• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Haasl
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Dave Burton
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • Greg Martin
  • Steve Thorn
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Jay Angler
  • Kate Downham

Why do my figs never ripen?

 
pollinator
Posts: 222
Location: Italian Alps, Zone 8
95
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When we bought our property, we found a beautiful fig planted near the creek.
The tree looks happy and healthy, although it is leaning rather much to one side, leaving me to wonder if I should put some support, or just let it do it’s thing (maybe it’s growing towards the sun and warmth and away from the creek)? The tree has full sun from 9 to 5 during most of spring and summer.

Eventhough the tree bears many figs, none of the figs ever ripen. I do not know the variety of this fig, but I see the figs turn dark purple, after which they fall off the tree with the slightest touch.
The fruit itself however remains hard, almost completely white on the inside, and has no sweetness to it whatsoever. Cutting open some of the dark fruits I spotted a white kind of maggot crawling inside. I’ve tried waiting as late as November to try the fruit, but still it was hard and flavourless.

What is going on? Is this a wild variety of figs that just doesn’t produce edible fruit? Is it unhappy in its position? Is it sick? Is this a male/female tree kind of thing where one produces nice fruit while the other’s a dud?

I’m dissapointed, as figs are my favourite fruit. Can I still turn this tree around or should I just plant another one?
B280F938-F93E-4500-80BB-5D52DAD010B6.jpeg
Fig starting to change colour
Fig starting to change colour
D355DC0A-A42B-45FE-998B-B486B21513C2.jpeg
Lots of unripe figs
Lots of unripe figs
35B208F6-FCE8-4D59-A5BB-26AF8C9A19C1.jpeg
Nice size healthy looking tree, just a bit slanted away from the river
Nice size healthy looking tree, just a bit slanted away from the river
 
Posts: 384
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b) Rainfall 26"
72
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have read that figs fruit best when their roots are restricted, for example by being grown in a pot or a small pocket of soil in rocky ground.  A friend of mine has a large fig tree in her garden which does not fruit, but produces suckers which she pots up and has now had fruit from.
 
master gardener
Posts: 1851
Location: Maine, zone 5
781
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm thinking that perhaps you have a nice caprifig on your hands.  This would be a good tree for pollinating other figs, but would never produce an edible fig.  Can you tear one open and share a picture of the insides?
 
S. Bard
pollinator
Posts: 222
Location: Italian Alps, Zone 8
95
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Greg Martin wrote:I'm thinking that perhaps you have a nice caprifig on your hands.  This would be a good tree for pollinating other figs, but would never produce an edible fig.  Can you tear one open and share a picture of the insides?



I had never heard of caprifigs before, but looking it up, you might be right about it! I will take a picture of the inside of the fig next time I visit the garden!
If it really is a caprifig, should I make the most out of the situation and just plant a new fix next to it? Perhaps a certain variety that benefits a lot by wasp pollination?

 
Greg Martin
master gardener
Posts: 1851
Location: Maine, zone 5
781
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

S. Bard wrote:

Greg Martin wrote:I'm thinking that perhaps you have a nice caprifig on your hands.  This would be a good tree for pollinating other figs, but would never produce an edible fig.  Can you tear one open and share a picture of the insides?



I had never heard of caprifigs before, but looking it up, you might be right about it! I will take a picture of the inside of the fig next time I visit the garden!
If it really is a caprifig, should I make the most out of the situation and just plant a new fix next to it? Perhaps a certain variety that benefits a lot by wasp pollination?


I live so far from the nearest fig wasp that I can't recommend any varieties without some research, but I've always been told that most common figs' (those requiring no pollination) flavor will benefit from developing seeds and that the very best fig varieties are some of the ones that require pollination (caprification).  If I had the wasp I would absolutely track some of those varieties down and try them.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 1303
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
304
hugelkultur forest garden hunting chicken food preservation bee
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I’d venture the lack of stress is an issue. We’ve had a ton of rain and the figs are dropping immature. The only ones that might make fruit are right next to a concrete patio and get 1/2 the water of anything else because of that. They reliably fruit every year. The Italians in Missouri used to bury broken cement slabs under their figs to stress them. Basically just really make the plant work to get water. Wet (or not dry anyway) areas the plant needs to make tons of leaves to utilize all the water. I’m trying root pruning this year as well.
 
S. Bard
pollinator
Posts: 222
Location: Italian Alps, Zone 8
95
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Greg Martin wrote:I'm thinking that perhaps you have a nice caprifig on your hands.  This would be a good tree for pollinating other figs, but would never produce an edible fig.  Can you tear one open and share a picture of the insides?



Hi Greg,
I’ve managed to take a photo of a fig I opened. Like the other figs I already tried, this fig had a white maggot-like bug inside. If you look closely you can see it in the left half of the fig.
What do you think? Is this a fig wasp spawn?

EB3E58C7-195C-451B-B691-9DC4DAF65406.jpeg
[Thumbnail for EB3E58C7-195C-451B-B691-9DC4DAF65406.jpeg]
 
Greg Martin
master gardener
Posts: 1851
Location: Maine, zone 5
781
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hmm....not sure if those are fig wasp larvae or not.  My first impression was that those seem larger than I expected, but since I live far outside of the wasp's territory I really don't know.  Nature surprises me all the time.  Maybe someone else here knows?  If you don't get a reply here on this I would recommend posting your picture on one of the fig forums like Ourfigs as there are many folks who post there that do live within the range of the fig wasp.  I was surprised how hard it is to find pictures of fig wasp larvae online.  When you do find out please post back here and let us know!
 
S. Bard
pollinator
Posts: 222
Location: Italian Alps, Zone 8
95
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Greg Martin wrote:Hmm....not sure if those are fig wasp larvae or not.  My first impression was that those seem larger than I expected, but since I live far outside of the wasp's territory I really don't know.  Nature surprises me all the time.  Maybe someone else here knows?  If you don't get a reply here on this I would recommend posting your picture on one of the fig forums like Ourfigs as there are many folks who post there that do live within the range of the fig wasp.  I was surprised how hard it is to find pictures of fig wasp larvae online.  When you do find out please post back here and let us know!



Thank you Greg! It took me a little while to figure out how it worked, but I've posted the question on the fig forum. Fingers crossed anyone there can ID if this is indeed a caprifig and fig wasp larva.
I'll keep you posted once I've got an update.
 
Why am I so drawn to cherry pie? I can't seem to stop. Save me tiny ad!
BWB second printing, pre-order dealio (poor man's poll)
https://permies.com/t/147624/BWB-printing-pre-order-dealio
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic