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A picture of a Sour Fig

Sour Fig

Carpobrotus edulis

Also known as

Cape Fig, Suurvy, Ghaukum, Ghoenavy, Kaapsevy, Perdevy, Rankvy, Vyerank (Afr.), Ikhambi-Lamabulawo, Umgongozi (Zulu)

Full Sun
Easy care
Light watering
Frost Hardy

9a

USDA zone

-7°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

30cm

Max

4m

20cm

Min

20cm

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Sour Fig

A photo of Sour Fig
Fresh and old pinkish flower
Cross section of leaf
Close-up view of flower
Section showing developing fruits

Sour Fig Overview

Carpobrotus edulis is a low-growing succulent with attractive yellow to pink flowers. It is popular as hardy groundcover replacing lawns in water-wise gardens. The evergreen, fleshy leaves and pretty flowers make a low maintenance alternative to cover large areas in gardens. Flowers are produced mainly during late winter to spring, creating a beautiful show with delicate rays of luminescent petals, inviting numerous insects to collect pollen. Flowers open during bright, sunny days and close again at night. The Cape Sour Fig thrives in a sunny position in well-draining soil. Although frost tender, this succulent is drought- and wind-resistant, and makes for an effective fire barrier. It grows very easily from cuttings, no rooting hormones required. They are also perfect for containers, rockeries, and embankments, creating a beautiful cascading effect with their trailing stems. The plant's sap in the leaves are harvested for medicinal purposes and fruits or "figs" are edible, a great source of Vitamin C. The plant is indigenous to southern Africa and grows along the coastline, often on sandy dunes. This plant may sometimes be referred to as "Hottentot", an offensive term that was historically used to refer to the Khoikhoi, a member of a group of indigenous peoples of South Africa and Namibia. We do not support the usage of such a term.

Common problems with Sour Fig

Heavy rain can make it susceptible to root and stem rot.

How to harvest Sour Fig

Edible fruits ripen in summer. Leaf sap can be harvested throughout the year as needed.

How to propagate Sour Fig

Layering

Place runner under the soil to form new roots and remove. The plant grows naturally by runners.

Seed

Sow seeds directly in autumn.

Cuttings

Make cuttings from the runners with a few nodes (and leaves) attached.

Special features of Sour Fig

Attracts useful insects

Drought resistant

Attractive flowers

Attractive leaves

Pioneer

Stabilising sand dunes and large areas, it creates areas space for other plants to settle in.

Pot plant

Attracts bees

Ground cover

Other uses of Sour Fig

Erosion control, ornamental, ground cover.

Medicinal

Help to relieve sunburn, blue bottle stings, insects bites and mouth inflammations.

Edible

Leaves and fruit are edible - often you'll see dried sour figs sold next to the road.

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