The Edible fig is a large deciduous shrub to low-branched tree, capable of growing 15-30 ft. tall with an equal spread. Leaves are papery and deeply divided into several lobes; edible fig-type fruit will develop on mature wood in late spring and on new growth in fall.
Edible fig is a tough plant that is adaptable to many soil types, including clay. It grows best in full sun with moderate amounts supplemental water; fruit ripens with seasonal heat. Mature plants are able to tolerate dry spells, but fruiting may be impacted. Most cultivars tolerate cold temperatures to 10°F without suffering damage.
Edible fig is a popular garden plant in most parts of California, including the Inland Empire. It is used as a specimen tree in courtyards, espaliered along walls and grown in containers. Trunks and branches are smooth and become thick and twisted with age; leaves turn an attractive yellow color in fall before dropping.
Many cultivars are available from specialty growers and garden centers. F. e. ‘Black Jack’ is a semi-dwarf plant to 6 ft. tall that is well suited to containers and to espalier. It produces deep purple fruit with pink flesh. F. e. ‘Black Mission’ is the largest growing cultivar that can reach 35 ft. tall and as wide. Fruit is deep purple-black and is good to eat either fresh or dried. This is a favorite selection with heavy fruit production. F. c. ‘Brown Turkey Improved’ grows to 20 ft. tall and produces large brown skinned fruit and pink flesh. The fruit is tasteful fresh, canned or dried. F. c. ‘Kadota’ produces yellow-green fruit on a standard size tree that is grown for canning. It needs good summer heat for best production. F. c. ‘White Genoa’ can grow 15-20 ft. tall, produces large round fruit with yellow-green skin and coarse pink flesh with excellent flavor.