From the earliest historical accounts and archeological excavations, we find that the fig tree and its sweet fruits have long been present with, cultivated, and relished by mankind. In fact, it is the oldest cultivated tree-fruit known. With special varieties developed and discovered in recent times, you can now enjoy the luscious fruit and remarkable beauty of the fig tree at home, even in places with winters as cold as central Indiana and Kentucky (zones 5b-6).
On Growing Figs
Located in zone 6. we have been trialing many cold hardy fig for a number of years. Figs are one of the easiest to grow fruit trees (in zones where they will grow,) as they have virtually zero serious disease and pest issues. Birds, ants and bees do sometimes go for small amounts of the fruit but keeping up on harvesting (which is very easy and worthwhile considering how delicious the fruit is) helps keep them at bay. Rainy weather can rot ripe fruits, but the bushes are constantly making new fruit until frosts make them go dormant, similar to berry bushes that keep producing new fruit.
In their northern reaches (zone 5b-7), we recommend planting our cold-hardy figs on a warm, sunny south facing wall or other sheltered place (next to a large sheltered and active compost pile is ideal) and they do best when given some winter protection. One way is applying very heavy mulch and burying low branches underground for the winter.
Figs also make excellent and productive container plants to bring indoors in a cool basement or garage during winter. They also make great high tunnel or greenhouse specimens and can be kept bushy and compact. We grow several rare varieties in our high tunnels to serve as mother trees for propagation (and some good eating!)
Growing Figs in Containers:
Figs have been grown in containers successfully for thousands of years. They handle growing in containers very well, far better than most fruiting plants. Figs are known to fruit heavily in pots and stay quite content as long as the moisture level stays consistent and fertility is replenished each spring with compost and/or granulated organic fertilizer.
Container-growing figs is a fun project, a good way to begin growing fruit and also an easy way to grow a delicious and useful fruit plant with little space and only a pot! Would do well on a very sunny balcony or patio.
What if you live in zones 5 or 6, and don’t want to protect a fig tree but still want to grow figs in ground? Then choose our Chicago Hardy variety and plant in a sunny, protected location and heavily mulch. Even if all the top growth dies back to the ground in a cold winter, it will resprout from the roots and bear some figs the falling fall.
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