Figs Are The Delicious Fruits That Grow On Fig (Ficus carica) Trees. They Have A Soft, Fleshy Interior With A Unique Sweetness. While They Might Seem Exotic, You Can Actually Grow Your Own Figs In The UK, As Long As You Choose The Right Variety And Provide Them With A Warm And Sunny Spot.

How To Grow Figs in the UK

  • Varieties: ‘Brown Turkey’ is a popular and reliable variety that performs well in the UK. It’s even earned the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM) for its quality. Other varieties of more include Osborne’s Prolific, Madeleine Des Deux Saisons’ and Rouge De Bordeaux. the latter two are of French origin and perhaps slightly less cold tolerant.
  • Planting: Spring is the ideal time to plant fig trees. Choose a warm, sunny, and sheltered spot preferably with well-drained soil, though as stated previously may grandfather grew one on heavy clay.. If planting near a wall, position it facing south or southwest for maximum sun exposure. They do relish warmth.
  • Root Restriction: It’s often suggested that to encourage fruiting, we should consider restricting the roots. But I am not convinced they need this at all. They seem to thrive very well when unrestricted .. perhaps even better. If you go down the restricted route you can plant it in a hole lined with paving slabs or keep it in a large container.
  • Training: It is said that for easier management and better fruit production fig trees should be pruned as a fan against a wall. If so use trellis or horizontal wires to support the branches. This certainly saves space but in a larger garden I wouldn’t bother.

Caring for Your Fig Tree

  • Watering: Water your fig tree regularly when establishing, especially during hot weather and for container-grown trees. Avoid overwatering, but don’t let the soil dry out completely. Once established they don’t need watering if grown in the soil.
  • Feeding: In early spring, feed your fig tree with a high-potassium fertilizer to promote fruiting. Tomato feed is fine!
  • Winter Protection: In colder regions, protect the tiny fig fruitlets that form in late summer from frost damage. Wrap the branches with straw or fleece, or move containerized trees to a sheltered location.

Harvesting Figs

  • Ripeness: Figs are ready to harvest when their skin is soft and they hang limply from the branch. They might also produce a droplet of sugary liquid from the “eye” at the base.
  • Frequency: Most fig trees in the UK will only ripen one crop per year, in late summer. However, in very warm locations or greenhouses, they might produce two crops.

Favourite Fig Recipe

Eating ripe raw figs is a real delight. But I’ve a favourite fig recipe with cheese.

Slice the fig in a cross from top to close the base, so it opens like petals.

Stuff the inside with pieces of cheese.

Wrap the fig in bacon or parma ham so it forms a cylinder around the fig which should stand upright on its base.

Place in a hot oven until the parma crisps up or the bacon cooks .. the cheese should have melted during the process which takes only a few minutes.

Eat and enjoy. It’s surprisingly filling and very delicious. Sweet, salty and full on umami flavours.

Additional Fig Tips

  • Figs are generally pest and disease resistant. However, they can be susceptible to scale insects or red spider mites when grown in a greenhouse.
  • If your summers are cool, you might face challenges with fruit ripening. Ensure your fig tree receives enough warmth and sunlight, and protect the fruitlets from frost.
  • Consider growing your fig tree in a container if you have limited space or a cooler climate. This allows you to move it indoors for winter protection.

Enjoy your figs.

How To Grow Figs In The UK
Tag: How To Grow Figs In The UK

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