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Fig trees are easy to grow in warm climates. They produce their best fruit in Mediterranean climates with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Mature fig trees are fully cold hardy to 20 degrees F. The trees can be grown outside their normal climate range if they are planted in lightweight, easy to move containers. In climates where winter temperatures fall below 20 degrees F, the potted plants should be moved indoors to a sunny location until spring. Fig trees need plenty of sun, at least 8 or more hours per day, so if this is not available indoors you should move them to an unheated garage or shed. Be sure to keep temperatures above 20 degrees F. Your fig tree will drop its leaves and go dormant, but it should still be watered when the soil is dry.
Once a year in spring, repot your fig tree using organic potting soil, pruning tops and roots to control the size. Use a larger container each time, up to a 25-gallon container, which will be its last home. During the growing season be diligent about watering and feeding the plant. Feed the fig tree monthly with compost or a manure tea to give the plant a healthy boost.
Water when the top inch of the soil is dry. If you let the soil dry out completely your fig tree may lose its leaves. But take care that the soil is not constantly soggy either. For the best fruit production, water figs regularly during the growing season unless rainfall is adequate. Heavy rains or sporadic watering may cause the fruit to split. The amount of splitting varies depending on the variety, but a good rule of thumb is that the riper the figs, the more they will split and sour. When fall arrives, stop watering and allow your plants to harden off.
With proper care, your fig will live 20 or more years.
In most climates you can harvest figs twice, in June and then again in late summer. Ripe fruits are soft to the touch and the skin is prone to splitting. Fresh figs are very perishable and should be refrigerated for up to 7 days or used right away. For more information and fig recipes visit http://www.californiafigs.com/.