Ficus Carica, Wonderful Fruit, Great Ornamental For The Landscape

Fiscus carica

Photo Compliments of Emma Cooper

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.

Garden Uses

Ficus carica is a wonderful ornamental fruit tree.

Quick Facts

  • 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

Special Note

U.S. locations where Ficus carica is considered invasive.

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  1. Marginally hardy for me but I’d like to try one day.
    Great to see you back Charlie!

  2. No major insect or pest problems is a bit of a bonus! I’d need all the help I could get if I ever tried to grow figs. The only plants I’ve ever had that I haven’t managed to kill are my two cactuses, Shortly and Fluffy.
    Bun Karyudo recently posted..So Are You Also Flunking the Smell Test?My Profile

  3. Nice to see you Charlie!

  4. I’ve always loved them and plan to have one if and when we ever retire to the Algarve. Speaking of which, are you well, Charlie? I hope you’ve just been travelling or taking Summer off from blogging.

    • I’m well thank you for asking Johanna; this would be a wonderful choice for your landscape, garden, or your greenhouse. You will have the easiest go of it if you try to grow this plant in Zones 8 and 9.

  5. I love figs! I picked figs at a nearby ranch three weeks ago. They were so delicious. After that I decided to try growing figs myself, and bought two trees from another local farmer. I believe they are a couple years old. I planted them in 15 gallon smart pots. My daughter and I built a greenhouse today, and they are going to live there when it gets colder. We are very excited about growing several kind of fruit trees this year.

  6. Charlie I would love if we could grow figs but I am afraid we do not live in the right climate. Figs and snow just don’t seem to go hand in hand. One of the things I love when traveling to warmer spots is checking out all of the incredible plant life.
    Sue Slaght recently posted..Paragliding Golden – Sightseeing Takes OffMy Profile

  7. I keep thinking I should go through the trouble of winter protection, but the foliage is nice enough in itself.
    Nice to see you back.

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