If they are not pruned, the largest varieties of figs will grow to a height of 30 feet (9 meters). Smaller varieties of figs will reach a maximum height of 15 feet (4.5 meters). Dwarf fig trees only grow to a height of 5 to 10 feet (2–3 meters). When purchasing a fig tree from a nursery or grower, ask specific questions about the mature height of the tree. Large fig trees are excellent shade trees, but they must be planted in an ideal location. That way, the fig can develop roots without damaging your driveway, sidewalks, or home foundation.
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What Fig Tree Size is Right for You?
If you have a lot of space for a large fig tree that provides shade and big harvests, choose a variety that grows up to 30 feet tall (9 meters). Fig varieties that reach this size include Black Mission, Excel, Osborne, Kadota, Flanders, and Purple Smyrna. Just remember, figs of this size must be planted at least 20 feet (6 meters) from buildings and paved surfaces, so they require a large yard.
- Grow a large fig tree if you can plant your tree at least 20 feet (6 meters) from buildings, fences, and paved surfaces.
- Select a mid-sized fig tree if you have the space to plant at least 10 feet (3 meters) from structures.
- If you have a small yard or potted garden, grow a dwarf fig.
For smaller yards, choose a mid-sized fig tree that reaches a maximum height of 12 to 15 feet (3.5–4.5 meters). These varieties can be planted 10 feet (3 meters) from structures. Some popular mid-sized fig varieties are Conadria, White Genoa, Desert King, Violette de Bordeaux, and Panache. Dwarf-sized figs can be planted along fencerows and walls. They won’t damage foundations or structures. Two of the top dwarf fig varieties are Celeste and Little Miss Figgy.
How Long Does it Take for a Fig Tree to Grow to Full Size?
A fig tree may continue to grow for 20 to 30 years before it reaches full size, depending on the fig variety and soil conditions. You may be amazed to find out how fast fig trees grow. Certain varieties can grow up to 1 foot (30 cm) each year. A fig sapling may be over 10 feet tall (3 meters) when it first starts to bear fruit.
How to Make Your Fig Tree Grow Faster
You can force your fig tree to grow faster through fertilization, but this is rarely desirable or beneficial. Fertilizing a fig tree forces it to put its energy into branch and leaf growth, but can actually prevent it from producing fig fruit. Plus, fig trees are already fast growers when they are planted in the proper location. So, it’s best to give your fig plenty of sunlight, the proper amount of water for figs, and allow the tree to grow at its own pace.
Can Fig Trees Be Kept Small?
Many varieties of figs are kept small through pruning. In these cases, figs are pruned to shrub height for easy harvesting. Although you can keep any fig small through yearly pruning, it isn’t the only option. Instead, you can grow a dwarf fig variety that reaches a maximum height of 5 to 10 feet (2–3 meters). That way, you can grow a small fig tree without extensive yearly pruning.
How Much Space Does a Fig Tree Require?
Full-sized fig trees must be 20 feet (6 meters) from all buildings, paved surfaces, and other trees to have adequate space. This space allows your fig roots plenty of room to spread in all directions. It also allows the fig tree necessary space so it does not have to compete with other trees. In addition, planting at least 20 feet from a home or building ensures your fig gets all the sunlight it craves.
Can You Plant a Fig Tree Next to Your House?
It is not advisable to plant a fig tree next to your house. As the fig grows, its roots may invade the foundation of your home. This can cause foundation cracks or destroy plumbing lines. Instead, plant your fig tree at least 20 feet (6 meters) from your home. Adequate space will allow the fig tree to grow without harming your home. If you plant a fig tree too close to your home, you may have to cut it down as it begins to cause problems. Then, all your hard work growing a fig will be lost.
How Far From a Wall Should a Fig Tree Be Planted?
Plant fig trees at least 20 feet (6 meters) from any walls, sidewalks, or driveways. This will prevent the fig’s roots from causing the wall or other structure to buckle, sink, or shift. Even if a fig tree’s roots do not make direct contact with the wall, they can still cause the wall to shift. This is because tree roots pull water from the surrounding soil, which causes the ground to sink. This results in a wobbling, unsteady wall.
Can You Plant a Fig Tree Near a Fence?
Do not plant a full-sized fig tree closer than 10 feet (3 meters) from a fence. If you plant too close, the fence could be shifted by fig roots. In addition, planting a fig tree near a fence makes your fruit tree harder to prune and harvest. It can be very difficult to reach branches that are spreading into a neighbor’s yard. If you are growing dwarf figs, you can plant them along a fenceline safely. Most dwarf figs won’t grow much taller than a backyard fence.
At What Age Do Fig Trees Bear Fruit?
On average, figs produce their first harvest when they are three to five years old. Younger figs may produce immature fruits that fall off before they ripen, but this is part of the normal fig growing cycle. Once your fig tree begins producing fruit, it can continue to grow delicious figs for hundreds of years. For more information on when figs produce fruit—as well as which fig varieties produce two crops per year—check out our in-depth article on when fig trees produce fruit.
What is the Lifespan of a Fig Tree?
Most fig trees naturally live for 30 to 50 years. However, figs are famous for being one of the longest-lived fruit trees on earth. In some cases, figs can live for up to 200 years. As an added bonus, figs produce fruit from the time they mature until they die. So, even a short-lived fig tree will give you delicious, ripe fruit for 25 years.
How Big Will a Fig Tree Get?
When planting a fig tree, remember these facts about fig tree size:
- The largest fig varieties grow up to 30 feet tall (9 meters).
- Mid-sized fig trees reach a height of at least 15 feet (4.5 meters).
- Dwarf figs grow to a maximum height of 5–10 feet (2–3 meters).
- Fig trees grow up to 1 foot (30 cm) per year.
- You can prune fig trees to grow them as small shrubs or choose a dwarf fig tree.
- A fig tree planted too close to a home can cause foundation damage.
- Whenever possible, plant full-sized fig trees at least 20 feet (6 meters) away from your home, other structures, and paved areas.
- Dwarf fig trees can be safely planted along fences or garden walls.
Although your baby fig tree may seem small when you first plant it, fig trees grow quickly. Carefully select your planting location with the mature size of the tree in mind. Before you know it, your fig will be reaching great heights.