Growing Figs in Zone 10

palmcityflAugust 24, 2007

I'd like to grow a few varieties of figs in my Palm City yard. Are there some that are especially suited to Zone 10 in sunny, humid South Florida? Brown turkey figs are sold here, but I haven't seen any others at nurseries. Fig trees can grow large. Are they best suited to containers in this area? That way, they can be pruned and kept manageable.

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I didn't know any better and put mine in the ground, but I have been told it is best to keep them in containers due to the nematodes. Let's see what Lisa our fruit expert, and the others have to say.;o)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 5:59AM
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My biggest problem has been the birds. They'll even eat them when the figs are still green.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 6:23AM
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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

There are thousads of Fig varieties. The ones to look for are those with a closed eye, that don't need a specialized wasp to pollinate them.

Commonly grown here are Celeste, Ischia, Osborne, Texas Everbearing, LSU Gold, Mission, Alma, Florida Lemon, Excel, Brunswick, Brown Turkey and Violette de Bordeaux. Fresh, home-growm Figs are worlds better than grocery store Figs!

They supposedly do better in containers, because they like acidic soil (pine bark and peat) but I've seen Ricky's and Katkin's Figs that are in the ground, and they are beautiful!

Mine are all container grown, except for two in my raised Banana bed. If planting in the ground, ammend the soil first. A rich, organic soil will help keep nematodes away.
Or, plant near a house or concrete slab, so the Fig can send roots into the nematode-free area under the slab. They can easily be controlled in size by pruning.

Birds rarely bother my figs, probably because most are grown on the patio, by the front door. The ones in the Banana bed are hidden by the 'Nana leaves, so I get most of those fruits too(G).

Figs are very rewarding to grow. They can be started from cuttings, especially in summer.

Excalibur Rare Fruit tree nursery has a large collection of Fig varieties. Or, if you want cuttings, I can bring you some- I work in Stuart.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 6:44AM
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barbcoleus(z10 Cape Coral,Fl)

I grow my figs in pots in store bought potting soil. THis is my first year-I got cuttings from someone on the fig forum early last winter. I've had some figs this year already-they are Celeste. UCDavis has free cuttings but Lisa above knows more about them. I am just beginning to learn about figs. Lisa's right, birds don't seem to bother them although it was a concern of mine.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 8:02AM
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I am in zone 9. I planted three Brown Turkey, Fig trees in the ground. One is a puny little one that has never done anything but be attacked by nematodes. I am told to pluck it burn it and not plant anything in that place. I have another that is about 4 feet. Doing well but the winters are rough on her.
Then I have My big one. I bought her big already. She is very healthy, produces big figs. We eat plenty but so do birds,wasps and little bugs that you can see in this picture.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 2:02PM
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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

Felix, I can just about smell the sweetness of the Fig in your photo! They ooze nectar that attracts any living thing that loves sweetness. I admit to brushing/washing off bugs and eating the rest of such a delectable treat! YUMMY!!!!

You can make new plants from your one that is not doing well in its spot. Nematodes won't be passed on in cuttings. Figs naturally lose all leaves in winter. Don't let that scare you, it is normal.

The foliage of the one in your photo looks great!

Lisa, the Fig Fan!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 2:54PM
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Lisa, you're very kind to offer cuttings of your fig trees. I sent you an email through your website (very interesting). Brown turkey figs are readily available, but I haven't seen any of your other varieties in local nurseries. Richard Wilson at Excalibur is a tremendous source for rare tropical fruits. I didn't realize that he has fig trees. I recommend that anyone interested in fruit trees visit his nursery in Lake Worth. You'll learn so much from your visit and can sample rare fruits that he sells in his front yard.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 4:59PM
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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

PalmCity, please send the email to GCMastiffs at aol dot com. The GW emails do not work. I have not received an email from you via GW.

Aren't you in zone 9? My GW friends in Stuart, Palm City and Port St. Lucie consider it zone 9. Even on the water, freezes are common. But Figs don't care. They do fine in zone 9.

Fig cuttings are available free each winter from UC-Davis. So are lots of other cuttings. It is nice to get good plants for free, instead of paying $35 or more(G).

Locally, many folks will share cuttings with you as well.
They grow fast from cuttings, and typically fruit within a year.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 6:03PM
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Lisa, I thought that Palm City was Zone 9b, but when I registered for GardenWeb it asked my zip code and assigned Zone 10. I raised rare tropical fruits and palms at my former home in Davie, Zone 10b. I noticed that almost everything available at nurseries in Davie is available in Palm City. Maybe nurseries here are doing a little "zone pushing".

Gary in Palm City

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 8:16PM
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It is very confusing, some of the maps show even PSL as the beginning of zone 10. So I always say I am 9b or 10a. Since I am on a canal, I am warmer then my in land friends in PSL. They will get a frost when I don't. One or two degrees makes a big difference when it comes to a frost. I grow lots of tropicals too. Through the years I have found zone 10 plants do better for me, most of zone 9 do not make it.
Gary I could give you a cutting of brown turkey too.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 8:30AM
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ladybugfalcon(9b FL)

I'm in Palm City and have struggled with the zoning. All maps but two I've seen list us at zone 9b. I wouldn't be surprised if we're switched to zone 10 in the next decade.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 10:36PM
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I've been trying to get figs to take off in south florida for a really long time and for several reasons, they will not EXPLODE like they do in Orlando and points north.
Here is what I've found in my fig growing experience.

I've found that nematodes are a major problem in our sandy 'soil', if tree is to go in the ground, it will need a large area filled in with organic material and an agent for nematodes. After planting the tree, a heavy dose of mulch (4-5) inches and kept at that height is preferred. The moisture will deter the nematodes.

The planting location must be in full sun, breezy, well ventilated area and away other bug harbingers plants (areca palms, etc).
This will reduce the problem with rust fungus and you will have rust fungus on the leaves once the daily storms start.
If you want to go the extra mile, then spraying copper fungicide on top and bottom of leaves on a weekly basis is recommended. The problem with rust fungus is that leaves fall off once infected and a tree with few leaves is not a happy producing tree.

The last item on the list is not enough chilling hours in our 'winter' to force the tree to go dormant and get some needed rest. I know some people who have actually poured ice on the the base of the tree nightly to get the roots to chill for a few weeks in order to simulate 'winter'.

If grown in pot you can reduce the nematode problem by using quality potting soil, the other requirements still apply.

I have currently three varieties that I air layered last weekend for possible relocation to gainesville kids residence this summer. I have grown figs in pots and ground and there is no comparison, if you have a good spot, the ground option is much better. Its a lot of work just to eat some fresh figs. BTW I already ate my first 'black mission' 2 days ago and it was delicious. In my case, my trees get whatever leftover orchid fertilizer I have on a weekly basis and I apply a granular palm special fertilizer when I fee my other trees and palms.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 8:09PM
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Hi, newbie to site
Will container grown figs NOT produce quality edible fruit?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 9:23AM
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Lisa,Have lived in Stuart for the last 11 years and have not had a freeze. Coldest at my house has been 32 degrees. Now back in the 80's and 70's there were a number of hard freezes. Plants that have not suffered any damage since I began living here are barbados cherry, mangoes,papaya,macadamia,carambola,grumichama,key lime all fairly cold intolerant.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 10:29AM
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I bought a Brown Turkey fig a few weeks ago and it looks to be doing fine with plenty of new growth, but the constant rain has been a problem for the leaves(rust) but the figs themselves are growing fine, and numerous.

I keep mine in a container becuase I read that figs are related to the Ficus which is notorious for having very invasive, water-loving roots.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 2:14PM
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Would like to try container fig(s) in zone 9. Can anyone spare a cutting?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 1:27PM
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I love my fig tree - - - it was here 10 years ago when I bought the property, and after a lot of manure and mulch it has become four healthy trees with a lot of fruit. Unfortunately I'm feeding all the birds in the neighborhood. I have tried a net and it was not effective. Any suggestions?
I live in Ormond Beach, whatever zone that is.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2009 at 11:38AM
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I am not a 'grower' or green thumb; however would love to have fruit 'someday' on my only Brown Turkey fig bush. Some years it looks great but no fruit (like now) and other years it's hanging on a thread of life and will have 4 or 5 cherished little guys. I know I've got a ways to go in education... how do you tell if it has nematode damage? It has been planted in the ground for appx 7 years. Don't know if the soil is acidic or not..? Excuse my ignorance. Hoping to change it.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 11:40AM
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