Chicago Hardy Fig Planting Guide
Planting, Growing and Harvesting Chicago Hardy Fig Trees
Buy Chicago Hardy Fig Tree Plants Chicago Hardy Fig Tree - Neither Summer's Heat, Nor Winter's Sleet Impairs the Harvest of Perfect Figs!
Life is about compromise, right? We are told we have to give a little to get a little. That's why florist roses last long in the vase - but have no scent. And grocery store strawberries are huge and red and beautiful to behold - but have no taste. So you would expect that a tropical fig tree bred to brave the harshest winters of Chicago - surely the fruit must be lacking a bit of... something.
Sometimes it is great to be wrong!
The Chicago Hardy Fig is one of the finest fruiting fig trees known. Large, extended yields of rich, dark purple fruit are sweet and juicy and taste of sunshine. Excellent for eating raw, straight-from-the-tree yet holding its shape for antipasto dishes like prosciutto wrapped figs and goat cheese (yum!). The tree itself is a lush beauty of large, three-lobed leaves that forms a handsome screen in the garden. Quickly reaching up to well-branched 30 feet tall when planted in the ground, it will happily grow in a large container on the patio, or accept pruning to keep it as compact as just 6 feet tall.
Easy to grow, easy to please and so very easy to love - it's time you plant a fig tree in your garden!
Sun ExposureChicago Hardy Fig trees thrive in full sun to partial shade. In general, fruit will be sweeter when the tree gets more direct sun, however, where scorching summers are the norm, a bit of light shade during the hot afternoons will keep the skin of the fruits from burning.
Soil TypeFig trees in general are very tolerant of a wide variety of soils, but do ensure good drainage. And the ideal pH balance for great tasting figs is between 6.0 and 6.5. Incorporate some organic material into your soil to ensure a great start and lasting health for your new tree. Though eventually a very large tree grown in its native environment, the Chicago Hardy Fig tree easily adapts to being grown in a large container. A good quality potting mix should be used for the container, and a potted Chicago Hardy Fig should not be left outdoors over the winter in zones below 6B. In colder climates, bring the potted tree indoors before the first hard frost.
Planting Depth and SpacingPlant your fig tree in the garden bed or a large container an inch or two deeper than the soil depth as it was growing in its container. If planting in the ground, allow several feet around for mature growth. For containers, plant in a 10+ gallon container or larger to allow for substantial growth. Because the Chicago Hardy Fig is self-fertile, you will not need a second tree to harvest good yields of superior fruit.
WateringWater your newly planted fig tree well. Do not let it sit in wet soil. Once fresh new top growth is evident, deep waterings every couple of weeks will encourage good root growth. A light mulch on the surrounding soil will help to maintain an even moisture level throughout its first year, and keep competing weeds down. Keep the mulch about an inch away from the trunk of your growing tree. Once established, fig trees are quite drought resistant
FeedingTake care not to over water, or over feed. The quantity and quality of fruit will suffer as a result of generous water or fertilizer. Use a well balanced fruit tree fertilizer and apply lightly in spring and again in summer.
Winter CareWhen planted within it's hardiness zones, of 5-10, your Chicago Hardy Fig Tree can remain in the ground, undisturbed over the winter. In colder climates, plan to bring the container inside before the first frost. Be sure to lighten up on the water while the growth slows during winter months. In zones 5-7, for trees growing in the ground, provide a thick organic mulch, about 8-12 inches deep. The top growth will die back in severe winters, but new growth emerges in spring and the Chicago Hardy Fig bears on both old and new wood.
Harvesting FigsA mature Chicago Hardy Fig Tree can yield up to 100 pints of figs from a single tree! And they are fast growing, and generous in their fruiting. But for the very best fruiting, soonest - you need to pinch back and discard the fist baby figs seen to develop the first season. Don't let your tree put energy into a few fruits right away. Instead, by removing those fruits, you will force the tree to put its energies into robust, healthy growth and development, which will in turn result in heavier fruiting for years to come. A little patience the first year is amply rewarded.
Fruit will develop on old wood in early summer, and on new growth branches in early fall, giving you an extra long time to enjoy your fig harvest. For sweet fruit that holds its shape well for antipasto recipes, harvest when the skin turns dark purple and the stem sags slightly. For super sweet, juice-running-down-your-chin eating by hand, wait til the fruit sags, and feels soft. Yum!