How to grow figs

| July 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

Growing fig trees in Perth

How to grow figs in Perth

Figs (Ficus carica) are a deciduous, grown as a large shrub or small tree, figs typically grow to a height of 3 or 4 metres although there are dwarf fig varieties available and you are able to grow figs in pots also. The fig grows well with a Mediterranean type climate, such as Perth, with cool winters and a hot, dry summer. There’s a lot of value in growing your own fig trees in Perth. Buying figs at the supermarket can be expensive. Luckily growing fig trees is an easy and rewarding here in Perth. Gardeners here in Perth are increasingly able to grow their own figs because of plentiful availability of root-stock at local nurseries.

If you have ever wondered how to grow figs in Perth, Western Australia then look no further. A relatively fruit to grow there are a few tricks to successfully growing figs in Perth, but get these right and you will be laughing.

When to plant figs in Perth:
The best time to plant figs in Perth is during the autumn and winter, so the trees can establish themselves while it’s cold. If planting during warmer months make sure the soil is constantly kept moist. You can buy figs as bare-rooted stock or in pots at most nurseries as well as Bunnings here in Perth.

Types of figs in Western Australia:
There are a wide variety of figs available in in Western Australia. Check your local nursery. A few of the more common varieties in Perth are.

  • Black Adam fig – Used for fresh fruit, drying and jams. The black adam fig variety can be a small tree or bushy shrub depending on pruning. Can reach 9m.
  • Black Genoa fig – Black Genoa figs are used for fresh fruit, drying and jams. Heavy cropper, usually twice a year.
  • Black Sicilian fig – Suitable for growing in a pot for a small garden in Perth.
  • Brown Turkey fig – Used for fresh fruit, drying and jams. Purplish – amber skin with a slight golden tone. Can bear two crops a year.
  • Jenny Smith Blue fig – Excellent variety for cooking. Can also be eaten fresh. Purple to blue medium sized fruit.
  • Peter Good fig – Mid season Black fig with pink flesh.
  • Celeste fig – Also known as the sugar fig, the pastel pink flesh has a rich, honey sweet flavour and a speckled appearance. The smooth skin is light brown to violet and the fruit is a classic fig shape with a tapering neck and a squat bottom.
  • Esperance Heritage fig – This rare, late-fruiting variety, produces a good crop of elongate, medium-sized figs with a gold-green skin with some pink blush. The flesh is exceptionally sweet, very flavourful and pale pink in colour.
  • Preston Prolific fig – Great fig for drying. Can also be eaten fresh. Yellow skin with medium sized fruit.
  • Strawberry kungasava fig – Great fig for drying. Can also be eaten fresh.
  • Purple Vigilante – A mid season fig with red flesh and a strong flavour. Used for fresh fruit, drying and jams. Purple skin larger fruit.
  • White Adriatic fig – Used for fresh fruit, drying and jams. Large spreading tree 4 x 4 m. Plant in well drained, improved soil in full sun. Pale yellow-green fruit.
  • White Genoa fig – Used for fresh fruit, drying and jams. Pale green fruit which is medium size.

How to grow figs in Perth, WA:
Follow the following guide for growing figs at home in the backyard or garden.

  1. When to grow figs is up to you but the best time to plant is from mid-winter as deciduous trees or from bare-rooted stock.
  2. Choose a sunny spot to plant figs with well drained soil. Enrich the soil with a Dynamic Lifter and a Soil Improver. If the soil is clay based, add gypsum and use a pitch fork to mix it in well.
  3. Dig the planting hole for your fig twice as wide and to the same depth as the root-ball. Remove the shrub from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots before re-planting.
  4. Position in hole and backfill, gently firming down the soil. Form a raised ring around the plant, creating a well so that water will go where it’s needed most. Water your fig tree after planting.
  5. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like pea straw, keeping it away from the base of the trunk.
  6. Water deeply, once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions.
  7. It is important to feed your tree once every autumn and spring with Dynamic Lifter and a Soil Improver. When flowering and fruiting, feed weekly with liquid plant food to help promote fruit production.

Growing figs in pots:
Figs can be grown in pots, at least 60cm wide and deep, to allow the roots to spread. There are a number of dwarf varieties available and most varieties can also be grown in pots.

  1. Choose a pot at least 60cm wide. Position your fig pot plant in full sun and fill with quality potting mix.
  2. Remove the shrub from the purchased container which may be smaller than required for the fig to thrive, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots before replanting.
  3. Position in the pot placing a small amount of potting mix at the base and backfill, gently firming down. Water in well.
  4. Water thoroughly, once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions.
  5. Remember to feed your tree once every autumn and spring with Dynamic Lifter and a Soil Improver. When flowering and fruiting, feed weekly with liquid plant food to help promote fruit production.

Best fertiliser for figs:
Using the right fertiliser for figs can directly improve your fruit production. For disease and insect free fig plants with bigger and tasty fruits, feeding your figs fertiliser is a must.

Now the question; what is the best fertiliser for figs?

Right at the start of the growing season in autumn and spring, apply a general-purpose organic fertiliser to wake trees back up, with an additional blanket compost or cow manure laid around ground-grown figs. Plants need regular watering during the summer, particularly as the fruits start to swell and ripen. Apply a potassium-based liquid feed – a Citrus and Fruit Liquid Plant Food is perfect – to give plants a boost during this period.

My personal pick for the best is Yates Thrive Naturals Citrus & Fruit Liquid Plant Food , it provides the balanced nutrition they need to produce juicy, lusciousfruit and healthy green foliage.

When to prune fig trees:
Edibles fig trees are dormant and leafless in winter. This is the best time to get in and prune them. It’s easy to see what you’ve got, and the pruning you do in winter will set the trees up for the fruiting season ahead. Fig tree are very forgiving when it comes to pruning.

When to harvest figs:
Fig season is typically late summer in Western Australia. Fruit should be picked when they are slightly soft to the touch and smelling sweet. Figs will not continue to ripen once picked like some fruits, so pick them when you need them and handle them with care as they can bruise easily.

Storing figs at home:
Ripe fresh figs should be refrigerated. The best way to store figs is in an empty egg carton. Stored in the fridge fresh figs will last 3 or 4 days. Fresh figs can also be frozen whole, sliced, or peeled in a sealed container for ten to twelve months. This is a good option if you have some cake recipes which require figs.

How to dry figs:
Dried figs make for a tasty snack. It’s also a clever way to save some figs as they all tend to come ripe at the same time.

  1. Slice fresh figs in half length ways. Preheat oven to 120 Celsius or 100 Celsius if fan-forced.
  2. Place your sliced figs on a wire rack set over a baking tray. Bake for 6 hours or until dried.
  3. If the figs start to burn, continue cooking with the door slightly propped open. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Leave us some comments about your experience growing figs in Western Australia.

Check out our other how to grow in Perth guides:

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