Ficus carica edible fig tree could be the next ‘most valuable’ addition to your yard. These trees are easy to grow, very decorative, have a rich history (mentioned numerous times in the Bible), and provide one of the most prized delicacies – fresh figs. If you have never thought about planting figs in your garden, read on for all the good reasons you should do so.
Figs are a little different from most fruit trees. First of all, they don’t grow very tall, although venerable ones might have many branches and provide dense shade. However, most figs are little trees (some say shrubs) that don’t shade out their neighbors, will grow in partial shade (but bear less fruit), and can tolerate a variety of soils. Pruning is rarely necessary.
The fruit itself is not even actually a fruit but part of the stem. (Try telling that to those who consider a ripe fig a true treasure, though.) What most people consider the fruit has a very short shelf life, so figs are seldom sold in produce departments of grocery stores. That is why it is so wonderful to have them growing right outside your door.
If you have deep, rich soil, lots of sun, and live in a temperate zone (neither exceptionally hot or cold), you have the ideal place for figs. If your region has hot summers and sandy soil – as in the sand hills of North Carolina, for instance – figs will love it there. If you have poor, rocky soil and warm summers, you can probably find a variety of common fig that will thrive.
Figs love stream beds but do OK on dry slopes and are notoriously drought resistant. Figs are deep-rooted, which enables them to find water underground in areas of little rainfall. They love sun and need it to produce abundant fruit, but will grow in shadier areas. They are known for distinctive, deeply-lobed leaves and graceful branches. They are easy to propagate; cuttings set in moist sand seem to want to grow. You can also bury a low-hanging branch in soil and separate it from the parent tree after it has rooted.
One thing that makes figs perhaps unique among fruiting trees is that deer will not eat them. Maybe in the most severe drought conditions when deer are desperate, you might find that your fig leaves are nibbled, but most gardeners have never experienced damage to their figs. This makes them truly valuable for those who are desperate for deer-resistant landscaping.
There are some varieties of common figs, Brown Turkey for one, which do not need pollination. Since the plant has an unusual structure with an internal flower, this is a plus. This variety is hardy in many areas as far north as Washington, DC in the US. Figs should be given as much shelter as possible; near a house or garden wall that faces south is a good location.
Ficus carica edible fig tree is fun to grow, seldom disappoints, and makes a beautiful addition to any yard or garden. Look for it in catalogs, garden centers, and nurseries.