Growing Figs – Planting To Harvest (pt2)

Fig Tree Figs are easy to grow even as far north as USDA zone 5.
Do your homework. Select only varieties that are cold hardy in your USDA climate zone. Decide if you want to plant directly in your garden soil or in patio container(s).

No matter what the nursery sales person say’s, even self fertile types will produce more reliably and produce more fruit if you have at least two(2) figs planted within 20 feet of each other. Six(6) to ten(10) feet apart is better.

In USDA zones 5, 6 and 7 container grown figs are not as winter hardy as garden planted figs. To survive harsh winters containers must be moved indoors to locations that will prevent your figs root system from freezing.
Garden planted figs will benefit from a heavy layer of mulch applied after your first hard freeze. Hint Celeste, Brown Turkey, Hardy Chicago, Brunswick, Marseilles, and Osborne are some of the most winter hardy cultivars.

* Figs grown as a bush or shrub are easier to protect than those in a tree form.
* Pliable branches can be pinned to the ground and covered with burlap, old blankets or tarps.
* Some growers encircle their fig plant with chicken wire and fill in with insulating leaves, and straw. The top of the plant can be covered with a plastic tarp to shed rain, sleet, and snow.
* In the spring, remove the winter protection after all danger of frost.

Figs have a shallow root system. It is best Not to distrube soil under fig trees. Mulch to control weeds and to help retain soil moisture.

In the spring prune out ground suckers and remove all dead or weak wood. Mature plants usually have 3 to 8 main stems.
Caution Your skin may become irritated from contact with the milky, latex plant sap.

Figs require Full Sun, rich well drained soils whether in containers or garden planted. In heavy clay based soils consider planting your figs in raised beds amended with well rotted compost and peat moss. In containers the addition of perlite or vermiculite will enhance soil drainage.

Figs in containers, keep figs in full sun and water regularly. When fruits begin to form apply 2 to 3 gallons of water each day.
Harvesting Hint Figs do not ripen off the plant, so they should not be picked until they are fully colored and slightly soft.

Figs as with all trees do need to be fertilized from time to time. Do Not apply a high nitrogen fertilizer to your fig trees. Use a N-P-K fertilizer like 5-10-5 or similar ratio fertilizer. In my opinion it is best to apply fertilizer at 1/4 to 1/2 it’s recommended rate. Apply fertilized when you see buds forming and again every 8 to 10 weeks until your harvest ends or your first frost.

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5 responses to “Growing Figs – Planting To Harvest (pt2)

  1. I live in the Northeastern US – zone 6. I purchased a Brown Turkey fig tree several years ago and opted to grow it in a container. The first year it produced beatutiful foliage throughout the summer. I brought it inside for the winter and it actually kept all its leaves, which I found odd. When I brought it out the following season, it lost a lot of leaves, that were eventually replaced with new growth, but no figs. Upon bringing it indoors again this year, it lost all of its leaves. I was told to continue watering it once a week and to keep it near a window – which I did. This Spring will be its third season outside and I’m hoping that 1- it actually is alive and comes back to life and 2- I get some figs this year. Thanks for the tips.

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  2. Is autumn/fall the best time to plant a fig tree? That’s when the sap isn’t running, isn’t it? I was looking yesterday about fig varieties and think I’m going to go with Fig French Sugar. I want to plant it along the fence in espalier style. We don’t have to worry about frosts luckily. I should probably start putting compost into the area and digging up the spot I want to place it. And putting in the wires for the espalier. Took some photos of a friend’s apple espalier and have a better idea now how to attach the wires.

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