Ornamental fig trees fit into any size landscape. The trees are some of the most versatile, used both indoors and out. Fig trees are high maintenance, a problem that can be lessened with container planting, but with a bit of work and care, the ornamental figs make a dramatic statement in any garden.
Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) grows from 45 to 60 feet tall and 60 to 100 feet wide with a symmetrically-shaped canopy. Fiddleleaf fig (Ficus lyrata) develops a vase-shaped crown and grows from 25 to 40 feet tall by 25 to 35 feet wide. Common fig (Ficus carica) is grown as a tree or shrub and grows from 15 to 30 feet tall with a wider spread.
Weeping fig features oval or egg-shaped evergreen leaves 2 to 4 inches long and small, round, red, inedible fruits. The bark is thin and the branches droop back to the ground. The leaves that give the fiddleleaf fig its name are dull green and thick and grow up to 15 inches long and 10 inches wide. The tree produces tiny, inedible, green fruits and drooping branches. Common fig has a smooth, silver-gray bark, lobed leaves 4 inches long and produces an edible fruit about 2 inches in diameter that is a favorite of humans and small animals.
Weeping fig is hardy in USDA zones 10B and 11. The tree is drought tolerant, grows in partial shade or full sun and a well-drained soil. Fiddleleaf fig is hardy in zones 10B and 11 and is drought tolerant. Plant in full sun or partial shade and a soil that is moist to wet and well-drained. Common fig is drought tolerant once established, likes full sun to partial shade and a moist soil with an organic mulch. The tree is hardy in zones 8 to 10.
Weeping fig is used in bonsai, as a container plant or a raised bed planter. Use fiddleleaf fig as a shade tree near a deck or patio, a specimen, sidewalk tree or container plant. Plant common fig as a specimen tree or as a container plant.
Weeping fig causes litter with the branches and fruits. The tree is susceptible to virticillum wilt and damage from scale insects. The roots become invasive, damaging other plants and lifting up sidewalks. Large fiddleleaf figs can break apart in strong winds. The fruit of the common fig creates a mess when it falls off the trees that attracts insects. Pick the figs as soon as they ripen, but not before. The leaves and sap cause reactions in some people.