It’s National Fig Week – time to recognize this popular fruit that’s actually a little bundle of tiny flowers inside a small, thin sac. Most figs grown in home gardens are called common figs with varieties like ‘Brown Turkey’ and ‘Celeste’, and they’re self-pollinators. Figs lose their leaves each year and are easy to grow. They can easily reach 30 feet tall and wide. Give them plenty of sun and soil with good drainage year-round.
They’re not only a favorite for us humans. Over 1,200 species of birds and mammals eat figs, and that’s in addition to many insects! One reason they’re so popular is they’re so easy to eat. An animal doesn’t need any fancy adaptations to get to the sweet parts of a fig fruit. They’re also widely available. Figs grow on every continent except Antarctica, meaning lots of different critters have the chance to find them in their habitat. In your backyard, watch out for birds, squirrels, raccoons, and rats as being fig bandits.
As the fruit ripens, remove it from your tree or shrub, and keep the area around it cleaned up. Here’s a clever, non-toxic way to deter squirrels and birds from grabbing your fruit.