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A picture of a Fig

Fig

Ficus spp.

Also known as

Fig Tree

Starr 080305-3308 Ficus benghalensis by Forest & Kim Starr (CC BY 3.0)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy

9a

USDA zone

-7°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

10m

Max

10m

1m

Min

1m

Fruiting

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

Figs should be harvested when they are completely ripe, fully coloured, and slightly soft to the touch. When picking figs, wear gloves or long sleeves because the sap from the tree can irritate skin.

More images

A photo of Fig
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Starr 061106-1428 Ficus microcarpa

Overview

The genus Ficus is also known commonly as Fig or Fig Trees, this large genus contains over 800 species of mostly evergreen trees and large shrubs, with some deciduous species and climbers. They grow to anywhere between 1–10m in height. Most produce aerial roots and characteristic smooth white bark. Although commonly referred to as a fruit, the fig is actually a fleshy, hollow-ended stem containing multiple flowers. More technically, this is classed as both a multiple and accessory fruit, rather than a true fruit. Figs are highly pollinator-specific, with most species pollinated by specific species of fig wasp. Some species are parthenocarpic, meaning they develop fruits without pollination. Leaf structure varies across species, the most well known of which belongs to F. carica, also known as the Common Fig, which has very distinctive leaves divided into 3 or 5 lobes. The sap can be a skin irritant and foliage can cause stomach upsets if ingested.

Common problems

Propagation

Cuttings

Prefered propagation way of true cultivars. Take 30-40 cm long cuttings in winter, while dormant, and root in well draining sand mix.

Seed

Sow seed in winter and keep moist. It takes about 1–3 months to germinate.

Special Features

Attractive fruits

The edible fruit contains numerous one-seeded fruits. The fruit is 3–5 cm long, with a green skin, sometimes ripening towards purple or brown.

Drought resistant

Hedge plant

Figs can be tree-trained or espaliered into beautiful shapes and make an effective hedge screen.

Attractive leaves

Uses

Medicinal

Figs are high in fibre and essential minerals like Calsium, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and Vitamins.

Edible

Figs are used fresh, dried or preserved.

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