Fig Production Guide

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Figs are easy to grow in warm climates but produce their best fruit in Mediterranean climates with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Although figs are a subtropical species, mature fig trees are fully cold hardy to 15 or 20 degrees F. People who want to grow figs outside the normal temperature range must plant them in containers or go to considerable efforts to protect them during the winter.

In the ground, fig plants can quickly reach 15 to 30 feet in height. The canopy can spread equally wide. The root system is typically very shallow without a taproot and can easily spread to three times the diameter of the canopy. Ideally, fig plants should be planted in a well-drained loam with plenty of organic matter, but they will tolerate average to poor soil. Once they are established, they are somewhat drought tolerant, probably due to their very extensive and wide-ranging root system. Figs tolerate soil with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 8.0. Growers who have acidic soils should apply lime to bring the soil pH up the fig’s preferred pH of 6.0 to 6.5.

David G. Himelrick
Alabama A&M University and Auburn University