The Fig Tree (fig tree) is a tree of the family of Moraceae. Its fruit, the fig, is very popular with adults and children alike. To taste good figs from the garden, do not hesitate to plant a fig tree, but it will only bear fruit if it benefits from a situation that is perfectly sheltered from cold winds and that is very sunny. Whether you live in the South of France or in the North of the Loire, you can therefore quite cultivate this beautiful emblematic tree of the Mediterranean basin and feast on its fruits. Here is everything you need to know, from planting the Fig tree to harvesting the figs.
Plant a Fig Tree
This is from october and until April that you can plant a Fig tree bought in a container. Be careful however, the settlement region is decisive since the planting period depends on the climate. It is necessary to choose a frost-free period or, if the winter promises to be harsh, plant the Fig tree in a pot in order to be able to overwinter it.
The planting the Fig tree in the ground proceeds as follows.
- Prepare a fairly large hole, 50 to 60 cm deep and in diameter if the soil is light and draining, or 70 to 80 cm if the soil is clayey and therefore compact and heavy.
- Eliminate weeds as well as stones and plant debris.
- Place in the planting hole first two shovelfuls of manure then a thickness of soil mixed with a phosphate-rich fertilizer to promote recovery. This layer of soil prevents the roots of the shrub from coming into direct contact with the manure.
- Take the Fig tree out of its container after possibly immersing it in water, then check the condition of its roots, which may be cut by 2 cm.
- Install the Fig tree in the middle of the planting hole, taking care to make the collar flush with the level of the ground.
- Fill the hole with the extracted soil.
- Pack well all around the foot and form a watering basin.
- Water copiously.
If we decide to plant several fig treesit is necessary to space them 4 to 5 meters from each other.
Some gardening professionals advise lightly pruning the young branches as soon as they are planted in order to shorten them by about fifteen centimeters at most.
The Fig trees with low development can be grown in containers. This is for example the case of the Fig tree Goutte d’Or whose figs are delicious. The planting a fig tree in a pot requires choosing a sufficiently large container, 50 to 60 cm in all directions, with a pierced bottom. The bottom is covered with a layer of drainage such as gravel or clay balls, then the shrub is placed in a mixture made up of equal parts of sand, planting compost and garden soil.
Cultivate the Fig tree
The Fig tree love the sun. It is therefore preferably installed near a wall so that it does not have to suffer from cold winds, and South or South-West exposure. Undemanding in terms of soil, it tolerates any type of garden soil.
Concerning the selection of the Fig tree to cultivate, it should be known that in our regions other than those of the South it is essential to select a self-fertile fig tree so that it can produce figs. In the South, one has the choice between a self-fertile Fig tree and a self-sterile fig tree. The latter needs a pollinator that is only found in this very specific geographical area. It’s about Blastophage (Blastophaga), a wasp that lays its eggs in the female flowers of the Fig tree. This is how pollination is ensured.
It then remains to make a choice in terms of fruiting since there are:
- Of the Ever-growing fig trees which are called the Biferous fig trees : they produce two harvests per yeara first in July and a second between the second half of August and the beginning of October.
- Of the uniferous fig trees : they do not produce only one harvest per year.
Whichever variety you choose, you should avoid planting a Fig tree during the summer as well as during periods of frost.
Caring for your Fig tree
As soon as it is well placed, in the sun and sheltered from the wind, the Fig tree is an easy tree to cultivate.
Care should be taken to water the Fig tree regularly during the two years following its planting. Be careful, however, not to drown its roots. You should also be careful not to over-wet the foliage.
This task promotes fruiting and mainly concerns young trees, but is not practiced at any time of the year. In addition, it is better to avoid sizes that are too severe. Pruning the Fig tree requires great attention, especially since it differs depending on whether you have a Uniferous Fig tree or a Biferous Fig tree.
We can bringspecial fruit fertilizer at two very specific times of the year: a first fertilization in spring and a second at the very beginning of summer.
Protect in winter
As we have seen previously, the Fig tree particularly likes the Mediterranean regions. In a cold climate, it is important to be able to protect it before the first frosts with a winter sail and if it is grown in the ground, we also take the precaution of installing a thick mulch at his foot.
A Fig tree in a container can be placed under shelter throughout the winter season in geographical areas where the cold is persistent. It is also possible to protect the Fig tree and the pot with a wintering veil so that the root ball does not suffer from frost.
Pests and diseases
The Fig tree is a fruit tree not very sensitive to pests and diseases, and if grown under excellent conditions, it even turns out extremely resistant.
It should however be noted that among the main possible parasites of the Fig tree in Europe, we find in the first place the Scolyte which, in the larval state, dig real galleries in the branches of the year. Pheromone traps protect the Fig tree well against the invasion of bark beetles.
The leaves can be nibbled by the Fig moth larvae, but this type of attack is relatively rare. This caterpillar is easily eliminated if the tree is treated with an organic treatment product based on Bacillus turingiensis.
About the Cochineal Ceroplastshe is able to create serious damage on the Fig Trees. This parasite feeds on the sap of the tree and can settle as much on the fruits as on the stems and leaves. To eliminate this devastating parasite, it is necessary to react as quickly as possible so that the growth of the Fig tree is not disturbed. The eradication of the Fig tree scale is possible with a few sprays of a product based on rapeseed oil.
About the possible illnessesnote that excessive humidity can sometimes cause premature leaf drop due to rust. You can also see the presence of Fig canker caused by a fungus (Diaporthe cinerascens) which only settles on the wounds caused during the pruning of the Fig tree. These diseases can therefore be avoided easily.
Harvest your figs
There are different varieties of Fig trees and one can easily find Fig trees biferous, that is to say which produce figs twice a year. The ideal is to opt for diversity by planting, for example:
- A Figuier Doré or Figuier Goutte d’Or whose elongated yellow figs have a juicy and sweet flesh. They can be harvested at the beginning of summer and then in September-October.
- A black Fig tree from Caromb which gives figs of a beautiful purplish blue and whose red flesh is very fragrant and very juicy. A first production takes place in July and then a second harvest is possible at the end of September.
Depending on the variety grown but also on the local climate, the harvest time for figs is therefore variable. The figs are ripe to perfection, and therefore ready to be picked, when they are soft and their skin has matured. They then have a succulent flesh and can be tasted without delay.