Q. How do I care for my fig tree?
Your fig tree needs the following to grow successfully in the northeastern U.S.
LIGHT & HEAT: Success in growing figs has many variables. One of the most important is adequate sun and heat. In the Northeast growing season there are approximately 196 days of optimal temperatures. Growing figs in the northeast requires at least 120warm summer days.
WATERING: Established fig trees are drought tolerant. One inch of water per week is adequate. The old adage always holds: too much or too little is not advisable--either approach can injure the tree. Use common sense; if the tree well is dry then water your tree deeply.
SOIL: Figs grow in most soils such as clay, loam and sand. Generally, a soil pH of 6-6.5 is optimal. If the soil is too acidic, add lime and if too alkaline, add sulfur. Amending the soil each year with compost will enrich and condition it, reducing the need to use inorganic fertilizer. This can be done in spring and fall.
FERTILIZER: If your soil is poor and depleted of nutrients, you can use an 8-8-8 organic fertilizer to enrich it. Usually 8 ounces per month during the growing season (May – July) is sufficient.
FRUIT: Harvest time for figs is usually in the early fall. Sometimes you can get two crops--one in summer and one in fall--but one is usual. You will know the fruit is ripe when the fig droops and the stem curls. Figs do not ripen off the vine, so wait until the fruit droops. When figs start to mature, cover them with netting; otherwise birds, squirrels, and raccoons will strip the crop.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service