- Position: full sun
- Soil: will tolerate most soils, except very badly drained
- Rate of growth: average
- Hardiness: fully hardy
This deciduous, spreading shrub is highly ornamental, with large, glossy, palmate leaves. It is best grown against a south or south-west facing wall, where, in long, hot summers it will produce an abundant crop of brown, pear-shaped fruit with red flesh. These figs are rich and sweet and available for picking from August to September. An interesting and easy plant to grow, and one of the oldest fruits in cultivation.
- Garden care: Plant in a large pot in the ground or in a lined pit to restrict root growth as unrestricted root growth often leads to poor fruiting. Prune in spring when all chance of frost has past. Remove any frost-damaged or weak branches, and thin out shoots to let light in. Some pruning may be required in summer - trim all new shoots back to five or six leaves.
Figs are capable of producing three crops of fruit every year, but in our climate it is the tiny little ones that you find tucked into the leaf axils in autumn, that if protected from frosts, will go on to ripen in their second summer. Therefore if you are growing the fig for its fruit rather than its foliage, you should remove any developing fruits that are larger than a pea in autumn, and either cover the crown of the tree with a blanket of frost fleece or try to gently pack it with straw. This will keep them snug and warm throughout winter and push the plants energy into the development of the young fruits, which should grow into fully ripened figs next year.
- Skin irritant with sunlight
“An old boy on an allotment told me that if you dip a clean needle into olive oil and then slide it into the eye of a fig, it will ripen more quickly. I don't understand the science behind this idea, but it works”
Lucy Summers - Greenfingers Guides
“What can be more decadent that sun-warmed figs eaten off the tree in late-summer - soft-pink, mouth-watering heaven”
Val Bourne - Garden Writer