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How to Grow Fig Trees

By Antonia James ; Updated September 21, 2017
Ripe fig on fig tree.

Fig trees grow best in Mediterranean-type climates with dry, hot summers and wet, cool winters. Fig trees need a lot of room to mature because they can grow as large as 15 to 30 feet high and just as wide. According to California Fruit Growers, the fig tree produces two yearly crops. The first fig crop is produced on last season’s growth. The second crop, also known as the main crop, is created in the fall on the tree’s new growth. Consult your local gardening expert before planting a fig tree for any recommendations regarding local conditions and climate.

Choose a spot to plant your fig sapling. The area should have eight or more hours of sunlight in order for figs to ripen. Ideally the soil should drain well, but the fig plant is hardy and can tolerate lesser soils.

Dig a hole with a shovel and plant the fig sapling. Apply mulch to the soil surrounding the tree in order to preserve moisture.

Water the fig tree regularly but do not allow the area around the tree to stay soggy. Leaves that are yellow and droopy indicate that the tree is not getting enough water.

Fertilize the area surrounding the fig tree three or four times a year beginning in late winter or early spring and ending in July. Consult a local gardening expert regarding the correct fertilizer treatment for your soil.

Harvest figs when they fully ripen. Gently pick the fruit when they are slightly soft and begin to bend at the neck.

Prune fig trees with pruning shears. Pruning is essential to keep the trees at a manageable size and control crop loss. This process should be done after the second fig crop, the main crop, is picked.

Protect fig tree from frost that can damage or kill the tree. During the winter months cover the tree with sheets or blankets to shield them from the cold and freezing temperatures.


Things You Will Need

  • Fig tree sapling
  • Shovel
  • Mulch
  • Water supply
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Sheets or blankets


  • Be sure that fig growth is complete at harvest. Once picked, figs cease to further ripen.
  • Eat figs as soon as possible after harvest. Figs can be stored in the refrigerator for only two to three days before beginning to rot.


  • Newly planted fig trees that do not receive enough water often die.
  • Small root knot swellings indicate the presence of nematodes. Destroy all infected fig trees to rid the area of the problem. Do not plant any future fig trees in the area where the nematodes were found in order to avoid any future problems.


About the Author


Antonia James is a Florida-based writer who began writing full-time in 2009. After starting her career in the world of journalism she ventured into the courtroom as an attorney. James holds a Bachelor of Arts in media studies from Fordham University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Miami.