How to Grow Figs

Name: Figs



**With soft, luscious fruit that is prized for preserves and fresh eating, it’s worth the work for this plant!


**Figs have been increasing in popularity, and there are many gourmet meal-recipes available out there that use figs, so why not grow them yourself and show off at a future dinner party?


**With protection, figs can be grown in cooler climates. Southern fig varieties do not need a pollinator, while California figs do need a pollinator.


**Plant figs in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked after the last frost.



**Place figs where they have plenty of room to achieve their final size. A space 15 feet wide and high is the minimum needed.


**Heavy yearly pruning, which is necessary when you put a large plant in a small space, causes poor fruiting.


**They need at least 8 hours of sunshine per day to ripen the fruit. In cold areas, plant figs on the south side of your house. Try to avoid early-morning and late-evening winter sunshine.



Propagation/How to Plant:

**Figs have a wide-ranging root system. Dig a hole at least 3 times as wide as the rootball.


**Begin training the plant to a bush form by cutting off the upper 1/3 of the fig at planting time. Doing this will force new sprouts to come out near the ground. When the new sprouts have grown 18 inches, cut off the tips to induce even more sprouting.



**Figs respond better than most fruit plants to regular applications of fertilizer. Spread 3 cups of 8-8-8 (like this) under the canopy of a well-established plant in March, May, and June. Use ½ the amount for younger plants.


**Regular watering during fruit swell (July through harvest) is important.


**Do not allow grass to grow under the plant because it will compete for available nutrients and water.


**If your figs grow vigorously but develop few fruit, do not fertilize for six months.


**Avoid heavy pruning at all costs. It is better to prune monthly in the summer to avoid shocking the plant back into juvenile growth. Remove the tops of vertical sprouts when they are two feet long. Encourage horizontal branches since they will bear most of the fruit.


**Few insects and diseases affect figs. Birds are the most annoying pests. Some people grow figs tall and let the birds get the tall, hard-to-reach figs and the people can get the lower figs. The only real way to prevent loss of the crop is to cover the plants with netting. Remove the netting immediately after fruiting.



**Unlike other fruits, figs will not continue to ripen when picked. You must pick it only when it is perfectly ripe. Overripe figs are better than non-ripened figs, as overripe figs are very sweet and if you pick too early, the figs will be starchy-tasting.


**Figs come in many different colors, so it is difficult to go by color (especially in your first year of harvest) for when it is ripe. The best way of knowing when to pick a fig is how it hangs from the tree/bush and if it is soft. A ripe fig will hang/droop from the branch and will be soft when you squeeze it.


**Pull the fig from the base of the stem to avoid bruising your ripe fruit. Either eat them in the next few days (store in your refrigerator) or freeze or dry immediately.



Related Posts

Comments (20)

I love figs and unfortunately I have not tried to grow them. My grandparents used to have a couple of fig trees at their ranch and I couldn’t wait for them to ripen. Thanks for sharing the instructions. I just may have to try one.

I hope that you do try growing them! And let me know how that adventure goes. 🙂 Figs are so yummy and I have become quite addicted to them.

[…] Figs: Plant figs in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked after the last frost. […]

Roumen Karamanov

My fig tree is four years old and it is full with fruits. Unfortunately crows (ravens) also like the fruits and they are the first ones to take the fruits! How can I protect the fruits from birds, especially big ones like craws?

Birds are so frustrating with fruit trees and bushes! The best idea is to put netting on the tree or above the tree. How tall is your fig tree? Can you reach above it to put up netting?

Two questions: 1-our neighborhood has reclaimed water, does this have any issues for the fruit or plant since some plants do not do well with it, and 2-what about growing the tree in a planter pot?

Kevin: I don’t know much about reclaimed water, but from what I have read, you should avoid using reclaimed water on edible products in your garden/yard. You CAN grow figs in containers! Container gardening and I currently do not get along, so sadly, I cannot give you much advice about it. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

I live in Phx.,AZ. I have had a fig tree for 5 years now and not one fig. Also it looses all it’s leaves in the summer. Any ideas?

Hmm….there are many varieties of fig trees, and it is possible you got one of the varieties that are either sensitive to too much direct heat or too many freezes. Observe your fig tree: when does it seem to do poorly? Try to figure something out for the poor thing depending on which sensitivity it (probably) has. If sensitive to heat, for example, you could perhaps grow a taller tree next to it so it will give your fig tree some dapple shade. If sensitive to cold freezes, you could protect it when you get frost warnings. If you grew it in a container, you can simply move it around. Hope that helps!

I get a new home and have two fig tree but it look like the tree have a fungus. Can help me in this?


Oh how sad! Fungus can hurt many different parts of a fig tree, and I don’t know which type of fungus you have. However, the general rule is that you need to remove the affected parts ASAP to prevent the fungus from spreading to the rest of your tree or to other fig trees. If the fungus is on the leaves, remove the affected leaves and rake any affected leaves on the ground. If the fungus is on the tree itself, unfortunately that can get tricky. You need to remove the bad branches and greatly reduce the branches in general to improve air circulation. You might lose a few harvests that way, but you might be able to save the tree. Good luck!

I have a Fig tree that is in a Very Large Planter – It it’s 2 years old & I am wondering how long does it take to get Fruit? I have never even seen a Bud on this tree.

Depending on your specific variety, some fig trees can have a long youth period and might not start bearing fruit for anywhere between 2-5 years. Be patient, and I hope you get some fruit soon!

I have had a fig tree in a pot four a couple years, it produced figs and before they could ripen the leaves and fruit fell off. The tree died and while hoping it would come back, I pulled in from the pot and discovered tiny white worm creatures all over the roots and base of the tree. Not sure what they are, I live in eastern Washington. Going to try again with a hardy Chicago variety that can live in my orchard. Do you have any suggestions on that variety?

Chicago variety figs are a great variety! They are cold hardy AND heat tolerant, the best of both worlds. They are pretty unusual since they die down in the cold and come back again in the spring. Make sure you do proper pruning, though, because this variety is more sensitive to it (if you do a poor job of pruning, you run a greater risk of a very small harvest). Hope that helps! Good luck!

Have a fig tree that is several years. Have always had figs each year. This year the figs began to grow and then they dried up and fell off. Any suggestions for next season? I live in st. Augustine, fl. 3208 . Thanks

Hmmm….it is possible that they aren’t getting enough water OR they have a lack of pollination. Both of these can cause figs to drop early. If I had to guess, since pollinating insects have been struggling around the world lately, that might be the case. Try encouraging more pollinators with beneficial flowers near your fig tree or by providing them with some chemical-free homes. Hope that helps! Thanks for visiting and commenting.

I lived in mid Michigan. My two Fig trees will be four years old this year. Every spring I need to cut the tree down to about 4 to 6 inches from the ground because of deadwood on the tree. The tree always grows vertically with no horizontal growth. They continue to get larger every year. They have had fruit all three years but the fruit remains green and never ripens.

We live in NewYork. I had a fig tree last year, but it died over the winter. I did wraped it with the barlap. But did not survive.
This year I got another one and plant it in a pot. When and how can I plant this in the ground? Help me here please.

Hmm…I will make this comment public. Maybe someone else from the New York area has some tips!

Comments are closed.