Home gardeners – whether preferring landscaping and flowers or vegetables and fruit – should be aware of the many attractions of Ficus carica edible fig tree. Easy to grow, very decorative, suited to many different kinds of soil, and hardy to most temperate zones, figs are winners that you should not ignore when planning your garden.
Many people do not want to fool with fruit trees in their yard, because they don’t want to prune or to deal with too much fruit that attracts critters and insects when it falls and rots on the ground. Figs do not grow very tall, so there is no need to worry about having to prune them to reach the fruit – at least for many years. They also bear only a little fruit – two crops a year – and figs are so delicious that there is little chance of them being left to fall to the ground.
They do not cast a dense shade unless they are truly venerable trees growing in ideal conditions. There is little fear of them overwhelming neighboring plants, and they mature at about nineteen feet in height. Both the leaves and the bark are very decorative, and the plants are distinctive and graceful.
Figs grow best in full sun, but will thrive in partial or light shade – although fruit may not be abundant unless the tree gets enough sun. They like deep, rich soil and moist areas but grow also in dry, sandy areas and in poor, rocky soils. They are hardy in many zones, especially if planted where walls can shelter them from harsh winter winds.
One of the best features of fig trees is that deer do not eat them, even when the plants are young and tender. Figs growing along deer trails or in meadows where deer roam every evening never seem to be nibbled on. This feature alone should make them world-famous. Add in delicious (and extremely perishable) fresh figs and you have an outstanding plant for the home garden.
Propagation is easy, too, so you can start with one fig and end up with several. Cuttings root well in sand and transplant with remarkable success, as long as they are kept moist for the first two or three years. You can also root lower branches by securing them to the soil or burying a section of a branch. When roots are well established, separate the branch and move it to its new location.
Several varieties of common figs do not need to be pollinated, so you can start with one plant and see how long it takes you to want to have a lot more. Brown Turkey is one such variety, and it is also among the hardier and most productive trees. This variety is easy to find at garden centers, nurseries, and in catalogs.
The Ficus carica edible fig tree is a very rewarding plant as well as a beautiful one. One or more should really be in every garden both for delicious fruit and distinctive beauty.