Ficus carica. Fig trees have been entwined with the human race since early times. Maybe that's why the leaves of the fig tree are immediately identifiable to almost every person on the planet. The fig is sometimes called a fruit without a flower, but it's actually a flower without a fruit. The edible portion of the fig tree is stem tissue that has enclosed the numerous tiny flowers. Scrabble players please note: the botanical term is syconium.
The deeply lobed leaves provide a unique texture in the landscape and the fresh fruit is nothing short of marvelous. Two crops per season can be achieved by careful pruning and varietal selection. The first crop, known as breba, is carried on the prior season's wood in midsummer. The second crop appears on new wood about six weeks later.
Takes a few seasons for fig trees to begin heavy fruit production. Self-fertile. Warm summers required for best fruit flavor. Add organic matter to planting hole, especially in sandy soils. However, don't fertilize too heavily or you'll get leafy and frost-sensitive growth at the expense of fruit. Fig trees prefer a neutral pH, but are fairly adaptable about growing conditions. Moderate water. If planting in a container, don't make it too large because the roots like to be crowded. And choose a container that's wider than deep, given the fibrous roots of figs. Whether planting in ground or a container, do not disturb rootball. Figs prefer their roots crowded so resist the urge to untangle them.
Pruning of figs generates heated debates among gardeners. We suggest no pruning the first year and then pruning the top back a few leaf nodes the second year, followed by yearly pruning in early spring.
Established fig trees in the ground are hardy to about 10 degrees F, with protection. Branches may die back to ground during extended freezes, but new growth will regenerate from base. Younger trees that have not been adequately hardened off may die from exposure to temperatures below 20 degrees F. Fig trees in pots require protection from freezing temperatures.
Figs require 100-200 hours of temperatures below 50 degrees during the winter to induce a good fruit set the following year.
Customers in cold climates report that oiling the eyes of figs at the end of the season helps them to ripen prior to first frost. Use the side of a toothpick dipped in olive oil and brush against bottom of fig. Since figs won't ripen off the tree, this may be the only way gardeners in colder zones can enjoy fresh figs.
Very suitable for container culture, especially if you happen to have some ancient Etruscan urns in the attic. Bay Flora fig trees are pesticide-free. Most plants are about 3' tall in 4" x 9" grower's pots, with about 1/2" caliper trunk and no branching yet. Figs in 1 gal containers are a bit shorter and have some branching. Our fig trees can be kept to a 6' shrub in a pot, or be allowed to grow to a typical size in warmer regions of about 20' tall with spreading branches. Negronne and Peter's Honey tend to grow much smaller.
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A sultry old European cultivar with rounded greenish fruit stippled with maroon and a ghostly bloom, Bourjasotte Gris is adaptable to areas with warm summers. Dense red flesh mimics strawberry aspic. Occasional immature fruit drop doesn't seem to affect overall productivity. As of January 2018 trees are about 1.5' tall, 1/2" caliper, no branching. Grown in 1 gal containers.
|Col de Dame Noir Fig Tree 1 gal|
This sought after fig is considered to have one of the best flavor profiles of many worthy contenders. Medium sized figs with long necks are black in full sun, red fleshed, and deliver all the figgy delights you can imagine. Raspberry jam and Clementine oranges dominate the flavor profile of these properly ripe beauties. Ripens late, so needs a long warm season with late frosts. Trees are about 1.5' tall, no branching, as of February 2018. Grown in 1 gal containers.
|Sequoia Fig Tree 1 gal|
Like California Chrome, another California bred powerhouse who was unappreciated until his Derby win, the Sequoia fig surpasses its peers in performance. The tree is compact yet vigorous when grown from cuttings (rather than the tissue culture specimens used in early trials). Leaves are deeply lobed, even more so than Negronne's. And those plentiful twice a year fruit! The Calimyrna heritage is evident on first bite of the celadon skinned fig, with amber flesh you'll swear is made from marzipan. Fruit will ripen in both coastal and interior regions. As of January 2018, trees are dormant, about 1.5' tall, , 1/2" caliper, no branching. Grown in 1 gal pots. Propagation of this patented variety is prohibited.
|Janice Seedless Kadota Fig Grower's Pot|
Janice Seedless Kadota is a fairly new cultivar that's gaining admirers every time someone bites into these nearly seedless white figs. The fruit provides an immersion into the world of honey and true fig flavor without the cloying sensation of too much sugar. The tree is adaptable, thriving along the coast as well as inland. Amenable to hard pruning, which will provide bumper crops on new wood in the fall. Excellent for pot culture. Grown in 4" x 9" grower pots. About 3' tall, no branching, trunk about 3/8" caliper as of October 2017.
|Panachee 'Tiger' Fig Tree Grower's Pot|
Panachee is also known as the Tiger fig and you'll know why when you see these striped and stippled green and yellow beauties. Crimson flesh turns to jam as the fruit ripens and this brings out the strawberry/orange flavors. Needs a long, warm growing season. Ripens late, so not suitable for cold climates. No breba crop, but a prolific late crop. Great for containers. 3' tall, no branching, plants going dormant as of September 2017. Grown in 4" x 9" pots.
|Panachee Tiger Fig Tree 1 gal|
Same cultivar as the Panachee in the grower's pot, this version is grown in a 1 gal container. As of October 2017, plants are about 2' tall, 1/2" caliper trunk, no branching, fruiting.
|Lattarulla Fig Tree 1 gal|
Also known as the Italian Honey fig, Lattarulla is the most reliable fig for short-season, cool summer areas such as the Northwest and Northern California. The Lattarulla fig tree produces lots of figs twice a year, even in containers. The green skin brings a welcome tartness to the sweet taste of the honey-colored flesh. Grown in 1 gal containers, about 2.5' tall as of October 2017.
|White Genoa Fig Tree Grower's Pot|
The White Genoa fig tree is an heirloom fig justly famous for the delicious juicy pale rose pulp of its green skinned fruit. Not much of a breba crop, but excellent main crop of turban shaped figs. Best suited for areas with mild summers, does not hold up in desert climates. Very late crop and can even ripen after first frosts. Upright grower that responds well to annual pruning. Grown in 4" x 9" grower pots. These trees have been pruned to about 3' as of February 2017.
|Negronne Fig Tree Grower's Pot|
Also known as Violette de Bordeaux, the irresistible fruit of the Negronne fig tree has the sweetest, darkest red flesh of any fig, real or imagined. Spread a ripe Negronne fig on a piece of toast and you'll swear you're eating raspberry jam. Bears at an early age. Negronne leaves are a deep, rich green, narrower and more imbricated than other varieties. The tree is a natural dwarf, adapts easily to container culture, and can give you two crops of succulent figs a year. Adaptable to coastal and inland areas. Who could ask for anything more? This Negronne fig tree is grown in 4" x 9" grower pots that promote lengthy root systems. About 2.5' tall, caliper is about 1/2" as of October 2017.
|Negronne Fig Tree 1 gal|
This Negronne is grown in 1 gal pots. Trees as of September 2017 have a narrow trunk about 3' tall, well-established rootball, a few fruit. Beginning to go dormant.
|Peter's Honey Fig Tree 1 gal|
The best-tasting fig to be introduced into the U.S. in years, Peter's Honey fig tree produces a soft celadon green fruit on the outside. When you bite into the dark amber flesh, you'll understand why this variety has become so popular since its arrival from Sicily. Needs a warm location for proper ripening. A stone wall is a perfect backdrop. Second crop is early, so Peter's Honey fig is suitable for locations with early frost. Grown in 1 gal containers, about 2' tall, 1/2" caliper as of October 2017.
|Black Jack Fig Tree Grower's Pot|
Another dwarf variety suitable for container growing, Black Jack fig trees bear heavily and are easy to maintain at 6' tall in containers. Fruit, which starts green and changes to purple right before it's ripe, is large and elongated, with juicy and sweet strawberry flesh. Grown in 4" x 9" containers, these Black Jack trees have a thick trunk, no fruit or branching, about 3' tall as of October 2017.