Ficus carica, or the common fig, is a deciduous shrub (may reach a height of 10 to 15 feet), or small tree (reaching a height of 15 to 30 feet). This plant is noted for its spreading habit, attractive foliage and wonderfully edible fruit. Mature trees exhibit smooth silver-gray bark (sometime gnarled with age) and are ornamentally quite attractive. Large, palmate, hairy, 3 to 5 lobed leaves (up to 10 inches in length) are rough dark green on the upper side and smooth light green beneath. Non-showy greenish flowers form in spring inside hollow receptacles near the branch growing tips; the fruit develops within each receptacle. The main fruit crop ripens in late summer, or fall, on new wood. In some areas, a lesser crop may appear in spring on the new wood. On most fig varieties the fruits develop without cross pollination.
How To Make Your Ficus Carica Thrive
Ficus carica, figs, are best grown Hardiness Zones 8 to 10 in organically rich, moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. You can successfully grow figs in Zones 6 and 7 in protected locations (against south-facing walls, etc.) with root mulch, but plants will usually show significant die back in cold winters. In harsher climates where temperatures in winter can dip below 15 degrees F you need to consider additional protection or growing these plants indoors.
Many fig cultivars are now available, with ‘Brown Turkey’ and ‘Chicago Hardy’ being noted for having unusually good winter hardiness. You get best results when you water regularly during the growing season and then reducing your watering regiment in the fall. Containers must be brought indoors in winter. Large containers may be overwintered in greenhouses, garages or basements.
Ficus Carica General Information
Diseases and Pests
There are no serious insect or disease problems. In stressed conditions you should watch for root knot nematodes, scale, aphids, mealybugs and spider mites; leaf spots, rust, and blight may also occur when plants are under stress. Fruit can become a mess if not promptly harvested.
Ficus carica is a wonderful ornamental fruit tree.
- Family: Moraceae
- Common Name: Common fig
- Plant Type: Fruiting shrub, or tree
- Hardiness Zones: Zones 6 to 9
- Height: 10 to 20 feet
- Width: 10 to 20 feet
- Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
- Bloom Description: Green
- Sun: Full sun to part shade
- Water Requirement: Medium
- Maintenance: Medium
U.S. locations where Ficus carica is considered invasive.
Figs A-Plenty-Growing Your Own…A Great In-Depth Tutorial