How to Take Care of a Fig Tree

Overview

Fig trees, Ficus carica, originated in the eastern Mediterranean and fig remnants have been found dating back to 5000 B.C.E. The fig tree is deciduous and grows best in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 10. Figs typically grow from 15 to 30 feet high with wider widths, and root systems can expand well beyond the canopy. Choose among hundreds of varieties to find one best suited for your region and begin caring for your fig tree at planting.

Step 1

Select a site for planting your fig tree that provides full sun and well-drained soil. Pick a location with enough room for the mature size of the fig tree, both above and underneath ground level.

Step 2

Cultivate an area at least double the width of the container holding the fig tree. Texas Agricultural Extension Service recommends planting your tree 2 to 4 inches deeper than the depth of its original container and cutting back to encourage lateral branch development.

Step 3

Remove the fig tree carefully and examine the roots. Cut off any damaged, frail or entangled roots. Place the tree in the hole spreading the roots out.

Step 4

Fill the hole around the fig tree partway, and then flush with water to compact the soil and remove air pockets. Finish filling the hole and then saturate with water to settle the earth.

Step 5

Cover the planting area with 3 or more inches of mulch to stop weed growth and to maintain moisture. Keep mulch away from the fig tree's trunk. Reapply a layer mulch or organic matter each spring.

Step 6

Water your fig tree regularly until fully established. The amount of water will vary depending on your soil, climate and tree size. Saturate the tree with water two or three times a week for at least two months if rainfall is minimal. Water less during rainy periods, and water larger fig trees deeply every seven to 14 days during the growing season.

Step 7

Prune fig trees as needed to maintain shape and size. They can grow as single trunk trees or multi-stem bushes. Typically, they require little pruning except to remove dead, damaged or diseased branches. Save any major pruning for the dormant season.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Hoe
  • Knife
  • Water
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears

References

  • Floridata: Ficus carica
  • Texas AM University: Home Fruit Production-Figs

Who Can Help

  • Purdue: Fig (Ficus carica)
Keywords: Ficus carica, caring for fig, planting fig tree

About this Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published on Yahoo!, the Travel Channel and Intel.