Italian Everbearing FigFicus carica ‘Italian Everbearing’
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Ficus carica ‘Italian Everbearing’
Outdoor Growing zone
The Italian Everbearing Fig tree is one of the most reliable varieties for carrying not one, but two full crops each year. The first, breba crop ripens in June, and the second main crop in September or October. Both crops are heavy, and even if your winters are too cold for a reliable breba crop, the main crop is large and bountiful. The fruits are large, with purple-maroon skin containing sweet, juicy flesh that is deep red like strawberry jam. The delicious flavors, sweet juicy flesh and delightful taste can be fully appreciated from tree-ripened fruit – something that is only possible if you grow your own.
Full sun will give you the best crops from your Italian Everbearing Fig. Plant it in well-drained soil, and it thrives in poor, dry soils, including sands and gravels. Avoid areas with rich, moist soil. Don’t add manures or composts, and don’t fertilize, unless you are growing it in a pot. Pests and diseases are rare and no pruning is required. This variety grows best in areas with mild winters and hot, dry summers, but it will still give a main crop in areas with colder winters.
The name ‘everbearing’ attached to a fig tree is always good news. It tells us that this variety is capable of carrying two crops a year – one in early summer, and a second in fall. There might be a gap for a while, but effectively it means fresh figs from your garden from early summer to late fall – quite an achievement for just one tree. Depending on where you live you may not always get both crops, but you are almost guaranteed to have the wonderful pleasure of eating fresh, tree-ripened figs every year. If you haven’t eaten them before, or only the one from a store, you are in for a revelation. Tree-ripened and eaten still warm from the sun, fresh figs are truly one of nature’s gifts – certainly a gift made in heaven. The delicate and unique fragrance, combined with a wonderful honey sweetness that doesn’t mask all the other subtle flavors, make it a special treat, like drinking fine wine. The contrast between firmer skin and soft, juicy flesh is a pleasure, and although you can slice them into salads, and even roast them, eating them straight from the tree is all you really need to do.
The Italian Everbearing Fig tree fulfills the promise by giving you two full crops a year, and the delicious fruits have the classic purple-maroon skin and strawberry-jam interior, on a fig that is remarkably large, and so extra delicious. It’s perfect for areas with hot, dry summers and mild winters, where you have the best chance of fully enjoying both of its delicious crops. With a reliable main crop, it is also excellent for places with cold winters and hot summers, where you can expect a heavy main crop in early fall.
The Italian Everbearing Fig is a deciduous tree of moderate size, growing rapidly to around 15 feet tall and wide. It usually forms a broad bush, rather than becoming tree-like. The large leaves are 9 or 10 inches across, and they are divided into 3, or sometimes 5, large rounded lobes. The stems have smooth, gray bark and large winter buds. The first, breba crop can be seen as tiny buds that develop in late fall. These hold through the winter, if it isn’t too cold, or wet and windy in spring, and rapidly develop once warm weather comes into a large crop of medium-sized fruits. They begin to ripen by the end of May, or through June, over a period of about 3 weeks. The oval to round green fruits turn purple, and when fully ripe the short neck softens and the fruit sags on the branch. That is the moment to pick it, and when you slice it in half you will see the delicious rich-red center. This is a self-pollinating variety and the fruit has no seeds – tasty, juicy and soft all the way through.
While the breba crop is ripening, the main crop is developing on the new growth of the year. Figs grow singly or in clusters up the branches, and by September or into October they will be fully ripened. The fruit of this tree is similar to the popular variety Brown Turkey, but larger, and this really show in the huge main crop fruits you can harvest, even sweeter than the breba crop.
Grow the Italian Everbearing Fig as an ornamental tree on your lawn. The leaves are gorgeous, and they are ideal for wrapping fish in before placing it on the barbeque. Grow it in the sunny corner of your yard, or plant it against a south-facing wall. This technique is especially useful in zone 7, where spreading the branches out across the wall will keep it warmer in winter, giving a better chance of an early crop, as well as helping ripen the fall crop successfully.
Not as hardy as the ‘Chicago Hardy’ Fig, the Italian Everbearing Fig tree is ideal for zones 7 to 10, thriving in hot, dry summers and mild winters, but also doing well with colder winters if the summers are hot.
Full sun is always best for fig trees, and the Italian Everbearing Fig is no exception to that rule. In hot zones it will still grow happily with an hour or two of shade each day. All well-drained soils are suitable, even poor, sandy, stony or gravel soils – which actually tend to improve fruiting. Don’t add organic material when planting, and don’t mulch.
Pests or diseases are never problems, and this tree is very easy to grow. Water regularly until established, and then only if the leaves begin to yellow or immature fruits start dropping. If that happens, soak deeply with plenty of water. Pruning is normally not needed.
The fig tree, Ficus carica, is one of the oldest plants cultivated by humans. It has been grown for thousands of years, mostly around the Mediterranean, particularly in Spain, Italy, and the Middle East. Many of the varieties grown in America came over as bundles of sticks in the luggage of immigrants, and you might think this sounds true of the variety called Italian Everbearing. However it seems this plant came via England. The first plants in America were among the fig tree collection of John Rock. He was a German-born nurseryman in California, and prominent in fruit growing between 1865 and 1904. In 1901 he imported trees that included Italian Everbearing from the nursery of Thomas Rivers and Son in England – also an important grower in the development of fruit trees of many kinds. It is likely that Rivers had obtained this plant from a source in Italy.
We love having wonderful fig trees like Italian Everbearing to offer you, so that you can enjoy the pleasure of eating tree-ripened figs from your own yard. These trees are easy to grow, and should give you fruit within 2 or 3 years. But order right away, we can’t promise to have them still available when you come back again.