Are fig trees easy to maintain? I read it takes 2-6 years for first time fruiting? Which variety is best one? I live in Merced California.
Figs are generally easy to maintain, when I lived in Texas/ Arizona I had up to 50 of them I still have 3 here in Montana ( clearly they need help through the winter) if you are in California You should definitely have some figs some figs fruit on current year growth and others on previous years growth. depending on the variety you should have fruit in good quantities on the second or 3rd season. it is not uncommon to see a fig growing on a cutting that you are trying to root. there are many good varieties of figs . many of the ones you see for sale are of several of the very common varieties . if you are up to rooting cuttings that opens up a whole new world of varieties. some are very easy to root and others very difficult. but once they are growing they are easy to maintain. on this site on the reference page “scionwood sources” Scionwood sources
one of the links there is “Figaholics” FIGAHOLICS
I knew him from a fig forum I used to spend a lot of time on. He has very good descriptions of many different varieties of figs., BE WARNED, growing figs is addictive
Some varieties take a couple years to fruit for the first time, but most are ready to bear the year after you root or buy a cutting. As far as maintenance goes, they generally are very easy. They’ll do spectacular in your part of California
If you put your figs in pots, you could possibly get fruit the first year. I usually prune away first year fruit as they’re usually not as good anyways. If I was successful in rooting multiple copies of a tree, I’ll let a couple of figs grow on one while I push the other for maximum growth and production next year.
If you put your tree into the ground, it may take it’s time fruiting as it works on establishing its root system. The positive part of this is that once the tree starts to fruit, you will have a little fruit factory going as an inground tree can provide loads more fruit than a potted tree.
Another good fig source is ourfigs.com. There are some fig gurus here, but most of them also hang out / post occasionally on ourfigs as well. The breadth of knowledge there is high and the community is usually very friendly.
A good variety to start is Violeta de Bordeaux which is a berry-flavored fig. It’s cheap and easy to find but the flavor is very good (~10 years ago the VdB was a premium tier top dollar variety, but everyone has it now.) Check out MountainFig’s blog where the various flavor groups are described:
Once that whets your appetite, you can go to figbid.com and drop some big $$$$$$ on premium varieties, or spend a lot less on last year’s favorites. I prefer to spend as little as I can and have been slowly growing my collection. Next year I plan on getting rid of the not-so-good ones and putting a couple more trees into the ground.
Oh yeah, check out the California Rare Fruit Growers as they have an annual scion exchange where you can pick up fig cuttings for free. Some of the exchanges have had some really nice varieties, plus tons of other fruit as well.
It looks like they have a chapter in the San Joaquin Valley, not sure how close that is to you.
I’m in Tracy, not too far from you. Fig trees are really easy, just keep them regularly watered during the dry season. The larger the fig tree, the more water it needs. You will likely get a couple of figs from the tree in the second year, third at the latest. As the tree grows, it will produce more and more figs every year. Large fig trees in the ground produce a lot!