You may be surprised to learn that you can grow figs in the garden, as long as they are in a sheltered and very sunny, warm spot or are in pots and can be moved undercover during the winter months. The key thing is to choose a hardy cultivar that can stand up to the rigours of our climate.

Growing figs:

Figs can be grown in a very sunny and sheltered spot against a wall outdoors, though you must have some mechanism for covering and protecting the tree when the colder weather draws in. A far better option for the average gardener, especially for those of us who live further north, is to grow a fig tree in a pot or container, which can then be moved into a cool yet frost free location in the winter.

Fig trees can often be purchased from a garden centre or plant nursery. Even a simple tree will produce a good crop if you treat it correctly as pollination is not required. Flowers develop within fruitlets so these are easier to grow than many other warmer-weather fruit trees as pollination is not an issue.

Figs like a free-draining soil, yet one that retains moisture. It is essential to choose a growing medium for your pot or container that allows water to pass through freely so the roots do not get swamped. However, you should also make sure to put a good, organic mulch over the top of the soil to ensure that water is not lost too quickly in the warm summer sun.

Fig trees can be placed outdoors after all risk of frost is passed in your area. Alternatively, for a more reliable crop you could consider planting figs in a greenhouse or polytunnel (though they will likely still need some extra protection in the coldest months).

Once the figs appear, you should feed the trees with a good quality organic feed every couple of weeks. Any feed suitable for tomatoes will be suitable. A comfrey tea is one of the potential options.

When pruning fig trees, wear gloves as the sap can be an irritant. Dead and damaged branches should be cut in March before growth starts and then in mid-June you should remove the growing tips of container grown examples, leaving four or five leaves on each branch.

Figs can be harvested when the skin is soft and when they split when gently squeezed. Figs grown in an unheated greenhouse can typically produce two crops in a year, making then a good value addition to your kitchen garden.

Why grow figs in the greenhouse or garden?

Figs can be a healthy and interesting addition to a fruit garden, providing visual interest and a talking point as well as delicious fruits that can be eaten straight from the tree or used in a wide variety of different recipes. You can dry figs in your airing cupboard for later use.

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Ficus carica