The fig was one of the earliest fruit trees to be cultivated, and its cultivation spread in remote ages over all the districts around the Aegean Sea and throughout the Levant.
Stemming back to biblical times, figs were one of the first foods consumed by people and one of the first foods cultivated.
It’s not unusual to see a fig tree shoot up a foot or two in a year.
They are fairly low-maintenance and will grow happily with little to no fertilising. They’ll pull the nutrients they need from the soil and its organic matter.
Bearing all this in mind, just how fast do fig trees grow.
How Fast Do Fig Trees Grow?
When provided with the proper sunlight, water, and nutrients, a healthy growth rate for fig trees is more than 1 foot per year. A healthy fig tree can grow to be up to 30 feet tall.
You should consider the necessary growing conditions to ensure your fig tree will grow quickly and be productive.
Some factors could hinder the growth rate of the fig tree in your garden. Here are some measures you could take to improve the growth rate of that slow-growing fig tree in your garden:
- REMOVE OR CUT DOWN RAPID GROWING TREES: Remove rapidly growing trees and shrubs from a 25-foot radius around the fig tree in your garden. These trees and shrubs will compete with the fig for water, nutrients, and space stunting your fig trees’ growth, I’m sure you don’t want this for your fig.
- PROTECT YOUR FIG TREE FROM MUCH SHADE: Cut down or remove any structures that may be casting the fig in your garden into the shade. The fig tree must have six or more hours of direct sunlight per day to get the best result.
- AVOID GROWING GRASS AROUND YOUR YOUNG FIG: Avoid growing grass in the 3-foot radius around fig trees younger than 3 years old. The grass could smother your fig out.
- WATER YOUR FIG: Water 1 inch per week during the growing season, except in weeks when rainwater provides adequate irrigation.
- APPLY FERTILISER: Fertilise with 1/2 pound of nitrogen. Excessive fertilisation can cause rapid growth at the expense of fruit production, thus it is important to apply fertiliser only if the growth of the tree for the previous year was less than 1 foot.
- Divide 1/2 pound of nitrogen into three applications, delivered over several months, starting in February and ending in July.
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How Fast Do Fig Trees Grow Per Year?
Fig trees can grow a foot or more per year. Depending upon the variety, some will produce within one to two years. Other common varieties may take three to five years.
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll never see a common fig tree grow faster than this without fertiliser aid. However, you generally don’t want to speed up the growth process.
There are over 700 named varieties of fig trees, but the varieties fall into four fig types:
- CAPRIFIGS: Caprifigs only produce male flowers and never bear fruit. Their only purpose is to pollinate female fig trees.
- SMYRNA: Smyrna figs bear all female flowers. They have to be pollinated by a caprifig.
- SAN PEDRO: San Pedro figs bear two crops: one on leafless mature wood that requires no pollination and one on new wood that requires pollination by a male flower.
- COMMON FIGS: Common figs are the type usually grown in home landscapes. They don’t need another tree for pollination. Figs that require pollination have an opening that allows the pollinating wasps entry to the internal flowers. Common figs don’t need an opening, so they are less susceptible to rot caused by insects and rainwater entering the fruit.
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HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GROW A FIG TREE?
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.
Tips on how to grow a fig tree:
- Using a sturdy digging shovel, the one with a pointed centre would serve better, digging a hole that is slightly bigger than the root system on your tree. You could plant a bare root or a container tree.
- Aim for a hole that is about two to three times as wide as the roots and only 2 to 3 inches deeper, regardless if you are planting a bare root or a container tree.
- Massage and spread the roots out, taking care not to break or damage them.
- Set the tree on the mound of loose dirt in the bottom of the hole (or container). You may set it so the soil level is a couple of inches deeper than it was planted in the original pot or keep it at the same level.
- Gently tamp the soil down with your foot as you fill the hole in, trying to remove all air pockets, without compacting the soil around the roots. Create a slight bowl or depression as you reach the top of the hole to allow water to settle naturally around the tree. Make sure you do not mound soil up around the trunk.
- If you plant bare-root trees, cut back the branches on the top of the tree to about one-half of their original length.
- Spread a couple of inches of mulch around the base of the tree, keeping it away from the bark on the trunk (about 3 inches away).
- Water your newly planted fig tree well. Go slowly; let the water absorb before adding more. The water helps settle the soil around the roots, getting rid of any air pockets that may have formed when you were filling the hole.
Bare-root fig trees can be planted at any time throughout the dormant season, but early spring is best.
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The great part about fig trees is that they can also thrive in containers. Container-grown trees can be planted at just about any time of the year.
For container fig trees, grow them in a soil-based potting mix and add fine bark chips to improve drainage. Keep the tree in full sun in the summer.
Be sure to add a high-nitrogen fertiliser every 4 weeks in the spring and summer and water the tree moderately. In the winter, move the tree indoors and keep the soil moist.
For outdoor fig trees, plant the tree in the spring or early fall in full sun. Fig trees can grow in most types of soil as long as the soil is well-drained and contains plenty of organic material.