What's the Deal With Fig Trees? (And Which You Should Grow?)

What's the Deal With Fig Trees? (And Which You Should Grow?)

fig tree close up

Do you love Figs? Forget about paying high prices at the grocery store, especially when it's so easy to grow your own tree!

Fig leaves are deeply lobed with three or five lobes, which stand in contrast against the tree’s smooth silvery bark. The word Fig trees means 'Nurturing', so it's a wonderfully thoughtful gift and a fantastic ornamental edible landscaping specimen that pulls double duty in your garden!

Fantastic Fig Trees!

full fig tree

Botanically identified as Ficus carica, the fig tree is also known as the Common Fig or Edible Fig. Fig trees are grown throughout the world for their tasty fruit and alluring good looks. It’s a fruit tree that doubles as an ornamental tree, with fragrant, lovely leaves that can reach nearly 10 inches long. 

These hardy and heat-tolerant trees are so attractive, you'll want to add more than one! They'll look amazing in the landscape as an ornamental too! The green heavily lobed and ornamental foliage is so refreshing to behold! It adds shade, curb appeal, and privacy too!

  • Best Shade Trees - Black Mission, Osborne Prolific, Peter’s Honey
  • Best Container Figs - Violette de Bordeaux, Olympian, Chicago Hardy, Black Jack
  • Cold Hardy - Brown Turkey, Desert King, Chicago Hardy
  • Most Productive - Osborne Prolific, Black Mission, Chicago Hardy
  • Best Tasting/Sweetest Sugar Figs - Peter’s Honey, Celeste, Black Mission
  • Most Ornamental - Panache Tiger, Black Mission, 
  • Best Figs for Humidity - Celeste, Violette de Bordeaux, Peter’s Honey
  • Best Figs for Arid Climates - Panache Tiger, Brown Turkey, Violette de Bordeaux

Pick the ripe Figs when the texture turns fully colored, and feel soft with a gentle press of the thumb. Use garden shears or hand-pick your crops with a gentle tug upward. These powerhouses contain a lot of healthy micronutrients, in addition to a wonderful amount of delicious, natural fructose. Figs are rich in potassium, Vitamins B and C, fiber, and magnesium.

How to Use Your Fig Trees Bounty

Foodies take note! There is nothing like a hand-picked Fig fresh from your own tree, still warm from the sun. Start gathering Epicurean recipes of figgy deserts!

desert king figs

Fresh Figs sweeten up the taste of many dishes, from savory meats, vegetarian, and rice dishes, to desserts. Go ahead and add them to smoothies with bananas, Figs are ideal for adding to fresh and vibrant salads for a hint of sweetness or as a topping for yogurt or ice cream. Enjoy them fresh on a cheese plate, then add some nuts and artisan crackers on a charcuterie tray for an unforgettable wine-pairing party! Turn them into a dried snack for winter. Or, try your hand at crafting homemade Fig preserves! 

Even the leaves are edible and used to wrap or flavor meat and vegetable dishes, adding a Mediterranean flair to your recipes! Use as a spinach substitute, in stir-fries, as vegetarian wraps, as tea, and stuffed. Just boil them first before eating.

Try grilling stuffed Fig leaves, cooked into a simple syrup that can be drizzled over ice cream or breakfast treats, or added to cocktails. They are believed to have some health benefits, including aiding digestion and regulating blood sugar.

Fig Tree Pollination

Figs are either open or closed-eyed (and some in between). The fruit is truly unique! Unlike most fruit in which the edible structure is matured ovary tissue, a Fig's edible structure is actually the stem tissue! The Fig fruit is an inverted flower with both the male and female flower parts enclosed in stem tissue.

fig infographic

Figs have at least one main crop harvest a year on new growth that ripens in the summer or fall, while other Fig trees can have a Breba crop that is typically produced on last year's wood in spring and the main crop comes on later in summer or into fall.

These are partially self-pollinating trees, and a single tree will produce plenty of fruit, but you'll get a much larger harvest with a partner tree. High-Density planting is a time-tested, proven formula for modern backyard orchard agriculture. Plus you will increase pollination.

Top 5 Fig Tree Varieties at Nature Hills


Here are the top five Fig trees that will perform amazingly in your landscape!

Impressive Black Mission

Very easy to grow with two crops of closed-eye Figs per year, producing much earlier in age. Great eaten fresh and baked. Growing 20 - 35 feet tall and wide, these trees thrive throughout USDA zones 7-10.

Charming Celeste Fig

Growing throughout USDA zones 10-15 feet tall and wide, Celeste is a closed-eye fruit tree that produces two crops a year! With reddish skin and red insides, these are great Fig trees for heat and humidity.

Petite Violette de Bordeaux

Two crops a year on a smaller tree, This heirloom variety thrives throughout USDA hardiness zones 7 to 10 and produces closed-eye, rich and sweet fruit. Growing 6 - 10 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide

Hardy Desert King

A green-skinned Fig that is cold and heat resistant, Desert King has a jam-like texture that is luscious and sweet. An opened-eyed variety that is great for USDA growing zones 5 to 9.

Fantastic Brown Turkey

Growing 10-15 feet in height and about as wide, Brown Turkey is a long-lived tree with two crops of open-eyed Figs. 

Fig Tree Care & Maintenance

Common Fig trees can grow in the wild in a number of different areas. You’ll find them in sunny, dry areas and rocky areas. They’re also known to grow in nutritionally poor soil. This makes them an ideal pick for a wide variety of locations. They just can’t tolerate soggy conditions.

Plant in full sun for the most fruit, and in well-drained soil with regular moisture. All plants appreciate a 3-4 inch layer of mulch. 

Fig Trees that are grown in USDA zones 5, 6, and 7 outdoors will need some winter insulation/protection to survive. Some people grow Fig trees in containers so they can be overwintered in unheated garages, cool greenhouses, or areas where the plants remain dormant but will not get colder than about 20°F. These trees don't do well being brought in as houseplants, and do need to go dormant for winter, but can be temporarily housed indoors during short bursts of bad weather.

Figs are very low-maintenance and need 100-200 chill hours a year to set fruit. 

Sweet, Delectable Figs for You!

Nature Hills has a wide selection of quality Fig trees available for you to grow and enhance your own food sustainability and landscape!

For its ornamental beauty and delicious fruit, the fig tree has been a sought-after landscaping feature for years. You’ll find a fine selection of high-quality fig trees for sale at Nature Hills Nursery!

Happy Planting!

shop fig trees

← Previous Next →