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Mention figs and it conjures up visions of Provence or the Greek Islands in the height of summer…fig trees laden with fruit and squashed underfoot.
Locals give away bags of these delicious fruits as they have so many to spare – whereas we cherish every last one. Fig trees love plenty of water and there is a saying in the South of France that water is never far away from where a large fig tree is growing.
But fig trees can grow well in the UK too, admittedly you may not get the bumper harvests of the southern climes but you should get a decent crop and we recommend the easiest variety of fig tree to grow in the UK – Ficus Carica which commonly known as ‘Brown Turkey’.
Fruiting in August these trees produce reddish/brown skinned fruit with red flesh and they taste sweet and in a good year you can dry them in an airing cupboard (takes about 8 days).
Fig Ice Crystal is a rare decidous climbing fig – perfect for a south facing wall or fence Ficus Carica Ice Crystal will grow to around 6metres at maturity but can easily be kept smaller if you prefer, in fact pruning in late Spring will encourage fruit production. Our specimens are 1.5m (4ft 11) in height and trained on a trellis – for easy climbing.
Whilst we northern Europeans covet these Mediterranean fruits, there is more to fig trees than the fruit…they have beautiful large lobed leaves and gnarled, knobbly bark making them a fabulous tree to grow on a south facing wall.
Easily trained they can be made to spread along a wall or fence using straining wires. They are also great to grow in containers, they will need copious watering and regular feeding in the growing/fruiting season but they do look stunning on a patio or terrace in a terracotta planter.
Growing Tips: Plant in a sheltered south facing position, ideally against a wall. Do remember to refresh the compost each year with a new healthy layer at the top of the planter. By restricting the root growth when planting (by enclosing with brick or stones for example), the new growth tends to go more into the fruit.