Aussies Living Simply

Fig Tree question

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    When we moved here 12 months ago we inherited a large, rambling fig tree that has had no TLC and the previous owners said they never ate the fruit, just left it for the birds. There is plenty of fruit on the tree, but the few that I have picked and quite dry inside. They are a green fig. It didn’t get any TLC from us either, very little water, no fertilizer although the chooks scratch around underneath it for a while a few afternoons a week. We were talking about it with friends and someone said perhaps it is just a naturally dry fig which wont ever produce good fruit – is there such a thing? I had thought that figs liked neglect which is why we didn’t do anything with it (but didn’t do any research!).

    We are planning a good prune this year to get it back to a manageable size but I’d like to know whether its worth investing time and effort in, or whether we should just treat it like a good scratching area for the chooks!


    How many crops a year does it have?

    Fig plants can be monoecious (hermaphrodite) or gynodioecious (hermaphrodite and female).

    Nearly half of fig species are gynodioecious, and therefore have some plants with inflorescences (syconium) with long styled pistillate flowers, and other plants with staminate flowers mixed with short styled pistillate flowers.

    The long flowers styles tend to prevent wasps from laying their eggs within the ovules, while the short styled flowers are accessible for egg laying.

    The hermaphrodite Common Figs are called “inedible figs” or caprifigs; in traditional culture in the Mediterranean region they were considered food for goats (Capra aegagrus).

    In the female fig trees, the male flower parts fail to develop; they produce the “edible figs”.

    Fig wasps grow in Common Fig caprifigs but not in the female syconiums because the female flower is too long for the wasp to successfully lay her eggs in them. Nonetheless, the wasp pollinates the flower with pollen from the caprifig it grew up in.

    When the wasp dies, it is broken down by enzymes (Ficain) inside the fig.

    Fig wasps are not known to transmit any diseases harmful to humans.

    When a caprifig ripens, another caprifig must be ready to be pollinated.

    In temperate climes, wasps hibernate in figs, and there are distinct crops. Common Fig[verification needed] caprifigs have three crops per year; edible figs have two.


    Thanks Snags, pretty sure its 2 seasons. I may have just been getting too impatient as it now looks like they won’t be too bad after all! Some are starting to change colour slightly and have gone soft, and are a bit juicier, expect they could do with some water next season but we will get some edible ones off of it :tup: Think I have to get used to a later season here, down the hill they were picking figs a few weeks ago.


    I think they do better with a reasonable amount of water.

    I know around old farms the fig tree was often put where the wash water went,

    not just the fig tree either!

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