Content Detail

Common fig is a medium to large shrub or small compact tree reaching 10 to 12 feet high. Will die back to the ground in northern climates if not winter protected. Large course leaves and edible fruit add summer interest. Can be grown in containers.

  • Family (English) Mulberry
  • Family (botanic) Moraceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Compact tree (10-15 feet), Large shrub (more than 8 feet), Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil
  • Season of interest early fall, late summer, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Broad, Round
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size & Form:

A large to medium shrub to small tree reaching 10 to 20 feet high

Native geographic location and habitat:

Native to western China and the Mediterranean region.

Bark color and texture:

Trunks are smooth and gray on older plants.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Alternate, large, palmate leaves with 3 to 5 lobes that are up to 8 inches long. They are dark green in color with a pale green underneath

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Small, non-showy greenish flowers form within a hollow receptacle near the branch tips.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

The showy, edible fruit (fig) develops within each flower receptacle in late summer or fall on new wood.

Plant care:

Best in full sun to light shade in a well-drained protected site. Water regularly for good root growth. Plants can dieback to ground in northern climates and need extra winter protection. Can be grown in containers and brought indoors to a basement or garage for winter.

Brown Turkey Fig (Ficus carica ‘Brown Turkey’):

A hardier, adaptable fig for northern climates with sweet, edible purple brown fruit.

Chicago Hardy (Ficus carica ‘Chicago Hardy’):

A good cultivar for colder climates with a rounded habit and purple plum fruits (pomes). It reaches 15 to 20 feet when grown in a protected site. Hardy to zone 5.


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