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What’s a cheese platter without a couple of fresh figs? These gorgeous fruits are best eaten when they’re fresh (they don’t store very well), so it pays to grow your own and pick as you please. Figs grow into medium sized trees, between 3-5m and will produce fruit within 2-3 years of planting. Also, depending on the climate and the variety you choose, you may be lucky to enjoy up to 2 crops in one year! Most trees are self-fertile, so you’ll only need one to produce these delish fruit.

How to grow figs in a garden

  1. When to grow, from mid-winter as deciduous trees or from hard wood cuttings. 
  2. Choose a sunny spot with well drained soil. Enrich the soil with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser. If the soil is clay based, add gypsum and fork in well. 
  3. Dig the planting hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the root-ball. Remove the shrub from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots.
  4. Position in hole and backfill, gently firming down. Form a raised ring around the plant, creating a well so that water will go where it’s needed most. Water in well. 
  5. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like sugarcane or pea straw, keeping it away from the trunk.
  6. Water deeply, once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions.
  7. Feed your tree once every autumn and spring with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Liquid Fertiliser. When flowering and fruiting, feed weekly with Yates Thrive Naturals Citrus & Fruit Liquid Plant Food to help promote fruit production. 

     
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How to grow figs in a pot

Figs can be grown in pots, at least 600mm wide and deep, to allow the roots to spread. 

  1. Choose a pot at least 600mm wide. Position in full sun and fill with quality potting mix, such as Yates Potting Mix with Dynamic Lifter. 
  2. Remove the shrub from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots.
  3. Position in hole and backfill, gently firming down. Water in well.
  4. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like sugarcane or pea straw, keeping it away from the trunk.
  5. Water deeply, once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions.
  6. Feed your tree once every autumn and spring with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser. When flowering and fruiting, feed weekly with Yates Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food to help promote fruit production. 

Growing tips

  • Figs can be propagated very easily. In late autumn take hardwood cuttings, between 20-30cm long with several nodes.  Plant the cutting in a free draining propagation mix like Yates Seed Raising Mix, make sure you cover a couple of the nodes.  Water in well and keep the soil moist.

  • If you live in areas prone to heavy frosts, protect young trees with fleece or hessian.
  • Some varieties of figs crop twice – a light crop (known as breba) in on last year’s wood and a heavier crop, which forms at the base of the current season’s growth. 

  • Figs will respond to a light prune in winter, but make sure you keep some of the old wood. However, ensure dead and diseased wood is removed to prevent spread of fungal or bacterials issues. 

  • Well-established, mature trees may need to be pruned a bit harder to promote new growth.

  • Only pick figs when you need them as they won’t continue to ripen once picked.  As they can bruise easily, it’s important to handle them with care. To pick the fruit, twist the stalk carefully so you don’t damage the fig.

  • Problems to look out for include Fig Leaf Beetle - they create scalloped edges on leaves and damage fruit skin. The solution is to prune leaves with larvae or beetle clusters and destroy.  Fruit Fly - look for pin-sized holes in fruit, often found with larvae in fruit. Best to try Yates Nature's Way Fruit Fly to control. 

  • Varieties include:
    ‘Black Genoa’ has dark skin and red flesh.
    ‘White Genoa’ has pale-green skin and creamy flesh.
    ‘Brown Turkey’ is a prolific cropper with dark-skinned fruit.
    ‘White Adriatic’ has green-brown skin and yellow flesh.  It is a smaller fig, but excellent for making jam.

Project guides & articles

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Recommended products

Yates Dynamic Lifter Liquid

Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food Liquid is a natural fertiliser to gently feed all garden plants and improve soil all year round.