Celeste Fig Tree: Full Planting & Growing Guide for Success

It can be challenging to find fresh and tasty figs at supermarkets, and they are not typically the most affordable fruit. This is why cultivating your own fig tree is a highly recommended option!

The dwarf variety ‘Celeste’ is a great candidate for small spaces and is easy to grow, but do you have enough room for one?

Celeste fig trees will typically grow to a mature height of around 7 to 10 feet tall with a spread of 6 to 10 feet, but these shrubby trees can grow up to 15 feet tall if left unpruned. Its bushy, compact form makes this an ideal variety for container gardens and yards with limited space.

Despite their modest stature, this tree is capable of producing an impressive crop of sweet fruit, and in a really short amount of time too!

In this guide, we’ll discover how to get the best out of your Celeste fig tree from the best soil and watering methods to pruning, planting, and harvesting the sweetest possible fruit.

Looking for the best fig tree options? Don’t miss my article Best Fig Tree Varieties featuring the standout Chicago Hardy, the ever-popular Celeste, and many more.

Celeste Fig Tree

Commonly called the Celestial, Honey, or Sugar fig due to its sweetness, the Celeste fig tree originated in western Asia and the ancient Mediterranean before making its way to Europe in the early 1500s and arriving in the US around 1669.

This fig variety has since become a favorite of fruit growers across the southeastern US, prized for its unique-tasting fruits and easy-to-grow nature.

Botanical nameFicus carica ‘Celeste’
Grow Zones5-10
Mature height7-10 feet 
Mature width6-10 feet 
Growth rateFast
Light preferencesFull sun, 6-8 hours daily
Ideal soilLoamy, fertile, slightly acidic
Watering needsWeekly for first two growing seasons, ideally drip irrigation
Years to bear1-2
Fruit sizeSmall to medium (1-2 inches)
Fruit tasteSweet and sugary, like honey

General Appearance

The Celeste fig tree is a multi-branched shrub-like dwarf fig tree with large and deeply lobed vibrant green leaves. Its tiny green fruit buds mature to become fleshy purple fig fruit.

Celeste fig trees are a closed-eye fig variety, which essentially means that the small hole at the apex of the fruit is closed, resisting insect and pest damage to produce more unspoiled fruit compared to other fig types.

Growth Rate & Mature Size

This is a pretty fast-growing tree, producing fruit within the first year if given the best care.

Celeste fig trees will grow to a mature height of around 7 to 10 feet with a similar spread, making it ideal for growing in containers and small yard spaces.

Fruits

Small to medium-sized fruits appear on new wood in early summer, quickly becoming smooth rose to violet-colored rounded fruits with tapered necks and bright-pink inner flesh.

Figs ripen between August and September, but trees may also produce a small crop in late spring.

Celeste Fig Taste

Celeste figs are beloved for their richly sweet flavor that is often described as being similar to honey.

Its sugary-sweet quality makes it perfect for preserves, jams, and jellies and is often eaten as a dessert fruit.

Pollination

Celeste fig trees are self-fertile, so you will not require a second pollinating partner tree.

One Celeste fig tree is likely all you need though as these produce a hefty fruit crop of up to 50 pounds!

Hardiness

This fig tree variety is impressively tolerant of heat and cold and is more cold-hardy than most other fig varieties.

Celeste is cold resistant to 0°F but will need good winter protection to help it thrive such as wrapping in horticultural fleece or burlap.

Celeste trees are also highly pest and disease resistant, thanks to the tightly closed eye at the apex of the fruit.

Figs on a Celeste fig tree with bright sunshine shining on the leaves.

Celeste Fig Tree Growing Conditions

Now you know what this sweet and compact fruit tree has to offer, let’s look at the basic conditions that are needed for a Celeste fig tree to fare well in your landscape and some tips on how to go about planting one.

Grow Zones

Celeste fig trees will grow best in USDA Grow Zones 6 through to 9 but can cope well in the heat of Zone 10 and are hardy to Zone 5 with excellent care and winter protection.

Sun Requirements

This variety grows best in areas where it can receive 6-8 hours of daily sun. Choosing the sunniest spot in your landscape will ensure a bigger and better quality yield of fig fruit.

Soil Preferences

Celeste fig trees adapt well to many soil types and even produce well when grown in poor soil or restricted soil volumes, which is why they make ideal container plants!

For best results with your potted or garden-grown fig tree, opt for fertile well-draining soil that doesn’t compact easily.

Loamy soil rich in organic matter is ideal with a slightly acidic pH level of 6.0-6.5.

Planting Tips

  • Plant your Celeste fig tree in a place that won’t have continual soil disturbance, such as in an area that can be mulched and watered instead of a gravel pathway that requires regular weeding and edging.
  • Ensure trees are planted far from buildings, walls, and other structures to allow the roots and branches to spread freely.
  • Consider planting your Celeste fig near a south-facing wall for added winter protection.
  • When preparing the planting hole, be sure to dig a space as deep as the tree’s root ball and three times the width. Enrich the planting hole with organic matter like compost or peat moss to loosen compacted dirt.

Celeste Fig Tree Care

With their immediate growing needs covered, we’re now going to run through the long-term care of this fig tree from watering amount and frequency to the right way to prune and how to harvest the delicious fig fruit.

Watering

Weekly watering is best for newly planted trees in the first few growing seasons. A slow drip of water over the course of an hour is ideal.

During hot and dry spells, a soak of 8 inches of water every few days will provide the deep watering needed to encourage sturdy and far-reaching roots.

Mulching

Once every spring, it’s a good idea to provide a thick layer of mulch around the base right after watering. This helps to conserve moisture around the roots and helps keep weeds at bay too.

Add a 2-3 inch layer of bark chips or compost around the trunk, but be sure to keep the mulch at least 4 inches away from the trunk to prevent rot issues.

Fertilization

Young developing trees won’t need fertilizing, but once established (after 2 years or so) you can give your fig tree a little boost in early spring.

Use an organic slow-release fertilizer offering a balanced ratio of nutrients. I use this one on all my fig trees and always have large crops and healthy growth.

Pruning

Pruning your Celeste fig tree is key for stimulating new growth and ensuring enough air and sunlight can get to the branches.

In late winter or early spring, use sharp, clean pruning shears to remove any branches that are dead, broken, diseased, or unsightly (i.e., growing in an odd direction or rubbing against another branch).

Make cuts just above a leaf bud at a 45-degree angle. Also, take care to wear protective gardening gloves as Celeste fig trees release a milky sap from their branches when cut, which can be a skin irritant for some.

Harvesting

With top care, your Celeste fig can start producing fruit within its first year and is typically ready for harvesting around July or August.

A deep burgundy to purple hue lets you know the figs are ready to pick. The fruit should also feel soft and yield to the touch but not be mushy.

Pests & Diseases

Though highly resistant to many common issues, poor care can lead to pests and disease outbreaks.

The root-knot nematode is a common fig tree pest. These are microscopic worms that attack fig tree roots, resulting in knots and swelling on the roots.

The best control against them is to provide healthy soil that helps predators of the nematode to thrive. Heavy mulching and the use of nematicides can also help.

As for diseases, fungal nasties like fig rust and leaf blight can cause yellowing leaves and rust-colored holes.

Maintaining a balanced watering regimen can help to keep these at bay, as can clearing fallen leaves and debris at the foot of your fig tree to prevent fungal spore growth.

Companion Plants

The following herbs and flowering plants can help attract plenty of pollinators, enrich the soil with nutrients, and even deter harmful nematodes thanks to pungent odors!

  • Bottlebrush
  • Daisies
  • Bee balm
  • Coneflower
  • Nasturtiums
  • Marigolds
  • Comfrey
  • Rue
  • Mint
  • Strawberries
  • Stinging nettles
  • Sage
  • Petunias
  • Lupines
  • Lemon balm
  • Sunflowers
  • Rosemary
  • Chamomile

Where To Buy

To be sure you’re getting the specific ‘Celeste’ fig tree variety, online tree nurseries are a safe bet as stock is typically grown from stem cuttings and not seeds for consistent characteristics and high quality.

Some of the best places to find your Celeste fig tree are:

Closing Thoughts

To summarize, the Celeste fig tree is a compact self-pollinating tree producing a generous crop of sweet, honey-like fruit (sometimes within its first year!).

These trees need a full 6-8 hour daily dose of sun for the best possible yield and need winter protection if grown in the colder regions of Grow Zone 5.

This is a very hardy variety in many ways, but providing it with ideal soil conditions, sufficient watering, and yearly pruning will help to grow a healthy fig tree you can enjoy for years to come.

Happy planting!

Uncertain about which fig tree variety to choose? Explore these fantastic options before making your final decision: