Dec 24, 2010

Fig Tree

In the beginning of the fall I purchased a Black Mission Fig tree from Lowe's. Living in VA, I knew that the fig tree couldn't survive the winter and something would have to be done with it. I researched online and found a couple of ways to winterize them.

Let the tree drop all of its leaves after it starts getting cooler. The tree will then go into a dormant phase. Don't let it freeze though! Afterwards you can:

Method 1) Dig a long/deep hole next to the fig tree and place the tree in the ditch. Then you lightly put some soil on top of the tree to help protect it from extreme cold and wind. This method seems all well and good until the tree gets to be taller than you and weigh hundreds of pounds.

Method 2) Gently tie the branches closer to the center of the tree. Wrap the entire tree (including the pot) with blankets, burlap, or another insulating material. Some people wrap the pot and the bottom of the trunk with aluminum foil to prevent rodents from chewing on the bottom. Then place the tree in a shed or cool basement.

After reading these two methods and not really liking the idea of all that work, I decided to just figure it out when the time came. Well the time came faster than expected. It went below freezing one night and my fig tree was still out on the deck. I figured the roots had froze and the tree was a goner- so I put the tree in one of the spare rooms that we close off because we never use it. It stays pretty cool in there. I figured the tree would stay dormant... that is if it wasn't dead. To my surprise one day I went to check on it and it had buds!

  • Just a neat little tidbit: dried fig leaves have a very nice, sweet smell to them and can make a whole room smell very inviting.

Since the tree was just bought this year I doubted that I would have figs by next summer. Therefore I wasn't really worried about not letting it stay dormant long enough. So I put it in the kitchen, right in front of the south facing windows. That was about a month ago. Now there's a baby fig on it!

Fig's produce two types of "crops" during the year. A crop that grows on last years old growth, the brown stems, and a crop that grows on the new green stems. The old growth figs are whats known as the breva crop. The breva figs will usually be larger than the newer figs and may differ in color. They are also less sweet and less juicy. So my baby fig that I have growing is part of the breva crop.

Since it's a bit cool in the house and the sun isn't shining bright for many hours, the growth has been slow going. It's taken almost a month to get to this point: