Fig (Ficus carica) is grown for its edible fruit. Figs grow quickly to about 8’ – 10’ tall and wide in our climate. Usually grows as a multi-trunked small tree or large shrub due to winter freeze injury. Fig trees have thick, smooth, gray trunks which provide additional interest especially in winter. Shade is dense and dark under a fig tree as leaves are large, usually 4” – 8” long and wide.
A Fig tree will grow in most soils and needs regular water for best growth and fruit production. Hardiness differs amongst varieties so choose one suited to your climatic zone. In our climate ensure fig trees are planted in full sun. They can benefit from planting near a south facing wall.
Due to our cold temperatures fig trees are best protected during winter. Place a chicken wire circle around your tree and fill it with straw to insulate over winter. This will sometimes be sufficient insulation to reduce winter freeze damage of stems during its first couple years. Fig trees that have over-wintered for several seasons tolerate the cold better than new plantings.
Trees That Please Nursery currently has two fig varieties available that are suited for our climate.
Improved Brown Turkey Fig
Improved Brown Turkey Fig is a very large brownish purple fig with a light pink flesh. This fig has a sweet, rich flavor and usually produces two crops each year. Improved Brown Turkey Fig is self-fertile and hardy to USDA zone 7.
Chicago Hardy Fig
Chicago Hardy is a small to medium black fig with a sweet, very rich flavor. This fig tree was grown in Chicago and protected every winter and it fruited yearly. One year, it was unprotected during winter and froze to the ground. The plant then regrew from its base and produced a crop that year. Chicago Hardy Fig is self-fertile and hardy to USDA zone 6.
Contact Trees That Please Nursery for more information, availability, and pricing.
Photos & Narrative By:Stephen Sain
Staff Plant Physiologist