This shrub is deciduous so it will lose all its leaves in autumn, then fresh new foliage appears again each spring.
- Position: full sun
- Soil: will tolerate most soils, except very badly drained
- Rate of growth: average
- Hardiness: fully hardy
In warmer regions that enjoy a relatively long summer, this unusual fig will produce and abundance of delicious, green and cream-striped fruits. In colder regions, it will usually produce more fruit if it is trained flat against a sunny south facing wall, or grown in a large pot – particularly if the pot is kept in an unheated conservatory of greenhouse. It’s probably happiest grown in the garden though, where it’s iconically-shaped leaves make it a really decorative foliage plant – with fruit being produced as a bonus.
Garden care: Plant in a large pot in the ground or in a lined pit to restrict root-growth as unrestricted root growth often leads to poor fruiting. Prune in spring when all chance of frost has past. Remove any frost-damaged or weak branches, and thin out shoots to let light in. Some pruning may be required in summer – trim all new shoots back to five or six leaves.
Figs are capable of producing three crops of fruit every year, but in our climate it is the tiny little ones that you find tucked into the leaf axils in autumn, that if protected from frosts, will go on to ripen in their second summer. Therefore if you are growing the fig for its fruit rather than its foliage, you should remove any developing fruits that are larger than a pea in autumn, and either cover the crown of the tree with a blanket of frost fleece or try to gently pack it with straw. This will keep them snug and warm throughout winter and push the plants energy into the development of the young fruits, which should grow into fully ripened figs next year.