Figs are delicious fruits like no other, and fig trees can produce bountiful fruit once mature.
Most people know of Brown Turkey, Genoa, and Mission as the most common varieties, but how fast will the tree grow and what influences the rate at which it grows?
How fast do fig trees grow? Fig trees grow at a medium rate, averaging about 1 foot or more per year. They tend to grow at the same rate in width and height. Factors such as location, tree variety, watering, nutrients, pests, and diseases can affect growth. Expect fruit once the tree reaches 3 to 5 years old.
To make sure you’re giving your fig tree everything it needs to grow, continue reading for fig tree growing tips!
You’ll find insight into its growth stages and factors that contribute to the rate at which it grows.
Fig Tree Growth
Fig trees can be easily started by propagating a branch from a well-established tree. This is one fruit that does not need to be grafted, so it’s easy to begin your own tree!
Since the branch is from an already mature tree, it will begin producing fruit after only a few years, typically 2-4 years.
It will grow a few fruits in its first few years but won’t produce bountifully until it has matured into a multi-branched tree, usually after about 5 years or so.
Fig Tree Growth Stages
In the first year of growth, a fig tree will establish its root system. It will need to absorb nutrients and can not do this without a healthy, vast root network.
Once it has established a root system over the first year or two, it will begin to absorb energy and put it into the above-ground trunk, branches, and leaves.
Since its roots are able to absorb nutrients well by the third year, it will begin to grow branches and create bark on the trunk.
Once the branches grow, they will establish a canopy of large leaves allowing them to begin photosynthesizing and producing energy.
In its fourth and fifth years, it will begin storing energy, and once it has enough, it will produce fig peduncles. These will turn into the figs we know as the season progresses.
In most cases, figs will produce two flushes of fruit, one in the spring and another in the fall. However, many times the fruit produced early in the season is not edible or tasty and should be discarded.
Fig Tree Growth Rate
Figs trees grow at a medium rate, averaging about 1 foot per year, but they can grow more if the environment is favorable.
How Big Do Fig Trees Grow?
Most fig trees will grow to be 30 to 50 feet tall in the wild, but many times they are grafted onto dwarf rootstocks to keep their size more manageable in the realm of 5 to 10 feet tall and wide.
How Long Does It Take for a Fig Tree To Bear Fruit?
A fig tree will usually begin bearing fruit after 3 to 5 years of growth. This amount of time depends on if the tree was started from seed, propagated from a cutting, or grafted onto a rootstock.
Factors That Influence Fig Tree Growth
Favoring Mediterranean climates, fig trees do not handle cold spells well and won’t produce fruit in hot, humid climates.
They are deciduous and will grow the most in the spring, so it is best to fertilize them then. See more details below on all the factors that influence a fig tree’s growth.
1. Planting Location
Fig trees prefer the more semi-tropical climates in USDA Zones 8 through 10 while some cold-hardy varieties will grow in Zones 6 and 7.
You’ll want to choose a location with rich, fast-draining soil that allows the tree to get at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Avoid planting in frost pockets as late frosts will kill any early spring growth.
2. Variety of Tree
There are many different types of figs, so researching your specific variety can help to keep it growing on the right track.
Some are dwarfs while others are natural full-size varieties that will grow large; however, they will also grow rather quickly and can overtake an area fast! Routine pruning is the only answer.
Figs are native to the Mediterranean, so they require climates that are dry and warm.
If they receive about 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week, they will grow well. A lack of moisture or too much moisture will cause issues with the tree and that season’s crop.
Fertilize your tree with a balanced slow-release fertilizer like 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 in the spring when leaves begin to grow from their buds.
No fertilizer is required in the fall because the tree will go dormant and excessive nutrients may inhibit future fruit production.
Do not fertilize once fruit begins to form — it will lead to tasteless fruit that is mostly water.
5. Pest Infestations & Diseases
The large leaves of a fig tree are susceptible to a few pests and diseases. Keep your eyes open for beetles because they are a common threat to both the leaves and fruit.
The leaves are susceptible to diseases like fig rust, fig blight, and fig mosaic virus.
These are best treated with insecticidal soap, fungicide, or neem oil spray (find it here) to help prevent the issues from ever slowing your tree’s growth.
6. Fig Tree Root System
The root system of a fig tree is fairly fibrous and can establish deep into the ground, but many times, it will girdle itself with closely wrapped roots.
They will also shoot up suckers by the base of the tree, and it is important to remove these so they don’t steal energy from fruit production on the original tree.
Fig trees will grow the best if you allow the roots to dry out before watering again.
Are All Figs Pollinated by Wasps?
All figs grow a unique type of fruit that requires a fig wasp for pollination! The wasp crawls inside the modified flower, distributes pollen, and lays its eggs inside.
Once those eggs hatch, the male larvae mate with the females, the males die, and the females leave the fig in search of another in which to lay their eggs.
Without this specific type of wasp, no figs would exist!
How Long Do Fig Trees Live?
Fig trees are softwood. Because of this, they can be damaged easily and are susceptible to different diseases or premature death.
Overall, fig trees in good health can easily live to be 30 to 50 years old, but some will live for decades beyond that!
Plant a fig tree, and within a few years, you’ll be enjoying the bounty! They are easy to grow and don’t require much extra attention, but starting your tree off right is key to successful growth.
Use this guide to help you understand the stages a fig tree goes through and how you can assist it along the way.