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Facts About a Fig Tree

Image by, courtesy of Scott Robinson

The fig tree (Ficus carcia) is a deciduous tree thought to have originated in Asia, according to California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc. The fruit of the fig tree is sweet and can be canned for use throughout the year. Fig trees are easy to propagate, according to Clemson University Extension. Fig trees grow best when transplanted or planted in the early spring.

Physical Characteristics

Fig trees typically range from 10 to 30 feet tall, but may grow as tall as 50 feet. Leaves grow singly, are bright green, hairy and about a foot long in length. Fig trees bear greenish-brown, fully brown or purplish fruit.

Light Preferences

California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc. explains that fig trees need about 8 hours of sun each day in order to thrive.


Fig trees flourish in a warm climate that offers some water from rainfall, but is not overly wet, such as a Mediterranean climate. Growing fig plants may not be able to tolerate temperatures below 30 degrees F.


Mulching fig trees at a depth of at least 4 inches can help protect the roots through the winter. Watering may be necessary if there is little rain (less than 1 inch per week). Fertilization is not required, according to Clemson University Extension.

Pests and Disease

Pests and plant disease do not affect fig trees easily. Root-knot nematodes may invade fig trees in some areas of the country. Fig trees are more susceptible to problems when they are in frail health.


The fruit of the fig tree may be harvested, when it is ripe and the neck of the fruit droops. Times of harvest will depend on the climate in which the trees are growing.

Fig Tree Facts & Troubleshooting

The fig's minuscule flowers are clustered inside the green fruits. Common fig's flowers are female and need no pollination. The main crop ripens between June and October, depending on variety. Calimyrna figs, a Smyrna fig variety, require cross-pollination by a male Caprifig tree. Figs thrive in sandy, loamy, clay or limestone soils, as long as the area is well drained and has a pH level between 6.0 and 6.5. Newly planted trees need more water and no fertilizer. The next year and thereafter, you can lightly fertilize the area around the tree with ammonium sulfate while the tree is dormant. Beetles, earwigs, fruit flies, scales, nematodes and spider mites may attack fig trees.

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