Fig trees (Ficus carica L.) are deciduous trees that produce a variety of widely consumed, edible fruit that can be eaten fresh, in desserts or dried. With inconspicuous flowers and large, vivid, deep-green leaves, fig trees make a visually pleasing impact in the home garden, with a height of up to 50 feet and the added bonus of fruit production. Determine the particular culture of fig trees for successful development.
Plant fig trees on sites with full sun exposure, particularly within conditions yielding eight hours of daily sun. Fig trees need abundant space for canopy and root growth, so do not make the mistake of planting on a small site. In addition, plant away from tall structures like houses to prevent shading. If the tree's canopy is not protecting main branches and the trunk from sunlight, injury due to sun scald may occur, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Consider application of latex paint in white for sun protection.
Plant fig trees in extremely well-drained soil. Poorly drained or waterlogged soil can mean the death of your fig tree. In standing water, roots suffocate and the entire system may die, according to the AgriLife Extension Texas A&M System. Poor drainage ultimately leads to stunted tree growth or tree death. Also, fig trees do not need fertilizer, but for trees that display slow fruit growth, 1/2 lb. of 10-10-10 is a beneficial addition during the spring season, according to the Clemson University Extension.
Whether attained through natural rainfall or your own application, waterings need to equal approximately 1 inch of water on a weekly basis. Fig trees are considered drought tolerant, but prolonged drought can lead to pest infestations and subsequent problems, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. For better water retention, add a layer of mulch to the soil surrounding your fig tree; organic matter such as compost or pine needles is ideal.
Part of the need to hold back with fertilization includes fig trees' tendency toward cold injury. Excessive fertilization makes trees more vulnerable to low temperatures; these conditions promote tree death with temperatures that dip below freezing. Trees conditioned for cold weather can tolerate temperatures down to 15 degrees F during dormancy. For colder climates, choose hardier cultivars like Celeste, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension.
The fig tree's particular culture dates back to 5,000 BC, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Beginning in the tropics of the Mediterranean, the fig tree made its debut in the American continents in 1575. Introduced by Spanish explorers, fig trees made their way to California and Turkey, primarily. Due to its culture, the fig tree thrives in dry climates and often experiences problems like disease when cultivated in humid regions, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension.