Flowering time (month)
Ornamental or utility value
moderately dry to fresh
neutral to slightly acidic
The real fig (Ficus carica) is often called simply fig tree because of its fruits and comes from Asia Minor. It is one of the oldest cultivated and useful plants on earth and is very popular with us as a tub plant. Fig trees are appreciated for their sweet, edible, green or purple fruits. In the pot the Mediterranean plants with decorative leaves grow two to three meters high. The flowers are inconspicuous. Pay attention to self-fertile varieties when buying. The ‘Violetta’ variety, known as Bayernfeige, is particularly robust and hardy. According to the breeder, it tolerates temperatures as low as -20 degrees. The variety ‘Michurinska-10’ is considered to be at least as hardy.
Fig trees thrive best outdoors in a sunny sheltered place. Up to the age of ten years, however, the plants are sensitive to frost. If the temperature falls below ten degrees Celsius, the shoots freeze back strongly and the roots are also damaged. In rough locations, more robust varieties such as ‘Violetta’ or ‘Paradiso’ are better grown than tub plants. The plants are planted in high-quality pot plant soil. It is best for figs if the pot ball is shaded by other plants. In mild locations, figs bloom three times a year, but even in wine-growing regions, only the first fruit generation usually ripens. Winter garden owners who grow figs in tubs have the best chance of a rich harvest in autumn.
From spring to autumn you should water fig trees regularly, in winter only very sparingly. In order to prevent waterlogging, excess water must be able to drain off well. From April to August, supply figs with high-quality liquid pot plant fertilizer on a weekly basis. All fruits that are no longer ripe outdoors in autumn can get caught. They continue to grow and deliver a second harvest in spring.
Figs in the our store-Shop
Fig trees often have a short, twisted trunk and tend to grow large. The branching begins at a low height. A pruning helps to thicken the plant. Wait until before budding (end of February, beginning of March) to see if branches are frozen back. Even a radical cut is possible. First, individual shoots that have become too long are shortened. You should also take care to remove shoots that are too dense or cross over each other. Always cut back to a bud or branch. If the robust shrubs are simply allowed to grow for a few years, a real thicket is quickly formed. Older bushes, which become bare inside after a few years, can now be pruned back considerably. It stimulates new shoot growth. Those who want to harvest fruit should refrain from such a pruning, as figs are formed on two-year-old wood (previous year’s shoots). Also a cut in autumn is not recommended, because the plants then bleed strongly and lose a lot of latex. You should always wear gloves when cutting your fig tree, as the sap can irritate the skin. To stop the milk flow, you can spray water on the interfaces.
In this video we show you how to cut a fig tree correctly. Credit: Production: Folkert Siemens/ Camera and Editing: Fabian Primsch
Fig trees tolerate frosts (Bavarian fig ‘Violetta’ to -20 degrees) and can spend the winter outdoors in mild areas with appropriate protection. In winter, cover the root area with leaves and protect the crowns with spruce brushwood, fleece or reed mats. Since figs lose their foliage, it is also possible to hibernate as a tub plant in the dark cellar or garage at temperatures of zero to ten degrees Celsius. Water only so much that the root ball does not dry out. Otherwise, drought damage may also occur in winter. Make sure that pests and fungal diseases do not spread in the winter quarters. It gets difficult in spring because the figs sprout early and then need a very bright but cool place. From the end of February slowly get used to the outside conditions. New shoots in spring are sensitive to frost.
In the Mediterranean countries, figs are usually harvested twice a year. The fruits of the first harvest in June or July ripen on the shoots of the previous year, provided these were not destroyed by late frosts. They are usually slightly larger than those of the more productive second harvest, which depends on the new shoots from August and September. These figs have a higher sugar content. Since the exotic shrubs often freeze back in the open, the first harvest is usually sparse. The second harvest, on the other hand, matures in the United States only in very mild winter areas in sun-exposed, protected locations – for example in front of a south wall. Depending on the variety, the fruits are round, oval or pear-shaped and up to eight centimetres in size. Depending on the variety, they vary greatly in size and have a thin skin with a yellowish, green, brownish or deep purple colour. Below this is the pink to dark red flesh that surrounds the small seeds. Since the colours vary, one can only feel the ripeness: If the fruits give way clearly on gentle thumb pressure and taste sweet, the time of harvest is there. Figs should either be eaten fresh or made into compote. Drying the fruit is also a popular method of preserving, but is usually only possible in the oven.
In winter, figs can be reproduced well from Steckhölzern. For this purpose, 20 centimeter long branch pieces are cut and rooted in sandy soil. If you like, you can also sow figs: Dry the mini seeds on a paper towel and sow them in a pot with foreign soil. Thinly cover with soil and water carefully. While wild figs depend on certain wasps for pollination of their previous fruits, today’s cultivars develop fruits without help from the second year of life onwards.
Diseases and pests
Silvery speckled leaves indicate spider mites. The first infestation of aphids threatens at the beginning of May. Dark sooty mildew fungi often appear as a result. A yellow colouring of the leaves is a sign of iron deficiency which is often caused by waterlogging.
Whether fruit, vegetable and ornamental plants in the garden or indoor plants in the house: spider mites can infest and damage many different plants. Here René Wadas, a herbalist, will tell you his tips on how you can effectively fight the arachnids.Credits: Production: Folkert Siemens; Camera: Fabian Primsch; Editing: Dennis Fuhro, Photos: Flora Press/FLPA, GWI
I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.