If you enjoy eating fresh figs, then you owe it to yourself to grow your own tree. Nothing beats the taste of a fresh fig, straight from the tree, fully ripened by the warm sun, when the sugar content has reached its maximum. Even better, if you want the ultimate in fig flavor, grow the Celeste Fig Tree, a variety with a flavor that is far superior to most other varieties. Often called ‘the sugar fig’, the Celeste fig is sweet, with a smooth, rich flavor you will love. The fruits are beautiful – medium-sized, and a rich, deep purple color when ripe, dusted with the pale-blue powder called ‘bloom’, which is characteristic of the best varieties of figs. The flesh inside is white beneath the skin, but a warm reddish-pink in the juicy center.
Figs do not ripen more when taken from the tree, but commercial figs must be picked before they fully ripen, so that they can be transported and stored. This means that a store-bought fig never has the full, rich flavor of one ripened on the tree. The only way to fully enjoy that flavor is to grow your own figs, pick them, and eat them fresh. Figs are fully-ripe when the neck of the fruit begins to soften, and the fruit droops a little, so wait until that point to enjoy the maximum flavor and sweetness.
Growing Celeste Fig Trees
The Celeste Fig Tree grows into a small tree, between 7 and 10 feet tall, with an bushy form, and with multiple trunks. This small size makes it ideal for smaller garden spaces, and it makes care and harvesting easy too. The large leaves are very attractive, and they are deeply divided into three large lobes, each with several smaller lobes. It makes an attractive tree in your garden, even without considering the value of the crop you will soon be harvesting.
Plant your tree in full sun, in well-drained to dry soil. Figs grow best in poor soil, so you do not need to enrich the earth before planting. Fig trees are tough, and they very rarely suffer from any pests or diseases, so producing your own figs is very easy. You only need one tree, as this tree is self-pollinating, yet it yields a heavy crop of top-quality figs.
How to Grow
The Celeste Fig Tree is easy to grow, either in the garden or in a pot. Figs produce the most fruit when grown in poor soil or a restricted volume of soil, so they are ideal for growing in pots. The best way to grow your fig tree depends on where you live, and the climate of your area.
If you live in a warm area, with hot, dry summers, you can grow the Celeste Fig Tree right out in the open, as a tree, in full sun. If you live in an area where it rains regularly and it is often cloudy and cooler, it is best to plant your tree at the base of a south-facing wall and tie the branches back against the wall, so that the fruit is exposed to the most sun, and the roots stay in a drier area. In colder areas, cooler than zone 6, it is best to grow your tree in a pot, so that in winter you can store the pot in a cool place – it doesn’t have to receive any light – for the coldest months, to avoid temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
Knowing When Your Figs Are Ripe
Your Celeste Fig Tree will have ripe figs in late summer, although you may also harvest a small crop in late spring, especially in warmer areas. If you have too many figs ripe at the same time, they are very easy to dry. The Celeste Fig is very suitable for drying, as the small hole at the base of the fruit is closed, so potential pests cannot enter the fruit. To dry your figs, use a dehydrator, or place in an oven set at 135oF, for about 24 hours. They can also be dried simply by placing them on a tray in the sun, turning them once or twice until they are firm. Dried figs can be stored for months, and they can be eaten as they are, or used in making cookies.
History and Origins of the Celeste Fig Tree
The fig tree (Ficus carica) grows naturally in the Mediterranean regions, and it has been cultivated for thousands of years, probably longer than any other fruit tree. The first figs in America were brought to Virginia in 1669, having been brought to England around 1530. From Virginia, growing figs spread throughout the south and south-east, from the Carolinas to Florida, and into Louisiana and Texas. The origin of the variety called ‘Celeste’ is not clear, but it seems to be the same as an old variety called ‘Malta’, which, by its name, was probably introduced into the southern USA form the island of that name, in the Mediterranean. It has been widely grown in the south for a very long time, and is considered very desirable, and especially suitable for growing in gardens.
Our trees are produced from stem pieces, not seeds, so they are exactly the correct variety, with no variation. Fig trees are easy to grow, so they are very popular, and demand for quality trees is high. Order now while our stocks lasts and enjoy the unique taste of a tree-ripened fig picked from your own garden.