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Why I Grow Fig Trees and Why You Should Grow & Plant Your Own

Updated: Mar 29

I'm Ross the "Fig Boss," and growing fig trees has been my passion since 2014. Just like some of you have other hobbies like playing the piano or the American pastime of baseball, I dedicated a large portion of the last decade to learning everything I can about this amazing fruit.

Little did I know after planting my first fig tree that it would turn into something this special. Now I have 1000s of followers that I educate and help daily and am directly responsible for igniting the same passion in many other new fig growers.

Here are the top reasons why I grow fig trees and why I think you'll be convinced to grow your own fig tree in this informative blog post.

Key Takeaways:

Grow fig trees for nostalgia.

For many of us, fig trees hold a special place in our hearts and memories. Whether it was picking them with your grandfather as a child or growing up surrounded by them in your hometown, figs evoke a sense of nostalgia and remind us of simpler times. Pictured above is my Grandfather, Franklin Raddi who inspired me to start growing fig trees.

Not only may have you been impacted by someone else and their love of figs, but now you also have the opportunity to pass that same nostalgic love for figs to someone else. I'm proud to say that's exactly what this blog is all about.

And if you want to see more fig-related content like this, feel free to subscribe to the Fig Boss newsletter in the bar at the top of the page.

Growing Fig Trees in a Garden: Grow fig trees at home because you can't find the same experience anywhere else.

Like most home-grown food, you can't find the same experience at the farmer's market or the grocery store. To a higher degree, that's the case with figs because when figs are grown commercially, they are picked before they reach peak ripeness and are shipped long distances, resulting in a loss of flavor and a higher likelihood of spoilage or mold.

To help commercial fig growers with long shipping distances, figs are harvested firm and on average 40-60% less ripe than what you could have picked from a fig tree planted in your backyard or garden.

By growing them at home, you can fully taste the full range of sweetness and flavor that nature intended.

A Fig's Flavor: Grow fig trees because there's nothing like their flavor or texture.

Like drinking an expensive bottle of wine, growing a fruit like a fig can be an experience that's worth paying top dollar for. The wide range of genetic diversity within Ficus Carica gives them a wide range of textures and flavors, and even unpollinated varieties can produce an incredible eating experience.

Did you know that there's more than just white figs or black figs? It's a myth I hear about all the time and the video above breaks down how each fig variety can be very different than another.

It's not just the size, shape, or color that can be different from one variety to the next. So can the flavor and texture. Some figs resemble jam or pastries while others are more meaty or juicy. I've often said, figs are nature's perfect pastry. They're like eating jam on a tree. You can even scoop out the pulp and you wouldn't know the difference from expensive fig preserves.

I'm frequently asked, "What do figs taste like?" The video below explains that and compares the size, colors, textures & flavors of different fig varieties:

Figs come in a wide range of flavors too. The 3 main types of figs are Honey figs, Sugar figs, and Berry figs each with their unique style and flavors. However, I've come up with 8 distinct flavor profiles.

When pollinated, some fig varieties produce almost indescribable flavors. For example, some fig varieties taste more like a cherry than a cherry itself. It's truly a fruit with a wide range of experiences.

Taste preferences are subjective, but among all the fruits that can be grown in a temperate or subtropical climate, figs are my undisputed champion for taste and quality. Trust me, I've grown and tried them all, and only the persimmon comes close, but it is left in the dust when pollinated and grown in a dry climate.

Check out the Varieties of Ficus Carica Collage poster that I created below. It truly demonstrates the amazing genetic diversity of fig trees. If you want this beautiful poster for your wall, you can buy one here:

Grow fig trees for their ease & versatility.

Fig trees are easy to grow and are what I would consider a reliable and healthy food source. In fact, in the world of fruiting plants, fig trees are known to be one of the easiest. They are rarely bothered by pests or diseases. Take apples, pears, or stone fruits as an example. Here where I am growing in the humid mid-Atlantic, I cannot harvest plums without spraying Surround; an organic clay for a pest called Plum Curculio.

I also cannot grow pears if I'm in a high-pressure Fireblight area. And I cannot grow apples reliably without spraying if I have high pest pressure from other insects.

Pest control for fig trees is limited to mostly: birds, squirrels, and other critters during harvest time, and they rarely suffer from serious diseases. For most of us, the biggest pest to the fig tree is probably the fruit fly, which is of little consequence compared to other pests that affect other fruiting plants.

Fig trees are also incredibly hardy and resilient plants. They can survive temperatures of 0F and also 120F. They don't require a pollinator or a dormancy period either. This allows fig trees to be grown in a wide range of climates virtually anywhere in the United States.

They also make great container plants for those who only have balconies, small patios, or limited space. Did you know that a small 5-gallon-sized potted fig tree can produce up to 75 figs in a single season?

One question that I am frequently asked is:

Q: Are fig trees better in containers or planted in the ground?

A: Fig trees when planted in the ground tend to be healthier, more productive, and overall "better." While most plants are not suited for container growth, figs are an exception and can be successfully grown in containers long term. The benefits of container growth include early fruiting, ease of winter protection, and the ability to control water and nutrient intake.

Here are some high-quality products that I use to help me grow fig trees in pots successfully:

Another that I get is:

Q: How long does it take for a fig tree to fruit?

A: Fig trees can fruit in their first year. It is not uncommon to be able to harvest your first fruits in only 6 months after being grown from cutting. That's an incredible feat that not many other fruiting plants can achieve.

Grow fig trees for their health benefits.

Figs are not only delicious but also a nutritious source of food. They contain a high amount of fiber, which helps with digestion, sugar control, and heart health. They also provide essential minerals such as potassium and magnesium, which are important for maintaining healthy bones, blood pressure, and heart function.

Additionally, figs are a great option for people with diabetes as they have a low glycemic index and can help regulate blood sugar levels.

Furthermore, figs are also rich in antioxidants and polyphenols which can help protect your body from damage from free radicals and boost overall immunity. Not only do they bring happiness to your taste buds but also have a host of health benefits.

Grow fig trees because they're fun and easy to propagate.

Another great reason to grow a fig tree is that they're fun and easy to propagate from cuttings. Fig trees can be propagated by taking cuttings from a mature tree and rooting them in the soil. This is a simple and inexpensive method of multiplying your fig trees. And every year I look forward to the rooting process. Similar to planting and growing seedlings, it's fun to watch a cutting turn into a tree that once was just a branch with no roots.

The cutting should be taken from a healthy branch that's preferably from growth that's 1 year in age. Once the cutting is collected, it can be placed in a mixture of well-draining materials like perlite, vermiculite, rice hulls, bark, sphagnum peat moss, and sand while kept in a warm and moist environment. Once the cutting has strong root development, it can be transplanted into the soil. This is a great way to increase your fig tree collection or to share it with friends and family.

Grafting is also another fun form of propagation. The process of grafting involves taking a cutting from one fig tree (the scion) and attaching it to the rootstock of another fig tree. The scion should have the desired fruit characteristics, such as size, flavor, or performance in your particular climate.

One of the main joys of grafting fig trees is the ability to combine the best characteristics of different varieties into one tree called a Frankenfig. This can result in a tree that produces a bountiful harvest of very different figs all ripening on the same tree.

Have you heard of air layering? It's my favorite propagation method. Try it!

Grow fig trees for economic reasons.

Let's face it. Not only are figs hard to find at the grocery store at a high quality, but they are also expensive. Why buy the fruits when you could plant a $50 tree and in 5-10 years have more fruit than you need? Fig trees are an investment in your health, happiness, and wealth.

Figs are also an interesting economic crop that's gaining traction. Commercial fig growers are benefiting more than ever because the fruits are starting to be used in loads of "in" products nowadays, but as a nurseryman, the plants and cuttings will continue to command high prices as more people realize the amazingness of the fig tree.

Feel free to contact me if you want to buy some fig cuttings or trees. I sell fig cuttings from November to January and fig trees during the spring and summer months.

Grow fig trees because they help you connect to nature and understand your own body.

Fig trees are living things and with the study of living things, parallels can be drawn to ourselves. For instance, studying the life cycle and finer details of a fig tree can offer valuable insights into our existence and our relationship with the natural world. As we observe the changes in a fig tree throughout the seasons, we can also reflect on our growth and development.

In today's world, it is more important than ever to nurture a deeper understanding and connection with nature and growing fig trees can be a powerful tool for personal growth and self-discovery.

Grow fig trees for personal growth.

Growing fig trees is an endlessly rewarding hobby that not only provides delicious fruits but also positively impacts personal growth. As you tend to your fig tree, you'll have the opportunity to learn and observe new things, such as the different stages of growth, the effects of weather, and the impact of the different techniques and ways that you care for your tree.

As your fig tree improves year after year, it serves as a reminder of the importance of patience and hard work in achieving goals. It also brings a sense of pride as you watch something you've nurtured grow and flourish, serving as a metaphor for your growth and development. Fig trees are a gentle reminder that like them, we too can improve and flourish over time.

Growing fig trees can truly be an endlessly rewarding hobby. There's always something new to learn. Especially different growing techniques that are fig tree-specific. One technique that has many uses is called pinching.

Pinching is a technique that can increase your fig production by over 100%.
Learn about that lesson in the video below:

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I'm Ross, the "Fig Boss." A YouTuber educating the world on the wonderful passion of growing fig trees. Apply my experiences to your own fig journey to grow the best tasting food possible.
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