Fig trees are never in a hurry when it comes to producing fruit, but when they do bless you with a nice harvest, you can be sure you’re in for a special treat!
One thing is for sure; when you want to eat fig fruits, there are easier ways than growing a fig tree.
When do fig trees produce fruit?
On average, fig trees take between 3 and 5 years to produce fruits that ripen. The fruits grow on stems every year, but they won’t ripen until the tree matures. After maturity, the fruits will ripen every year. If you want your fig tree to produce fruits fast, plant it in a pot.
Naturally, other factors intervene and determine how fast the fig tree will start producing fruits. Read more to learn about fig fruits and what you can do to speed things up.
Wondering how to maintain healthy and productive fig trees? Discover the solutions in my article Common Fig Tree Questions.
Fig Tree Fruiting – What To Know
Fruiting is not one of the top priorities of fig trees. Unlike other fruit trees that try to produce fruits as soon as possible to preserve the species, fig trees tend to delay this stage in their life cycle for at least a few years.
At What Age Do Figs Start To Bear Fruit?
Most fig trees growing in the wild or in the garden will start producing ripe fruits about 3 to 5 years after planting them. Any fruits that grow before that will not ripen.
What Month Do Fig Trees Bear Fruit?
Once the fig tree starts producing fruits, it usually does so twice a year. The first cycle begins in February. A second fruiting cycle starts in March.
Are Figs Self-Pollinating?
Fig trees are self-fertilizing but not self-pollinating. Each tree has both male and female flowers, so you won’t need to plant more than one fig tree.
To pollinate those flowers, the tree relies on a small wasp called the fig wasp. It lays eggs inside the flower and transports pollen in the process.
Fig Fruit Growth Stages
The fig fruit goes through a dramatic process in order to develop. Even though the fig tree has both male and female flowers (inside the fruits!), it still needs a small female wasp to spread pollen and lay eggs.
These wasps are attracted to a scent released by the fig tree and crawl inside the small opening in the fruits.
They then visit the flowers to lay eggs and deposit pollen from the fruit in which they hatched. Having thus completed their mission in life, the female wasps die inside the fruit.
The wasp eggs deposited in some of the flowers will grow along with the developing fruits, and when they hatch, the male wasps will seek the female wasps to mate with them.
The entire process is a little-known symbiotic relationship between the tree and the fig wasps that ensures the survival of both. Fascinating, isn’t it?
Fig trees go through cycles of fruiting followed by resting periods. Sometimes, in the year after the main crop, the tree will bear an additional crop in smaller amounts. This is called a Breba crop.
A Breba crop emerges in March and develops on old wood. This crop is not always as sweet or tasty as the main crop, and in some cases, the fruits will drop before ripening.
Moreover, not all fig varieties produce Breba figs. The best varieties that produce Breba figs include:
- Desert King
- Grantham’s Royal
- Black Mission
Fig Yield Per Tree
On average, you can expect your fig tree to produce anywhere from 180 to 360 fruits. The growing conditions and fig variety are responsible for this large spread.
How To Harvest Figs
To harvest figs, you must know the signs of a ripe fig fruit. The color of the ripe fig varies depending on the species or cultivar.
Some ripe figs are yellow-green, and others are purple, gold, or brown. A sure sign that the fruit is ripe is when it hangs down and leaks a sugary syrup from its base.
Start your harvesting quickly before the fruit splits.
To harvest ripe figs, hold each fruit in your hand and bend it against the stem. It should snap easily.
Collect the ripe fruits in a basket, and store them in the fridge to eat them raw. Repeat every few days to collect all the ripe fruits on the tree.
Fig Tree Not Producing Fruit
Sometimes a perfectly healthy fig tree will stop fruiting. If that happens, you have every reason to be alarmed. However, in most cases, the situation is easy to remedy.
Here are the main reasons your fig tree is not fruiting and what you can do about it.
The Tree Is Too Young
The fig tree takes between 3 and 5 years to mature and produce fruits. Some species will wait for 6 years before they fruit.
It’s a process, and the tree will spend those development years without bearing any fruits, or if it develops fruits, they won’t ripen.
There’s nothing you can do to hurry the fig tree into fruiting. Although some cultivars are known to fruit within 2 years, once you’ve planted the tree, all you can do is wait.
Experts recommend planting the fig tree in a pot to induce faster fruiting.
Too Much Nitrogen
Like other fruit trees, the fig tree needs fertilizing on a regular basis, but the type of fertilizer you use can have an impact on the flowering and fruiting of the tree.
A fertilizer with high concentrations of nitrogen will trigger lush foliage but at the cost of flowers. Without flowers, the tree won’t have fruits.
When applying fertilizer, choose one with high phosphorus content and low nitrogen (this one is excellent) as phosphorus triggers more flower buds. Side dress with organic compost and homemade fertilizers.
Too much or too little moisture in the soil can cause stress to the tree. Stress pushes the fig tree into survival mode where it conserves its resources and stops flowering altogether.
If the tree is already fruiting when the water stress happens, the fruits may fail to develop.
Adjust your watering patterns depending on the weather conditions. In the peak of summer, the tree might need watering once a day. For potted fig trees, you would water them twice a day.
For the rest of the growing season, allow the top 1 inch of soil to dry out between irrigations.
How To Force a Fig Tree To Fruit
You can induce fruiting in a fig tree with two applications of fertilizer. The first should be applied in late winter using a balanced fertilizer. The second application can be given a month later, but this time, use aged manure and organic compost.
When Do Fig Trees Bloom?
Fig trees do not produce visible flowers as other fruit trees do. Instead of making showy blooms, fig tree flowers are located within the fruit itself. Once pollinated by fig wasps, these special flowers will develop into seeds.
Do Fig Trees Produce Fruit Before Leaves?
Fig trees will begin to develop fruits even before leaves have emerged. By the time the leaves grow, the fruits will already be developing nicely.
Will Figs Ripen Off the Tree?
Don’t pick the fig fruits before they ripen. Once figs are picked, they’ll stop ripening, and you’ll be left with inedible fruit.
Fig trees take between 3 and 5 years before they produce fruits. If the tree stopped fruiting, check the fertilizer you apply and your watering patterns.
Learning about fig tree care and proper planting techniques is fundamental if you want healthy trees that produce reliably year after year. Be sure to read these articles next: