Imaginative artists and sculptors put fig leaves on their models for modesty. To be honest, we don’t suggest you grow a fig to make a fashion statement. While the leaves are quite attractive, we suggest growing figs for several other, and much better, reasons…
Coincidently, as this is bare-root planting time, now happens to be a perfect time to plant your own fig.
So, what’s so great about figs?
Well, they’re very attractive in your landscape. Easily maintained at lower heights, they can quickly grow to 30′ tall. Many people train them as espaliers along their houses or fences. The large bright green, three to five lobed leaves are rough in texture, which is why they aren’t in style for clothing.
Plus, it’s easy to grow figs. Western Garden Nursery carries a nice selection of fig varieties best suited for growing in our area. The smaller growing ‘Improved Brown Turkey’ is a popular variety. Plant in full sun and in well-drained soil. Consider placing in a site where falling fruit won’t stain walkways or decks but if you’re like most of us, you won’t be letting much fall!
Annual maintenance is simple. The first two or three years require regular watering while the roots develop. After, water as needed. The leaves will droop if the soil becomes too dry. Irrigate as necessary. Fertilize in the spring. Prune to shape and maintain healthy wood.
Maybe you’re wondering if you need a pollinator. The quick answer is “no” because homegrown figs are self-fertile.
Also, many fig varieties produce two crops per year. The lighter early summer crop develops on last year’s wood. The heavier crop ripens in late summer or early fall on current season new wood. Harvest the fruits as they ripen by lifting and bending backwards. Remember, the fruit also tastes good to birds and you may want to use netting for protection.
What to do with figs? Anything and everything! Try them on a toasted sandwich with goat cheese and caramelized onions. Make a fruit tart. They’re tasty fun on herbal focaccia bread! Or, stuff with blue cheese and heat in the oven until the cheese slightly melts, and serve at your fig party.