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Figs FAQ

How large do your fig trees grow & how many years before they fruit?

Fig trees will grow very large if you allow them. In our winning garden at Ellerslie Flower Show we had a fig that was 8 years old in a pot and was no taller than 2 metres with about 150 – 200 fruit on it. So you are able to keep the plant down the size if you want. They like their roots restricted so are ideal in a pot.

Fig trees will start fruiting about the third year.

Could you please tell me if the 'french sugar' fig is self-pollinating or will I need another fig to go with it>
Is it a small tree or large?
Would it be suitable for growing in a glass house in Invercargill.

Figs are not a fruit they are actually a flower. No fertilisation takes place. Size will depend on climate, growing in a greenhouse you will need to control size with pruning.
To grow in a greenhouse you just need to make sure that your fig gets an average of at least 8hrs of direct sunlight per day to be able to produce good quality well ripened figs.

I have a problem with a fairly large fig tree. It produces a good quantity of fruit that get to a decent size but don't seem to be ripening properly. They aren't really getting any colour to them and when opened up the flesh hasn't got any colour and is dry. It had a pruning last season for they first time in I don't know how long and as I said it produced a good quantity of fruit for the first time as well. It gets a good amount of sun and there is an irrigation system so that it gets plenty of water. I am going to give it a fertilise in spring. What else could you recommend? Any help would be much appreciated.

You do not say where you are in New Zealand so I will give you some things to consider.

  • An average of at least 8 hours sunlight is needed per day in summer to produce good quality figs.
  • Plant seems to shut down in autumn if maximum temperatures do not exceed 16 degrees of several days. (This will stop the fruit from ripening.)
  • High nitrogen fertiliser promotes leaf growth at the expense of fruit. Figs need high potassium especially when fruit is swelling and ripening.
  • Moisture stress. A growth check in early summer may initiate fruit development, but a prolonged drought will delay ripening and may cause premature fruit drop.

This information was taken from Erica Cairns’ book on Growing Figs in New Zealand.


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