Fig Tree

Fig leaf


Being highly resistant to bugs and diseases makes the common fig one of the most resilient fruit trees in the area. The common fig was one of the first plants ever to be cultivated by humans, dating back to at least 5,000 BC.

Fig trees are eligible for a $50 Tree Rebate as long as they’re not dwarf varieties or saplings.

Common Name
Common fig

Latin Name
Ficus carica

The common fig tree has bright green, single and alternate, large deciduous leaves which are palmate, deeply divided into 3 to 7 main lobes, and irregularly toothed on the margins. They have a soft hairy underside and a rough hairy upper surface.

The flowers are small and inconspicuous. All of the flowers are female with no need for pollination, however, figs can benefit from pollination from wasps.

The fig fruit is a small fleshy pear-shaped fruit, 1 to 4 inches long and varied in colors like bronze, dark purple, or yellowish-green. Inside the fruit is a sweet red flesh, which is synconia, meaning there are tens to hundreds of tiny edible flowers without stalks.

The fig branches tend to be weak and are susceptible to breakage, especially near the crotch due to poor collar formation.

The fig tree has smooth greyish brown bark.

The fig tree branches droop as the tree grows and will require pruning for clearance.

A fig tree can typically grow 10 to 20 feet tall and 10 to 20 feet wide.

Native Range
Fig trees are originally native to western Asia but have been distributed around the world by man. Their hardiness zone is 7b through 11.

Seasonal Colors
The fig tree’s fall leaf colors are orange, red and yellow.

Fig trees prefer light and medium soils with good drainage. Figs are resilient enough to grow in nutritionally poor soil.

Fig trees require full sun to maximize fruit production, but can survive in partial sun.

Best Cultivars
The best fig cultivars in the area are Chicago Hardy, Brown Turkey, Black Mission and Celeste.

Harvesting Time
Figs are harvested twice a year. The first growth starts in spring and is called the breba crop. It grows from branches that sprouted the previous year. This crop is often destroyed by a late frost. The second growth comes on the present year’s growth and will last from late summer to as late as October.

Management Practices
Temperatures of 10 degrees or below can damage new growth of the fig tree. Fig trees should be planted on the south side of a structure in the most protected areas from the winter north winds. For extra protection during the first couple of years after planting, it’s a good idea to wrap the fig tree in burlap during winter. If winter kill occurs, prune off any damaged limbs. It is not necessary to prune the fig tree for a successful harvest, but you may need to prune for access under the tree. Fig trees aren’t susceptible to bugs or diseases, so there’s no spraying involved.

Rebate Eligibility
As long as the fig tree is not a dwarf or sapling, common figs are eligible for a $50 dollar rebate.

Photo Credits