How to Plant and Grow a Celestial Fig Tree


The celestial fig, also known as malta, celeste, conant, sugar fig and Tennessee mountain fig, is a small light-brown fruit with rosy pulp. Popular in the South, it likes a hot, dry climate with eight hours or more of sun daily. The celestial fig is one of the hardiest fig varieties, withstanding temperatures to 15 degrees Fahrenheit or below when dormant.

Step 1

Test the soil pH and fertility. Apply lime to acidic soils at the rate recommended by the test to bring the pH up to approximately 6.0 to 6.5.

Step 2

Plant celestial fig trees in the spring. Place the tree 3 to 4 inches deeper in the hole than it originally grew. Fill the hole with soil and water thoroughly.

Step 3

Train the celestial fig to a bush form by pruning away approximately half of the tree when planting. Remove approximately one-third of the top from bare-root plants.

Step 4

Remove all except three to eight vigorous shoots during the following winter. Prune these shoots back to approximately 1 foot.

Step 5

Maintain a grass-free area in a 2- to 3-foot radius under the tree. Construct a watering ring by mounding soil approximately 4 to 6 inches high around the outside of the hole. Water the tree weekly during the growing season by filling this ring with water, unless rainfall has been sufficient.

Step 6

Prune every spring, removing approximately one-third to one-half of the new growth. Remove dead and diseased branches.

Step 7

Fertilize mature trees three times during each growing season with 2 to 3 cups of a balanced fertilizer such as 8-8-8 plus micro-nutrients.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Soil test
  • Lime, optional
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • Alabama Cooperative Extension System: Fig Production Guide
  • NC Cooperative Extension Service: Planting Techniques for Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: grow celestial figs, celestial fig care, planting celestial figs

About this Author

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and content around the web. Watkins has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.