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Master Gardener: All about figs

Thomas Jefferson is credited in large part for spreading the popularity of the fig from Europe to the states. Afterall it was his favorite fruit.

Figs are best eaten fresh but also make wonderful preserves. They have made their way into a variety of cuisines and are adaptable to many methods of cooking.

Figs are the quintessential southern fruit. They love the heat and insects don’t seem to bother them. I will attest to the love birds have for them though. Most common figs don’t require pollination.

Even if a fig dies back in a particularly hard winter, it will produce new shoots and grow back to a fruit-producing shrub the same year depending on variety.

Figs can be architectural in the landscape, either training by espalier against a wall or pruning to produce desired form.

Size ranges from 15 to 20 feet tall and can get that wide. Figs require partial to full sun. Situate plant in a well-drained location. You can fertilize but try to avoid formulas high in nitrogen. Ripe fruit needs to be picked promptly.

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