Baby Fig Tree

fig

Fresh figs are delicious!  Unfortunately, fresh figs are rarely available at the market in Maine, even during the height of fig season.  So I’ve decided to try growing my own figs.  This tiny, baby fig tree came from a mail order nursery.  It measures 4.5″ tall, with the little wood stake to keep it upright.  It was sent wrapped in plastic to preserve the root ball.

I’ve got the little fig in the window.  Since this photo I’ve changed the pot from clay to plastic.  The clay was drying out too quickly for the fragile root ball.  Now I’m keeping it uniformly moist and drained so it can breathe.  The tree is holding it’s own and has lost only four of the smaller leaves.  There is a possibility all the leaves will drop, but if the stem remains green, new leaves will grow.

This plant is a persistent or everbearing fig, the Texas Everbearing.  Everbearing figs are self-pollinating.  Many fig varieties require two trees to produce fruit.  The plant growth can be limited with pruning, to keep the tree about six feet tall.  Because they do not tolerate frost, the tree must be container-grown and brought in the house during the winter in Maine.  A cool, dimly-lit room is best for over-wintering.  During summer, figs like full sun, warm temperatures, and a moist, well-drained soil.  In the late spring to early summer, the tree will flower and produce its yummy fruit.  A second fruiting should occur in the late summer to early fall.  If the weather gets too cold, this fruiting can be lost.

The fig fruit is not actually a fruit.  It is an edible, fleshy container for the true fruit which are the tiny, crunchy seed-like innards.  Fresh figs are so unlike the dried fruit available in stores that it’s not even funny.  Fresh figs are sweet and juicy with delicate flesh and the tiny seeds are very similar to strawberry seeds.  I look forward to having my own fresh supply of figs one day, maybe even next year.

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