How to Grow the Best Figs

This year I have taken on growing a Brown Turkey Fig in my garden.  This is a Fig that is known for its great flavor and golden-brown fruit.

There are hundreds of varieties of figs to choose from, below I have listed a few common ones that are easy to grow and taste great.

Did you know you can propagate fig trees by taking a cutting on one and propagating to another fig tree?

Like my pomegranate it is a smaller tree so it most likely will not have fruit this year, continue to watch as I post updates on the progress of my Fig growing in the Northwest.

The first year my fig bush had one fig on it, so don’t worry if it takes a few years to get a good crop for you to enjoy.

Below I will explain how to grow the best figs and even the varieties I would recommend growing.

How to Grow the Best Figs: Varieties to Grow

Brown Turkey

This is an easy fig to grow in cooler climates and can be pruned since they can grow to 20 feet tall if left unpruned.  They have brown to purple outer skin and reveal pinkish flesh that is sweet.  They can be grown from cuttings and when mature they have a shallow root system that can be seen on the surface of the soil.

Celeste

This is a medium size fig that has brown to purple skin with pink flesh and is very sweet in flavor.  They are disease resistant and very hardy living in cooler climates down to zone 6 and 7.  Like all figs, they like a sunny location and tolerate the heat as well as the cold.  They do not require much pruning and grow to 6-8 feet tall.

White Madeira

This fig has a very sweet flavor with hints of strawberries.  It is from the Greek island of Portugal.  It has yellow/green skin with a long neck and interior bright red and very juicy.

White Kadota

This is a very sweet fig that has a thick skin yellow in color and is a good fig to grow in the Northwest.  This fig tree is one of the largest commercially grown figs and is used in making fig Newton cookies.  The fig has few seeds and is a great fig to eat fresh off the tree.

Planting and Care of Figs

Most fig trees need to be planted in full sun and allowed to grow from 6 feet to more than 20 feet tall.  They like a well-draining soil that is fertile and they enjoy a top dressing around the tree to protect the shallow roots.

Water consistently and deep watering every 10-14 days is adequate since they do not like a wet soil.

Fertilize them twice a year once in the spring before the leaves appear and again in late summer with a 10-10-10 organic fertilizer.

Pruning details

To get the most fruit on your fig it is important to get more lateral branches since the fruit will grow in the crotch of the main stem and the lateral branch.  It is important to send energy to the lower nodes on a lateral branch to promote more lateral branches.  To open the shape of the tree you can prune off the lowest branches if they touch the ground.

You can top the tree if the main stems are getting very long without many lateral branches which will promote more lateral branches.

When you prune a branch prune about 1/2 an inch above a node that will promote a branch to grow.

Pruning fig trees depends on the variety, some figs do not require much pruning while others need to be pruned each year.  Best to prune fig trees in March when they are still dormant.  Figs produce fruit on the last year’s limbs and is best to open up the center of the tree to allow good airflow.

It is good to allow several trunks and not try to grow with one trunk to get the most fruit.

Pests

Pests that you need to watch for with fig trees.  Sucking bugs can attack your fig’s nematodes, aphids, and sucking beetles are the worst pests that you need to avoid.  Neem oil is a very good organic way to treat for pests.

Squirrels and birds love to eat ripe figs so you may need to net your tree to keep them away from the fruit.  Another option when getting a smaller crop is to wrap the figs in tulle to prevent pests from eating the crop.

Harvesting your Figs

You can usually get two crops of figs each year one in early summer and the other in late summer to early fall.  Figs are ripe when they are soft to the touch.  Depending on the variety they will turn from green to brown/purple in color when ripe.

Do not pick your figs when green expecting them to ripen, they will not ripen after picking.  Allow the figs to ripen fully on the tree to get the sweetest fruit.

Figs will last from 7-10 days after harvesting.

You can wash the figs and dry them in a dehydrator before freezing them for use later, they can last 1-2 years in the freezer.

If they are too old to eat the skin will collapse and a watery juice will be released with an odor of rotting fruit.  Dispose of these as they are not good to eat.

Best use of Figs

Jams 

Chutney

Eaten Fresh off the tree

Grilled to add to salads

Grilled to add as a side with Meats

Cake

Side with Cheese and Bread

Fig Newton Cookie

Added to Pizza

Now that you have seen how to grow the best figs and how easy it can be, you need to get started growing your own figs.

Keep checking back in for updates on my fig-growing progress to learn tips and tricks to help you grow your own figs.

Updates

As of July in the 2nd year of growing my Brown Turkish Fig, we are seeing an amazing amount of growth on the fig but no figs yet.  I am fine with the energy of the plant going to growth and not fruit yet.

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