Figs are an ancient fruit grown in the Mediterranean regions for thousands of years. They are part of the plant genus Ficus, which includes hundreds of different types of plants with only the common fig bearing edible fruit. They have slowly become part of backyard gardens because they are too perishable to ship fresh successfully. Species such as the Celeste have been bred to tolerate the cold so that people who live in those areas can still enjoy the delight of a fresh fig.
Purchase your Celeste fig plant from a trustworthy garden center in the early summer or late spring after all danger of frost has passed. The Celeste fig is a very sweet fig that needs plenty of heat and at least 10 hours of sun a day to develop the fresh fruit.
Transplant the fig plant directly into your garden if your winters do not go below 15 degrees Fahrenheit for the best part of the winter. The Celeste fig plant is one of the most cold-hardy figs available and will actually weather freezing spells if it is in a somewhat sheltered spot, such as against a southern-facing wall. Colder winters will require you to plant your fig in a container that can be brought indoors until summer.
Make sure the soil is loamy and full or organic material. The Celeste fig will not tolerate soggy soil, so make sure it has good drainage as well. Fertilize the fig plant with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season but only if it is not showing healthy signs of growth. Never fertilize in late summer or early fall when the plant will be going into its dormant stage or the quick growth will be more prone to cold damage.
Water the fig with at least an inch of water per week during the growing season. It is a tropical plant by nature and so it will thrive in hot weather with plenty of moisture. Placing a 6-inch layer of straw mulch around the base of the fig plant will help conserve moisture from evaporating from the soil during dry seasons.
Keep the Celeste fig plant pruned by cutting back the growing tips in the spring while it is dormant by about a third. Prune back any shoots coming from the base of the plant. It will easily grow 15 feet high if planted in the ground. Potted plants will grow a little slower typically, but they should also be pruned to keep them an appropriate size for the pot.
Wrap the plant in the fall with burlap and plastic bags to protect the top growth from cold spells. Severe freezing below 10 F for several days will kill off the plant above ground but it will usually sprout back in the spring as soon as the soil warms.
Things You Will Need
- Sunny south-facing growing spot
- Well-draining loamy soil
- Large plant pot or garden plot
- Balanced fertilizer
- Straw mulch
- Plastic bag
- Pruning shears
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