As a sub-tropical tree, the fig prefers a climate with warm to hot summers and cooler winters, so it is very suited to most areas of Australia.
Choose a sunny, warm spot to plant. North facing is ideal. Planting alongside a brick or stone structure provides protection from the elements as well as extra warmth.
Give your figs space. Figs are self-fertilising, how cool is that! Meaning you will only need one tree to get fruit. However, if you do plant more than one fig tree, space at least 3 metres apart. Fig trees will spread and provide thick shade, but BEWAE they also have tough roots that can damage sewer pipes and other underground systems.
The secret to a good fig is a rich, free-draining soil with a neutral pH. A good layer of straw mulch and plenty of organic matter will also give your tree a boost. Organic Xtra is perfect for figs ?
Don’t over-water or over-fertilise your figs. Fig trees do well in dry weather, and the fruit will be tastier if they are not over-watered. Using too much fertiliser can also lead to weaker fruit crops. Use Organic Xtra sparing and the trees will consume all the nutrients effectively. Water every couple of weeks if there is no rain. Tip: If your tree’s leaves begin to turn yellow, it probably needs more water!
Protect your fig tree from the cold. In cooler climates you can cover the base of the tree with leaves or hay, some people even wrap the branches with blankets, carpet padding or another warm protective layer. If your tree is in a container, bring it inside in frosty weather and wait until the ground is warm to move it back outside.
Your tree will be ready to bear fruit after approximately two years. You will know the figs are ready for harvest when they droop, soften and change colour completely. Figs will not ripen off the vine, so be sure to give them enough time before you pick!
Australian Fig Varieties
Pick the right variety for your yard and climate. A dwarf fig tree that you can grow in a container allows you to move the trees indoors for protection during the winter.
Black Genoa: Excellent flavour. A Large, conical, greenish purple skin and dark red, rich sweet flesh.
Brown Turkey: Large, conical, brown skin, pink sweet-flavoured flesh.
Preston Prolific: Very thick flesh, creamy white and juicy, with sweet flavour.
White Adriatic: A vigorous Fig variety, brown green skin over pink flesh with excellent sweet flavour.
White Genoa: Large, conical, yellow-green skin, red-pink sweet, mild flavoured flesh. Suits cooler areas.