Plant DetailShow Menu

Ficus carica is often confused with:
Vitis vinifera Vitis vinifera
Native alternative(s) for Ficus carica:
Asimina triloba Full form
Diospyros virginiana Form
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Ficus carica 'Brown Turkey' Ficus carica 'Brown Turkey'
Ulmus rubra Tree form (Guilford County, NC)-Mid Summer
Clematis viticella Flower detail

Ficus carica

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
FY-kus KAIR-ih-kuh
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Common fig is a small tree or large shrub in the Moraceae (mulberry) family with attractive leaves and desirable edible fruits.  Grows to a mature size of 10 to 30 feet tall and wide quickly.  The Latin name Ficus means edible fig and the species carica refers to Caria, a region in Asia known for rowing figs.

Plant in full sun or partial shade in rich, moist, well-drained soils. It grows best in zones 8-10 but can be grown in zone 7 if planted in a protected area. In zone 6 it may need to be grown in a pot and overwintered inside. This plant grows well in containers but containers must be overwintered indoors.

The purplish-brown fruits ripen in late summer and perhaps again in fall. The bloom forms inside the fruit and is pollinated by the fig wasp.  The bark is an attractive silver color. 

Plant this ornamental fruit tree against a south wall to take advantage of radiant heat or in other protected areas of the landscape especially if you are zone 5-7. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious problems. Aphids, scale, root-knot nematodes, spider mites, and mealybugs can cause problems.  Blight, leaf spots, and rust occasionally occur.  Fruit drop can be messy.  In Florida and California, it has escaped cultivation and become invasive as it can form thickets and take over native plant habitats.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, and Nuts" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Flower Bonanza Garden Floricyle
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Brown Turkey', 'Celeste'., 'Chicago Hardy', 'Magnolia', 'Marseille'
Tags:
#deciduous#full sun tolerant#weedy#deciduous shrub#large leaves#fruit tree#fast growing#messy#attractive leaves#figs#non-showy flowers#green fruits#suckers#edible shrub#messy fruits#rough leaves#partial shade tolerant#problem for cats#ebh#ebh-fn#problem for dogs#problem for horses#contact dermatitis#container plant#vhfn#vhfn-f#early childhood#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Brown Turkey', 'Celeste'., 'Chicago Hardy', 'Magnolia', 'Marseille'
Tags:
#deciduous#full sun tolerant#weedy#deciduous shrub#large leaves#fruit tree#fast growing#messy#attractive leaves#figs#non-showy flowers#green fruits#suckers#edible shrub#messy fruits#rough leaves#partial shade tolerant#problem for cats#ebh#ebh-fn#problem for dogs#problem for horses#contact dermatitis#container plant#vhfn#vhfn-f#early childhood#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ficus
    Species:
    carica
    Family:
    Moraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The sap was used in Mediterranean folk medicine.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Layering
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mediterranean to Central Asia
    Wildlife Value:
    Insects, wasps and birds eat the fruit
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    Fruits are highly edible fresh, cooked, used in preserves, or dried.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    The infructescence is a ripened receptacle (syconium), not an ovary, that forms in late summer or fall on new wood. Sometimes a small second spring fruiting on new wood occurs. It is 2-4 in. long and may be a number of colors depending on the cultivar. Fruits develop without the need for cross pollinaton.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flower is not visible as it blooms inside a hollow receptilces that form near the end of branches in leaf axils. The flowers small, green, and form in the spring. Most commercially available figs are self-pollinating but wild figs require pollination by wasps.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Smooth
    Soft
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Palmasect
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Dentate
    Entire
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are 5-10 inches long and 4-7 inches across and deeply, palmately lobed with three or five lobes. The upper surface is green and rough with hairs and the underside is paler and smooth.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Silver gray smooth bark becomes more bumpy with age.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Terminal:
    Only 1 terminal bud, larger than side buds
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    Produces many suckers.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Messy
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Phytophotodermatitis from the white, milky sap.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Furanocoumarins
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Sap/Juice