Why I Grow Fig Trees and Why You Should Grow & Plant Your Own
Updated: Nov 3
Ready to taste the sweet rewards of homegrown figs? Discover the top reasons why I grow my own fig trees and be convinced to grow your own fig tree or to start your own backyard fig orchard in this informative blog post.
The benefits of growing fig trees include the nostalgia they evoke, the unparalleled taste of fresh figs, the incredible eating experience they provide, and the ease and versatility of growing them.
Figs are a healthy food source, containing fiber and essential minerals, and are a good option for people with diabetes.
Fig trees are relatively easy to grow and are not bothered by serious pests and diseases.
Figs can be grown in a wide range of climates and can also be easily grown long-term in containers.
Growing fig trees can be a powerful tool for personal growth and self-discovery.
Growing fig trees also has economic benefits, as they are hard to find and expensive at the grocery store, and the fruits, plants, and cuttings can command high prices as more people realize their amazingness.
Growing fig trees is an endlessly rewarding hobby that not only provides delicious fruits but also positively impacts personal growth by teaching about patience, hard work, and pride as you watch something you have nurtured grow and flourish.
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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.
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. That's what this blog is all about, isn't it?
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Grow fig trees for the unparalleled taste of fresh figs by growing your own - a rarity to find in high quality at a grocery store.
Commercially grown figs 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. By picking your figs at the perfect ripeness from your own tree, you can fully taste the full range of sweetness and flavor that nature intended.
When harvested for commercial purposes, figs are picked on average 40-60% less ripe than you could have picked your own figs off of your own tree.
Watch a fig-tasting video that I created during the summer of 2022 where I got to compare the size, colors, textures & flavors of different fig varieties:
Grow fig trees for an incredible eating experience.
Like drinking an expensive bottle of wine, growing fruit like the 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.
Imagine biting into a perfectly ripe fig plucked straight from your own tree and experiencing a burst of flavor that words can't quite describe. And when pollinated, some figs produce flavors that are truly out of this world and indescribable, with some varieties even tasting more like a fruit than that fruit itself.
And among all the fruits that can be grown in a temperate or subtropical climate, figs are the 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 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 one of the easiest. They are rarely bothered by pests or diseases. Take apples, pears, or stone fruits as an example. Here in the humid mid-Atlantic, I cannot harvest plums without spraying Surround for 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.
Fig trees can be attacked by birds, squirrels, and other critters during harvest time, but they rarely suffer from serious diseases. For most of us, the biggest pest to the fig tree is probably the fruit fly. That's quite easy to deal with compared to other pests.
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 them to be grown in a wide range of climates. Pretty much anywhere in the United States, fig trees can be grown in some form.
They also make great container plants for those that have no other option.
One question that I am frequently asked is:
Are fig trees better in containers or planted in the ground?
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 containers successfully:
Another that I get is:
How long does it take for a fig tree to fruit?
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 incredible.
Grow fig trees for a healthy source of food.
Figs are not only delicious but also a nutritious source of food. They contain a high amount of fiber, which helps with digestion 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 which can help protect your body from damage from free radicals and boost overall immunity.
So 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.
Check out one of the fig grafting videos that I created below:
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. You could plant a $50 tree and in 5-10 years have more fruit than you could possibly want.
Figs are also an interesting economic crop that's gaining traction. Not only are the fruits themselves being used in loads of "in" products nowadays, but 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 cuttings from November-January & 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 own existence and relationship with the natural world. As we observe the changes in a fig tree throughout the seasons, we can also reflect on our own 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.
And as the 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 have nurtured grow and flourish, which serves as a metaphor for your own 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. You can read out that here:
In fact, pinching is a technique that can increase your fig production by over 100%. Check that out in the video below: