Can I grow fig trees for fruits in Phoenix?

ellenarOctober 10, 2010

Hi there,

I am Italian, moved to Arizona few months ago. I am used to very good fresh fruits from locals in my country and I think I should grow my own fruits here as the ones I buy do not taste as good as what I am used to.

I live in an apartment at the moment but in a year or two I will move into a house. Can I grow any fig trees in Phoenix and if yes, which variety would be the best for my situation?

thanks

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genecolin(Zone 9, LA)

ellenar, welcome to the forum. The answer is yes you can. We have a few members from AZ that grow many trees. I will let them discuss varieties with you.
"gene"

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 3:55PM
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wabikeguy(7 AB)

Hi ellenar. I'm in Lake Havasu, where our growning conditions (heat, lack of rainfall, and poor soil) are even more severe than in Phoenix.

I am growin several varities of figs suuccessfully. You have to protect their root zone...particularly in the first year. I mulch heavily, and...in this first year for my new trees, due to our severe heat, used shade cloth for several weeks to protect them when temps first went over 110.

My most successful figs have gone from cuttings to 4 and 5 foot tall trees in less than a year.

Most of my trees are in the ground. Thisisme has several varities fig trees in pots...which is a lot tougher to achieve success in our summer heat. I'm sure he'll weigh in here with his advice.

Anyway...the short answer is that fig trees can do very well here, if you baby them along a little when they're young.

Best of luck..........Dave

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 6:34PM
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ellenar

Thank you Dave. I really appreciate all the advice I am getting from this forum.
I hope I would be able to grow at list one fig tree in a pot, otherwise I will have to wait for when I get a house.
Thanks again

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 6:54PM
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thisisme(az9b)

ellenar fig trees love our hot summers here. I have been growing in pots and it can be done with some care. However they grow faster and require less care if they are planted in the ground.

I lost the tags to nearly all of my older trees so I can't make many recommendations.

Here are my two favorites of the ones I can name so far.

Violette de Bordeaux is the best so far. Its very tasty and productive. No fig grower in Arizona should be without this variety.

Black Mission produces well but nothing like Violette de Bordeaux. This tree likes to grow big and may require a little extra pruning to keep small.

If you are going to plant in pots you are going to need to mix your own soil. A variation of Al's Gritty Mix with a lot more bark and some larger bark usually works fine. You will need to mulch the top 3-4" and cover the outside of the pots with some burlap or shade cloth to further protect the roots from the summer sun.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 8:23PM
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xnrgx(8a to 9)

I am also (although not new to Arizona) new to growing Figs here in Arizona (Tucson). My wife and I decided to start with about 12 different verities of figs. We are still working on getting some more. But for now we have....

Mission
Violette de Bordeaux
Peters Honey

and plan to get very soon...

Sal's Corleone
Marseilles
Natalina
Bifara
Sal (EL)
a Palestine fig
byadi

with some help from a few wonderful people here at Gardenweb. (I love this fourm) everyone is so helpful. I will keep up on how they do. If anyone else from Arizona or anyone has any other suggestions please let me know. We kind of want a nice variety so we figured 12 would be a nice start. This will all be new to me and I figure I will learn allot here also. Our Mission will be the only in ground one for now. I would like to have one good Greek fig. Plan on putting them all in wooden pots if people think that's advisable. I think we have over watered the Mission fig due to yellow leaves, so we are cutting back. Well, we thought we already did, but I guess not enough. MY VDB seems to have dryer leaves but they are green. So many nice Fig trees to try so little space to grow them in, so if anyone has any ideas for a few others let me know. Can't wait to show pictures. Fo now its half dream and half just starting up.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 9:40PM
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frozenjoe(9 Arizona)

Ellenar,

I recently moved to the Phoenix area from the Northeast where I grew figs inground and in containers. You have received good advice from growers who are familiar with the growing conditions here in Phoenix. I would add the following... From what I have seen so far just about all figs really like the growing conditions here in this area. I have 11 varieties that I have been growing here in the last month. Almost all of them are happy and growing well so far in the desert weather. Black Mission, Marseilles VS, and my unknown (Jersey) are responding vigorously and my other varieties are starting to show signs of good growth as well. This is a very good area for figs. Drive around the area and you will see large, established specimens if you look for them. Water well and you will have success with almost any variety (even those that are supposed to be best suited to colder regions). Welcome to AZ.

Joe

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 1:51AM
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girlbug2(z9/10, Sunset zone 24)

If your climate in Az is at all similar to the climate in Fresno CA, (i.e. the Valley), then it follows that the same varieties of figs should do well. Black Mission as others have said is a favorite. But I'm surprised that so far nobody's mentioned Kadota, which is a standard fig to grow in Fresno where my family is from. Kadota is great if you like white figs and they are also good for drying.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 11:52AM
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ellenar

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

thisisme:
What kind of pot is best to use (clay, wood, plastic etc.)?

What is the best size to start and is any re-potting needed?
If yes, how often?

When is the best time to buy and plant the fig? Can I do it now that is less hot so that it gets bigger by the time the summer comes?

When should I prune it and how often and how much?

What about the watering system, how often should it be, how much water does it require? How moist should the potting soil be kept? How much drainage should the dirt provide (one that drains really well or something that keeps moisture -this might cause root rot though)

Thanks again to all and I appreciate all the advice I can get.
Ellena

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 12:46PM
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thisisme(az9b)

Ellenar I use only 25 gallon pots and 15 gallon pots for trees. I use a lightweight growing medium that allows good aeration and drainage. The 25 gallon pots are roughly $ 95.00 per 10 delivered. I get the 15 gallon pots at my local nursery for $ 1.00 each but they are used and they only have them once a year in January-February.

In the summer wrap the pots with burlap or shade cloth to protect the roots. Water when you have to. In the summer that can be as often as once or twice a day. Not because they need water but because the roots need to be cooled. Water late in the day when the sun is nearly down. If thats not enough and they are showing signs of heat stress then water again in the morning. During the winter they can go much longer between waterings.

Here is a link to one of the better threads on a soil mix for container grown plants and trees. It should last for a few years until you can get them in the ground.

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/contain/msg0212444023053.html

There are a few things you can do to get rid of the gnat problem. You can get some mosquito dunks and grind them up. Then put them in a five gallon bucket of water and stir it and cover it and let it sit over night. The next day water your plants with it. You may need to do this more than once.

Another way is to get a product called Mosquito Bits. I know you don't have mosquitoes but it also works on gnats.
Link to Mosquito Bits

http://www.amazon.com/Summit-117-6-Mosquito-Bits-Oz/dp/B0001AUF8G/ref=sr_1_2/183-1015792-9900706?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1274673461&sr=8-2

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 7:16PM
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Dennis AKA Snaglpus(8a)

Hello Ellenar, you are lucky to be live in Arizona! What great weather you guys have there! Lucky you have a friend now on this forum who lives in AZ too. Learn from him. You can grow figs in your area and in containers.

You will need to protect you figs though. I live in Western NC and this year has been one of the hottest on record for our state. We have 4 full seasons and presently Autumn is in full swing! The foliage is beautiful. I would think Violette de Bourdeax, Mission, Panchee, Black Madeira and Stella will grown in your area fine. However, the sun can and will sorch and burn your fig leaves if not protected. All the books I read said to plant figs in full sun. But in my research, I found that not to be 100 percent correct. I think figs need day light but some do well in full sun than others. Black Madeira and Panchee need a long heat season in order to produce quality tasting figs.
Here are a few I had to protect from the sun.

Here are some that I placed in fast draining soil that I had to protect also.

Here is Stella growing in a huge container.

And here another view of them protected from the sun.

cheers, Dennis

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 10:52AM
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ellenar

hello thisisme and snaglpus,
I am so glad I found you and this forum. The pics are so nice! I wish I knew how to put pics on this web, so when I get my first fig tree, I can show how it will grow.
I also wish I could visit a nursery or place that grows figs, to see them closely how they look and how people are taking care of the figs. I have not found one in Phoenix yet. Next week I will be in lake Havasu for a night but I am not sure there are fig nurseries there(its hotter than Phx).
My tree will be in a covered porch/balcony for sure (that's what I have). I just don't know if I can plant the tree around this time of the year or I should wait for spring.
Thanks again for the advice and sharing pics,
Ellena

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 9:59PM
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thisisme(az9b)

ellenar if you can plant it now, now is a good time. I planted two cherries last week and I will be planting two plums next week. In fact all my trees over three foot tall should have their pots in the ground between now and this time next month.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 10:10PM
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frozenjoe(9 Arizona)

Ellanar,

Tropica Mango carries fig trees. They have a site in Phoenix and one in Apache Junction. I've been to both and the staff at both sites are very friendly. They have several fig trees you can look at and they can talk to you about what they do to care for their trees.

Joe

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 10:23PM
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wabikeguy(7 AB)

Ellena, If you're coming to Havasu, you are welcome to come by and see our trees. I have some fast growing unknowns that may be black mission, two of which are still in pots. You can have one if you like.

We have 15 trees in the ground and these two potted ones.

No nurseries worth looking at here...not for figs anyway.

Dave

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 10:50PM
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ellenar

Hello all,
thanks for all the info. I really appreciate it.
Dave, thank you for your invitation, really nice of you. I will talk to my fiancee and if he will get the days off in mid week, we are of course coming, if not, the trip to lake Havasu is not going to happen. I will let you know by Monday and you can tell me how to find you.
Thanks again

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 11:53AM
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ellenar

Dave,
It looks like next week it is going to rain in Lake Havasu...
I am thinking to come around October 24-25. I am also a bit concerned as per where is the best hotel to stay (I would really like to swim but not sure if the lake is warm enough) I know this is not about the figs :) but it will contribute as it will allow me to come and see how you take care of them and maybe bring one home with me :) If you have any suggestions re the hotels and restaurants to consider please send me the info. If it is best to talk about such stuff out of this forum, you are welcome to email me at ellenarossi@yahoo.com
This way I can email you back personally when I will be on my way to Havasu, to get your number or address so I can find you and see your trees :)
Thx

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 1:11PM
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foolishpleasure

$95 for 10, 25 gallons pots and $1 FOR 15 Gallon POT that is very cheap. I paid $16 for each 8 Gallons pot at HD. It is made of Plastic but has good drainage. What is the store name which sells 25 Gallons pots at this incredible price

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 5:11PM
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thisisme(az9b)

Hi foolishpleasure. My local A & P Nursery re-pots all their 15 gallon trees into wood tree pots and sells all the used 15 gallon pots for $ 1.00 in January and February.

I get my 25 gallon pots from J. R. Johnson Supply. Its $ 59.00 for ten 25 gallon pots. With shipping to my door its right about $ 95.00 for ten pots. These are not cheap pots either. These Haviland Nursery Cans are are 2-3 times thicker than any nursery pot I have ever purchased and sturdy too.

Here is a link that might be useful: J. R. Johnson Supply

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 9:13PM
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CatCoh

My fig tree, from a cutting from my uncle's farm in Calabria is growing well in Phoenix AZ. Had to shade it the first summer and because I live in the open desert I have a fence around it to protect it from Javalina.

Hopefully after 5 years I will finally get edible fruit this year. I made cuttings from my tree for several friends.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 1:20AM
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ben_in_sofla

I am somewhat puzzled at keeping well established fig plants in the shade. Keeping them shaded may have created the problem when they are moved out to full sun. Plant has to acclimate to it's environment gradually, but once it is acclimated there should be no 'sunburn' issue. Dried up and yellowed older leaves could be just lack of moisture. The tree will only keep foliage that it can sustain commensurate with the amount of moisture that it gets.

About the 25 gallon pots, I found 2 today on my work travels on side of I95 highway in Fort Pierce FLA. That make 6 25gal, and 4 15gal pots that I've rescued from side of interstate in the past year. It's amazing how many black plastic pots I have found on side of the road and recycled. I believe they blow off landscaping trucks or trailers.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 8:35PM
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katushkin

Hi, I am also new to AZ and really want to start growing figs here, many many fig trees :) I live in NW Glendale and would love to buy some fig cuttings or maybe airlayers or young trees from the other fig growers around my area. Anybody has extra fig plants/cuttings to spare ? Thank you
my email akondaur@cox.net

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 2:08PM
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sadkinsburt

Hi! My father in law that I love dearly gave me a fig clipping in a small pot. I want to be able to plant it in the ground but do not know when is the best time of year to do that. I live in Waddell, which is a small town outside of Phoenix. It has been growing fine in the pot but I did want it to get root bound or something and lose it. Any help that you can give me I would really appreciate. It is in the shade in the morning and received sun from noon til about 4 pm.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 7:46PM
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newgen(9 Central California)

thisisme: what kind of soil do you use in your 25-gallon pots?
Thanks,

    Bookmark   October 17, 2011 at 3:59PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

Thanks to Erik for bringing this thread up. Would some of you bring us up to date on your experience with your fig trees? And a bigger question I have is: What on earth do you do with figs from 12 trees?!! I have a hard time keeping up with just one tree.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 7:00PM
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imthru

Does anyone know of successful fig growers as far north as Prescott. I see fig trees available at some Garden Centers and assume they can be grown with success.
Thanks

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 11:01AM
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az_pamperedchef(9)

I have my Black Mission Fig that I've had in the ground about 3 years now. Last year it gave me a few figs, but this year I only see 2 figs! Is that normal? There is a lot of foliage, some with mosaic virus, but healthy. Any ideas of why I might only have 2 figs?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 3:01PM
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lessons_learned(9)

Hi, newbie here!
If I'm growing a fig tree in the ground, what kind of soil requirements does it need? Is plain old AZ soil okay or should it be amended with something? I got one for my mom and I think she just filled the hole up with miracle grow. She said the leaves also disintegrated in her hands, so I'm guessing it got sunburned. Poor thing.
So here I am hoping I can get one set up for her! Any help would be appreciated!
~Sondra

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 5:48PM
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ediblelandscaping.sc(7b-8)

disintegrated? like turned to dust? did she water it after planting it. figs are drought resistant but thats once established. while young you should supply water when needed. AZ soil will dry out fast so you can add some organic matter to hold the water better. never dig a hole and poor in potting soil, compost, ect in the hole and plant directly in the hole. amend a hole 2 to 3 times the size of the rootball by mixing existing soil with the soil amendment. the bigger the hole the better. also mulching helps cool the roots in the 100+ degree days and slows evaporation. once your roots are older and run deeper it will probably never need to be watered again or need human assistance and will likely outlive you and provide plenty of figs for your grandkids and maybe there kids. remnants of president Thomas Jefferson's fig orchard lived into the the early 1900's and He planted them as early as 1769. If a tree will take care of you for this long it just makes since to do the extra work upfront. If her plant fails don't give up, just try again. Everyone needs a fig tree especially Mom! Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 4:14AM
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