Fig Trees

Drought tolerant, a good choice for xeriscapes and water-wise gardens

The genus Ficus contains evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs, and vines. One of the earliest fruits to be cultivated, indigenous to regions from Asiatic Turkey to northern India, and grown widely in Mediterranean countries, the fig is a temperate species that prefers full sun to part shade, dry weather during fruiting, and some winter chilling. However, some species have increased cold tolerance and can be grown in cooler climates. Drought tolerant, usually satisfied with natural rainfall, the fig is a good choice for xeriscapes and water-wise gardens.

Fruit is borne on spring new growth and, depending on cultivar and climate, generally ripens from August to October. Figs can be allowed to dry on the tree and gathered after falling, or they can be picked ripe and allowed to dry. Frequent turning during the drying process improves the quality of the fruit. Fig fruits are 2 to 4 inches long with an onion or teardrop shape and are typically bronze, brown, or purplish in color but can also be green or striped. Sweet and delectable, figs can be eaten fresh or dried and can also be canned or preserved. The fruit contains significant amounts of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron.

Ficus is a large genus of about 900 species, including F. carica (common fig), F. benjamina (weeping fig), and F. pumila (climbing fig, creeping fig). Creeping or climbing figs cover walls and structures by adhesive aerial rootlets. Weeping figs are popular houseplants. Common figs have a rounded habit and can grow 15 to 30 feet tall and almost as wide in optimal growing conditions. They are especially lovely espaliered against a courtyard wall or fence, which also makes harvesting easier, as leaves and sap can be skin irritants. The plants are deer resistant.