This was the first article I wrote back in August. A few tips for anyone new to growing figs.
1. Research: before buying. Ourfigs.com forum is the best place for researching, growingfruits.org and or the many fig groups on Facebook.
2. Buying Local: it can be a local nursery or other fig growers you may happen to see an ad on Craiglist. However, my experience in Seattle, WA is also known as Pacific Northwest (PNW). I have seen Panche (Tiger Stripe Fig), Black Misson, and Stella Fig being sold locally. These are not recommended for our area. Yet, they are being sold at our local nursery retailers because their wholesales, most often from California say that these figs grow well for zone 8. We are in zone 8, but we lack the heat that Southern California has. Panache, Black Mission, Stella continues to have issue ripening for us. Panache is very productive but without ripening properly it best for decorative figs just don’t expect it to be edible. Black Mission, many have grown it besides being unproductive, the alluring Black Mission figs are not recommended for our PNW area. Stella figs large and pretty, you need a microclimate. A visit to Burien’s Shark Community Garden is the only location many of us who grow Stella have been disappointed. These not recommended figs will continue to be sold in our local nurseries and homeowners growing large and unfruitful or not ripening figs continue to disappoint year after year. Eventually, will be chopped down or ripped out. Most often then no other locals will willing to buy to take a fig that is not edible. These photos are Panache and Black Mission figs I bought from my local PCC market. Local PNW Panache and Black Mission figs will not get this ripe to be edible.
3. Learn and Connect with other Locals, so you can see what does well and what doesn’t, and why
4. Buy Common Figs: these common figs can be found locally and are affordable. San Pedro Type figs like Desert Kings for areas without wasp-like PNW only the first crop will ripen. Main Crop will often drop without wasp pollination.
5. Buy Bigger Trees: if you are not so good a keeping any plants alive or know nothing about gardening start with larger size trees. younger plants are the best price at the cost of your time and expertise to keep it alive! so let’s give an example if you are a newbie gardener it might be a better deal to buy one tree let’s say 1 gal fig plant at $20 than five-quart size newly rooted $10 each. five babies are harder to care for than one teenager! Wells Springs sells Tissue Cultured plants at very affordable prices and often they are very small.
6. Cheap or Free Cuttings: when practicing rooting for the first time get some free cuttings to ask neighbors or locals around the area to trim fig trees for free or exchange help someone who can’t reach some high branches and may accept your barter offer of help. And, or take some cuttings from your own common fig tree and root them. it is cheaper if you happen to rot the cuttings than to pay a lot for them and rot them. An example: cuttings of Desert King fig tree I can easily root them if I kill the cuttings I still didn’t cost me much very little or free if from my own tree. on the other hand, if you bought some hot rare figs as a newbie fig rooting $ and they die then that money gone.
7. Research More Before Click to Buy: I learn this lesson because I too have the allure of beautiful fig photos and when I acquired the variety I research later it needs a longer ripening time and requires more heat than my PNW area can give so it requires greenhouse shuffle. And, my greenhouse is limited in space. Hence you may all seen my figbid listings of why I have acquired some hot rare varieties and end up selling them before I confirm fruit. During the winter, I was extremely overwhelmed with the stacking in my small greenhouse. And, by Spring I decided got to make a cull and downsize some varieties much sooner than I had planned. These rare hot varieties are just not the right fit for me. Someone locally may have more space, greenhouse, or set up that they can grow some more late-ripening varieties.
8. Share Cuttings With Other Fig Locals: I enjoy trading and sharing varieties. If you share with others and if you happen to not root that variety your other local fig friend got you covered. This happens to me this winter, I share some varieties because I know I’m not good at rooting. My friend is much better at rooting figs than I am. By next Early Spring, my friend can help me with the cuttings, or air layer that I once shared with them. If we continue sharing, in all benefit. Keep in mind, this only works if mutual sharing. It doesn’t work if the other party doesn’t like to share. Most fig growers that I have meet at generous and we help each other out. Those are fig friends I would be share.
9. Learn About The Rooting Difficulty Levels: often common figs are cheap and easy to root. Rare figs are very difficult to root and maybe better suited for grafting. Some are just impossible to root and you have the option to buy air layers and get ready to pay the price for the rooter.
10. Share Knowledge and Don’t Be Mean: we all benefit when we help each other out. we have bid on figbid but it’s just fig tree. if we win or lose there will be many other chances to obtain that variety. fig collecting should be fun and enjoyable!