Home & Garden

Looking for a sweet addition to your garden? Try a dwarf fig tree

Dwarf fig trees produce sweet fruit twice a year on average.
Dwarf fig trees produce sweet fruit twice a year on average.

Dwarf Fig Tree

Ficus carica

Planting areas: USDA Zones 8 to 10. Some varieties developed for zones 5 to 7.

Size: Up to 15 feet tall by 15 feet wide.

Fruit season: Early summer and late summer or early fall.

Exposure: Full sun.

Pruning needs: Prune in winter to maintain desired size. Cut back runaway shoots, and eliminate crossing branches and dead wood.

Water needs: Water weekly during warm weather.

Snapshot: Dwarf fig trees have sweet, teardrop-shaped fruits and large, tropical-looking leaves.

Figs naturally grow to about the same height and width. Homegrown figs do not need pollinating, and they’re not particular about soil.

Fertilize fig trees with low-nitrogen fertilizer in early spring.

When figs are ripe, they detach easily when lifted and bent back toward the branch.

Pick the fruit as it ripens and protect it from birds if you can. In late fall, pick off the remaining ripe figs and clean up fallen fruit.

Fig 1.jpg
Dwarf fig trees do not need pollinating and are not particular about soil. Jacqueline Adams Shubitowski

5 top fig trees

Shopping for a fig tree? Here are five varieties to consider.

‘Black Jack’: With its purple-skinned, sweet pink-fleshed fruits, this variety is similar to mission figs and thrives in California climates. Trees are easily kept small by pruning.

‘Brown Turkey’: This small tree, which has brownish purple fruit, is adaptable to most fig-growing climates and is good for gardens.

‘Celeste’: This variety produces fruit with violet-tinged bronze skin and rosy amber flesh that are good fresh, but dry well on the tree.

‘Desert King’: Unlike most figs, which produce two crops a year, this variety has one late-summer crop of green-skinned, red-fleshed fruit. It grows in all fig-friendly climates, but will do better in cooler areas.

‘Osborn Prolific’ (‘Neveralla’): Figs have dark reddish-brown skin and very sweet amber flesh that is often tinged pink. This variety does best in Northern California coastal areas.

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