How to prune a chicago hardy fig tree


Chicago Hardy Fig: Fruit For Many Climates

Table of Contents

One of the oldest cultivated crops, figs have been a staple food for years. There’s many cultivars, but the Chicago hardy fig is one that’s growing in popularity. Surprisingly cold-hardy, this tree can tolerate cooler climate conditions than other fig trees.

But it’s also really good in warmer, Mediterranean-type climates. And because of its wide range of climate tolerances, it’s able to be grown in much of the continental US. In areas where it’s still too cool in the winter months, it can be container-grown and brought indoors.

Figs have a huge part in world history, in part because of how easy they are to grow. The Chicago hardy fig has a great range and is easier than most. Let’s go over everything you’ll need to get a hearty harvest from this hardy tree!

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Quick Care Guide

A full-sized fig tree can be kept short for ease of harvesting. Source: PlantingTree
Common Name(s)Chicago hardy fig, Bensonhurst purple fig
Scientific NameFicus carica
Height & Spread10-15′ tall, 9-12′ canopy width
Zones6-10, may survive as low as zone 5
LightFull sun best, partial shade OK
Water:Moderate, but don’t overwater
SoilOrganically-rich, well-draining moist soils
FertilizerCompost or balanced 5-5-5 slow-release
PestsRoot knot nematodes, scale, aphids, mites
DiseasesLeaf spots, blights, rusts

All About Bensonhurst Purple Fig

When ripe, the Chicago hardy fig fruit is a deep purplish-brown. Source: PlantingTree

Figs are an unusual crop, and I personally adore them!

The fruit we love to eat is actually inverted flowers. The pear-shaped fig fruit is filled with these flowers, each with its own hard fruit called an achene. Achenes give figs their crunch, and the flowers provide the fruit’s pulp and sweetness.

This Mediterranean fruit is one of the earliest forms of cultivated crops. And with the Chicago hardy fig, people in areas outside its normal range are able to grow it!

The Chicago hardy fig, also called the Bensonhurst Purple fig, is far from the only cultivar. But it’s prized for its tolerance to colder conditions. Most figs only grow in growing zones 7-9, but this one can tolerate temperatures from zones 6-10. Sometimes they’ll even survive the chilly climate of zone 5.

Its purplish-brown, medium-sized fruit is delightful. Beautifully sweet and fine-grained pink flesh hides within its skin, just waiting to be consumed. And in warmer environments, it may not produce just a single crop of fruit. It can sometimes produce an early crop before the main fruiting.

The fig’s older bark is a silvery-grey color that’s quite attractive. New stems have a greenish hue. Its leaves have three to five lobes and are hairy and rough on top, smooth on the bottom. These leaves can reach sizes of up to 10″ in length.

In the spring, non-showy, greenish “flowers” will form near the tips of branches. These will develop from fruiting buds. The fruit subsequently forms from those points. The main harvest will ripen in the late summer or early fall, but an early crop of winter hold-outs may be ready in June.

As established trees, they are drought tolerant due to extremely deep roots. Be careful where you plant your fig, as the roots can cause damage to water or sewer pipes! Younger trees require more consistent watering in the first year or so after planting.

A beautiful plant, this hardy Chicago fig is well worth the time and energy spent.

Caring For Your Chicago Hardy Fig

A young Chicago hardy fig in its pot.

Growing a tree is a bit more complex than a normal plant, but not impossible. Following this care guide should ensure you’ll harvest figs for years to come!

Light & Temperature

Chicago hardy fig prefers full sun. Aim for 6-8 hours a day whenever possible. In warmer climates, it will tolerate partial shade as long as it gets plenty of light.

Temperature-wise, there’s a reason it’s referred to as a hardy fig! The stems are hardy to 10° F, and the roots to -20°. While they’ll lose leaves and young stems in extremely cold conditions, they’re resilient. As long as the rootstock is protected, they’ll come back in the spring.

Those in northern climates should opt for sheltered locations along a south-facing wall. This fig likes the radiated heat from the wall during the winter months. It acts like a microclimate and helps protect the tree from winds and extreme cold.

Microclimates like this can allow your fig to be grown down to zone 5. In these chilly zones, it’s better to grow your fig in a container. It can be brought indoors if conditions worsen.

Overwintered figs which are brought indoors do not need a light source while they’re dormant. You can store these in an unheated garage or shed. This keeps the worst of the cold at bay. While figs do require some chill hours, most varieties don’t need more than 100 chill hours to fruit in the next year.

Water & Humidity

Kevin, preparing to mulch this Chicago hardy fig to retain soil moisture.

For the first year after planting, water regularly. Aim for at least 1″ of water per week during cool weather. During the heat, you may want to water as often as every 2-3 days. Your goal is consistently moist, but not soggy, soil.

As it develops deeper roots it’ll become very drought-resistant. An older Chicago hardy fig should get about an inch of water every two weeks. Give it a bit more during hot weather, but don’t over-water. Too much water makes the fruit bland.

If you are container-growing your fig, watch the soil moisture closely. Water when the soil is dry about 2″ beneath the soil’s surface. Containers dry out much more quickly than in-ground plantings do. This is especially important during the heat of the summer!

When watering a container-grown hardy fig, water until moisture comes out of the pot’s drainage holes. If you waited too long to water and the soil is very dry, it may pour straight through. If this happens, dampen the soil, then wait a couple minutes and repeat with a more thorough watering. This gives the soil time to absorb moisture.

Your hardy fig will be tolerant of humidity as long as it gets airflow through its branches. If the tree’s canopy is too dense, airflow suffers and the tree can be susceptible to issues like leaf spots.

Soil

Make sure to amend the soil with compost before planting.

Hardy fig prefers organically-rich, well-draining soil. Most loamy soils are a good choice as they remain moist but not wet.

Work some good compost into the planting hole when planting. Your fig prefers enriched soil. Mulch well around the tree to keep the soil moist.

Fig trees are tolerant of lightly-acidic to neutral conditions. For the best and sweetest fruit, most growers aim for a range of 6.0-6.5 pH.

Fertilizer

While they like rich soil, an annual application of compost in spring is usually enough. Pull back the mulch and apply an inch or two of compost. Cover the compost again with the mulch and let it break down into the soil.

If you wish to use a commercial fertilizer, choose a balanced slow release option. 5-5-5 is a good range to go for. Apply in early spring as the first growth appears. Reapply in late spring and in midsummer. Do not fertilize in fall or winter. Your tree will be dormant for the winter months.

Propagation

When propagated, it’s common to see multiple trunks in a single pot.

Propagation of the Chicago hardy fig is done via tip cuttings or air layering. These methods are the most reliable.

For tip cuttings:

At the end of winter, or very beginning of spring when new growth appears, is when you’ll take the cuttings. Select a healthy tip which is 6-8″ in length and cut it just below a leaf node.

Place up to four tip cuttings into a 6″ deep pot filled with moistened sand. A 2-liter bottle with the bottom cut off makes an excellent greenhouse lid for your cuttings. You’ll need to ensure that the humidity is high around your cuttings. Keep them in a continuously warm and humid microclimate at least 70° or warmer. Make sure they have access to bright, but indirect sunlight.

Wait until both leaves and roots have developed before repotting.

For air layering:

Pick a large-diameter young twig or small branch. Peel off a 3/4″ wide ring of bark just below a leaf node.. Wrap the wound with moistened sphagnum peat moss. Use polyethylene film to hold the moss in place, secured tightly on either side of the moss. Twine or cable ties are easy to use to secure the film.

The film keeps the moisture in the moss, and the moss provides a medium into which roots can grow. Within 3-5 months, you should see signs of root development. You can then cut just below the root section and remove the cling film for planting. Avoid cutting the new roots!

There are other methods used to propagate figs. A sampling of these include transplanted sucker shoots, grafting, or from seed. These are not usually reliable propagation methods for the Chicago hardy fig. Seeds do not always produce true to variety plants. Suckers may or may not take root, and are not as reliable as cuttings. Grafting a hardy Chicago fig branch onto other rootstock is problematic as well. Other rootstocks may not be as resilient to cold as the Chicago fig is.

About Fruit Production

Unripe figs will be green in color while developing. Source: yummysmellsca

The hardy Chicago fig is self-pollinating, so you only need one tree to produce. Having two near each other may increase harvest size, but isn’t absolutely necessary. Unlike other figs, it’s not reliant on fig wasps or other insects for pollination.

In warmer climates, this fig can produce up to two harvests per year. The first harvest is referred to as the berba crop. Berba fruit is generally buds which overwintered on the older wood. They then begin to develop as the tree comes out of dormancy. The main crop is almost universally on first-year wood.

If you have a berba crop but the fruit begins to turn black, it’s important to remove that fruit quickly. Blackened fruit has already died off and will not become viable.

You can tell the age of growth by its color. Younger growth will be greenish in color and smooth to the touch. Older wood’s bark will turn a grey hue.

Once your fruit has formed, it’s important to invest in bird netting. This keeps birds away from your ripening fruit. It may also help defend your fruit from squirrels or other wildlife.

Pruning

Pruning style is very reliant on your climate and whether you grow your plant as a shrub or tree. It seems a bit complex, but once you’ve built experience it’s quite easy to maintain figs.

In areas where the winter can hit 10° or colder, the shrub format’s more reliable. Keeping it small makes it easier to overwinter. This format does not usually have a berba crop, as it produces only on new growth.

For shrub-style plants, move them indoors once the leaves start to fall. This is a sign of the tree entering dormancy. In the late winter, you can prune it to maintain size, but try to avoid pruning more than a third of the tree at any given time. Those with in-ground plantings should mulch heavily around the plant to keep the roots warm. A plant blanket or frost bag should be used to keep the temperature consistent around the shrub.

Those in warmer climates can maintain their trees as shrubs, or can allow normal tree growth. This hardy Chicago fig tends towards a multi-trunked habit. For people looking for high yields, go for many trunks! This takes more space, but produces more fruiting wood and a bigger harvest.

People with compact spaces may want to maintain their tree as a single-trunked tree. The canopy will still be large, but the base is much more narrow.

In January or February, you’ll need to examine your plant closely. You’ll need to trim back branches to allow for good airflow into the center of your tree. Concentrate on taking out older, grey-colored wood or dead/diseased wood. Avoid removing more than a third of the growth.

Figs can be topped to keep them shorter and more compact. Look at the central branches of your tree. Select those which have offshoots aimed towards the outside of the tree’s canopy. Cut just above the offshoot branch to reduce the height and direct its growth towards the sides. This allows for extra light to hit the central trunks, which spurs new growth.

Try to complete all your pruning and shaping while the tree is still dormant in the late winter. Once the weather warms and new growth becomes evident, you’ll want to let it develop.

As the tree begins to leaf out in the spring, look at your berba fruit if any has overwintered. Remove any which has turned black, as this won’t ripen. Trimming that off the tree cleans up the branches and encourages the tree to prepare for new fruit. The earlier in the season you can remove dead berba fruit, the quicker the tree will start fruiting anew.

Wear good work gloves while doing pruning or harvesting, as the tree’s sap may irritate the skin.

Harvesting

You may need to clip through the short stem to harvest the Chicago hardy fig. Source: Chiot’s Run

When ripe, figs are quite delicate. But you do have to wait until they’re ripe before harvesting! They do not continue to ripen once picked.

Your Chicago hardy fig fruit will be a deep purplish-brown in color. They should be slightly soft to the touch, but not squishy. Squishy fruit is likely overripe.

A pair of sterile pruning shears is useful to clip through the fig stems. While some figs may come off easily, you don’t want to yank as it may damage your fruit. Any which resist harvesting when ripe should have the stem cut to keep them intact.

Preserving

Fresh figs don’t last long once they’re picked. You can reliably keep them in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, but they’ll spoil quickly.

To extend the longevity of your fruit before use, you can freeze figs whole and then let them thaw before use. Dried figs, either dehydrated or freeze-dried, are also quite popular. Figs may also be canned using a tested, food-safe recipe such as this one for fig preserves.

Overwintering Outdoor Figs

Figs do not store for long once ripe. Eat or preserve within 3 days. Source: Chiot’s Run

If you are right at the edge of the hardy Chicago fig’s range, you may still be able to overwinter it outdoors. But it’s a bit more challenging.

Begin by applying a thick base of mulch around the tree. Make sure that the mulch is at least 4″ thick and extends out as wide as the tree’s canopy. You can use wood chips, leaves, or straw/hay as the base layer. This helps keep the roots warm and less likely to freeze.

Wrap the branches with something warm. Good choices include carpet padding, old bedding, or wool plant blankets. Use twine to secure these. Wrap the trunk in something warm as well.

Finally, cover the entire tree with an external layer. This can be a plant bag, a tarp tied at the trunk, burlap fabric tied at the trunk, or even a plastic bag. This provides another layer of protection for your tree.

In late winter, you’ll want to remove your protection so that you can prune before it exits dormancy. But protecting your tree like this should help it survive chilly conditions!

Troubleshooting

Generally speaking, the Bensonhurst purple fig is a variety that’s resilient. It has great pest and disease resistance, and very seldom exhibits signs of problems.

But pests are determined little critters. So are fungal diseases. So let’s go over the most likely culprits should you run across problems with your hardy fig tree!

Growing Problems

An established hardy Chicago fig tree is very drought-resistant. But despite that, it does still need water. If you see the leaves yellowing during its growing season, it’s thirsty. Give it a drink!

But at the same time, don’t overwater. If your fruit tastes watery or bland, that’s a sure sign that you gave it too much moisture. Give the tree enough to survive, but don’t go overboard.

In zone 5 and 6, your tree is at risk of damage from cold. Twig dieback is not uncommon. The established grey wood will survive, but younger wood may not. Be sure to winterize plants in these areas. Alternately, bring them indoors to overwinter.

Pests

Your biggest and most annoying pest when growing the Chicago hardy fig is birds. They love your fruit as much as you do, and a flock can decimate your harvest.

Use bird netting to keep birds away. Hanging reflective tape is also effective. As a side bonus, you may deter squirrels or other wildlife who might like your fruit!

While they’re not common, there is a short list of other pests that may come to call. Follow the links to more in-depth information about the following potential pests.

  • Root Knot Nematodes
  • Scale Insects
  • Mealybugs
  • Aphids
  • Spider Mites

Diseases

As far as diseases go, your hardy fig will be resilient and able to survive most of them. But diseases can do seasonal damage, and if not treated they may linger into the next year.

Generally, most damage will be to the leaves of your fig. Watch for septoria or alternaria leaf spots. Also keep a watchful eye out for anthracnose, both as a spot or a blight. Rusts are another fungal disease that might appear.

For most of these, a copper-based fungicide will resolve the issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are there wasps inside my figs?

A: A Bensonhurst purple fig doesn’t require the services of a fig wasp to pollinate it. While some species do have a mutualistic relationship with the fig wasp, Chicago hardy figs do not. They’re self-fruitful. So have no fear, there’s no wasps in your fruit!

Q: Can I espalier my fig tree?

A: Yes! It’s best to espalier to a T-shape so that new growth can develop from the older growth.

How to Grow Hardy Chicago Fig Trees

by Gretchen Heber

In general, fig trees, Ficus carica, are well-known for their preference for mild climates. But northern gardeners won’t be denied a supply of fresh backyard fruit if they grow a ‘Hardy Chicago’ variety, which can withstand fairly cold temperatures if properly cared for.

Also known as ‘Bensonhurst Purple,’ this variety produces purple-brown figs that ripen in late summer. The flavorful fruit is small to medium-sized, and is sometimes compared to the fruit of another popular fig variety, ‘Brown Turkey.

‘Hardy Chicago’ grows 10-15 feet tall, and has a spread of 9-12 feet at maturity.

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This fig can be grown in warmer climates, too, and it does well in USDA Hardiness Zones 5-11.

While Southern fig lovers have an abundance of choices for cultivars that do well in their areas, ‘Hardy Chicago’ is one of just a handful of fig varieties that can survive chilly climes.

Think this fig might be the one for you? Read on to get our tips for growing the ‘Hardy Chicago’ variety. Also, make sure you take a look at our fig growing guide.

What You’ll Learn

  • Getting Started
  • Maintenance
  • Winter Care

Getting Started

Site selection is important for growing ‘Hardy Chicago’ in northern areas.

Choose a location that is protected from chilly winds and will enable the tree to receive eight hours of sun per day. With its wide spread, you’ll want to be sure the spot you choose affords plenty of room for it to stretch out, too.

Figs prefer soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5, and the tree will reward particularly well if you incorporate some compost into the planting area.

You might want to start with a potted plant such as this one from Nature Hills Nursery.

‘Hardy Chicago’ Tree from Nature Hills Nursery

You’ll receive a 2 to 3-foot tall tree ready for transplanting into the garden from Nature Hills.

Home Depot also has 12- to 18-month old plants available online.

Plan to transplant when the tree is dormant, in early spring or late fall.

After you’ve amended the soil with compost, dig a hole wide enough to accommodate the root ball, and about 2-3 inches deeper, depending on the size of your plant.

Place the root ball in the hole and backfill with the soil you pulled out.

‘Hardy Chicago’ Fig via Nature Hills Nursery

Water well and apply a thick layer of mulch such as woodchip or shredded bark, to help the soil retain moisture and reduce evaporation.

Place the mulch around the plant but make sure it’s not touching the stem. Leave a gap of 2-4 inches to prevent moisture building up around the stem that could lead to rot.

Maintenance

Continue to water your young tree twice a week for the first couple of years, until it becomes established.

After that, it’s a good idea to water every three to five days during the growing season, particularly if there is no rainfall. The goal is to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons. Famartin CC BY-SA 4.0.

You can quit watering an established tree in the fall as it will go dormant in the winter months.

You shouldn’t need to fertilize your fig unless it is slow to develop leaves in spring, in which case you can apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer – NPK 5-5-5 should do the trick.

Alternatively, apply compost in the spring. To do this, remove the mulch and apply 1-2 inches of compost then replace the mulch over the top.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons. Debouch CC BY-SA 4.0.

Fig trees don’t require a lot of pruning, but a snip here and there to encourage new growth – especially on older trees – isn’t a bad strategy. You’ll also want to cut away any deadwood, of course.

Pruning should be done during the winter months when the tree is dormant.

Winter Care

‘Hardy Chicago’ is among the most cold-tolerant of fig varieties; its stems are hardy down to 10°F and its roots will survive temperatures as low as -20°F.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons. Famartin CC BY-SA 4.0.

Nevertheless, it’s good to give these trees some extra love when winter winds blow in.

For starters, mulch thickly with woodchip, shredded bark, or straw to the drip line to give the roots extra protection against the cold.

For small trees, you can wrap the branches and trunk with an insulating material, securing it with string. You can then cover the whole tree with a tarp or other waterproof material to provide additional insulation.

You might also consider building a cage around the trunk, and then filling the cage with hay, leaves, or other mulching material.

Read more about preparing fruit trees for winter here.

Takes the Cold and Keeps on Fruiting

‘Hardy Chicago’ fig trees are just the ticket for gardeners who need a tough tree that can take a brutal chill and still reward with bushels of flavorful fruit.

Fairly easy to grow, with minimal water and fertilization requirements once established, ‘Hardy Chicago’ figs make a lovely and nearly carefree addition to the landscape.

Have you grown this beauty? Share your tips in the comments section below.

For more information on growing fruit trees in your orchard, you’ll need these guides next:

  • 7 of the Best Cold Hardy Apricot Trees
  • 9 of the Best Cold Hardy Avocado Trees
  • Growing Citrus Indoors: Create a Little Slice of Paradise

© Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on January 17, 2020. [lastupdated]. Product photos via Nature Hills Nursery. Tp[ uncredited photos via Wikimedia Commons. Debouch CC BY-SA 4.0. Other uncredited photos via Shutterstock.

A former garden editor for a daily newspaper in Austin, Texas, Gretchen Heber goes through entirely too many pruners and garden gloves in a year’s time. She’s never met a succulent she didn’t like and gets really irritated every 3-4 years when Austin actually has a freeze cold enough to kill them. To Gretchen, nothing is more rewarding than a quick dash to the garden to pluck herbs to season the evening meal. And it’s definitely time for a happy dance when she’s able to beat the squirrels to the peaches, figs, or loquats.

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Cultivation of Figs. Home and Outdoor Care. Photo

Growing figs. In the photo: Rouge de Bordeaux (Red Bordeaux). Ripening fig fruit, May.

Fig (fig, fig tree, fig tree, fig tree, ficus carica, Ficus carica) is a subtropical deciduous shrub from the mulberry family. Successful cultivation of figs is also possible in colder latitudes (midland, western and central Europe, and even the Moscow region) at home with removal to a glazed loggia or greenhouse in summer. Cold-resistant varieties of figs grow in the Moscow region and in open ground with winter shelter, but the fig crop does not have time to ripen before the onset of cold weather. Read about the unique features and growing conditions of figs and see photos of the plant.

See also: What to eat with fresh figs .

Growing figs: outdoors or at home?

Figs have some growth and fruiting characteristics that should be taken into account when growing a tree. As mentioned above, figs are a very cold-resistant plant; some species are able to tolerate frosts down to -20 degrees. Russian gardeners have experience of growing figs in the open field in the Moscow region and in the Leningrad region with winter shelter. In especially cold winters, figs in the open ground under cover may freeze a little, but recover very quickly, even when frosted almost to the bottom of the trunk, and bear fruit in the same year. Why, in this case, is it still not recommended growing figs outdoors in cold regions?

The reason is the short duration of the warm season, as well as the lack of heat in cold regions. We get cold before the figs are fully ripe on the tree. After all, the most delicious figs are exactly those that have ripened on a tree, and not in a plastic box on the way from the harvest country to the supermarket -)).

The problem of lack of heat when growing figs in cold regions is solved by placing figs behind glass: in a greenhouse, on a glazed loggia or balcony, on a sunny terrace, where the temperature is always higher than in open space, and heat is retained longer during the day. The mobility of the fig tree is achieved by growing figs in a container (pot, tub). So, winter figs are kept at home as a houseplant or placed in a cool room, which, if it freezes, is insignificant. In the latter cases, watering figs is reduced to a minimum. Growing figs in a container behind glass rather than outdoors is recommended in climate zones north of zone 7.

Figs, botanical illustration. Mature fruit - breba and small fruits of the main crop Figs, cultivation and care. Fig seedlings Dalmatica and Rouge de Bordeaux Fig Rouge de Bordeaux (Red Bordeaux) on our sunny terrace, March

growing figs in container has another significant advantage. Young fig trees are known to bear fruit earlier and more abundantly if their root system is restricted. In order to limit the roots, even when growing figs in open ground (in hot regions), the planting pit is lined with boards, large fragments of clay pots, or figs are planted in special bags.

Features of fruiting of figs

Dioecious fig flowers develop inside short generative shoots in the axils of the leaves of female plants and are actually not visible from the outside. In place of the flowers, seedlings begin to grow, which eventually acquire a pear-shaped shape, increase in size and turn into the color of a mature fig (in accordance with the variety). It is these delicious seedlings that we call the fig harvest. Inside the juicy seedlings, a lot of fruits are collected - nuts, which are fig seeds . To obtain a crop of figs for food, fertilization of flowers, and hence the male fig (caprifiga, goat fig), is not required, so it is quite possible to get by with just one fig tree.

Many types of figs bear fruit twice a year. The first harvest of such species is known under the name breba (logs) . It appears in the autumn and ripens in the spring-summer of the following year (the fruits are on the stiff shoots of the last season under new leaves). The main crop ripens in the axils of the leaves on the green shoots of the current season (see botanical illustration). In hot regions (from climate zone 10), both fig crops ripen perfectly. Breba by the beginning-mid-summer, and the main harvest - by the end of summer-mid-autumn.

In colder regions, even when growing figs behind glass, breba often fails to mature, tastes mediocre and delays the main crop. Many growers practice plucking breba fruits, thus speeding up the ripening of the main crop of figs. It should be noted that most of the breba crop falls from fig trees on its own without surviving the winter. Interestingly, in very cold regions (climatic zone 3), the main crop does not have time to ripen during the summer, so some gardeners practice keeping the breb in winter in order to get a fig crop in the summer of the next season.

Fresh figs. What is useful fresh figs and how to eat it. Fig properties Dalmatic figs on our sunny terrace, March Fig home (room). Transfer

The best types and varieties of figs for growing in cold regions

Dalmatian figs, white figs (Dalmatie) - an old variety from the coast of Dalmatia. A small tree with large fruits. Green fruits with pink-red flesh. High frost resistance and tolerance to wind. It has an open, slightly “bare” look, because the branches are not as leafy as those of other varieties of figs. The seedlings are delivered on their own stock. A late variety, in connection with which the complete removal of the breb is recommended.

Brunswick figs . Elongated fruits with a greenish-burgundy skin. Earlier fruiting.

Tiger fig, Panachee is an old French variety (1668). Figs of this variety are distinguished by an unusual appearance: the fruits are yellow-green, striped on the outside, with bright red flesh that has a sweet strawberry taste.

Rouge de Bordeaux fig, Rouge de Bordeaux red, Violette de Bordeaux, Violette de Bordeaux purple, Madeleine des Deux Saisons - old French varieties (known since the middle of the 17th century), characterized by increased frost resistance and early fruiting.

Brown Turkey Fig is a relatively new cultivar, specially developed for cold regions, with increased cold tolerance. The fruits are dark brown.

Chicago Hardy Fig and Celeste Sugar Fig - varieties of US breeding, winter hardiness - from climatic zone 6 without shelter, are distinguished by high palatability.

Kadota fig is a green fig with excellent frost resistance and excellent taste.

Figs, cultivation. Young fruit of the main crop (not breba!), March Figs, cultivation and care Fresh figs with parma ham, mozzarella cheese and rocket salad

Fig Growing and Care

Figs are unpretentious, easy to care for, cold-resistant, drought-resistant, richly fruiting and long-lived plant. For a good and tasty harvest, figs require a large amount of moisture, with the obligatory condition of excellent soil permeability. Figs prefer sunny places with protection from strong winds. Garden soil is mixed with plenty of compost and sand is added. Planting and transplanting figs is best done in early spring, before active growth begins.

When growing indoor figs in pots , perlite is also added to the soil mixture to improve water permeability, and gravel or drainage balls are placed in the bottom of the container. Transplants for home figs are required every 2-3 years or when the roots begin to crawl out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot and above the soil surface. Another sign of an indoor fig that has outgrown its pot is a decrease in the size of new leaves compared to old ones. When transplanting, they take a pot a few centimeters larger than the old one in diameter, and fill it with fresh soil mixture. The figs are carefully removed from the old pot and transferred to a new one (see photo of transplanting indoor figs). Do not forget that potted figs will need regular abundant watering and top dressing.

Pruning of figs , like other fruit crops, is done in order to form a harmonious open crown. In early spring, at the end of the dormant period, remove all damaged branches, as well as those growing inward or crossing, and shorten too long ones. In summer, in adult fig trees, new shoots are shortened after the 5th or 6th leaf. In autumn, with a decrease in temperature and a reduction in daylight hours, all unripe fruits of the main crop are removed. Very small, pea-sized fruits on figs in autumn are breba (see above). It is up to you to decide whether to keep or remove breba, depending on your weather and climatic conditions, as well as on the basis of your experience. Figs tolerate pruning well and lend themselves well fan training .

Growing figs: propagating

The easiest methods for propagating figs are air cuttings or root shoots. A fig branch is bent to the ground, fixed, sprinkled with soil and regularly moistened. After a couple of months, the layering develops its own roots. A new plant will bear fruit already in the 2nd or 3rd year. The root shoots are separated from the main fig tree with a shovel and planted, this can be done at any time.

Those wishing to grow figs from seeds should remember that fig seedlings from nurseries and garden centers are female plants produced by vegetative propagation (from cuttings). Fig Seeds are sterile inside these clusters unless there is a male plant around at the time of flowering, so you will not be able to grow new figs from them.

Potted house figs require top dressings to bear fruit well. At the beginning of the season, use a complete balanced fertilizer, and from the time the fruit appears until the end of fruiting, feed indoor figs several times with potash fertilizer (you can use fertilizer for tomatoes, fruit trees or flowering shrubs). Can be used for foliar feeding on figs.

Tags: trees & shrubs, figs, window sill vegetable garden

figs Cold Protection - Fig Tree Wintering Tips

Contents

  • Ground Planted Fig Tree Winter Protection
  • Container Fig tree Winter storage

Fig trees are popular Mediterranean fruits that can be grown in the home garden. Although it is commonly found in warmer climates, there are several methods of protecting figs from the cold that may allow gardeners in cooler climates to store figs for the winter. Taking care of a fig tree in winter takes a bit of effort, but the reward for overwintering figs is tasty, home grown figs year after year.

Fig trees need winter protection in areas where temperatures drop below 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-3 C.). There are two types of overwintering figs. The first is fig tree winter protection for fig trees in the ground. The other is winter storage of fig trees in containers. We'll look at both.

Ground-planted fig tree winter protection

If you live in a colder climate and want to try growing figs in the ground, properly winterizing your fig tree is especially important to your success. First, before planting, try to find cold hardy figs. Here are some examples:

  • Celeste Fig
  • Brown fig with turkey
  • Chicago Fig
  • Ventura Fig

Planting hardy figs will greatly increase your chances of successfully overwintering a fig tree.

You can use fig tree winter protection after the fig tree has lost all its leaves in autumn. Start your winter fig tree care with pruning. Prune off any weak, diseased, or crossing branches.

Then tie the branches together to form a column. If you need, you can place a pole in the ground next to the fig tree and tie branches to it. Also lay a thick layer of mulch on the ground above the roots.

Then wrap the fig tree in several layers of burlap. Keep in mind that for all layers (this one and others below) you need to leave the top open to allow moisture and heat to escape.

The next step in winter protection of the fig tree is building a cage around the tree. Many people use wire mesh, but any material that allows you to build a strong enough cage will do. Fill this cage with straw or leaves.

Then wrap all insulated figs with polyethylene insulation or bubble wrap.

The final step in preparing the fig tree for winter is to place a plastic bucket on top of the wrapped column.

Remove the winter protection of the fig tree in early spring when nighttime temperatures are consistently above 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 degrees Celsius).

Container Fig Tree Winter Storage

A much easier and less time consuming way to care for a fig tree in winter is to keep the fig tree in a container and let it dormant in winter.

Preparing a fig tree for winter in a container begins with the tree dropping its leaves. This will happen in the fall when other trees have lost their leaves. While it is possible to bring figs indoors to keep them alive through the winter, this is not recommended. The tree will want to go dormant and look unhealthy all winter.

Once all the leaves have fallen from the fig tree, place the tree in a cool, dry place. Often people place the tree in an attached garage, basement, or even an indoor storage closet.

Water the dormant fig tree once a month. Figs need very little water while they are dormant, and overwatering while dormant can actually kill the tree.

In early spring you will see the leaves begin to develop again. When the night temperature consistently exceeds 35 degrees Fahrenheit (1 °C), you can put the fig tree outside again.


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