Figs are some of the oldest cultivated fruits. All fig varieties are self-fruitful, like sun, and can be grown as a tree, shrub or container plant. We offer fig trees adapted to the Pacific Northwest and other regions of the country. Zone 7-10. In Zone 6 and colder regions they will require some shelter to protect from cold temperatures below about -10 F. Younger, newly planted trees could be damaged at higher temperatures. An established fig tree is about 10 F hardier than a newly planted one. Established trees may show tip dieback below 10, some branch dieback below 5 F and will die back to the ground around 0 F.
Unlike most fruit trees that are grafted or budded clonally, fig trees are propagated from cuttings, so if the roots are protected from a deep freeze by a heavy mulch, they can resprout true to name from the roots after an extreme cold snap. This is the big advantage of the cultivar "Chicago Hardy", it is able to resprout annually after a freeze and ripen figs on the new growth in areas with hot summers such as Chicago.
Alternatively, figs can be grown in containers. Constricting the roots of figs can stimulate earlier fruiting. As container grown plants, they can be more easily protected from extreme cold weather by bringing inside to a home, greenhouse, or even stored in a pump house over winter. When dormant no light is required. In spring, they can be moved outside. The pots can be partially buried in the garden, allowing roots to escape from drainage holes. This will keep the fig from getting root-bound and will help to keep the pot from tipping over in high wind and will greatly reduce the need for watering. In fall, when the tree is going dormant and before extreme weather, the pot can be dug up, and any roots that have escaped from the pot are severed as the pot is moved into a more protected space for winter.
Since figs are grown from cuttings, any suckers are true to name and allowing them to grow as a multi-stemmed shrub can be the most practical way of growing them for ease of harvest. Figs should only be harvested when soft and they don't ripen all at once, so having them easily reachable is important, much easier to do when grown as a 7 ft. shrub rather than a 20 ft. tree. If kept smaller, yield will be less per tree but more trees can be planted in a given space. Having several varieties ripening at different times can greatly extend the harvest.