Fig trees are tall, picturesque trees with a history that dates back to Asia and the Mediterranean in 5,000 B.C. These trees may grow up to 50 feet in height, with a spread that is often twice as wide. Their sweet fruit grows only in summer and provides a valuable motivation for growing the trees. The height of fig trees, along with the porous quality of the wood, can make for challenges in growing them.
Fig trees, of the genus Ficus, are tropical trees that grow best in warm areas. They fall into a number of categories, including capri, brown turkey, celeste, Brunswick and black mission figs, but almost all require the same care and precautions.
According to California Rare Fruit Growers Inc., figs do best in hot, moderately dry areas where temperatures stay above 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The trees enjoy full sun all day and deep weekly waterings.
California Rare Fruit Growers Inc. warns that the wood of a fig tree is succulent and porous and will break easily. The wood also burns in bright winter sun or extreme heat.
To prevent sunburn, whitewash the limbs of the fig tree. This protects the wood while leaving the leaves and fruit exposed to the light they need for growth. Protect figs from strong winds by planting them on the south side of a building or another protected area.
A fig tree's root system is extensive and may invade gardens or lawns, or interfere with driveways or sidewalks. Always plant fig trees in areas where they have enough room to expand, and don't hesitate to trim a fig tree's roots, as the tree won't suffer any damage from such trimming.