Though considered very many warm-country plants, figs will do remarkably well outside in quite temperate areas and in a cold greenhouse or conservatory in cooler regions. In these places they produce tiny fruits in late summer, which over-winter to swell and ripen the following summer. The fig bears two to three crops each year but only one ripens in our climate. The second crop of figs never ripens and should be removed in November.
Soil - Figs are quite soil tolerant, though they require good drainage. Indeed, too rich a soil is to be avoided or growth will be lush at the expense of the fruit.
Planting distances and aftercare Figs are best grown on a south or west-facing wall. Root restriction should be provided to keep the tree compact and fruitful, as without it the fig is liable to grow large and remain vegetative. Line a pit 1m3 with paving slabs or similar material, ensuring drainage is still available.
Prune by removing weak, damaged or overcrowded shoots in November. Remove all embryo figs that are larger than a pea. When growth starts, tie in the shoots to form a fan shape, and before mid-summer pinch out the tips of young growth when they have reached five leaves.
In March each year, broadcast over the rooting area 70gm/m2 (2oz/yd2) of compound fertiliser. The fig does not produce visible flowers; they are enclosed within the centre of the fruit. Varieties grown in this country do not require pollination and the fruits are seedless.
Figs are ready for harvesting when they become soft and hang downwards. Small splits develop in the skin and a drop of nectar may be exuded from the eye of the fruit. Inspect them regularly, as ripe figs will soon rot on the tree or be eaten by birds!
Deciduous, large shrub, best grown against a sunny wall for maximum cropping. Has handsome lobed leaves and produces large pear- shaped fruit which are brown/green with the occasional purple tinge. Sugary rich flesh at the centre. Does best in a well drained soil in a sheltered sunny spot.
A hardy fig with eye-catching, deeply cut leaves. A fine foliage plant.
Deciduous, large shrub, best grown against a sunny wall for maximum cropping. Has handsome lobed leaves and produces large almost round pale green to yellow/white fruits. Does best in a well drained soil in a sheltered sunny spot.