How to grow figs

Read this interesting article on There is little better than the fig tree’s produce, so fresh it is still warm from the sun, straight from your garden. Dried figs are equally nutritious: if you have a bumper crop, then dry some of the fruit in a hot press or drying cupboard. If you turn them daily they will be preserved in six to eight days.

The best variety of fig tree to go for is Ficus carica ‘Brown Turkey’, whose fruit ripen in late August, and have a reddish-brown skin, red flesh and a sweet flavor.


 Growing tips

A fig tree will succeed best in a sheltered position in full sun. A south or south-west facing wall is ideal for growing and training a fan-shaped fig – use horizontal wires fixed to the wall 45cm (18in) apart. It is essential that the roots are contained and not allowed to spread. Left to its own devices, the tree will make vigorous growth at the expense of a good crop of fruit.


Prune established trees in June, shortening all the side shoots back to five leaves from the main framework of branches. In September, remove any fruit larger than small pea size. The remaining tiny, embryo fruit towards the ends of the shoots will over-winter and, providing they have protection from icy blasts, will ripen the following year.



Figs are easily propagated by layering. Bend a suitably low branch to the ground and where it meets the soil, wound the stem by cutting part way through. Loosen the soil and add compost. Peg the branch down using U-shaped pins and bend wires either side of the wounded area. Cover with more soil, water the ground and place a flat stone on top.

Within 12 months you will have a well-rooted large layer. Cut the branch on the tree side and pot up or plant out your new fig tree.




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