Plant a Fig Tree: [Cultivation, Care, Irrigation, Substrate and Pests]

Did you know that for the Greek philosopher Plato, the fig was his favorite fruit?

Fig trees are wonderful trees. They grow rapidly and can become gigantic. In addition, the shade they offer is spectacular. If you can also add to this that it offers a wonderful fruit (the fig), why not plant a fig tree in your garden or orchard?

Let’s go there

Important points when planting a fig tree

  • When? During spring or fall. Avoid in very cold or hot seasons.
  • Where? Its growth is good in temperate zones. It adapts to different climates. Fig trees need many hours of light.
  • How do we prepare the land? Rich in substrate, compost, well decomposed manure… The richer the soil, the more likely your fig tree will bear fruit.
  • The pH of the earth? It adapts to limestone soil, tolerating pH levels between 8 and 8.5.
  • How do we water? At first it is important to water abundantly. You can choose between drip or hose.
  • How often do we water? The said. If you have a fig tree seedling, it is recommended to water every day in the hot season. The fig tree at first needs a lot of water. Once several years have passed, it is able to obtain water from the most surprising corners.
  • When to harvest? Observe the fruit. Feel it. If it’s soft, it’s ripe. Also if the skin is cracked.
  • Plagues and diseases? Fruit fly, barrente, Barrillo, Nematodes, Cochineal of the fig tree, Caterpillars, Green mosquito, Fly of the fig, Bold, Rottenness of the root system, Canker of the trunk.

Characteristics of fig trees

Its scientific name is Ficus carica, which derives from Caria.

Originally it is known that the fig tree comes from Asia Minor. However, in a short time its cultivation spread throughout the Mediterranean.

  • Division: Phanerogams.
  • Subdivision: Angiosperms.
  • Subclass: Archiclamideas.
  • Order: Urticales.
  • Family: Moraceae.
  • Genre: Ficus.
  • Species: carika.

The fig tree that is born and grows wild is usually called Cabrahigo.

The sap of the fig tree is white. We recommend washing hands in case of coming into contact with it. The fig tree produces low-quality wood, and its trunk is light gray in color. When it reaches its maturity, the diameter of the trunk is usually large.

How much can a fig tree reach?

The fig tree, in perfect climatic, irrigation and substrate conditions, can reach more than 10 meters in height. In addition to offering a spectacular shadow as we have mentioned.

On many occasions, however, it grows bushy. Being able to reach only several meters in height. The latter usually occurs when the fig tree grows in environments with strong winds and/or sea breezes.

The root system of the fig tree

The fig tree has one of the most spectacular root systems within the tree. This allows you to get water in many areas.

The roots of fig trees reach depths of many meters downwards and search for water everywhere.

This root system allows the fig tree to withstand strong periods of drought and also long frosts.

How is the world production of figs?

The countries with the highest production of the Ficus elastica or Gomero. It is part of the genus of figs in the world are the following:

  • Turkey.
  • USA.
  • Algeria.
  • Greece.
  • Italy.
  • Spain.

It is estimated that the total production of the Ficus elastica or Gomero. It is part of the genus of figs around the world is close to a million tons and is produced mainly in the Mediterranean.

What are figs?

Many times it has been thought that the fig tree produces the fruits of figs. However, this is not exactly the case.

As has already been indicated, the fig is not the fruit of the fig tree but rather it is a receptacle or siconum inside which are the flowers (200-300 in each siconus) and then the fruits. It is therefore an infructescence. The true fruits of the fig tree, located inside the siconum, are achenes.

Where to plant a fig tree?

Fig trees benefit from growing in temperate climates. That is why it has developed so well in the Mediterranean.

Cold areas and frosts harm it. Although very low temperatures can lead to the death of the tree, its root system allows it to survive frost and the fig tree is able to recover after several years.

The fig tree is a deciduous tree, so this makes it better adapted to cold winters.

How to plant a fig tree step by step?

  1. Plant figs outdoors in early spring or late fall, when the tree is dormant.
  2. For container fig trees, grow them using a potting soil mix and add fine bark chips to improve drainage.
  3. Keep the tree in full sun in summer. Be sure to add a high nitrogen fertilizer every 4 weeks in spring and summer.
  4. Water the tree moderately. In winter, move the tree indoors and keep the soil moist if possible.
  5. For outdoor fig trees, plant the tree in spring or early fall in full sun. Fig trees can grow in most types of soil as long as the soil is well drained and contains plenty of organic material.
  6. Give the fig trees enough space, at least 5 meters away from any buildings or other trees.
  7. Fig trees take deep roots if given the opportunity, so take this into account when choosing a planting location.
  8. In the case of having your fig trees in a pot, prepare a hole deep and wide enough to transplant it.
  9. I water the hole before and after transplanting.
  10. With the right conditions, the fig tree is a grateful tree. It grows rapidly each year and requires little care.

fig tree care

  1. Water young fig trees regularly to help them become established and strong. In dry climates, water fig trees heavily at least once a week.
  2. Unless grown in pots, most fig trees do not require regular fertilization. However, if your fig tree does not grow much (less than a meter per year), you can add nitrogen to the soil. Begin applying nitrogen in late winter and finish in midsummer.
  3. You can also apply a layer of mulch around the tree to help prevent weeds and keep the roots moist.
  4. Fig trees require little pruning. During the dormant season, be sure to remove all dead, diseased, or weak branches to encourage growth.
  5. If you have a heavy growth of figs, you can remove the fruit to encourage larger figs.
  6. If your area endures a particularly cold winter, fig trees planted outside may die to the ground. If the tree is a hardy variety, the underground part of the tree is likely not affected. Remove all dead wood while the tree is still dormant and find a new place for it to grow in the spring.

irrigation in the fig tree

The fig tree is traditionally a rainfed tree. We must focus on giving it more water when it is growing and it is still a young tree and also in the production periods, when it may have greater needs.

The most common irrigation system with fig trees, as with orange or lemon trees in many areas, is flooding or blanket irrigation.

However, it is being observed that drip irrigation also gives good results, in addition to representing significant water savings.

graft a fig tree

Grafting is a technique little used in this fruit tree, except for varietal changes, since until now it has been used as a direct producer.

When grafting is to be done, good results are obtained with both gusset and plate grafting. In both cases, this can be done by sleeping as if by eye, at the end of summer or in spring, respectively.

In any case, as the fig tree produces a lot of latex, it is necessary to make an incision in the rootstock and let the latex come out until it stops exuding and then make the graft. Otherwise the % of marras could be high.

When to consume and collect figs?

The optimal consumption of figs occurs when they reach maturity.

But how can we know?

There are two ways:

  1. The first is touching the fruit itself. The softer it is, the more mature.
  2. The second is by looking at their skin layers. The more cracked, the more mature.

types of fig trees

Cabrahigo or wild fig trees

They are very common since they grow anywhere. However, they only have male flowers.

smyrna fig trees

They grow mainly in North Africa and the Middle East. It is also grown in California. They are pollinated through the pollen of the caprifig fig trees, mentioned above.

Biferous Fig Trees

Both male and female flowers are produced on their sycones. That is, they are self-fertile. There is no pollination or it is not required for the development of the fruit.

common fig trees

They harvest in August and September. They are the most common fig trees.

To know more, read: Varieties of fig trees.

Pests and diseases of the fig tree

These are the different pests and diseases that can affect fig trees:

  • Fruit fly.
  • Barrent.
  • Barrel.
  • nematodes.
  • Fig scale.
  • Caterpillars.
  • green mosquito.
  • Fig fly.
  • Bold.
  • Rottenness of the root system.
  • Trunk canker.

How long does a fig tree live?

The fig tree is not a species with a long life expectancy, as it barely reaches 60 years when it is well cared for.

How long does it take for a fig tree to grow?

It grows slowly for all the structure it develops, so it will be necessary to wait up to 10 years or more for it to become an adult specimen.

How long does it take to produce fruit?

It begins its productive cycle around 6 years of life.

Can it be grown in a pot?

Yes, it can be planted in a pot, but we will have to be careful to give them the necessary environmental conditions for it to be healthy.

How many times does a fig tree produce fruit?

Depending on the variety of figs in question, the fig tree can have between 1 and 2 harvests.

Should a fig tree be pollinated to obtain fruit?

Fig trees have a specific pollinator which is a wasp from the Agaonidae family.

How cold can a fig tree tolerate?

It is able to tolerate a certain level of cold, but not with excessive frosts. The average is set to -7° C.

How many fig trees can be planted per hectare?

The cultivation of fig trees accepts between 150 and 200 specimens per hectare, although it all depends on the plantation framework used.

What kind of fertilizer does a fig tree need?

The fig tree does not require a special fertilization system or product. Applying a balanced NPK product in the warm months will be more than enough.

How much heat and/or drought can a fig tree tolerate?

As for heat, fig trees are capable of withstanding temperatures that are considered extreme, reaching 40° C.

In addition, it can live with very little water during the course of its life, especially after it is an adult specimen.

Further reading

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