Advantages and disadvantages of having a fig tree in the garden

Ficus carica figs

Image - Wikimedia / H. Zell

The fig tree, known by the scientific name ficus caricaIt is a deciduous tree that produces delicious fruits, with an exquisite sweet flavor. But despite this, we have to think carefully if we are really interested in having one in the gardenas it has some features that we may not like too much.

For this reason, we are going to tell you what are the advantages and disadvantages of having a fig tree in the garden. So surely it will be much easier for you to decide 🙂.

What is the banyan tree like?

The fig tree is a deciduous tree

Image - Wikimedia / Juan Emilio Prades Bel

To know if the fig tree is really a good tree for the garden, it is important to know it. This is a plant native to Southwest Asia, but it has become naturalized in the Mediterranean region and in others where the climate is hot and dry. It grows as a tree or large shrub between 3 and 7 meters high, with a trunk that exceeds 40 centimeters thick.

The crown is made up of numerous branches and is very dense. Its leaves are also large, 12 to 25 centimeters long by 10 to 18 centimeters wide., and are made up of 3 to 7 lobes. They are green in color and feel a bit rough to the touch.

Blooms in spring, although its flowers are not visible to the naked eye. These sprout from a receptacle that is pear-shaped, the male ones being those that are closest to the opening of the same, and the female ones more towards the interior. Once they are pollinated -a task carried out by small wasps- this receptacle will mature and end up becoming what we know as breva (if it forms in winter and finishes maturing in spring), or fig (which will be ready for its consumption between mid and late summer).

Depending on the variety, there are fig trees that only produce one crop, and there are others that produce two. The latter are known as reflowering or biferous fig trees. Also, there are some that are monoecious (they have flowers of both sexes), and others that are dioecious.

How old is a fig tree?

It is a very fast growing plant, which begins to produce fruit when it is very young (I myself can tell you that we had one that had already left a few shoots when it died. We kept one of those, and two years later it gave a few figs. ). But precisely for that their life expectancy is very limited, a maximum of about 60 years.

Trees and, in general, any plants that flower at a very young age, have a short life.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having one in the garden?

We are not going to lie to you: the fig tree is a plant that looks great in the garden, since it provides shade and resists drought very well. However, both its advantages and disadvantages must be taken into account when acquiring one and / or planting it in the ground:


The fig tree has many advantages, such as:

  • Resists drought without problems: I can tell you that we have one in the garden and it takes care of itself (they fall 350mm per year). Of course, during the first year it is important to water it from time to time so that its roots are strengthened.
  • Can be reproduced by cuttings: this means that from a single copy we can obtain several. When? Late winter.
  • Produces two types of fruits: the fig, which ripens at the end of summer, and the fig, which is a fig that finishes ripening in spring.
  • Can be potted: in fact, there are those who dare to cultivate it as bonsai. It recovers well from pruning, so it is a very interesting plant to decorate the patio or terrace.


  • It is a tree that can be quite dirty: during the autumn and winter the leaves and the fruits that have not been collected fall. For this reason, it should not be planted near the pool or the terrace or patio.
  • You have to prune it: at the end of winter it is time to prune it to control its growth. Failure to do so will cause its branches to spread out too far, giving it an ungainly appearance.
  • The roots are invasive: they can easily break the concrete floor as well as the pipes. Therefore, it must be located as far as possible (at a minimum distance of 10 meters) from any construction.

Fig tree care

The fig tree bears edible fruits

The fig tree is a plant that does not need much care. It's more, by putting it in a sunny place and as far as possible from pipes and others, you will already have a lot of livestock. Of course, the soil must be clayey, fertile and well drained, since in this way it can grow really well, without problems.

If we talk about irrigation, if it is in the garden it will be moderate the first year, but little or even zero the rest.. However, if it is grown in a pot, it should be watered about 3 times a week in summer, and reduce the frequency to 1-2 a week in winter. It is also advisable to fertilize it, with a fertilizer that is liquid to be able to mix it with the water you use to irrigate, such as this.

As for pruning, it should be pruned at the end of winter, before it resumes its growth (you will see this in its buds, which will swell when the temperatures begin to rise). You have to remove the dry branches and all those that look bad, as well as those that have grown too much.

It resists cold and frost well up to -12ºC.

The fig tree is a very interesting plant, but to avoid problems it is important to know it well. And you, do you have one in your garden?

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  1.   Nicholas said

    In fact, yes and it is less than a meter from the sidewalk and it is more than 20 years old, nothing ever happened with the roots. I guess I was lucky.

  2.   Victor said

    The type of soil must be alkaline (basic) or acidic?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Victor.

      The FIG tree (ficus carica) grows in alkaline soil.


  3.   Joaquin brun said

    Good afternoon,
    They gave me a fig tree years ago and it does not grow well, in fact very little.
    It is in the garden, in the sun and for a few years it has had leaves but no fruits.
    Last summer he had a couple of figs, but when they were like a chickpea they fell off.
    In summer we water it when we see that the leaves get sad, but it ends up losing them, then it sprouts again, the poor thing tries.
    Can the soil lack calcium? from what I read here it is easy to take care of but I can't.
    I have an old pear tree and a 7 year old cherry that go well.
    Ah, I forgot to tell you that we are near the Montseny in Barcelona
    Thank you

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Joaquin.
      The fig tree (Ficus carica) grows in alkaline and clay soil. But living in the Mediterranean region, you should do fine as you say.

      My advice is that you fertilize it, in spring and summer, with chicken manure (but be careful, it must be dry). You put some around the trunk and mix it with the soil. Once a month.

      If you do not notice improvement, you tell us.