 20 or even 30 feet tall, and almost as wide. The deeply-lobed leaves can be four to eight inches wide and as long as 10 inches.

The shade provided by their girth and large leaves is well-appreciated. In fact, the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, is said to have found enlightenment while sitting under a fig tree.

A close up horizontal image of the foliage of a fig tree. growing in the garden pictured in light filtered sunshine.
Photo by Gretchen Heber

In the right conditions, some species will produce two crops in a year. The first crop, called a “breba” crop, ripens in late May or early June, and a second will be ready in late September to early November.

The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves

“Breba” or “breva” is a Spanish word that comes from the Latin “bifera,” which means twice-producing, according to Linda Ziedrich, author of “Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves.” Want to check it out for yourself? This book is available on Amazon. 

What to Buy?

Of the four main types of figs, three – Caprifigs, Smyrna, and San Pedro – are not usually grown by home gardeners, because they have complex pollination requirements.

The fourth type, the common fig, is parthenocarpic, meaning the fruit forms without fertilization. Let’s look at a few varieties of this type.

A close up vertical image of unripe figs growing on the tree pictured in light sunshine with foliage in soft focus in the background.
Photo by Ralph Barrera

One of the most commonly planted fig trees in North America is ‘Celeste,’ available from Nature Hills Nursery.

This large beauty is fast growing and produces medium-sized, sweet, juicy fruits that are brownish-purple and ready to harvest in July.

A close up square image of a pile of 'Celeste' figs freshly harvested from the garden.

‘Celeste’

Celeste does not produce a breba crop. The fruit is good both for eating fresh and for preserving. Also known as the sugar fig, it’s hardy to zone 6.

‘Brown Turkey’ is another favorite, especially for more northern gardeners as it’s more cold-hardy than some other varieties.

You can find ‘Brown Turkey’ available at at Nature Hills Nursery.

A close up square image of 'Brown Turkey' fruits growing on the tree pictured in light sunshine on a soft focus background.

‘Brown Turkey’

This tree produces a smaller fruit that is not quite as richly flavored as ‘Celeste,’ but it does often produce a breba crop. And that means figs for everyone! Thrives in Zones 7-9.

Super-Southern growers might want to try ‘Black Mission’ – it’s a vigorous grower, but not particularly cold hardy. Nature Hills also sells this tree.

A close up of the ripe fruits of 'Black Mission' cut in half. To the top of the frame is white text.

‘Black Mission’

This variety produces two crops of large, rich-tasting, purple-black fruits that are good fresh or dried.

‘Ischia’ is said to do particularly well in coastal California, whereas the related ‘Green Ischia’ is more suited for the South.

‘Ischia’ (Ficus carica), 4-inch Pot

Ischia are smaller, lighter-colored fruits with excellent flavor. You can purchase ‘Ischia’ from Hirts, via Amazon.

A Sun Loving Tree

Like college kids on spring break, figs like sun. They are happiest with seven to eight hours of full sun during the growing season.

When choosing a site for your tree, don’t underestimate its ability and desire to spread out. It might feel a bit crowded if it’s too close to a wall or fence.

These trees aren’t too picky about their soil, although they prefer well-drained loam with lots of organic matter.

Propagation

This species is astonishingly easy to propagate. Simply sneak into your neighbor’s yard in the dead of night, pruners in hand

We jest. Ask permission and take an eight- to 10-inch cutting of wood in early spring.

A close up horizontal image of a number of small pots with fruit trees ready for planting in the garden.
Photo by Gretchen Heber

Stick it in a pot of good dirt, with several inches below the surface and one or two buds above the dirt line.

Let the cutting grow in the container for a season before transplanting.

A close up vertical image of a small fig tree in a black plastic pot set in front of a wooden fence.
Photo by Gretchen Heber

My own huge tree is the result of my dear neighbor Louie sharing a potted plant he’d propagated from a cutting he snipped from a tree at the side of a road somewhere.

When he lost his own tree during the construction of his backyard pool, he came back to our big beauty to take a cutting to propagate.

Planting Tips

Plant figs when they are dormant, in spring. Set container plants three inches deeper than their container depth.

If you’re planting bare root plants, cut back the tops to about one-half of their original length.

A close up horizontal image of ripe figs growing on the tree in the garden pictured in light sunshine with foliage in soft focus surrounding the fruit.

These plants are fairly drought tolerant, but if things get too dry, you’ll want to give them a drink.

These trees generally do just fine without any fertilizing. If it seems your tree is being stingy with its spring leaf development, give it some balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 (NPK), according to package instructions, to jumpstart it.

These plants require little or no pruning. An ill-placed branch can certainly be removed to unblock a path if needed, of course, in winter. And you’ll want to remove any deadwood.

Pests and Diseases

Squirrels. Grrrrrrrr. We’ll come back to this in a minute.

A close up horizontal image of a squirrel pictured on a soft focus background.

Other plagues to look for include root-knot nematodes, which are a serious threat to fig trees in parts of the South.

The larvae of these destructive pests infect plant roots, inhibiting their ability to absorb nutrients.

According to G.W. Krewer, extension horticulturist, and Floyd Hendrix, plant pathologist, both of University of Georgia Extension Service, trees infected by root-knot nematodes cannot be cured with chemical treatment.

Krewer and Hendrix suggest pruning the tops to balance the weakened root system, which may prolong the tree’s life. Usually, however, infected plants eventually die.

Rust is another blight to be aware of. It’s a fungus that shows up on the underside of leaves as raised, reddish-brown spots.

Rust is not usually fatal, and unless it’s an annual problem, spraying with a fungicide is not necessary.

Figs are also susceptible to a couple of fungal blights, including leaf and pink blight. Avoid these by using sanitary gardening practices such as applying mulch, cleaning away dead plant material, and disinfecting tools.

Avoiding Fig-Fattened Wildlife

Figs are ready to harvest when the neck weakens and the fruit droops.

The ripe fruits will be soft to the touch and the skin may begin to split. And most varieties darken to a brownish-purple color just before harvest time.

A close up horizontal image of ripe figs growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.

You’ll want to grab them at just the right time. Picked too soon, they aren’t yummy – and they won’t ripen once removed from the plant.

Here’s the tricky part: You have to time the harvest of the fruit perfectly, so you get them when they’re just ripe, but before the $#&%@#! squirrels get them! Or the birds.

Some gardeners cover smaller trees with netting to dissuade wildlife, but this is impractical with large trees. You simply have to be diligent about watching for ripeness and then beating the crafty creatures to the goods.

Fruit Storage

Harvested figs have a fairly short shelf life; store them in the refrigerator for two or three days, tops.

A close up vertical image of a branch of a tree with a small green developing fig pictured on a soft focus background.
Photo by Ralph Barrera

To dry these fruits, wash them thoroughly and then dry them with a towel. Place them whole or halved on a wire rack. Place the wire rack on a baking sheet.

Put the baking sheet in a 140°F oven for eight to 24 hours.

You can also use dehydrator, following the same instructions. Learn more about dehydrators from this article on our sister site, Foodal.

You’ll know they’re dry when the outsides become leathery and you don’t see any juice on the inside. They should still be slightly pliable.

Store the dried fruit in the refrigerator or freezer in airtight containers for 18 to 24 months.

Recipe Ideas

If eating them like candy somehow gets tiresome, you can preserve the fruits or add them to any number of recipes.

This recipe for tahini, honey-roasted fig, and banana popsicles, from our sister site, Foodal, is delicious. These frozen treats are filling and not too sweet.

Grow figs in your garden and use them to make delicious recipes | GardenersPath.com
Photo by Kendall Vanderslice.

Packed with figs, banana, and tahini, they do double duty as breakfast and dessert.

And a sweet fig livens up a fresh salad, too! Check out this recipe for arugula dijon salad with figs, pistachios, and pea shoots, also from Foodal.

A close up horizontal image of a blue and white plate with a fresh green salad set on a wooden surface.
Photo by Meghan Yager.

Or if you have an abundant harvest, check out this recipe for easy fig jam, also from Foodal.

You can use your fresh, homemade jam in a hearty roasted chicken panini.

A close up horizontal image of a freshly made roast chicken panini on a white plate pictured on a soft focus background.
Photo by Kelli McGrane.

Doesn’t that look delicious? You can find the recipe over at Foodal.

Aspersions Aside

Clearly, we are wholly in favor of dismissing any negative connotations of the use of the fig leaf as a cover for things disagreeable.

Indeed, the fig is a most agreeable and generous specimen of a plant whose fruit is more than 50 percent sugar. We dare you to cast aspersions on this benevolent beauty.

A close up vertical image of two hands from the right of the frame holding a handful of freshly harvested figs, with foliage in soft focus in the background.
In fact, we ask: Why wouldn’t you plant this species? Northern friends, buy a big pot or consider the ‘Hardy Chicago’ variety. Southern gardeners, select a wide spot. Soon you’ll all be members of the fig fanatics club!

Do you have fantastic figs in your yard? Planning your late-night neighborhood escapade to “borrow” from the neighbors? Tell us more in the comments section below.

And if you’re looking to expand your homegrown fruit repertoire even more, check out these guides next:

Photos by Gretchen Heber, Kelli McGrane, Kendall Vanderslice, Meghan Yager, and Ralph Barrera  © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on February 19, 2019. Product photos via Harvard Common Press, Hirts, and Nature Hills Nursery. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.

About Gretchen Heber

A former garden editor for a daily newspaper in Austin, Texas, Gretchen Heber goes through entirely too many pruners and garden gloves in a year’s time. She’s never met a succulent she didn’t like and gets really irritated every 3-4 years when Austin actually has a freeze cold enough to kill them. To Gretchen, nothing is more rewarding than a quick dash to the garden to pluck herbs to season the evening meal. And it’s definitely time for a happy dance when she’s able to beat the squirrels to the peaches, figs, or loquats.

123 thoughts on “How to Grow Beautiful and Productive Fig Trees”

  1. We live in Camino, CA, 1 hr east of Sacramento and 1 hr west of Tahoe. We have only been here a year and there is a fig tree in the yard that produces nothing. I would appreciate some advice about what we should do to get production from this beautiful little tree.

    Reply
  2. Hi Robin,

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

    A few things might be preventing your fig from producing. The tree might not yet be mature enough to fruit. Most fig trees need to be at least two years old before they produce fruit, but some trees need to be as old as six years old.

    If a these trees receive too much nitrogen, that might prevent it from fruiting. You might want to switch to a fertilizer with less nitrogen or add phosphorus to balance the nitrogen.

    Finally, too much or too little water can affect a fig tree’s ability to produce fruit. Check with your local extension agent about specific watering requirements for the variety you are growing in your area.

    Keep us posted! With luck, you’ll be enjoying a homemade treat soon!

    Reply
  3. My fig tree is about 15 years old , started from a very old tree. It has been producing fruit for several years. However it always falls off before it can rippen? I’m in zone 9with watering restrictions. The mother tree was almost neglected and produced 3 harvests a year.
    Any ideas ?
    Thank you, Linda

    Reply
    • Hi Linda…. thanks so much for reading my article!

      I’m sorry about your uncooperative tree — frustrating, isn’t it? I wonder if your watering restrictions are the cause. While figs can tolerate a dry spell, you might have better luck ensuring your tree gets about two inches of water per week while it’s fruiting.

      Also, put down a thick layer of mulch to retain the precious moisture you’ve given your tree.

      If your fruits are dropping when they’re very small, they may not have been pollinated. The tree won’t use resources to fully develop fruit that wasn’t pollinated. Hopefully you have lots of pollinators in your yard, and take care that you’re not killing them with pesticides.

      Is your tree showing any signs of disease? Illness, too, can cause a fig tree to drop fruit early.

      Let me know if any of these solutions sound like they might help out.

      Reply
  4. My 3 fig trees are in pots on my screened in porch. They are covered with ants. How can I treat this? They are beginning to fruit.

    Reply
    • Hi Sandy,
      Thanks for reading my article!
      The ants are probably snacking on aphids, which apparently taste pretty good.
      Get rid of both ants and aphids with a strong stream of water, and then put down diatomaceous earth around your pots. Neem oil, too, is effective against these pests.

      Reply
      • Actually, it’s usually wasps that pollinate figs! But certain types of predatory ants can actually help to protect these pollinators. You may find this study to be of interest.

        Reply
  5. My fig tree is already 4 years old, healthy and bears fruits every year in the summer. The problem is that the fruits don’t get ripe for harvest at all. I live in Vancouver, Canada. I know they can survive the weather here since I’ve seen them in other houses’ yards. Please help!

    Reply
    • HI Loida,

      Thanks for reading.

      I’m wondering if your tree is stressed? This will cause it to halt the ripening process. Stress can be caused by lack of water or insufficient nutrition. As mentioned in the article, figs don’t usually require much fertilizing, but in your case, I’d probably ensure the tree has plenty of water, and if the fruit still doesn’t ripen, try applying a half pound of 10-10-10.
      Also, be sure that your figs truly aren’t ripening, and it’s not just that the greedy wildlife is beating you to them!

      Reply
    • Grow Desert King! 95% of fig cultivars don’t like Pacific NW weather. There is a nice one growing at the entrance to Stanley Park.

      Reply
    • Check your plant to see if it has ants around it
      Ants will help the fig tree ripen the fruit.
      I had this problem when I had a bug man come out to exterminate the ants in my house. As soon as I fixed the ant problem my trees went dry. I replaced the ants for the trees and whalah! Sweet figs again. I have sugar ants in my trees. Just know they will invade the house if it’s to close.

      Reply
  6. I was given a potted fig tree that spread leaves and developed fruit. However, the fruit is dropping and many leaves have dropped. I figure it is probably stressed as we have had some pretty severe summer weather and inconsistent watering. What concerns me is there is a yellow mushroom that keeps popping up on the surface ground and out of a crack in the pot. I am afraid this fungus is going to kill the tree. I know this is not the time to transplant anything, but I wonder if it wouldn’t benefit my fig tree to put it in the ground after washing away the “infected” soil from the roots and letting it spend the rest of this year acclimating to its new location?

    Reply
  7. Mary, thank you for reading my article.

    Is your tree getting too much moisture? Is the pot in full sun? The fungus likely won’t hurt the tree but its presence indicates that the soil is too moist, so you might let the soil dry out completely between waterings and also put the container in full sun.

    My fig drops some leaves after the fruits are gone, in late July and August when it’s hotter than the face of the sun here in Austin.

    Reply
  8. My fig tree dies back every winter and comes back in spring. Is there anything I can do to protect it? It is on the south side out by the barn but is out in the open.

    Reply
    • I am in Zone 6B (Chicago) and planted a fig tree several years ago. I bought a fairly mature plant that was about 5 feet tall. I have gotten fruit every year. In the winter I wrap it up: burlap, then lots of leaves and hay or straw, then bubble wrap. Then I top it off with a plastic trash can lid which keeps most of the rain and snow out but allows ventilation. So far so good. Friends of mine who live on Cape Cod use a different method: they dig a trench beside their tree, partially uproot it and lay it down in the trench. They cover it with the earth, lots of leaves, and wait until spring. Works for them! My fig is on a rocky hill so not so easy to use the trench method.

      We have freakishly low temp for tomorrow a.m. and I have already uncovered my tree. I am crossing my fingers.

      Reply
      • That’s amazing. I also live in the Chicago area and I can’t imagine it surviving outside when the temps drop to -20. I wheel mine into the garage and cover them every winter. I bet you get more figs, having it in the ground versus a larger pot.

        Reply
  9. As far as the Adam and Eve part (may Allah be pleased with them both of them). Allah commanded them to use those leaves. So therefore they are not treated unjustly. Moreover, humans have a higher status than any other creatures on this earth. Allah created Everything.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment, Sharenzaa. The writer is referring here to the derivation of the term “fig leaf” in its secondary definition, explained by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as “something that conceals or camouflages usually inadequately or dishonestly.” When used in a more secular and modern context, there’s a negative connotation here, one that the plant perhaps does not deserve.

      Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  10. I have had a fig tree for 10 years or more. Lots of green edible figs. This year, loaded as usual. Green, hard as rocks, never ripened yet. I live in Punta Gorda, Florida.

    Reply
    • Did your fruit ever ripen? Mine in Texas don’t usually ripen until July. If they didn’t ripen, they might be stressed from lack of water or nutrients.

      Reply
    • Thanks for reading the article, Hosein. Some fig trees won’t produce fruit until they are as much as six years old.

      Reply
  11. I have 3 fig trees which are outgrowing their containers. I want to plant them out but am worried about animals eating the leaves. Are they poisonous.

    Reply
    • The leaves of the fig tree discussed here (Ficus carica) are not toxic to pets. The leaves of the household plant Ficus benjamina, which is called ficus or fig, are indeed toxic to dogs.

      Reply
  12. Just purchased 3 fig trees this spring. They’re in pots for now. Two are supposed to be cold hardy to zone 7 while the third can be if provided a warm southern wall. We’ll see. They’re quite content, for now, being babied in their pots.

    Reply
  13. Thanks for the in-depth and very helpful article! I recently purchased a fig tree in a 10″ pot. It is already about 3-1/2′ tall so should I re-pot it now or wait until late fall? I plan to keep it containerized because I do not think it will survive the harsh winters we have here in Western New York. Also, the tree was only labeled as “fig tree” so how do I know what variety I have? I was drawn to the plant because of it’s gorgeous HUGE leaves and I have read that they are edible too. So fragrant… I would like to experiment with them so any suggestions in that area are welcome too.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your kind words; so glad you’ve found the article helpful.

      The best time to repot your fig tree is in the spring, and I think it will be fine in its 10-inch pot for another six months.

      As to what variety you have, that’s a tough one. I did a quick search and found where a New York Times writer has a ‘Brown Turkey’ growing in his Brooklyn yard. I know that’s on the other end of the state, but it’s a start! I found reference to that variety in a couple of other scholarly articles regarding figs in New York. So perhaps that’s what you have.

      Fig leaves are said to have a vanilla, coconut, and walnut flavor. They can be used as you would spinach leaves, or as a wrap for rice, sandwich ingredients, or fish, for example. Many aficionados also make tea with fig leaves.

      Be sure to use young leaves; older ones can be tough.

      Reply
    • Keep growing in a larger pot until you can ID the variety. Store in an unheated location over winter. Hopefully the plant is fruit bearing not ornamental. Pinch the growing tips to get figs to develop. Buy a Hardy Chicago next. OH! I’m from Buffalo originally, so I know what winter means!

      Reply
      • I just got a Hardy Chicago. Hoping to keep in a container. How tall do they get? Will have to come inside for winter. Thanks!

        Reply
        • ‘Hardy Chicago’ will grow to about 15-30 feet tall and 15-35 feet wide at maturity, and it’s an excellent choice for growing in containers. Over the years, you should be able to prune it back if you like without interfering with production of a good harvest. Good luck!

          Reply
  14. Fabulous article, thank you. I purchased an 8 inch tall fig tree with a couple of small leaves out of fascination at my local garden shop in a tiny 3 inch pot. I transplanted it into a roughly 1 gallon decorative ceramic pot because the garden shop suggested I put it in the house as a houseplant for the winter. USDA says my NH home is Zone 5b (-15 to -10 F).

    What is the best approach to enjoying this lovely plant? Also, I have a low branch growing off the main brunch that I’d like to clip and replant. Am I best to leave it until spring, or can I just go for it?

    Reply
    • Thank you for your kind words.

      I think you would do best to wait until late winter/early spring to take your cutting. Insert the cutting into a container of good dirt, and let it sit for about a year, until the next planting season. You can then transplant.

      Reply
  15. Have a fig tree given to us last year. Cut back and it has grown four foot high, with over 2 dozen fruit on it. Should I put in a pot as worried it overtakes garden or leave it? I live in Wales.

    The fruit is about an inch big and green. Can’t believe I have so much fruit!!!

    Reply
    • Congratulations on such a fruitful tree! Fig trees can get quite large, so if you don’t have a big space for it, you might want to keep it in the pot. It seems to be happy and giving you plenty of fruit, so maybe there’s no reason to transplant it.

      Reply
  16. I have had my fig tree for about 6 years. We’ve been through a lot together.

    This year I got about 20 to 30 figs off of the tree.

    My question: The tree is about 4 feet tall and has not grown a bit in all of these years. Is this unusual? Is there anything I can do to help it grow bigger?

    Reply
  17. I am so glad that I found your article. It has answered several questions I have had about growing my Celeste fig tree in Piedmont, NC which I believe is Zone 7b.

    This is the third year I have had “Celeste.” The first year I planted this wonderful beauty from the pot and got 3 ripe, deliciously sweet figs. She has grown to about 6-7 feet over the past two years and produces the little green beginnings of figs, but so far no ripened fruit. After her first year, I have really done nothing to help with growth, in fact I thought she was dead. When should I fertilize, and am I correct in saying that I use the 10-10-10 fertilizer you mentioned in your article? Also, when the leaves fall off, am I to then break off the large stems? Celeste seems to be blooming late, more like mid-summer and showing fruit in late August through September. Any advice you can give will be appreciated by this novice gardener.

    Reply
    • Phyllis, I consulted an expert in NC, who suggests using one pound of 8-8-8 for each year of the tree’s age, up til 12 years. If your soil is sandy, apply half of the fertilizer when the buds swell, and then the other half in late May. If your soil is sandy, apply all the fertilizer when buds swell. Put the fertilizer on the mulch around the tree.
      I’ve never broken off any of the large stems.

      Reply
  18. Thank you for this article Gretchen! This is a great read. I love how you break down everything about how to grow the tree, but then provide great recipe ideas too! I recently tried the prosciutto and gorgonzola wrapped figs, and they were incredible. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Tran,

      Thanks for reading the article.
      The answer is a qualified yes. First, start with a cold-hardy variety, such as Brown Turkey. Then, you have some options:
      You can plant it in a container and bring it indoors to overwinter.
      You can plant it in a protected area and then, come winter, wrap it in burlap stuffed with straw for insulation.
      Another option is to dig around the root area in late fall after the tree has gone dormant. Dig a trench right next to were the tree is planted, and lay the tree into the trench and cover with soil. Come spring, dig the tree back out, stand it up, and resettle it. I’ve never tried this method, and it seems tricky. But if you try it, let us know how it goes!

      Reply
  19. I just cut down my fig tree. I live in VA and the last 5 years or so we’ve had very rainy summers and the tree produced fruit late that never really matured. Or never produced any fruit at all. The tree was planted in a sunny spot over 10 years ago.

    Reply
    • Hi Libby! Oh gosh! It’s always hard to say goodbye to a tree. But perhaps you will plant something in its place that will do better in your area! Let us know what you decide to go with!

      Reply
  20. I have a 5 year old Celeste Fig tree. The tree has been producing figs the last 2 years. Last year we had a wonderful harvest that began in early July. This year the tree is loaded with small green figs showing no sign of ripening. Last year I had to pick twice a day to stay ahead of the critters. I just do not recall having green figs for as long last year. This tree has had green figs for at least 2 months, maybe closer to 3. Is there anything I can do to encourage them to start the ripening process? I am so looking forward to a bountiful harvest.

    Reply
  21. My aunt had a mulberry tree with bugs inside the mulberries. Are figs prone to this,too? We never ate her mulberry pies.

    Reply
    • Nancy, I love your story about your aunt’s pies! Too funny! So, the thing about figs and insects is yes. There’s a specific wasp that’s part of the fig reproductive cycle. The wasp has to go into the fig to do her thing, and then, alas, she can’t get out. Her body is broken down and absorbed by the fig.

      Reply
    • I had figs from a friend and with a covered dish social coming up I took some out of the freezer and made a cobbler. I had taken a dish to a luncheon before and it was not eaten. This time I printed a sign saying “fig cobbler.” It was all eaten and the MC stood up after the luncheon and ask who made the fig cobbler. I had to give him the recipe.

      Reply
  22. We live in the Chicago suburbs. I have one fig tree which came from a cutting from my Uncle Vito’s massive fig tree from the old country and another from my parents’ neighbors. Fig trees are for sharing! (and so are the figs). We take dried figs and place an almond in them, then roast them in the oven — sweet and crunchy…

    Oh, and they are in very large pots that get wheeled into the garage and covered every winter. Figs are a family tradition, along with preparing raw olives and making homemade wine (olives and grapes usually shipped in from California). This year, the grapes are coming from southern Italy!

    Reply
    • Frank, thanks so much for sharing your treasured family stories! I’m totally stealing your fig recipe for next season!

      Reply
  23. I have a fig tree that is at least 15 yrs old. The last 7 or 8 yrs it has produced no figs. Before it stopped producing the last yr it only gave 5 or 6 figs. Before that we had enough to eat a few each day for about 2 wks and that’s it. From your blog I have the idea conditions for it to produce beautifully. However I only get beautiful leaves and no fruit. Can you tell what maybe wrong?

    Reply
  24. I was just given a fig seedling from a friend’s large and productive fig tree. She doesn’t know what kind it is. The ripe figs are green on the outside with a medium pink interior. Lighter than a brown turkey interior. Do you know what kind it is?

    It’s doing very well in a pot outside, but the leaves smell enough that I don’t want to take it in over winter. It’s early October in southwest Virginia, will it survive the winter outside in the ground?

    Reply
    • Well, normally I would be hesitant about putting a fig in the ground where you live, especially if you don’t know the variety. However, since it’s a cutting from your neighbor’s tree, and assuming her tree is well-established and in the ground, it sees like you’d be safe planting it outdoors, assuming it’s mature enough.

      Reply
    • How big are the figs when they are mature, Kay? Are they a little sweet, very sweet, or maybe kind of nutty? Are they solid green, or green with a blush or tinge of purple? Can you send a picture of a ripe one, cut in half?

      Based on your description, it sounds like these may be Calimyrna figs, or perhaps Adriatic figs. Green Ischias (aka Strawberry) and Smiths also fit this description (there are so many different varieties!).

      Reply
  25. My sister gave me a fig tree (see the attachment). The tiny fruits on the tree have a brown color. I hope it can survive Seattle winter weather.

    Do you know the kind of fig for this?

    Reply
    • These look like they may be ‘Brown Turkey’ figs, or perhaps ‘Celeste’ figs, but it’s hard to say while they’re still developing. And the leaves seem to have a rougher edge than many of the images that I was able to find for the ‘Brown Turkey’ type. Maybe Chicago Hardy, aka Bensonhurst Purple. As the figs continue to grow and ripen, do they become more bulbous and stay brown? Or do they darken, or retain their elongated shape?

      Do you plan to keep your tree in a container, or plant it in the ground? Figs do best growing outdoors year-round in USDA Hardiness Zones 8-10, so they should be alright through the winter in Seattle (Zone 8b). If this is a ‘Brown Turkey,’ it should do well, since this type is cold-hardy.

      If extreme cold is predicted, young plants in particular can benefit from some additional protection- wrapping them carefully but securely in burlap through the coldest part of the winter can help. At least when it’s still small enough to move, your plant could also be brought inside for the winter.

      Reply
  26. Hello, I live in zone 10 and have started a fig tree that is large purple fruit from the mother tree (don’t know what kind) it goes back 4 generations and we just call it the Sarafian fruit in honor of the first tree owner.

    I am only 9 months in and its in a large pot and thriving, I know it’s to young to fruit.
    My concern is that in a year I will be moving to a zone 8 I will have a green house. My plan is to keep it along with others trees in the greenhouse, will it fruit without bees?

    Reply
    • Le Ha, thanks for reading! What a wonderful story! Most home-grown trees do not require cross-pollination, so you should be ok.

      Reply
  27. I was given a fig tree in a pot. I have it indoors, here in Northeast Oklahoma in a warm room. I heard that although they are self pollinators, they do better with another tree. I want to plan outdoors in the spring, if I can find a safe sheltered place. In your opinion, do I need another tree? I am not sure of the species of this fig plant.

    Reply
    • Can you share a photo, Marcia? What color and type of fruit does this tree get? Cross-pollination and the presence of pollinating insects (like specialized types of wasps, in some cases) can certainly help to improve fig yields.

      Reply
  28. Can you trim fig trees to keep them at a height and width that’s easy to pick or will that cut production levels down? I am hoping to net my trees during production time to keep the critters away but don’t know if that will be feasible. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Generally speaking, the short answer here is yes to both.

      Yields can vary depending on the cultivar that you’re growing, and when and how you prune. Some growers select branches for production and allow those to grow long, or add notches when they prune to encourage new shoots to develop. Others make note of the location of terminal buds vs. dormant buds when they prune. And dwarf varieties may be more highly productive when kept to a shorter stature than full-sized varieties that are pruned back.

      Stay tuned for a future article with a focus on pruning figs. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  29. I grew a fig tree from cutting. It is fruiting first time this year. I have noticed that some of the young fruit getting bad. I live in oxford UK. What can I do ?

    Reply
    • Congratulations on getting your first fruit! But sorry to hear that your plant is suffering. Are the fruits that are rotting also falling from the tree? Are the leaves healthy? Is the tree getting adequate water and sunlight, and is it planted in well-draining soil?

      Premature fruit rot and drop can be due to a variety of causes- does your plant exhibit any other signs of disease? A variety of ailments may be to blame, including Anthracnose fungus. But perhaps it’s actually the cultivar itself that has lead your tree to drop fruit in this case.

      Though some types of fig are self-fruiting, others must be located in close proximity to another fig with a similar bloom time for cross pollination. Figs are exceptionally difficult to hand-pollinate, and specialized wasps usually do the job. Fig flowers are actually located deep inside the fruit, rather than being external. If this tree is growing outdoors and/or the type of wasp required to pollinate does not visit your trees, fruit will never form fully. ‘Capri’ figs, for example, suffer this problem in Texas.

      Reply
  30. Hi Gretchen,
    I have a new fig tree and live in Southern California. I don’t want it reaching 20 or 30 feet tall and wide. I’d like to keep it small. How do I prune it regularly without killing it?

    Reply
    • What cultivar did you plant, Judy? Mature heights can vary significantly between cultivars, and many can tolerate a hard annual pruning in the winter when the tree is dormant, to remove dead branches and maintain a manageable height.

      Reply
  31. What must I do with these shoots coming from the base of my 5′ tall Chicago Hardy fig. I live in central Virginia. I would like to continue container-growing this tree. I obviously need to add soil, but I want to deal with the shoots first. Is there a way to harvest them to replant?

    Reply
    • Suckers like these are common with figs. Some (perhaps most) gardeners prefer to prune their figs to have a single central trunk, and they prune away all of the suckers when they sprout throughout the growing season. Others like a multi-branched shrub-like shape, which can be nice in a container. But this “extra” growth will essentially sap energy that could otherwise be put into fruit and foliage production, so that’s something to keep in mind.

      If you choose to remove the suckers, snap them off cleanly and as closely to the trunk as possible. If you’re able to remove the suckers with some roots attached, these are excellent for starting new plants. Putting some soil around the base of these suckers can help them to develop stronger roots before you remove them actually, but keep in mind that the larger they grow and woodier they become, the more difficult they may be to remove. Fig suckers without roots can also be propagated, following the directions above to root them. Try dipping the cut ends in some powdered rooting hormone and plant in a moist soil-less mix right away, a few inches deep. Cuttings will ooze latex, so it’s important to plant quickly before the cut ends seal over, as this can impede water and nutrient uptake.

      Reply
  32. I appreciate the questions and comments here. I live in Lubbock TX and have a turkey fig, which is now about 5 years old. I have wondered about removing the suckers. The suckers have already started putting on figs. Can I safely remove the suckers at this point and still have hopes of getting the tree to produce?

    Reply
    • I just bought a Brown Turkey fig tree. Do I leave it in the pot or can I plant it, and do I need 2 trees or will that one tree be fine? I live in Alabama ????

      Reply
        • This depends in part on where exactly you’re located in Virginia, Mary. VA spans USDA Hardiness Zones 5-8. Most fig trees can be grown successfully in the ground in Zone 8, but they will probably do better in containers that can be brought indoors in the winter in cooler zones.

          Reply
      • Hi Timothy,
        Sorry we are slow getting back to you. Brown Turkey fig trees are self-pollinating, so you don’t need a 2nd tree to get fruit.
         
        And as far as planting it in the ground goes, I see that Alabama has zones 7a-9a so you can plant it in the ground anywhere in the state.
         
        However, if you live in the north part of the state (zones 7a or 7b) you will want to plant your tree in a more protected spot, like near a south facing wall – somewhere where it will stay warmer during the coldest part of winter.
         
        When I lived in zone 7b I grew figs and had some winter dieback in years that were particularly cold. When that happens, the tree will put out new growth in the next year.
         
        If you’re in zones 8-9 you should be able to plant these in the ground without worry!

        Reply
    • Hi Sam,
      Sorry we are slow replying to you!
      I recommend waiting until the end of next winter to prune. Producing fruit is a lot of work for a tree, and so is dealing with a wound (which is essentially what happens when we prune trees). You might prune it now and it might do just fine – but there’s always the risk that pruning can open the plant up to infection – and it will be more successful fighting infection if it isn’t busy producing fruit at the same time. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  33. I have a fig tree not sure what kind. A patient gave it to me years ago. I have never had a fig off of it. It is full now with figs it’s but the fall off. I live in Clearwater and my trees are in containers and they get fertilizer, water and care. I don’t get it can any one help me. I’d like to send a picture if someone tells me how. Thank you

    Reply
  34. I just wrote something about my fig lets dropping, I forgot to say I do think it is rootbound even though it is in a big pot. Some roots are showing on the top. I did not realize they need to be pollinated. I keep them in full sun in a screened in area. I get many small green figs but they fall off. Like I said in the other paragraph I do not know what kind they are. Is there any way I could send you a picture of them. It is well over 5 to 6 years old. I would appreciate any advice. I also have a Meyer lemon that I giving me problems. Do you know any thing about lemons. Thank you. Julie

    Reply
    • Yes, please feel free to upload your photos here!

      A lack of pollination could certainly be at play, and inconsistent watering (too much or too little) can also cause immature fruit to drop.

      What kind of problems is the lemon having?

      Reply
  35. Hey, Gretchen! Thanks for the article. I live in a garden home…well, sort of…so my space is not so large. Can you keep a fig tree pruned back to fit in a certain space and it still bear a decent amount of fruit? Or will too much pruning to keep it within certain confines cause it problems?

    Reply
    • Yes, you can prune back a fig and still get fruit! But the yield that you’re likely to pull in will certainly depend on how much pruning you need to do. Fruit is produced on old wood, and heavy pruning should typically only be done in the first couple of years of a fig’s life, with less extreme maintenance pruning done during the dormant season in following years.

      Reply
  36. I bought a fig tree this spring and it already has about 12 fits on it ( not ripe, small and green). I’m astonished because I didn’t expect for it to bear fruit for at least 2 years. Is this “normal?” Should we harvest it when they are ripe? Not sure what to do…

    Reply
    • Hi Jamie, Sounds like you got lucky with your fig tree! You should absolutely harvest and enjoy your figs when they are ripe. If you don’t, they’ll just fall off the tree, or some critter will gobble them up before you do.

      Reply
    • Also – some juvenile fig trees will produce crops of fruit that don’t ripen, so if your figs don’t ripen, don’t be too disappointed.

      Reply
  37. Hello! I wondered if anyone had any pictures of the root system of their fig tree. Ours is reddish and seems incredibly extensive in proportion to the size of the tree. Also, there are a LOT of figs and they look lovely – but taste like sawdust.

    Reply
    • Hi Jennifer!
       
      Let’s see if I can help you troubleshoot your sawdust-flavored figs. ????
       
      Are you sure the figs have fully ripened? Sometimes juvenile fig trees put out fruit which don’t ripen and it can take 3-4 years before you get edible fruit.
       
      Next question – have you had cooler, hotter, or drier than normal weather? All of these can cause problems with fruit.
       
      If you are getting less rain than normal and you don’t usually water your tree, try giving it a couple of inches of water each week. You may also want to mulch around your tree to keep the soil from drying out – just leave a circle of unmulched soil right around the trunk to prevent disease.
       
      Here’s another thought – is it possible your tree is getting over fertilized, either directly or indirectly? If you’re fertilizing your lawn around the fig tree, for instance, it may be getting more fertilizer than it needs, which would explain the large number of figs.
       
      Do any of these suggestions seem like they might help? Let us know. If not, some of our other writers or readers might have some ideas as well.
       
      And I’m glad you mentioned the roots of your tree – looking at plant roots is absolutely fascinating and it’s something I’m particularly interested in. I found this photo showing the roots of a fig tree in Rome, Italy.
       
      It’s pretty mind-blowing how extensive the root system on such a tree can get!

      Reply
      • Thank you for the tips! I will try mulch? The tree has been there for multiple years, and I don’t think it’s been fertilized. We’re in CA, so the weather’s pretty reasonable.
         
        Thanks, too, for the picture of the root system. I have searched and searched and it’s really difficult to find a picture of the root system. I was astonished at how far this root had traveled, given the size of the tree. It’s reddish in color. Would love if anyone could share other photos of the root system.

        Reply
  38. Help! I have a fig tree potted in a half wine barrel. It’s 3 years old. I live in upstate NY. The last few years it grew vigorously. This year also. However I’ve noticed on the past 3 weeks the new growth leaves are curling up. Don’t know why. I water it almost daily. I’ve organically fertilized it. It has many figlets on it but I’m very concerned that there’s something wrong. Please help. Don’t want to lose it to whatever is harming it.

    Reply
  39. I live in middle Tennessee where it not uncommon to have several days of freezing weather and snow.
    I have a fig tree that dies back every winter but comes out every spring. It is currently in a raised bed and full but not tall. I want to move it but do not know when or where to move it. Or should I put it in a container? Unfortunately I don’t know the kind of fig. Beautiful big leaves, never any fruit. I have had it several years.

    Reply
    • Can you share photos, Sandra? How large is the raised bed, and does it have a base or is it open to the ground soil?

      At this point, you might find that the root system is already rather extensive, so transplanting may be difficult and may even cause damage to the tree. Switching it to a container may not be possible at this point. As long as it comes back every year, it sounds like it is doing well. Figs typically do best in locations with some protection from wind and cold winter temperatures, such as an area close to a fence or building.

      Reply
  40. Hi,
    I am in South Carolina and want a fig tree going forward. My sister in law’s neighbor has one I can get fruit from, but I don’t want to bother them anymore. What type do you recommend for here? I am thinking brown turkey or Green Ischia. I want to buy one that is already ready to produce in the next year or so instead of propagating my own.

    Reply
    • Hi Neely,

      How nice that you have been able to get fruit from the neighbors! My first question would be whether this is in fact bothering them, or doing them a favor- an entire harvest from a fruit tree with good yields can be a lot for one household to try to use themselves. But either way, I commend you for making plans to grow your own. Sounds like a fun project!

      Secondly, do you know what type of tree your sister-in-law’s neighbors have? If they live near you and this tree is doing well, a similar cultivar might be suited to your yard as well.

      South Carolina is a big state with USDA Hardiness Zones ranging from 5b to 8b, so this decision will in part depend on where you’re located more specifically, and what the local climate is like there. Are you planning to grow your tree in the ground, or in a container? Do you have a protected planting area picked out in the yard, perhaps near a wall or fence, where it will be warm and shielded from strong winds? Can you bring it inside in the winter, or will you plan to protect it outdoors instead?

      ‘Brown Turkey’ is cold hardy, and these can do well in Zones 6 and above. This is actually the type that you’ll most commonly find in the South, according to some sources. ‘Green Ischia’ can typically hold its own through the winter in Zone 7, if proper care is given through the winter – particularly for the first couple of years – but it does best in Zones 8 and above.

      Larger trees can produce fruit more quickly, typically starting at three to five years of age. But you should still count on a year or two of wait time after planting, until the tree becomes established.

      Good luck!

      Reply
  41. I have a 4-year-old Brown fig that is filled with tiny figs, that all end up on the ground. I deep water every week, but never have the figs ripened, they just fall off. What am I doing wrong? I’m in Phoenix.

    Reply
    • Hi Darlene, thanks for reaching out. 

      Do you know the exact variety that your tree is? I’m guessing it’s a common fig cultivar — such as ‘Celeste,’ ‘Brown Turkey,’ or ‘Black Mission,’ which are supposed to be parthenocopic, meaning they don’t need cross pollination from caprifigs via the fig wasp in order to produce fruit.

      While parthenocopic figs often do produce as they’re supposed to, certain conditions can cause the figs to drop before they’re able to pollinate. 

      If you’re in Phoenix, it’s possible that the tree is receiving too much dry heat this summer and this is stressing the tree. 

      Try spraying the leaves with cool water, and consider adding a light-colored shade cloth or light bark mulch to the area around the trunk. This can help keep the roots from overheating. If you can set up a shade cloth over the tree, this might also help. 

      Also, have you been fertilizing? If so, with what and how often? It’s possible there’s a nutrient imbalance at play. Excess nitrogen can also cause the tree to produce less fruit than usual or drop undeveloped fruit, as the tree focuses more on producing new growth and leaves. 

      Reply
  42. Can anybody identify what type of fig (or is it..?) is on the photo..? It’s been with me (potted) for a long time. It has large & thick variegated leaves but I have not seen it bearing a fruit..

    Reply
    • Hi Jeffrey,

      I’m afraid you’ve got me stumped.

      Your plant looks similar to a variegated rubber plant (Ficus elastica) but there are a couple of details that make me think it’s something else instead – the central leaf vein looks a bit different, and the leaves of Ficus elastica are slightly pointy at the tips where the tips of the leaves of your plant are rounded.

      Having said that, it could be a type of fig I’m not familiar with.

      If it is a fig, it is most likely a tropical species that would be pollinated only by a specific type of wasp living in the plant’s native range and the plant won’t bear fruit without that pollinator, or possibly hand pollinating.

      After trying to match your plant against some other species of figs, I’m leaning towards thinking that its not a fig at all – but might have been confused for one before you got it. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a match for it among other types of houseplants either.

      Maybe if you give us just a little more info we can keep help you find the proper ID for this plant. How tall is it? How long and wide are the leaves? Photos of the main stem, and closer photos of one of the leaves showing the top and the underside would also help.

      Maybe with a little more info either I or someone else can solve the mystery. Thanks!

      Reply
  43. I purchased a mission fig tree Oct. 2019 and here we are Sept 2020 and the tree is basically as big as when I planted it. It gets plenty of sun all day. I live in Naples, FL. I don’t know if I should dig it up and return it. This is very disappointing. What should I do? Thanks, Ann

    Reply
    • Thanks for reaching out, Ann.

      What size was the tree when you bought it? How did you prepare the soil before planting? In Naples, you’re right on the cusp of recommended locations for growing ‘Black Mission’ figs, on the hotter end of the spectrum. ‘Black Mission’ is one of the types that’s best suited to more southern zones, so this was a good pick for your area, and it tends to have a quick growth habit compared to some varieties. You’re right that these also love to get plenty of sun.

      Growing figs and other types of fruit trees is a long-term investment of time. As long as it looks healthy otherwise, I wouldn’t worry too much about the slow growth. Branches and the trunk typically thicken and develop more in the second and third growing season, and fruit won’t typically begin to come in until trees are three to five years old, so you’ve still got a ways to go. But do keep in mind that watering adequately is a must during periods when you aren’t receiving much rainfall, particularly throughout the first couple of years of growth. Mulch can be applied to retain moisture, just be sure to keep it away from the trunk.

      Rather than returning it, you might want to also consider transplanting when it’s dormant. Where is it growing? Does it have enough room to spread, both above and underground? Is it growing in well-draining soil? Did you plant the tree a few inches deeper than it was in its original nursery pot? Figs should be placed about 20 feet minimum away from fences, walls, and other trees for best results (and in your location, you shouldn’t have to worry much about the winter protection that nearby structures can provide, unless strong winds are a problem in your area). If the roots haven’t already spread too much, transplanting your tree may still be a viable option.

      Also consider doing a soil test to determine the nutritional makeup of your soil. Figs don’t typically need any fertilizer, but some gardeners fertilize if they’ve seen less than a foot of growth over the last year.

      Please keep in touch to let us know how your tree is progressing! Good luck!

      Reply
  44. Hi, I purchased a fig tree that stated I could grow it inside as a house plant over 2 years ago.

    It had 2 leaves, that wrinkled up and I pinched them off.

    Buds have formed , but they never open!

    They are green, lower down the plant,there are wee bumps of a bud here and there, but I just have the 12 inch tall sprig, still leafless!

    What do I do? I normally have plants others toss out and I bring them back!

    Not wanting to give up on this one!

    I live in Zone 9 Northern California, but I really purchased this plant for inside as the seller stated. Can,t find the statement with the species name.

    Warmly Carl

    Reply
    • Hi Carl,
      Thanks for your question – and good for you for not giving up on your little fig tree.

      There are a lot of uncertainties here without knowing exactly what kind of tree you have, but I’ll try my best to give you some ideas about what might be going on.

      If the tree is indeed the type that is usually grown outdoors as a fruit tree (Ficus carica), my first guess is that your tree is not getting enough sun. These do best with full sun – unless you have it in a very bright, south facing sunroom, I’m guessing it’s probably not getting the 7-8 hours of full sun it needs.

      If you decide that the lack of sun is indeed the issue here, I recommend growing it outdoors (which you can easily do in zone 9) and replacing it with a tree that will do better indoors.

      Here’s why. Ficus carica is a Mediterranean plant, adapted to growing in full sun and having exposure to cooler temps in winter when it loses its leaves. On the other hand, most of the plants we think of as houseplants come from the tropics, and we’re able to successfully grow them in our homes because they’re adapted to growing without full, direct sun all day – and without cold winters. Our homes stay more or less the same temperature year round compared to outdoors.

      You mentioned wrinkly leaves. There are many different things that might have caused the wrinkled leaves – damage to the roots while potting, overwatering, and underwatering.

      There’s also a disease called Taphrina deformans (peach leaf curl disease) that Ficus carica can get. Though usually it causes wrinkled leaves that are also discolored. I’m linking an article on this condition from USU so you can rule this out as well.

      And by the way, if we are dealing with the common fig, it should be dormant (and leafless) right now. It should start putting on new leaves in the spring.

      If you’re not sure if you do have a common fig after all, please post some photos here and we’ll see if we can help you identify it.

      I hope this helps! Best of luck with your tree. Please let us know if you see any improvement – and keep saving all those unwanted plants. ????

      Reply
  45. Hi Gretchen, I just bought my first fig tree, Peter’s Honey Fig, and I’m so excited for it! We were hoping to replace an old apricot that has some bugs in it, but has still produced. I’m starting to second guess myself thinking that the area may be too close to our pool and house. About 10-15’ away from both. Thoughts on this? We live in Modesto, Ca, zone 9. It would receive morning/some afternoon sun. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Melody,
      Congrats on your new fig tree!
      I think you’re right to second guess yourself on your initial idea of where to plant it.

      First, this variety of fig tree can develop a canopy that is up to twenty five feet wide, and its roots can extend much further than that.

      Second, I’m not sure your tree will have enough sun in that location – fig trees require full sun, which means at least 7-8 hours a day of direct sunshine. Do you have another location for it with more sunshine? I think you’ll be happier (ie, get more figs!) if you can provide it with more light.

      And just one more thing to consider, your old apricot tree may have pests, but you have options for treating those pests. You may want to contact your local extension office (linked here) for help with pest identification – they will be aware of local pest problems for particular crops and should be able to inform you on treatment options as well.

      I hope this helps!

      Reply
  46. Hello,
    Great work.
    I walk by a fig tree when I go to work.
    It hangs over a fence and its vines are pointing in every direction possible and appears that it requires pruning.
    What happens if it isn’t pruned?

    Thank you,
    Vera

    Reply
    • Hi Vera,
      Thanks for your comment!
      As the article states, these trees don’t neccessarily require pruning, it’s really up to the grower’s preference.
      However, harvesting fruit can be more manageable from trees that are pruned.
      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  47. I live closer to the equator (lat 19.5 n), and all the cuttings I buy don’t survive here. Is it because we don’t have the chill factor? Where can I get a developed plant for a cheap price. I’m looking for a Black Mission, is that a good one for Hilo Hawaii,. elevation 400 feet above sea level.
    So far I’m in the hole for $200.00 and all dead

    Reply
    • Hi Robert,
      I believe your problem may be too much moisture. If I’m not mistaken, you are on the wet side of the island?

      Some quick research tells me that figs grow well in Hawaii – except in areas that get the most rainfall. These are mediterranean trees used to drier conditions, so this would be a logical reason that they may not be working for you.

      Here are a couple of local resources I recommend consulting with:

      1) Your local cooperative extension in Hilo. They should be knowledgable about which, if any, varieties of figs will grow well in your area

      2) Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers. This is a non-profit which may be able to guide you on the best fruit to grow for your area.

      Before you buy any more fig trees or cuttings, check with these two sources on which, if any, varieties will successfully grow and produce fruit in your area.

      Hope this helps!
      Aloha!

      Reply
  48. Our fig tree lost all leaves. We assumed it was because it is Actually winter in Arizona. Now we see new little figs budding out on the branches, Will the leaves re-appear?

    Reply
    • Hi Peggy,
      Figs are actually deciduous trees, and it’s normal for them to lose their leaves when the weather gets cold.
      Yes, new leaves should reappear in spring.
      Hope this helps!

      Reply
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      Reply
  49. My adopted fig tree has been planted in the ground for 3 years now. Each year it only grows leaves at the tip of each branch. Is there some way to get leaves along each branch.

    Reply
  50. I’ve had a green fig tree growing my my backyard in NY for years, I have no idea what type of fig it is, the fruits are never really sweet. Is there a way to find out what figs species it is??

    Reply
  51. We are in Vista, CA. …A friend gave me a Mission fig cutting that had been rooted and had some nice, green foliage on it. I carefully planted the fig with planting mix combined with soil from our property where it will eventually go in the ground, some sand for drainage, worm castings and other organic compost, and a bit of gypsum. My mistake was to not let the plant harden off outdoors first, as the day I planted it happened to be very hot with dry, Santa Ana like winds. Although I did water the plant well after planting and kept the soil moist, the wind and heat devastated the foliage and it dried up and fell off after just a few days of planting. Now I am wondering if the plant will survive since it is back to being a bare branch. I have it on an irrigation system that gets watered twice a week so the soil will not dry out. It gets plenty of sunshine, but is now on the east side of the house where it is protected from the hottest part of the day. It is located next to my potted Kadota fig that is fruitful and flourishing there. It has been several weeks since planting and there are no signs of new growth. Since the fig has been around since ancient times, I’m thinking it is quite hardy and should have survived its plight, but I’m not sure. What are the chances that it will come back?

    Reply
    • So sorry to hear your fig has suffered since you planted it! Hardening off is a good idea, and I typically keep new plants inside or in a shaded location with plenty of water during heatwaves or other more extreme weather events before hardening them off to the outdoors for longer amounts of time each day for about a week and then planting them out.

      Transplant shock is not uncommon, and you are correct to continue babying your plant as you’ve described, maintaining moisture and providing shade during the heat of the day. You might also want to conduct a soil test to see if the potting mixture you’ve created is suitable for figs. Signs of new growth may take as long as a few months, as long as the roots are still alive. Be patient, avoid overwatering, and consider bringing the pot indoors to a more sheltered location if you can, if the heatwaves are ongoing.

      Consider the type of container that you planted in as well- containers dry out more quickly than the ground, terra cotta and dark colored materials tend to dry out more quickly than other materials like plastic and lighter colored pots, and good drainage with at least one hole in the bottom of the pot is a must.

      Good luck! Please keep us posted!

      Reply
  52. I am still a novice when it comes to gardening. Start doing so a year ago. Recently I started to grow fig. It was character building process. Really test my patience. Every day it will draw you to look out for roots.. Waited for 3 to 4 weeks before I finally see one. it was a rewarding wait.

    Reply

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