Once you’ve picked and eaten a fig straight off the tree, warm from the sun, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been growing them for years. Not only is the fruit delicious, the leaves have a soft fragrance that hangs in the air all through summer.
Native to the Mediterranean, figs have become very popular in the UK. Our climate may not have Mediterranean warmth but varieties like this one, ‘Perretta’, can deal with cold weather and will produce plenty of fruit. We advise keeping this tree in a pot, which will restrict its growth to about a maximum of 2 metres. If you plant it in the ground be prepared for it to grow up to 4 metres.
Fig trees are an investment. You’re unlikely to get fruit the first year, but take care of them and they’ll reward you with fruit ever after.
For the happiest possible tree, put yours somewhere sunny and sheltered from harsh winds. Water regularly so the soil stays moist and feed weekly in spring and summer. Unlike most fruit trees, the fig doesn’t grow flowers before it fruits. The fruit grows straight from the branch and the flowers are actually inside the fruit. That’s why they’re so strikingly pink inside. Fruit should be ready to harvest by late summer/early autumn. It’s ready when it feels soft and comes off the branch easily.
Keep your tree healthy by pruning it once per year, in late winter. Just snip off any weak or broken growth and give it a tidy up until it’s the shape you want. Don’t leave it too late to prune. Pruning in spring can cause your tree to lose a lot of sap, which would weaken it. You wouldn’t want to stop it making all that lovely fruit.
Did you know?
Figs are one of the most ancient fruits. Fig fossils have been found that are around 20 million years old.