Fig trees produce a crop of edible fruit in late summer, from August through September. However, fig trees do not produce their first fruit until the tree is three to five years old. So, don’t expect to get fruit from a baby fig tree.
As a bonus, some fig varieties produce a second crop of figs—called a breba crop—that appears in spring and ripens in early summer. In some cases, this breba crop has a poor flavor and should be removed in spring. However, there are varieties of figs that produce delicious breba figs and a tasty main crop, so you can get two fig harvests per year!
At What Age Does a Fig Tree Produce Fruit?
Fig trees do not begin to produce edible fruit until they are between three and five years old. How soon your fig tree produces fruit depends mostly on the age of the tree and the fig variety. To ensure your tree begins producing fruit as soon as possible, plant your fig at the right location and time of year. A tree that is planted where it can receive adequate sun and water will produce better fruit crops.
- Fig trees start to produce crops of fruit once they are 3–5 years old.
- Planting a fig tree where it receives adequate sunlight can help you produce better figs
- Immature fig trees commonly grow small fruits that drop off on their own before they ripen.
When your fig tree is still young, it is common for fruits to begin to develop, then fall off before they ripen. This is not a cause for alarm. Until your tree is three to five years old, the fruit will typically not set properly. So, don’t worry if a young tree appears to be losing fruit.
What Time of Year Do Fig Trees Produce Fruit?
In the Northern Hemisphere, your fig tree’s main crop will ripen from August through September. Begin checking your tree for ripe fruits in late July. Although coloration can help determine ripeness for some varieties of figs, that isn’t always the case. The best way to tell if your figs are ripe is if they are drooping on their stems. Unripe figs will stick straight out from the stem, while ripe figs will droop toward the ground.
- Expect figs to ripen in late summer—August through September.
- When figs are ripe, they will hang downward on their stems.
- Fig fruits grow at the base of new spring growth.
- Never prune new fig shoots off in spring.
It is essential to note that the main crop of figs always grows on the new spring growth of a fig tree. The new shoots and branches produce the best figs. For this reason, do not prune offspring growth. Doing so could destroy your entire fig harvest.
Do You Need Two Fig Trees to Produce Fruit?
You only need one fig tree to grow fruit. Fig trees are self-pollinating, so there’s no need to plant more than one in your yard. You’ll get an abundance of delicious fruit by planting one tree and giving it proper care. Although figs are drought-tolerant, your tree will produce better fruit if you make sure your fig tree gets enough water.
Do Fig Trees Flower Before Fruiting?
Fig trees never produce flowers. This is because the fig you eat is actually an “inflorescence,” which is a cluster of flowers wrapped in the edible flesh of the fruit. Essentially, a fig fruit is an inside-out flower. This makes figs very different from other fruit trees. Instead of searching for flowers, look for small fig fruits forming where new leaf stems meet the parent branch.
Do Fig Trees Produce Fruit All Year Round?
In most regions, outdoor fig trees only grow fruit from spring through early fall. Once temperatures drop in fall, fig trees lose their leaves and enter dormancy. In spring, the fig will sprout new leaves and fruit. There is an exception to this rule. Fig trees grown indoors or in a greenhouse may remain green all year and produce a winter fruit crop.
How Do You Know if Your Fig Tree Will Produce Fruit?
The number one deciding factor of whether or not your fig tree will produce fruit is the tree’s age. It is extremely rare for any fig tree under two years old to produce fruit. Some trees will not have an initial harvest until they are five years old. Even if you try to speed up your fig tree’s growth rate with fertilizer, you will not increase the odds of your young fig producing fruit early. Remain patient and provide your tree with proper care—it will grow fruit in time.
Why is Your Fig Tree Not Fruiting?
The main reason fig trees do not produce fruit is that they are too young. Young figs spend most of their energy growing roots and stems. Once they are mature, they will begin bearing fruit. Second, you can actually reduce the chance of your tree producing fruit if you use fertilizer. Overfertilizing figs causes them to grow more leaves and branches, but little or no fruit.
- Your fig tree is too young to grow fruit.
- You have overfertilized your fig, which causes it to grow leaves and branches, not fruit.
- Lack of water or sunlight.
- Exposure to extremely hot temperatures during drought conditions.
An unhealthy fig tree may not produce any fruit at all. Ensure your fig tree receives plenty of sun and adequate water. Although fig trees love sun, too much heat can cause fruit to fall off the tree before it ripens. So, cover your fig tree with this shade cloth when temperatures rise above 110℉ (43℃) in the sun. This can occur in hot regions in the western, southwestern, and southern United States.
Can Fig Trees Produce More than One Crop Per Year?
Some varieties of figs can produce two crops in a single year. The first crop is called the “breba crop.” These figs form on the previous year’s growth (not the new spring growth). The second crop is the main crop, which sprouts from the new shoots your fig tree grows in spring. The breba crop typically ripens in early summer, from June through July. Then, the main crop ripens in August and September.
- Some fig varieties produce two annual crops of figs.
- The first crop of figs is called the “breba crop.”
- Breba figs grow on the previous year’s branch growth.
- Most breba crops have poor flavor, but a few cultivars produce delicious breba figs.
Most varieties of figs produce very poor breba crops. Breba figs typically have poor flavor and texture. They can be so bitter that they are borderline inedible. If your tree produces poor breba figs, it’s best to pinch them off in spring. This way, your tree will put more of its energy into producing a delicious main crop of figs.
What Fig Varieties Produce Edible Breba Crops?
Fig varieties that grow good-tasting breba crops include Palermo Red, Desert King, Marseilles, Kadota, Black Mission, Grantham’s Royal, and Violette de Bordeaux. Choosing one of these varieties can allow you to get two fig harvests in one year. However, most mature fig trees do best when the breba crop is removed and you cultivate only one crop annually.
What Time of Year are Figs Ready to Eat?
When growing figs, remember these facts:
- Figs ripen in late summer, from August through September.
- A fig tree must be 3–5 years old to produce fruit.
- Fertilizing a young fig tree will not cause it to produce fruit early.
- Unhealthy or heat-stricken fig trees will produce little to no fruit.
- Some fig trees produce a second crop of figs in early summer, which is called a breba crop.
- Most breba crop figs have poor flavor.
- You can pinch off breba figs in spring to ensure a large, delicious main harvest in fall.
Figs are incredible fruit trees with the capability of surviving drought and still producing amazing crops. By selecting the right variety and cultivating it with care, you will get impressive harvests as soon as the tree reaches maturity.