How Long Fig Trees Live: Factors That Affect Life Expectancy

Fig trees hold significant meaning beyond being just regular trees. They serve as a representation of our past, cultural values, and lasting presence.

With their distinctive shape and luscious fruit, they have captivated people’s attention for centuries, but why exactly do they symbolize longevity?

How long do fig trees live? Fig trees can live for several decades to even centuries, with some varieties known to survive for over 200 years. The lifespan of a fig tree depends on various factors such as its variety, access to light, watering consistency, growing conditions, available nutrients, and temperature.

In the following, we’ll explore the fascinating lifespan of fig trees and delve into the factors that can influence their longevity.

Key Takeaways:

  • Fig trees can live for many years, with some surviving for over a century.
  • The amount of sunlight, watering frequency, available nutrients, pests, and diseases can impact the lifespan of fig trees.
  • Proper pruning promotes healthy growth and improves fruit production, but excessive or improper pruning can harm the tree.
  • Temperature plays a significant role in fig tree growth, development, and fruit production.
  • Fig trees generally take 3-5 years to mature and start bearing fruit.
  • Fig trees can bear fruit for many decades.
  • Several factors, including disease, pests, extreme weather conditions, poor soil, and improper care, can cause the death of a fig tree.

Want your fig tree to be as productive and healthy as possible? Discover essential care tips and pro insights in my comprehensive article Fig Tree Care and Maintenance.

Fig Tree Lifespan – Influencing Factors

Trees do an excellent job of taking care of themselves. However, the more care they receive, the more they will thrive and have a better chance of an extra-long life span.

Daily Sunlight

Sunlight is crucial for photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert sunlight into energy. Fig trees, like all plants, need this energy to grow, produce fruit, and survive.

The amount of daily sunlight received can impact a fig tree’s lifespan as it directly affects its ability to photosynthesize and produce energy.

Insufficient sunlight can lead to stunted growth, decreased fruit production, and weakened trees. In contrast, ample sunlight can result in healthy, vibrant fig trees that can live for many years.


Too little water can cause stress to the tree, leading to wilting, leaf drop, and even death. On the other hand, overwatering can suffocate the roots, causing root rot and fungal diseases.

Consistent and adequate watering can promote healthy growth, strong roots, and increased fruit production.

Proper watering practices also help the tree withstand extreme temperatures and droughts, ultimately leading to a longer life span for the fig tree.

Available Nutrients

Figs are heavy feeders and require a balanced supply of essential nutrients to grow, thrive, and produce fruit.

A lack of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium can cause stunted growth, reduced fruit production, and increased susceptibility to pests and diseases.

On the other hand, providing the tree with the proper amount of nutrients can improve its overall health, vigor, and longevity.

Adequate nutrient supply promotes strong root growth, healthy foliage, and optimal fruit production, resulting in a longer life span for the fig tree.

Several figs in various stages of growth on a healthy tree.

Pests & Diseases

Common pests that attack fig trees include fig beetles, mites, and mealybugs, but diseases such as root rot, leaf spot, and fig rust can also affect the tree’s health.

When left untreated, pests and diseases can cause severe damage to the tree, making it more vulnerable to other infections and environmental stressors.

Early detection and appropriate treatment can help control pest and disease populations and preserve the fig tree’s health and life span.


Pruning can positively impact a fig tree’s life span by promoting healthy growth, increasing fruit production, and preventing disease.

Regular pruning removes dead or damaged wood, promotes better air circulation, and reduces overcrowding. This, in turn, can improve the tree’s overall health and vigor, leading to a longer life span.

However, excessive or improper pruning can harm the tree, leading to stunted growth, decreased fruit production, and even death.


Fig trees thrive in warm climates and can withstand temperatures up to 100°F (38°C).

However, extreme heat, frost, or prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can harm the tree, leading to leaf drop, frost damage, and sometimes death.

Providing appropriate protection, such as shade cloth or frost covers, during extreme weather conditions can help mitigate the impact of temperature on the fig tree’s life span.

How Long Do Fig Trees Take To Grow?

Generally, fig trees take 3-5 years to become fully established and start producing fruit. However, some fig tree varieties may take longer to mature and bear fruit.

When Do Fig Trees Bear Fruit?

Fig trees typically bear fruit once or twice a year, with the first crop appearing in early summer and a possible second crop in late summer or early fall, depending on the variety and location.

It usually takes about 3-5 years for a fig tree to reach maturity and start producing fruit.

How Long Will Fig Trees Bear Fruit?

Fig trees can bear fruit for several decades, with some trees producing fruit for up to 100 years or more.

Proper care, including regular watering, fertilizing, pruning, and pest control, can help ensure the tree’s longevity and continued fruit production, but as the tree ages, it may produce fewer fruits.

Related Questions:

What Kills Fig Trees?

Many factors can cause the death of a fig tree, including diseases such as root rot and fig rust, pests such as fig beetles and mites, extreme weather conditions, poor soil, improper watering, over-pruning, and neglect.

Do Fig Trees Flower?

Yes, fig trees do flower, although the flowers themselves are not visible because they are inside the fruit.

The fig’s unique fruit structure includes a hollow stem containing numerous tiny flowers that are pollinated by specific fig wasps.

The flowers produce a sweet, sticky substance that attracts the wasps, and the pollination process results in the development of the edible fig fruit.

Closing Thoughts

Fig trees are fascinating and long-lived trees that require proper care and attention to thrive.

The amount of sunlight, watering frequency, available nutrients, pruning, and protection from pests and diseases all play a role in determining the life span and fruit production of the tree.

By following proper care guidelines, fig trees can be enjoyed for many years to come.

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