Growing Figs in Zone 7
Every growing region has advantages and disadvantages when it come to growing fruit. Gardeners complain about clay and sand in their soil, intense heat or too many cold days. Finding fruit that succeeds is a challenge.
One fruit that we have had success with is Figs, Ficus carica. The plants are beautiful with huge leaves on 8-foot tall stems. The fruit can be eaten fresh, used for jam, canned in syrup and baked into treats.
Figs are ancient plants from the Middle East and since they are semi-tropical, they pose a challenge to grow in colder zones. Growing them in a container that can be brought in for the winter would work. It took three tries to find the right planting situation for ours to thrive outside.
Cold hardy to zone 8, the tall branches die to the ground most winters in zone 7. If you are on Honor Heights Drive in Muskogee you may see Fig shrubs thriving in microclimates. One, in particular, is surrounded by two buildings and a concrete wall, protecting it on three sides.
The roots of ours are protected by stacked railroad ties that form their bed. Later this month, we will cut the branches to the ground, remove the leaf mulch and fertilize them.
The Oklahoma State University Fact Sheet HLA 6622 (https://bit.ly/2EOWiTU) suggests that you plant Figs in the spring, 8-10 feet apart. The shrubs spread over the years so even if you are planting them as decorative, deciduous shrubs, 6-feet apart is a good idea.
Figs will produce fruit 3 to 7 years after planting. OSU recommends Ramsey/TX Everbearing/Brown Turkey. We have Brown Turkey and Celeste but there are several varieties worth trying. They are fine in clay soil that has been amended.
Give the shrubs plenty of sun and water them regularly during the growing season. The fruit is only good for a couple of days so picking has to be done every morning. We put them directly into a bowl of water since ants almost alwa