The fig tree has a lot going for it, making it a prime choice for the home gardener. The tree is a vision of beauty in full bloom, easy to care for, offers many varieties and is tolerant of many types of weather, though it thrives best in climates with hot summers and cold winters. The growth stages of a fig tree provide intriguing cultivation, as you watch it mature from a seedling to a majestic fruit-bearing wonder that can reach upwards of 30 feet tall.
Germination to a Seedling
During the germination stage, the roots of the fig tree develop and stem growth begins. A fig tree gets its start from a 12-inch cutting taken from a mature tree because fig seeds are tough to cultivate. The tree cutting is propagated in moist soil in a seedling container. Once the roots form and several leaves begin their growth, the seedling gets planted in the ground.
The fig tree begins much of its growth as a young seedling. The root system expands, the stem matures, more primary branches develop and an abundance of leaves begin forming. The bright green, single leaves vary in size, with some reaching a foot long. At this young age, the bark of the fig tree is still tender and hollow. In this stage, the fig tree resembles a bush, with branches low to the ground. During the spring, pruning achieves the desired tree shape.
Once the fig tree is a year old, branches are stronger and wide reaching. Secondary growth appears, filling out the tree with additional branches, twigs and leaves. The roots spread out even more, providing support for the firm and solid trunk. With this growth stage complete, the fig tree begins its fruit bearing cycle.
Maturity is the last phase in the growth stages of a fig tree. As the fig tree continues to mature, a strong bark develops so it can bear the weight of the fruit. With the fig tree reproductive structure established, the fruit growing cycle begins. The fig tree’s first fruit crop appears in the spring, followed by a second harvest in the fall.
Some fig tree varieties are self-pollinating, while others require the help of pollinating wasps. Fruit production takes places inside the synconium, where a cluster of small flowers are pollinated in the green fruit bulbs. In essence, the flower blooms inside the fig fruit. The wasp enters the fruit and pollinates the flower so the fruit can grow seeds. The resulting fruit features a tough outer peel, usually green, brown, or purple in color depending on the type of fig tree. Once ripe, the peel cracks, revealing the pulp and the interior flesh of the fruit.