How Fast Do Fig Trees Grow?

Fig trees grow at a slow but steady rate of 12 inches (30 cm) per year up to a height of 30 feet tall (9 meters). As a general rule of thumb, you’ll never see a common fig tree grow faster than this without fertilizer aid. However, you generally don’t want to speed up the growth process. Growing faster than 12 inches per year weakens fig trees and reduces cold hardiness. This leads to poor winter protection in colder climates that can kill the tree. It’s best to let your fig tree grow at its natural rate and not try to force it to grow faster.

How fast do fig trees grow?

How Long Does a Fig Tree Take to Produce Fruit?

Most fig varieties won’t bear fruit until they reach 3–5 years old. The first crop of figs will not be the best for harvesting. Additionally, many fig varieties develop what’s known as a breba crop. This is when leftover figs from the previous harvest grow into very small and overly acidic fruits. These types of figs are generally not pleasant to eat so you probably won’t want to harvest them. 

  • Most varieties of figs won’t bear fruit for 3–5 years.
  • Watch out for the breba fruit crop, off-season figs that don’t generally taste good to eat.

Instead, you should wait for the second full crop the following year before actually harvesting figs. Breba crop figs may still grow in off-seasons on your fig tree. Generally, you’ll want to let these smaller fruits be and not bother with them. Some fig cultivars do grow a worthwhile breba crop though. Be sure to consult your local garden center to determine which fig cultivars grow good breba crop figs.

How Fast Do Fig Trees Grow Per Year?

A healthy fig tree growth rate will be 12 inches (30 cm) of height per year. Common varieties will rarely grow faster than this without additional fertilizer help. Container-grown fig trees may grow a bit slower than this due to the restrictive nature of the container. Fig trees need room for the root ball to spread its roots for best growth. Potted plants don’t have as much room for root systems to develop so this hinders vertical growth.

Are Fig Trees Slow-Growing?

Fig trees are fairly slow growers. Taking a tree from seedling through the juvenile period to full maturation will take several decades, up to 30 years. This slow growth is exacerbated by a dormant season in the winter months where the tree won’t grow at all. 

  • Fig trees are naturally pretty slow-growing, only gaining 12 inches (30 cm) of height every year.
  • Your fig tree will grow more slowly in regions with long dormant seasons.
  • Growing fig trees in pots can restrict their growth even more.

Container-grown figs are likely to grow at an even slower rate than outdoor fig varieties. This can depend on the types of soils used for planting and fertilization. In general, pots constrict root growth. This limited root growth in turn stunts tree growth. If you want your fig cultivars to grow at their optimum growth rate and bear a great fruit crop, it’s best to plant them outside.

How Long Does it Take a Fig Tree to Reach Full Size?

It will take your fig tree around 30 years to reach its full size. However, it will be a large, mature tree by the time it is 3–5 years old. It will just keep growing until age 30. Mature trees can continue to live and produce fruit until they are 200 years old. However, some varieties like the fiddle leaf fig tree will only live to about 50.

  • A fig tree reaches significant size by the time it is 3–5 years old.
  • Fig trees continue to grow until they are 30 years old.
  • Hardy cultivars of figs tend to have an average lifespan of around 200 years.

Take good care of your fig tree and it will provide late summer to late autumn harvests for generations. Be sure to provide annual pruning to keep your fig tree healthy.

Can You Speed Up Fig Tree Growth?

You can speed up fig fruit tree growth with certain fertilizers but it’s a bad idea to do so. Speeding up the growth too much leads to splits and cracks in your tree’s bark. This is both unattractive and also weakens your fig tree’s winter protection. This will make it easier for cold winter temperatures to harm your tree. The safest way to speed up growth is to introduce ideal growth conditions. These include

  • Dry climates with hot summers and mild winters. 
  • 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water each week for moist soil.
  • Full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily).
  • Rich soil.
  • Well-draining soil.
  • Regular fertilization.

Plant your fig tree in a sunny spot where it can get hours of sun each day. It helps to engage in soil preparation to make sure your soil has all the right nutrients for your figs. If growing container-grown trees, be sure to provide adequate drainage holes.

How Long Does it Take to Grow a Fig Tree?

The common fig tree only grows 12 inches (30 cm) per year. While this does make for pretty slow growth, the tree makes up for it with a long life span. Here are some key things to remember about fig tree growth rates:

  • Fig trees begin to bear sizable fruit crops by the time they are 3–5 years old.
  • Fig trees take 30 year to reach their maximum size.
  • Most fig varieties, such as the fiddle leaf fig tree, grow at a rate of 12 inches ( 30 cm) per year
  • Fig trees are fairly slow growers but they can live 50–200 years.
  • Attempting to speed fig tree growth with fertilizer can weaken or kill your tree.
  • Provide what your fig tree needs (6 hours of sunlight per day, attentive watering to keep soil moist, hot weather, limited fertilizer).

Take good care of your tree and it will provide you with decades of delicious fruit. Plant fig trees in sunny areas to drive healthy growth and ensure your fig tree remains healthy throughout its long lifespan.

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