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How to Plant & Care for a Black Mission Fig Tree

Native to Spain, the black mission fig tree is one of the most commonly grown fig trees, producing purplish-black, pear shaped fruits with pinkish-red flesh. Black mission figs grow and ripen during the late summer and early fall. These fig trees grow best in warmer climates, recommended for USDA Hardiness Zones 7 or 8 through 10, where minimum winter temperatures don’t drop below 10 to 15 degrees F. You can grow a black mission fig tree outdoors if you live in the appropriate climate or indoors in a container.

Select a planting site for your black mission fig tree that receives full sunlight and provides some protection for heat or cold extremes, such as next to a south facing wall.

Dig a planting hole that is the same depth as and twice the width of the root ball. Mix into the displaced soil some organic compost.

Set the root ball into the planting hole and backfill the hole with the amended soil. Press the soil down gently with your hands and water it thoroughly to remove any air pockets around the roots.

Spread a 2-inch layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree so that it’s covering the majority of the root zone. Whitewash the trunk and branches if they’re exposed to hot sun.

Water your black mission fig tree deeply once every week during the first year after planting it. Afterward, water once every one or two weeks to supplement rainfall, soaking the soil thoroughly down to the root zone.

Feed your black mission fig tree only if you’re growing it in a container or in sandy soil, or if the tree’s branches grew less than 12 inches the previous year. Feed the tree once in late winter, once in early summer and again in July with a well-balanced fruit tree fertilizer. Apply no more than 1 lb. of actual nitrogen to the black mission fig tree each year.

Prune the black mission fig tree to remove any damaged, diseased or dead growth immediately after the fruit harvest. Whitewash all the branches and trunk of the fig tree if you perform any drastic pruning, removing one-third of the tree’s growth.


If you’re growing your fig tree in a container, plant it in a container with drainage holes in the bottom that is 1-1/2 to 2 times the size of the tree’s root ball. Fill the container with a rich potting soil mixed with organic compost.

Harvest the figs when they’re fully ripened on the tree, when they’re beginning to bend at the neck and feel slightly soft.


Be sure to move the fig tree indoors when freezing weather threatens if you’re growing the tree in a container. Beware of leaving the black mission fig tree outdoors if nighttime temperatures approach freezing in the spring.

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