Growth Habit: Fig trees can grow to 4-8 metres in hight, and have thick, sturdy branches.
Foliage/Flowers: Figs produce large, bright green, single leaves in the spring. Being deciduous, they lose all their leaves in the winter. The flowers of figs are small and inconspicuous, being clustered inside the green "fruits"
Fruit: Fruits are the size of a small pear, with a rounded base that narrows to the stem where it connects to the tree branch. The skin can vary from green to purple to brown depending on the variety. Inside is a white rind with a jelly-like flesh containing soft, edible seeds. When ripe the figs soften, and the entire fruit including the skin can be eaten. Figs have their main crop in autumn and even a young tree can produce dozens of fruits. Some varieties produce two crops a year, with a first crop in the spring being smaller and know as the breba crop.
Adaptation : Figs grow best and produce the highest quality fruit in a dry, warm mediterranean climate. Hot, dry summers and cool moist winters are its preferred conditions, but they are quite adaptable and do well on the coastal plain in the Illawarra. Full sun is preferred.
Soils : Figs are not fussy about soils. Apply only a small amount of compost in spring, if at all.
Irrigation : Figs have shallow roots and require regular watering. They don’t fare too well in drought and tend to drop their fruit when stressed. However, too much water when fruit is ripening will cause fruit splitting and promote fungal rot. Water from spring until fruit begins to ripe and resume after harvest until it loses its leaves, to prepare for next season’s crop.
Pruning : Keep trees pruned to a manageable size (3 metres) and prune into a multi-trunked vase shape.
Propagation : Propagation is easy from hardwood cuttings.
Pests and diseases : Birds, bats and many native animals love figs just as much as humans do, so be prepared to share! Bagging individual fruits is the best way to avoid wildlife being caught in fruit tree netting.
Harvest: Figs must be allowed to ripen fully on the tree before they are picked. They will not ripen if picked when immature. A ripe fruit will be slightly soft and starting to bend at the neck. Harvest from Oct-April.