Fig Ripening Questions

Recently I was chatting with Joe from Toronto about growing figs. He had a couple of good questions about ripening figs:

  • "My fig trees are loaded with green figs - can I speed up the ripening process so the first frost does not kill the figs before they have time to ripen?"

My response: For "main crop" figs, after 3 or 4 fruit have formed on a branch, pinch out the tip. In many colder areas, that's as many as will ripen before the frost, so don't let the plant waste energy on trying to make any more than that.

  • "On one of my trees the small figs seem to be ripening prematurely without growing in size or just turning a pale yellow and dropping off the tree.  What are the possible causes?"

My response: It's normal for trees to shed some of the fruit before maturity. Lots of fruit trees, e.g. apples, do this. Stress could be another reason: if you let plants dry out (especially potted figs), you can lose a whole crop to such premature dropping.