The Chicago Hardy Fig Tree by way of an Italian driveway.

The sign had been at the end of the country driveway for as long as I could remember.  It was facing the highway, with the message hand written in black paint.  Fig Trees for sale.  Every time I drove past the sign I wondered if fig trees really were for sale, or whether the sign had been put up and forgotten long ago by whoever it was that thought they’d try their hand at selling fig trees.  Maybe they’d moved on to selling soap or  painted mason jars or something else that could be listed on Etsy.

For years I drove past that sign, sometimes wondering about it, sometimes not even noticing it was still there.  Then one summer day, 2 years ago, I pulled into the driveway.  One minute I was going 80km an hour down the paved road and the next, my tires were crunching down the long, gravel driveway.  Before I knew it I was parked, out of my car and knocking on the door asking if there really were fig trees for sale.

There were.  I bought one.  I killed it within a year.

Technically I didn’t kill it, the Southern Ontario winter did.  The cutting for my little fig tree was a descendant of a fig tree originally from Italy, brought back by the current farm owner’s father in the 1960’s. The original cuttings were bundled under his shirt and disguised by his sparkling smile and charm at customs.

But the past 2 winters in my neck of the woods were too much for even the roses that have been on my property for decades, let alone a young, lithe,  Italian fig tree.

I swore fig trees off until I saw them for sale at my grocery store.  They were half the price and probably half as good.  They’d never grow, they’d die over the winter, they were probably common.  The sort of plant someone who buys their plants at the grocery store would buy.  I immediately bought one.

That’s right. This spring I bought a 2 foot high, Chicago Hardy fig tree with absolutely no spectacular provenance to speak of.

 

Chicago-Hardy-fig-tree-2

 

It’s now 8 feet tall.

It has leaves large enough to act as a modesty cloth for even the most alarmingly large private parts.  Liam Neeson private parts.

 

Chicago-hardy-fig-tree

 

And it has figs.  6 figs.

 

immature-chicago-hardy-fig

 

And I have no idea WHAT I’m going to do with this thing in the winter.  You have two options with a fig tree, I know that.  You can bring it into a somewhat sheltered area like a garage or shed, wrap it in something insulating and forget about it until March or April when you start watering it and putting it outside again.  OR you can plant it in the ground, bend that whole tree over and cover it with mounds of insulating straw.  Planting it close to the house foundation is also a good idea because the house retains heat and makes the area more livable for the fig tree.  That wasn’t an option for me.

Actually, now that I think about it, there’s another option.  You can leave it standing up and wrap it with straw and burlap the same way you would for cedar hedges in the winter.  Not that I’ve ever done that for my cedar hedges.

Based on everything I’ve read I think my best choice is wait until the fall, plant the tree and then bend and insulate it.

The Chicago Hardy fig tree is supposed to be hardy to zone 5 and I’m at zone 6b which makes it within the range of being able to grow it.

Do you know what?  I actually think I have yet another option.

I could move to Italy.

(If you have any experience with growing this type of fig tree in this type of climate feel free to impart any and all information from pruning to protecting.)

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87 Comments

  1. Cynthia Jones says:

    I don’t think it would work for Lenny Kravitz.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TLszn7PLJs

    I live in Tropical Queensland and my fig tree is different. I kept it in pot for five years and it didnt move. I put it in the ground five years ago and it is now twice as high as my house, which is on stilts. It has lifted the concrete path with its roots and my neighbour has been muttering and wanding around his desolate yard with chainsaw.

    This is the neighbour who sprays possums in the face with ammonia and wears no shirt while he is mowing.
    It’s not good.

    The Horticulturalist who lives in my street shakes his head in horror and talks about it tipping my house over eventually.

    So, I can’t help you. Sorry. I really only wanted to encourage you to look at Lenny Kravitz busting his leather pants and exposing all his glory as he had no underwear on.

    • IRS says:

      Cynthia, you should be a lot more proud of your fig than Lenny should be proud of that little twig. Perhaps your neighbor could pay Lenny a visit with the ammonia bottle. And the chainsaw.

    • Mary says:

      I’m laughing out loud at work reading your comment!

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I managed to avoid looking at the Lenny Kravitz penis picture until you posted it. (I always think I’d prefer if naked pictures of me made it out into the world I’d be very grateful for those who didn’t look at it) You must have some sort of magical powers Cynthia because … yup … you made me look, lol. ~ karen!

      • Cynthia Jones says:

        I’m glad Karen. Yes, I do have magical powers cos I believe I am a faerie, fey, wise wicca woman ‘n all that oogly boogly stuff.

        I think in this case, it’s ok to look at Lenny’s penis picture because I believe Lenny is a really nice guy. He lives in a caravan on a beachfront site, talks like a gentleman and is not influenced by dollars.

        That’s why I looked at his penis picture, anyway. You know, being supportive of him. 🙂

        More thoughts on the fig tree.
        I am going to let my fig push my house over, it is beautiful and there is nothing wrong with a wonky house. If my neighbour gets his chainsaw out, I will squirt him in the face with ammonia.

  2. kate-v says:

    I have Zero experience at growing that type of fig tree in your type of climate but I do have some experience with fig trees – but have to say – after reading Cynthia Jones comment – I just say: “What she said.”
    I do have experience with fig trees in the temperate San Francisco Bay area and just say “a fig gets BIG!!” and spreads way OUT!! They are wonderful, though. — Do you have room out on the 40 acres in your community plot for it?

    • Karen says:

      I actually didn’t even think of that kate-v! The only issue there is now it’s too big to transport, lol. And I have a hunch we aren’t allowed to plant trees. Otherwise the whole place would be covered in fruit trees. I’ll look into the logistics of it all. Good idea. ~ karen

  3. Jessica says:

    How timely, I just made jam with the last batch of figs off my tree.
    Sorry, no pointers. I’m zone 9 and inherited a big healthy tree when I bought my house. Just looked it up…. pretty sure I have Italian black figs. They are exceptionally sweet, and gorgeous.
    Enjoy your new baby.

  4. brenda says:

    OMGosh – first of all – Lend Lenny a Leaf

    I love that this could take over an allotment and tip over a house … maybe give it to an enemy … I’ll take two 😉

  5. Luanne says:

    Woah hey! That’s what I have! And had. And have.

    I grew one from roots wrapped in moss, and had it for 3 years. Because I live in Winnipeg (Zone 3), I brought it in during the winters. The first year I tried to keep it lush and green. Most the leaves fell off soon after bringing it in, and it was an eyesore all winter. Winter #2, I brought it in, and kept it in a spare room. It was an eyesore in a rarely used spot. It was truly a beautiful outdoor summer plant. Winter #3, I drove it out to the folks, and left it to winter in my folk’s garage. It was an eyesore in someone else’s home, and it received less than one drop of water. It was an eyesore outdoors this summer, as it was dead as a doornail. Summer #4, I purchased a new plant from the same vendor. It is beautiful, and also has a handful of figs, and leaves big enough to provide modesty to Liam Neeson, too. (Or Lenny Kravitz.)

    I think you could probably keep it in the chicken coop have it keep the girls company.

  6. Sandi says:

    I know nothing of figs or their trees. What I do know is that this blog is so much fun and the comments are always worth the read. Reading this makes a great ending to my evenings.

  7. Pam'a says:

    You could bring it in and stow it in your basement, where it could pout out of sight until spring. Keep watering to a bare minimum and don’t fertilize it. Then, shove it outside again. Leaving it in a pot will keep it a manageable size (kind of like how goldfish stay little in a bowl) for a longer time also.

    • Karen says:

      It’s over 9 feet tall, even just since writing this post. I don’t have 9′ ceilings and definitely don’t in my 170 year old, rubble basement, lol. No, it has to stay outside. I just have to figure out how to do it. :/ ~ karen!

      • mothership says:

        I live where the figs can tip houses- got rid of that one, it’s baby (a sucker off the main tree)
        I keep in check by SEVERE pruning- sometimes monthly!
        Before that it was in a 5 gallon pot for about 5 years & I kept it about 4′ tall-
        Don’t be afraid to prune it! Lop that sucker down to size & drag it inside.
        In fact in marginal fig climates, a freeze will kill the plant down to the ground, but the plant will come back from the roots the next year to bear again! but it sounds like the earth freezes where you are so keep it potted & pruned.

  8. Sherry in Alaska says:

    I’m too far north to be of any help with the fig tree. But I am curious about your knowledge of Liam Neeson’s private parts. Have I missed something?

  9. Roxy says:

    My hairdresser’s Italian father has a fig tree that he babies. He is located in the Montreal area and every year he gets lot of figs! According to my hairdresser, every fall he buries the tree under lots and lots of leaves and then come spring (probably around Easter) he resurrects it. I believe he has been doing this for about twenty years.

    • Karen says:

      Yes, it is possible. That’s what I need in this comment section. A good, old Italian man. He’d know exactly what to do. ~ karen!

  10. Jim says:

    Karen:
    Many years ago my in laws lived next to an Italian neighbour.
    He grew a fig tree between the two houses in Etobicoke.
    Every fall he would heel it over and cover it with earth, I’m not sure if he ever wrapped it but I recall he tied it to pegs in the ground.
    That lasted for many years until he passed away.
    Not sure if this helps you but at least you know it can be done.

    Jim

  11. I would never, ever have thought that a fig tree could grow in your climate…learning!
    It sounds cool to bend it over and cover it with loads of insulating material.
    Will be very interested to see how this goes; if it’s successful, I’ve a fabulous recipe for fig and apple chutney. If the project fails, you can make the chutney using dried figs!
    Keep us posted please Karen!

  12. Melissa says:

    I have a Chicago Hardy fig tree and live in Chicago! We’re zone 5 (I always get pissed that I live in a colder climate than Canada…) and mine has made it through 3 winters. My secret? Nothing. I do nothing to it. It’s not near my foundation, I don’t mulch it, it’s in the ground so it’s not coming in each winter. Every year it comes back taller and fuller. So maybe it’s more of a Fig bush for me?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Melissa. So you don’t mulch it, bury it or do anything like that? Ideally that’s what I’d like to do, lol. ~ karen!

      • Liss says:

        I literally do NOTHING. I don’t prune it back, I don’t mulch or bury it. I just let it be. It’s in the corner of my yard away from my house, just hanging out! 🙂

        • Karen says:

          Wow. So far this sounds like the best option, lol. Does it die back to the rootstock and have to grow from scratch every year? ~ karen!

          • JSM says:

            I am in Nashville Tennessee. 4 seasons ago I got a Chicago hardy fig. The first year in a planter we got 1 fig. It “died” outside in the winter. The second year in the planter, it came back to life and we got 3 figs. was maybe 3 feet tall and just a twig. Then we planted it 1n the ground. The third year it grew to 10 feet tall and we got hundreds of figs. This year (4th year) it is 15 feet tall and we have harvested about a hundred figs with about a million (not really a million but a BUNCH) of green figs still on the tree Last year it produced until frost (mid November-ish). Very happy with it. I really love coming home and getting 3 or 4 ripe ones right off the tree!

            • Karen says:

              Things get a bit colder here so every year I’m starting from scratch with my Chicago Hardy fig. It lives, but all the stems die off and it has to send out new ones each spring. This year I have about 10 figs but they’re the size of grapes for some reason, lol. Uch. ~ karen!

  13. Alex says:

    Call ourselves Canadians, and no one has referenced Stuart McLean’s wonderful story about his neighbours and The Fig Tree yet?? Americans excused – but you’d love this lovely story of Eugene and Maria too.

    http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/The+Vinyl+Cafe/ID/2660637512/

    • Beckie says:

      Off topic: I adore his Polly Anderson’s Christmas Party!!! It’s a *must listen* in my house!!

      • Alex says:

        Is that the one where the bowls of punch get mixed up???
        How about Dave Cooks the Turkey? UnBEARable!

        • Beckie says:

          That’s the one! “Lalique crystal?” “crystal Lalique?” …and then the doorbell rang..

          LOL

          I’ll have to look for Dave Cooks the Turkey! Thanks =)

  14. jennifer says:

    I am way south from any of your followers, S.C. but my brother in-law had a fig tree right next to his house, which I don’t recommend. When we went to harvest the figs, we had to battle bees, wasps, and various other bugs, who love them as well. Not just when we picking them, they are very territorial, so we pretty much had to run in, when we were visiting, a little hard with luggage and children in arms!

    • Karen says:

      The reason anyone in a colder climate would plant it next to the foundation is because it increases the chances of the tree living because the house absorbs so much heat which radiates to the plant. It helps with tomatoes too! ~ karen

  15. Jody says:

    You should read or listen to Stuart McLean’s “The Fig Tree”. I think you would really enjoy it because of the story and I think you and Stuart McLean tell stories in a similar fashion.

  16. Ann says:

    I have a Brown Turkey fig(I think), in the ground. Here in south central Tennessee they still die back to the ground any winter that we get temps below 10 degrees. I have tried to insulate it each winter with many bags of leaves and still it dies back to the ground and regrows each summer. I may need to try putting a Chicago Hardy in and see if I get a plant that doesn’t die back quite as much so that I can get bigger crops than I am getting now.

    There are 2 of the most gorgeous huge fig trees in the near by botanical gardens that somehow never die back. Not sure what variety they are as they have been there for as long as the gardens have been which is at least 25 years. And no one remembers which variety got put in as much of the work has always been done by volunteers to the garden.

    I have a neighbor who comes over weekly to buy eggs. She watches closely when the figs start to get ripe and asks if I have even just 1 extra for her to eat one fresh. This year I may have to tell her no, since I only have about 15 on the entire tree. With that few they will be precious and need to be all mine

  17. Alana says:

    I have a Brown Turkey fig, name of “Ishmael”. Yes, I name my plants! When left in the 10 gallon pot and moved into the garage each winter Ishy was “okay”, but less and less productive each year. Two years ago I put him in the ground, and the winter killed him. (Pennsylvania had a bad turn that year. Our Zone 7(a) may as well have been a Zone 3!)

    Last summer I got a few sprouts, no figs. So last fall I piled some mulch up over him, and this year I have a lovely 4′ x 4′ bush , with almost 30 figs ripening on him! This winter I will put hay and mulch on him, and shrink-wrap him, and see if I can’t keep more alive. They will absolutely regrow from the crown, but they need to be in the ground. Come fall, trim off non-productive branches so it stays in an open form, with three to four main branches in a cup formation. See, I’m making the gesture with my hand, you should totally be able to see it!

    Best of luck!

  18. laura n says:

    When I was a child, our Italian neighbors always put a wooden shelter up around tree. We live in Cleveland. I love figs, but not from grocery store. Once, I asked my husband for a fig tree for a present, he rolled his eyes like I was crazy.

  19. Carswell says:

    I saw a bunch of those fig trees for sale at my local Loblaws this year. I wondered whether it was really possible to grow a fig in this climate and gave them a pass. Now I think I’m regretting that.

    One of the nurseries in my neck of the woods has a huuuuuuge fig tree growing in one of their greenhouses. I swear I go there sometimes just to admire that tree and dream about fresh figs.

  20. Heather says:

    You had me at Liam Neeson.

    Sorry no fig tips.

  21. christine hilton says:

    Spit my coffee! I drive by that sign all the time and want one.Your second option is to over winter it in my vaulted sun room.I would be happy to try it.Then if it dies I haven’t wasted MY money.

  22. Kellie says:

    Ok, I can provide some info and tips. I know exactly the sign and driveway where you got the first one. I think a little more sinister than you though. Living in the Evil Empire does that. I bought one a number of years ago at the Mohawk collage yard sale for $6 – I danced all the way home. I put in in a big pot and it grew like crazy, I brought it in the winter. I kept it alive for 3 years and then I planted it in the ground and buried it like you are planning. It died. When I dug it out of it’s crypt it was all rotten and soggy.
    So I’ve gone back to the pot, mind you with another plant but it’s doing really well. I keep it in a nice pot I picked up at Terra (looks very Italianish) and I just keep it barely watered over the winter and then stick it in my greenhouse as soon a I can. I bought a hypothermia blanket that I use to wrap it if the weather is if-y. If you have any questions let me know, I’d be glad to help.

    • Karen says:

      Well I’d like to know where you got your hypothermia blanket for one! Sounds like a great idea for either wrapping around it in a garage or outside. ~ karen!

      • Kellie says:

        You can get the blankets at any Hardware Store. I got mine at Canadian Tire – in the hunting and fishing section. They were really cheap, I just opened them up and use them over top of my seedlings in the spring time too. Only thing is that they are bright silver and since my greenhouse is in the driveway I notice cars slowing down to check things out. Like anyone would grow dope in their driveway. Sigh and he,he.

  23. Su says:

    I’m in zone 5 here in Illinois. I have a friend who has a fig tree in a HUGE pot and every fall she tips it over, covers it with shredded leaves. The leaves are soaked with a hose to keep moisture around the thing and then she walks away and forgets about it. Come springs she brushes it off and stands it up…. she’s had it three or four years now….

  24. amy watson says:

    Hmmm, well l grew up in the South….the real south, Georgia, not the southern most state where l live now (Florida), because there is nothing southern about this state or the Northerners who live here…sorry l got carried away, anyway l grew up on a patch of farmland that my grandparents lived on too(a commune?) sorta, my great aunt had a house there too, and beside all 4 of our houses were huge fug trees, it gets cold there very cold we get to single digit temps in winter, these fig trees never got any kind if wrappings or bent over and covered, but they were huge and old….l was told my great great grandfather planted them, l am still eating fig preserves from those trees, l know the people who bought the old homestead and she always sends me fig preserves….good luck with your baby, they really are beautiful trees to me….Lenny…really dude that is embarrassing, just sayin’

  25. CSB says:

    Well I’m in Texas, north central Texas, about half way between Abilene and Ft Worth, and mine freezes every winter almost to the ground, but comes back out in the warm weather. Not very many figs on the new growth tho. So I’m going to try cloning it and moving that one to a South facing area, that it may like better. It does take lots of water to get any figs, tho. None this year so far, as it is now in the 100+ rang every afternoon!
    Yours might come back up from the roots, so give it a chance.

  26. Helen Whaley says:

    What do you know about Liam Meeson’s private parts that I don’t? Should I give a fig?

  27. Karin says:

    Well. I am completely jealous. I bought and planted a fig tree (ha!) 4 years ago. It was about 18″ tall and had three leaves. Four years later it is 18″ tall and has three leaves. I have never seen any signs of fruit and I am now ready to pull it up and try a different type. I WANT SOME FIGS dammit.

  28. Karin says:

    don’t give a fig about the tree, let’s talk some more about Liam though :0B

  29. Ev Wilcox says:

    Now that’s a concert! Oh wait, we’re supposed to be talking about fig trees…. I know nothing about them, but I wish you success!

  30. Lynn says:

    I have no comment on fig tree growing sorry 🙁 . As I live in zone 3 Alberta. Envying you in zones 6 and 5 you do make me laugh uncontrollably while reading your blog ? . Then when I go out into my yard the following day I find I burst in to giggles as I go about my garden. Just had to say love your blog Karen.?

  31. Melissa in NC says:

    I have a fig tree, I keep cutting it down and it keeps coming back. It grows back bigger and “bad-er” every year. Wish I could give it to you. My neighbors love the figs. Wish they would dig this monster up and plant it in their yard.
    Only you Karen, start my day with so much humor. Thanks for that.

  32. Kim says:

    Ummm…I want to know about “Liam Neeson private parts” …..know nothing about figs….

  33. jainegayer says:

    OK. I’m with Sherry in Alaska on this one…how do you know about Liam Neeson’s private parts?
    (Be still my beating heart)
    Can’t remember what the rest of the blog was about. Are you growing an apple tree?

  34. Jill Riley says:

    When we lived in Tucson I never got around to buying a fig tree, so of course now I’m in Nebraska (Zone 5b) I want one so bad it’s killing me! I just couldn’t figure out the wintering part of all of it–thank you, everyone, for the great ideas. Gonna buy me a fig tree! 🙂

  35. Mary W says:

    Love figs wrapped in bacon, figs with goat cheese, fig newtons, fig preserves, figs up straight, (but always break them open since I’ve bitten into a wasp once that was hiding inside) and figs just to smell, give away, paint. But my fig bush (have seen many bushes but never a tree) was huge, I moved and can’t get another to grow even though I only moved 10 miles away. First one lived through ice storms, desert summers, flooding, and many a single digit winter but never froze to the ground. I’m convinced there are just certain figs that have a will to live and others that are wimps. The big question is if you were going to move, where does Liam live? I’ve always thought he was handsome but didn’t know of the other trait. Loved him ever since the movie Nell.

  36. Jennie Lee says:

    Wait a minute; I live in West Virginia, which is 6a; how come you live in Canada and we live in the same plant hardiness zone? And how come there is a problem, if the plant is okay with zone 5 and you live in 6a? I’m confused.

    • ronda says:

      a lot of people don’t realize that southern Ontario is about the same latitude as norhern California. but I think the more important question should be … what about Idris?? Liam’s in the spotlight now?

  37. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    OK Lenny…you are embarrassing us now..you want people to think our homeboys have no couth??…Lenny is from Harrisburg PA..60 miles from where I live…and Karen..Didn’t you interview Liam Neeson once??..hmmmm….I don’t know a damn thing about fig trees….

  38. dee says:

    Italy sounds good-want someone to carry your luggage? The other comments re Vinyl Cafe reminded me of CBC’s gardening expert, Ed Lawrence-who was the Governor General’s gardener for years. He’s on the Ontario Today show at 12:30 on Mondays, and should be able to answer your questions. He knows everything it seems. If all else fails, give the guy a try: http://www.cbc.ca/ontariotoday.

  39. Ms Ellen Derry says:

    Do try to overwinter it & keep us posted. I’d love a fig tree if I could keep it here in Ottawa. All I know about them I learned from a Stuart McLean story, and I’m not sure how factual that was….

  40. Jessica says:

    I have one of these as well, and after nearly killing it its first winter by forgetting to water it its doing fine. Mine is still very short, probably since its in a small pot and has never been fertilized, but this year it has 9 figs. Not sure if they are ever going to ripen or how long it takes but they are there! Last year it only had 1….maybe 2. Not sure because the squirrels in my area love to destroy them. Anyway, mine winters in my insulated garage, in its pot, with no kind of protection near a window for some light. It is VERY IMPORTANT to remember to give it like 1 cup of water every month. Or if you are me, every other month….or 3. I’m in southwestern michigan (no idea what zone that is) and as long as I’ve remembered to water it, its done fine. That first winter I forgot to for almost 6 months (it was the year of the never ending snow) and it nearly croaked. I’m planning on keeping mine in a pot till its about 10 feet tall, then putting it in the ground, as this was what I found on the internetz. I think I read that height was suggested due to animals devouring parts of the tree. 10 feet preserves some new shoot potential in the spring since most animals can’t reach that high? Anyway, I love mine. Hope yours lives!

  41. Rondina says:

    Judging by my experience with oranges, you keep it in the pot and move it to the shed. It still might die though.

  42. Carol says:

    My former neighbours (he: Spanish, she: Italian) received a fig tree as a present from his father. They planted the tree in the ground, buried it in the winter and covered it with leaves and straw. The tree was fine next Spring, and the figs were tasty! Then one year, he didn’t bury the tree in the ground over winter. The tree died, his father was miffed, his wife was ticked, and I missed getting some of the abundant figs. This was in the old part of Toronto

  43. Elen G says:

    I vote for Italy! Pretty cool fig tree, though. 😀

  44. ellen says:

    Oh now you’ve done it. There is a fig up the street from me (Cape Cod, unreliable zone 6 at mid-Cape) and I had always tried to ignore it because I was sure they were having to heel that monster over and I will have none of that. Now I am thinking…Do you have to have 2?

  45. Ana says:

    An old beau had a fig tree planted outside. We are in New England, so our winters could be said to be comparable to yours, maybe. His tree lived through the winter wrapped in straw and burlap as you described. His was a bit further on than yours is though. Good luck! Nothing better than fresh figs.

  46. Aspasia says:

    I just got back from Provence, where figs grow wild. The lady I was staying with had one in her garden that she keeps trying to kill (it rudely keeps coming back). The reason she tries to kill it is because it doesn’t set fruit, but she also claimed they damage walls (it was growing next to her stone garden wall). I never asked her to elaborate because I didn’t expect it would be information that would ever be relevant to my life (silly me), but I get the feeling that planting a fig next to one’s house foundation might not be a great idea.

    Please update us on how your homegrown figs turn out 🙂

  47. Fereshteh says:

    I bought a fig tree from loblaws last year. It grew figs but I never harvested any as the neighbourhood critters got to them before I did. The tree lived in my parents attached garage over the winter (with monthly watering) and it survived very well. This year I have about 10 figs but I don’t get a lot of sun so I don’t know if they will ripen or if the critters will leave any for me. For information about growing figs in southern Ontario check out this article http://www.thestar.com/life/2012/07/27/yes_you_can_grow_figs_in_ontario_and_its_not_that_hard.htmland

    Also google Steve Biggs. He has videos and more online re: growing figs.

  48. ronda says:

    totally off topic … is it Aunt Jean’s 101st birthday tomorrow? was catching up on some older posts and found pics of last year’s birthday party.

  49. Debbie D says:

    I would keep the fig tree in a large container and move it to a garage or covered close to the house when it goes dormant. I had two figs in large containers for years and they produced beautiful fruit. I would allow side branches to grow to keep the fig trees only about 6 feet tall or so. They produced tons of figs. Make sure you feed the fig tree after it starts to come out of dormancy. Here is an article on fig trees in colder climates.

    http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/grow-fantastic-figs

  50. Mindy says:

    They grow like weeds here, so I’m no help. Unless you want to make fig jam. Which I did, with the nine pounds of figs my neighbor gave me. It’s delicious. I also came across this recipe today that sounds fantastic.
    http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/fig-leaf-coconut-rice-recipe.html
    I have to go steal fig leaves in the dark now…..

  51. Ruth says:

    Pruning would slow down the plant’s need to make a larger root ball and would have the side effect of prompting ‘side shoots’ and more area for next year’s fruit. It would probably count as a shrub instead of a tree by then, allowing you to find a loophole in community garden regulations.

    Problem solved. 😉

    (*scrolling back up to finish reading predictably hilarious comments) 😀

  52. Ashlee V says:

    I have a Hardy Chicago on the south side planted next to my house. I am in zone 5b. I just realized that I live in Kansas City, MO and I am in a colder zone then you. This makes me sad. Anyway, back to point. My plant in 2012 got 13 feet tall and 4 foot wide because of mild winters before. The last two winters it has died to the ground and comes back as a shrub. No matter how much I bent and covered it is still dies to the ground 🙁
    By end of summer it is a 5×4 shrub and gives me a bowl of figs. I think I a may buy another one for a large pot, let it go dormant and put it in the basement for winter.

  53. Sarah says:

    We bought the same fig tree! But I bought mine at the grocery store at the very end of the season for a ridiculously low price, It’s still pretty small but it has one fig on it! I’m bringing mine inside for the winter.

  54. Colleen Smith says:

    I have often wondered about that sign at the end of that driveway….thanks for solving the mystery for me. 🙂

  55. Vanessa says:

    We have a HUGE fig tree. My grandfather planted it probably 60 years ago. In the summer, anytime I can’t find my youngest son I look in the fig tree. He is usually up in the branches towards the top because “That’s where all the good ones are.”

  56. Sarah says:

    Make a bubble wrap tent for the creature? Dollar Tree has plenty of the stuff and so do most Dumpsters.

  57. Saundra Bowers says:

    I just bought two this year. First time ever owning one. I live in zone 3-4. Moved into lightly heated garage. Am HOPING it will over winter fine. Lost all it`s leaves, watered once since Oct. Looks great…so far!

    • Karen says:

      Mine is still sitting forlorn in the front yard, but I’ve planted it right in the soil. So far this winter has been WARM. Like, don’t even have to wear a jacket really yet warm. So it might just make it through this winter. Fingers crossed! And good luck to your fig. Don’t forget to water it once a month! That’s always my downfall. ~ karen!

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