Fig

Ficus carica

cultivars:  Brown Turkey, LSU Purple

origin: Western Asia

layer: Shrub

flower: synconium

fruit: Sept-Oct, bumper crop in Spring

prune: after harvest

cold Tolerance: <24

ph: 6.0-6.5

Description:  The fig is a small deciduous shrub that reaches a height of up to 30 ft.  The palmate leaves form 3 or 5 lobes and can be up to 10 inches wide.  The roots are aggressive and fibrous.  The part that is commonly eaten is not a fruit, but a synconium, composed of a hollow fleshy structure lined with small flowers.  At the end there is what is called an osteole, where the pollinator enters to access the flowers, though pollination is not required to produce a delicious fig.  

History:   Neolithic sites have provided evidence of the use of figs by humans as far back as 5000 BC.  They are even referenced in the biblical story of Adam and Eve, where after eating the forbidden fruit, they clothed themselves in fig leaves.  

Cultivation:  This species will tolerate a most soil types and requires good drainage.  The fig is drought tolerant but prefers irrigation when it is not dormant.  Too much nitrogen will cause less fruit development. Figs can tolerate moderately saline soils.

Propegation: Branches that are 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick and two to three years of age are best suited for propegation from cutting. Grafting ground layering, and air layeringis also possible with figs.  

Fertilize: Fertilize every 6 months.  Too much nitrogen will result in poor fruiting.

Pruning: After end of harvest, prune back to maintain a height no greater than 6 feet.  If more dense growth is desired, knotch branches in order to induce branching.  This will result in more fruit production lower on the tree.      

Scout: Nematodes can harm the roots of the fig.  Keep them well mulched, along with all the fruit trees in the Food Forest.  

Uses: Figs can be eaten fresh, dried, or cooked into preserves or deserts.  

 authored and illustrated by Erica Klopf © 2013

Sources 

Boning, Charles . Florida's Best Fruiting Plants: Native and Exotic Trees, Shrubs, and Vines . Pineapple Press, 2006 . Print.