How to Care for an Italian Fig Tree

Overview

Fig trees are semitropical in origin, and the Italian fig (Ficus carica) will grow best in Mediterranean-type climates with dry, warm days and winter temperatures that don't drop below 30 degrees F. Too much rain during fruit development will cause the fruit to split, according to California Rare Fruit Growers. The fruit of the Italian fig tree has either green or reddish-brown skin and pink flesh and ripens from June to September.

Step 1

Grow your Italian fig tree in an area that receives full sun all day.

Step 2

Stake your tree for support if it is very young.

Step 3

Add a 3-inch layer of limestone chip mulch around the base of the tree, keeping it at least 2 inches from the trunk.

Step 4

Water the young Italian fig tree often enough to keep the soil moist, not soggy. Water the mature Italian fig tree deeply (until the water puddles at the base of the tree) every week to two weeks, depending upon how hot and dry the weather is. The leaves will begin to yellow if the tree is stressed due to insufficient water.

Step 5

Fertilize the Italian fig tree sparingly, as these trees usually do not require fertilizer. The California Rare Fruit Growers suggest that, if your branches grew less than 1 foot during the previous season, give the tree 1/2 to 1 lb. of nitrogen, dividing it into three or four applications. Begin the fertilization process in late winter and continue through July.

Step 6

Prune the dormant Italian fig tree branches back to a bud that faces outward. According to growers at Italianfigtrees.com, this opens up the center of the tree and will allow the tree to receive more air and light.

Step 7

Protect the Italian fig tree from winter frost by wrapping it in blankets, canvas tarps, carpet or other insulating material. The insulation should completely envelope the tree, from the ground up.

Step 8

Move your fig tree indoors during the winter if it is being grown in a container. Give it one cup of water per month while indoors and when it begins to show new growth, give it lots of light. Move it outdoors after the danger of frost has passed.

Things You'll Need

  • Limestone chip mulch
  • Stake
  • Pruning shears
  • Nitrogen fertilizer
  • Tree insulation material

References

  • California Rare Fruit Growers: Fig
  • Italianfigtrees.com: Guide to Growing Fig Trees in the Northeast
Keywords: how to grow an Italian fig tree, caring for an Italian fig tree, Italian fig trees

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations, worldwide. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.