How Long Does it Take For a Fig Tree to Bear Fruit? A Gardener’s Guide

How many years will you have to wait before you can eat figs from a tree you planted this year? This question can be hard to answer, just like the one about how hardy fig trees are in cold climates. We’ll do our best, though, and share what we know about some types that grow faster than others.

Fig trees are a delightful addition to any garden. Their large lobed leaves provide excellent shade, and their fruit is sublimely sweet when ripe. For gardeners interested in growing their own fig trees, one of the most common questions is “how long for a fig tree to bear fruit?”. Let’s take a closer look at what impacts the time it takes for fig trees to bear fruit.

Factors That Determine Time to Bearing Fruit

Several key factors influence the time it takes for a fig tree to start bearing fruit:

  • Variety – Some fig varieties like ‘Celeste’ may bear fruit in 1-2 years, while others like ‘Brown Turkey’ take 3-5 years Dwarf varieties fruit sooner than standard trees.

  • Growing Conditions – Fig trees need full sun and well-drained soil to thrive. Trees grown in ideal warm climates with properly amended soil tend to fruit sooner.

  • Care and Maintenance – Proper watering fertilizing pruning, and pest control allows a fig tree to focus energy on fruit production instead of recovery.

  • Propagation Method – Trees grown from cuttings or air layers fruit 1-2 years sooner than seedling trees.

The Fruiting Timeline

The typical timeline for fig trees to bear fruit is:

  • Year 1 – Plant tree. Expect only leaf and branch growth this first year as the tree establishes its root system.

  • Year 2 – Continued vegetative growth. Some varieties may set some breba figs, but likely will not ripen.

  • Year 3 – Main fig crop begins for faster varieties like ‘Celeste’ in ideal conditions. Other trees may only breba figs.

  • Years 3-5 – Full fruit production, with breba and main fig crops for most varieties. Trees reach mature height.

  • Year 6+ – Reliable, annual fruiting continues for life of tree.

Tips to Expedite Fruiting

Here are some useful tips to help your fig tree start bearing usable fruit as soon as possible:

  • Select faster-fruiting varieties – ‘Celeste’, ‘Black Mission’, and ‘Excel’ often fruit in just 1-3 years.

  • Plant in spring – Gives tree the most time to develop before cold weather.

  • Choose the sunniest spot – Figs need at least 8 hours of direct sun daily.

  • Prepare soil well – Amend with compost; figs thrive in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil.

  • Fertilize regularly – Feed in early spring and again after fruiting. Use organic fertilizer.

  • Water weekly – Give 1-2 inches per week, more in extreme heat.

  • Prune annually – In late winter, remove dead branches and shape tree.

  • Control pests – Keep figs free of aphids, nematodes, and other insects that can damage fruiting.

When Do Fig Trees Produce Fruit?

Fig trees produce two main crops of fruit each year:

  • Breba crop – Small crop of figs that develop on old wood in early summer. Often drop prematurely in cooler climates.

  • Main crop – Larger crop that develops on new wood in late summer/fall. These figs will ripen fully.

The breba crop serves to kickstart fruit production because fig trees often fail to pollinate the main crop for the first few years. As the trees reach maturity, the main crop becomes plentiful and reliable for harvest.

In warmer zones like 9-10, fig trees may produce smaller crops throughout the growing season once established. The main crop is still largest.

Signs Your Tree is Ready to Fruit

How can you tell if your fig tree is getting ready to bear fruit? Watch for these key signs:

  • Figlets – Tiny, inedible figs forming along the branches and leaf axils in year 1-2. Indicates flower and fruit formation is beginning.

  • Large leaves – Mature fig trees have 5-10 inch leaves. If leaves are still small, growth is still too vegetative for fruiting.

  • No excessive nitrogen – Too much nitrogen fertilizer leads to leafy growth instead of flowers and fruit. Moderate feeding is best.

  • Breba figs – Appearance of these small, early figs means tree is mature enough to attempt main crop.

  • Pollinator insects – Presence of fig wasps indicates fig flowers are receptive for pollination needed to produce viable seeds and ripe fruit.

Be Patient for Fruitful Rewards

Growing fig trees for their succulent, sweet fruits requires careful planning and patience. While most fig varieties take 3-5 years before reliably producing mature fruit crops, the wait is well worth it. Follow best practices for planting, pruning, and care to help your tree fruit as quickly as possible. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the sugary taste of fresh figs straight from your backyard!

Why Won’t My Figs Ripen?

All of our varieties are “common fig” varieties that don’t need to be pollinated to make edible figs, as we’ve talked about in previous blogs. Any figs on your tree that never fully ripen? The tree is probably still too young to produce fruit.

Certain types of fig trees, like Conadria and LSU Tiger, can produce tasty fruit in their second year, but Violette de Bourdeaux (VDB) trees might not. Some varieties that grow more slowly, like VDB, might have figs on the tree the second year, but they won’t usually be soft enough to eat.

How Old Is the Fig Tree You’re Planting?

If you want a pretty good idea of when your fig trees might start producing, you should find out how old the tree you are planting is. It’s important to know how old the tree is, even if it’s been in a 3–5 gallon pot at a nursery for a few years.

If youve purchased a fig tree from us, that tree is usually less than a year old. We start propagating cuttings from our orchard in November and start shipping those trees the following spring. Our trees won’t be a year old until the fall after next, when we start giving away new trees.

You might not know how old a fig tree is if you buy it from a big box store, a local nursery, or another online store. The height of the tree is not always a good indication of tree age. Some types of figs will grow very quickly (3–4 ft) in their first year, while others will only grow a few inches.

Fig Trees: How Long Till They Bear Fruit?


Do you need 2 fig trees to get fruit?

Figs are self-fruitful, so you need only one plant to produce fruit. Mature fig trees can be 10 to 30 feet tall. If you have more room, plant several. Choose early, mid and late-fruiting selections to extend your harvest from summer into early fall.

How long does it take for a fig to fruit?

Production Timelines Can Vary by Location Some varieties can take 3-4 years before the figs ripen properly each year and your patience is rewarded. But it’s tough to establish a hard set of rules as far as production timelines for each variety. This could vary depending on your climate.

Are fig trees easy to grow?

Figs are fun and fairly easy to grow, but there are a few important things to learn about fig tree care. When good drainage is provided figs can grow in a wide range of soil, but they need a site free of root-knot nematodes. For good fruit crops, and vigorous growth, plant in full sunlight.

How long does a fig tree take to bear fruit?

A fig tree can take anywhere from 2-8 years to bear fruit. The time frame depends on the type of fig tree, the climate, and the care it receives. For example, a common type of fig tree called the ‘Brown Turkey’ takes about 4 years to produce fruit in warm climates like California. In cooler climates, it may take up to 8 years.

How long does a fig tree take to ripen?

On average, fig trees take between 3 and 5 years to produce fruits that ripen. The fruits grow on stems every year, but they won’t ripen until the tree matures. After maturity, the fruits will ripen every year. If you want your fig tree to produce fruits fast, plant it in a pot.

How long does a fig tree take to grow?

Depending on the age of the fig tree when it was planted, it generally takes 2-3 years before it begins to fruit. A fig tree is considered “adult” by year 5, which is when it should start to produce a more robust harvest.

How many times a year do fig trees produce fruit?

There are two main types of fig trees – those that produce fruit once per year, and those that produce fruit multiple times per year. The vast majority of fig trees fall into the latter category. So, if you have a fig tree in your yard, it is likely that it produces fruit several times per year.

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