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In Germany, fig trees are mostly grown in pots or tubs. In milder climates they can be grown directly in the garden or on a wall as espalier fruit. They are beautiful as ornamental plants-- with their big leaves and their fruit--  as they can quickly cover large wall areas; but, after hard winters with frost damage, they will need a thorough cutting.

(lat.: Ficus carica)

Fig-tree with fruits

Requirements / Sources of Supply

Figs need well-drained, limey soil with no stagnant water. For good yields the location should be sunny and protected from wind. Figs can aso be grown in colder climates, but frost can destroy all the fruits easily. Fig trees can be found in garden centres or ordered online.

Characteristics and Pruning

The growth habit of the kiwi espalier falls in the category of shaped/trained tree. Fig trees may grow up to 3 - 5 meters. Pollination is complicated; self-fertile varieties will take care of that problem. There will be one or two harvests a year, the main one being in July / August. Diseases and pests aren't a problem, but constant watering is a must --without water, the figs will fall off. Fertilising does more harm than good, especially right before harvest. Pruning is done after the harvest; follow the instructions provided in specialized literature (readily available online).

Climbing Support for Fig

See the table at the bottom of the page for the wire rope trellises on which an espalier fig can thrive. Choose a medium, heavy, or even massive trellis. If the fig tree is kept small, an easy style trellis is enough. Fig trees may also simply be planted as small bushes in front of the house. 


Fig trees have an upright and bushy growth; it's difficult to train them into symmetrical shapes -- that's why they are grown in a free "fan shape" on an espalier. The are generally regarded as shaped trees when grown on an espalier... and the trellis should be chosen accordingly, with main axes every 25 - 40 cm. The meshes of the cable trellis should be rectangular rather than square; modifiy the shape of the trellis as needed.

Suitable wire rope trellises?

Click on the picture to see a list of suitable trellis designs.

Suitable wire rope trellises for fig

Please click on the graphics to see a detailed view of each design!

 = suitable              = sometimes suitable              = not suitable