What You Need to Know About Growing Figs
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Published by TOP4 Team
Figs are fairly easy to grow, provided that the soil is not acid or poorly drained. They like a frost-free position with full sun. Because they have a shallow root system, they should not be cultivated closely or allowed to dry out. Here’s what you need to know about growing figs.
The best varieties to choose from are brown turkey, black genow, white adriatic or cape white, self-fertile varieties that are preferable to types requiring good cross-pollination. Most of the fruit will be carried on new wood, so it’s important that you keep the figs watered, fertilised and pruned judiciously. You can also rejuvenate old trees by cutting them back during winter.
Plant 2 figs very close together. As they develop, twine them around each other, removing all but the top 5 to 6 cm of the foliage. The 2 stems may be supported by a stake until they are strong enough to be self-supporting. Train up the stem to any height in excess of a metre, and then prune the head to a formal round shape.
Weeping figs are very sensitive to changes in the environment or room temperature. If you put the plant in a room where the temperature is too high or the plant is in a draughty position, leaves will fall. Put the plant close to a window only through the summer months, because during winter, the drop in temperature at night can cause leaves to fall. This plant prefers a humid room and needs bright, indirect light -- without direct sunlight when placed indoors.
Don’t leave the plant in darkness during the day by closing the blinds. The fact that the figs have shed their leaves will probably not kill the plant. Keep the figs well watered and feed them with a foliar feed.
If your plant drops all its leaves, take it outside to a shady place and keep it well watered so that it will develop new foliage. The outside position is only suitable however, if you live in a sub-tropical or tropical climate, or if you put it outside during the summer months. It will not tolerate frosts.
Fruit fly control
Fruit fly control is necessary if you want to harvest a good crop. It’s wise to cover the tree with bird netting, as birds love figs. The larvae of the fig longicorn beetle may attack the stems and branches — indicated by the presence of sawdust-like material, which when removed reveals holes — or the fig leaf beetle may skeletonise the leaves and cause them to fall. Spray with carbaryl (1.25g per litre of water) or inspect the tree regularly and squash the groups of pale yellow eggs laid on the leaves.
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