Over 40 years. Productivity is highest in the first 12-15 years, then slowly declines.
Moderate to rapid.
10-30' high and as wide.
A hollow fleshy structure (the fig) is lined on the inside with
numerous separate male and female flowers facing toward the center.
A small hole ('eye') visible on the end of the fruit allows the fig wasp, Blastophaga psenes,
to enter the fruit and pollinate the flowers.
Some cultivars have a closed 'eye' and reduced insect access.
Twice, early spring and late summer. Depending on the region grown and the cultivar,
the first (breba) crop, which grows on old wood from the year before, can be susceptible
to late frost; the second crop, which grows on new wood, may not have enough warmth to mature.
When the fig wasp is not present, most cultivars will self-pollinate,
without seeds developing inside the fruit. Other cultivars, such as Smyrna, need the fig wasp
to pollinate and will not develop fruit for one or both crops.
Years before fruiting:
4-5 years after grafting.
Although commonly referred to as a fruit, the fig is
actually a false fruit or multiple fruit in which the flowers and
seeds are borne.
Insect, especially beetle, penetration of the fruit is a frequent problem
that results in sour fruit and can ruin an entire crop. Only closed eye
cultivars avoid the sour fruit problem entirely. Some cultivars have open eyes
for the first crop and closed eyes for the second crop.
Months for fruit to ripen:
2-4, depending on cultivar and growing
environment. Figs are ripe when they change color, when they droop at attachment
point, when they become soft, and in some cases, when they become
fragrant. Figs do not continue to ripen once picked.
Storage after harvest:
Immediately after harvesting, place in
refrigerator for up to 5 days. Drying, or cooking in a sugar solution
and then freezing are other ways of preserving figs.
Green, large, deeply lobed with 3-5 lobes.
Deep, aggressive. Keep this tree 20-30' from any structure to avoid root
damage. Invasive in moist areas.
Cultivars of Note:
'Black Mission' closed eye, no insect penetration, purple to black skin,
red flesh, tree grows 25-30' tall and as wide, USDA 8b-11.
'Brown Turkey' open eye, frequent insect penetration resulting in sour
figs, reddish-brown with purple skin, pinkish-red flesh, tree grows 15-25' tall
and as wide, USDA 7-9.
'Celeste' closed eye, small to medium fruit, purple skin, red flesh, sweet,
tree grows 5-10' tall and as wide, USDA 7-11.
'Desert King' medium open eye on first crop, closed eye on second crop,
yellow skin, sweet red flesh, excellent flavor, tree grows 10-15' high and wide,
USDA 7-10. The first crop is larger than the second in hot climates.
'Ischia Green' small to medium fruit, closed eye, pale green skin,
strawberry red flesh, good flavor, tree grows 10-15' high, USDA 7-10.
'Peter's Honey' eye closed with honey drop, greenish-yellow skin, dark amber flesh,
sweet, excellent flavor when fresh. Tree grows 15-25' high and wide, USDA 7-9.
'Violette de Bordeaux' small fruit with purple-black skin, red flesh,
excellent sweet flavor, medium open eye, dwarf tree grows 6-10' tall, 4-5' wide,
good container plant, USDA 5-10.
Attracts birds, and in Africa and Asia, the fig wasp. Birds are particularly
attracted to figs that turn dark. Green and light-colored fruit attracts less
Toxic / Danger:
Sap is a skin and eye irritant. Unripe fruit are
Western Asia. Most likely domesticated over 4000 years ago.