All About Growing Figs

One of the most ancient fruits on earth, figs are at home in mild winter climates. Growing figs is easy in Zones 7 to 9 provided you grow types of figs suited to your climate. This guide includes descriptions of the types of figs, pruning fig plants and more.


| December 16, 2013



All About Growing Figs

Just think of sweet fig jam spread on fresh-from-the-oven bread or roasted figs with goat cheese, and you’ll be inspired to grow some of these sweet fruits. If you don’t have much room, plant a dwarf variety.


Illustration By Keith Ward

(For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.)

Native to western Asia, figs (Ficus carica) are among the easiest fruits to grow organically in warm climates. Adapted in Zones 8 to 10, figs also do well in Zone 7 when grown in a protected site. In other areas, semi-dwarf varieties can be grown in containers that are kept outdoors in summer and moved into a greenhouse or other protected area in winter.

Figs can grow into small single-trunk trees where winters are very mild, but in temperate climates they tend to grow as broad bushes.

Types of Figs

Eastern figs that are frequently recommended for the Southeast are self-pollinating, and have no open hole at the end of the fruit through which insects can enter. ‘Alma’ bears green fruits that are excellent for drying. The ‘Celeste’ fig has good winter hardiness. Although not as cold-tolerant as some types of figs, varieties with LSU in their name are among the most disease-resistant cultivars in this group. 

Western figs benefit from pollination by a specialist wasp, and therefore have an open eye at the end of each fruit. Varieties like ‘Black Mission’ fig and ‘Desert King’ can produce huge yields in hospitable climates. To prevent pest problems, several western states have shipping restrictions on figs. 

Semi-dwarf figs are self-fertile cultivars that bear good crops when grown in roomy planters that are kept outdoors in summer, and protected from freezing in winter. They also can be trained as espalier. ‘Black Jack’ and ‘Petite Negri’ bear late crops of purple-skinned figs, while ‘Chicago Hardy’ fig ripens to rosy red.  





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