Lifestyle

Growing Figs From Seeds


I am delighted to finally share with you how to grow figs from seeds. When my experiment on growing avocado plants from seeds was a success two years back, I started dreaming of planting many fruit trees. One of them is fig.

2 Years Old Fig Plant
One of my many fig plants.

Come now… I share with you how to grow figs from seeds and how I take care of them.

My mom introduced me to the world of figs a few years ago. Initially, we only eat dried figs. Later on, we are able to find fresh figs at higher-end supermarkets. I love eating figs as they are sweet and delicious. And I prefer fresh figs over the dried ones. In Malaysia, fresh figs are quite expensive. So what can I do about it? Plant my own lo. That was before I found out there are local fresh figs for sale but then their price range is similar to imported ones. Even more reason to plant my own now. No?

So one day, I decided to experiment with planting figs from seeds in Malaysia. I used two kinds of seeds; from fresh figs and from dried figs.

Baby Fig Plants
This is the sneak peak photo of my baby figs plants that I shared here. I promised to write a post about them if they survived. Well, some didn’t make it but those that did are growing up great.

There are 2 pots in the above photo. One of the pots were germinated from seeds of fresh fig and another from dried fig. Although I’ve forgotten which is which, at least I know (and you know) figs can be grown from fresh and dried figs.

Fresh & Dried Figs
Fresh fig and dried fig. Taken recently.

How to harvest seeds from fig and germinate ’em?
For both fresh and dried figs: Carefully remove the seeds (they are so tiny!) from fig. Rinse seeds with water in a sieve (has small holes) to remove the slimy bits. Let the seeds dry for a couple of days. They are ready for germinating.

Fresh & Dried Figs Seeds
Index finger: fresh fig seeds
Middle finger: dried fig seeds

Make several small indents in the soil. Place one seed in each hole and cover with soil. Give love and be patient in waiting. Once the fig seedlings are about 5-6 cm tall, you can transplant them to their permanent location be it on the ground or pot.

Baby Fig Plants
Growing bigger.

Taking care of fig plants:
Figs are easy to grow and take care of. Here are some of my tips:

Soil: A mixture of black+red soils. I use organic 6 in 1 soil + red soil.

Water: Water daily unless the soil is wet or it’s raining. Water on the soil and not at the leaves.

Sun: Full sun from what I read. However, my figs do better in partial sun. When I started, I had them under full sun, but they developed rust on the leaves. So, I placed them all in the shade with morning sun and they are thriving albeit very rarely little rusty leaves here and there.

Fertilizer: I don’t use fertilizer anymore. While fertilizer is not the same as compost, I apply homemade ‘compost’ every few days to 1-2 weeks. My homemade ‘compost’: dried leaves, branches, kitchen scraps like egg shells, tea leaves, ground coffee, rice water, citrus rinds, banana peels, etc. More on my compost making here + plants’ vitamins.

Pruning: Every once in a while, when the branches are growing taller or bushier, give them a few trims. This is especially true if you want to keep the fig short in height and especially if they are grown in pots.

Diseases and pests: I’ve encountered only one fig disease which is fig rust. It’s fungal and can be quite a problem in Malaysia’s wet and humid weather. The rust on the leaves looks like real rust. Due to this problem, my potted figs were re-homed from outdoor to our car porch which is shaded and yet still receives morning sun and rain if the wind is strong. Make sure to pick out the affected leaves as the rust can spread to other leaves. To prevent rust, also make sure to water on the soil surrounding the fig plant. Try not to wet the leaves. One pest problem I have is ants. They climb the fig branches and make housing there. So what I do is use water to wash the houses away. If that doesn’t work, I will prune the affected branches. Don’t worry, fig produces new leaves very quickly.

Love: Positive affirmation and thoughts. The universe (everything) listens!

2 Years Old Fig Plant
Figgy!

Can figs that are grown from seeds bear fruits? If yes, how long does it takes?
I bet this is the most important question of all. The reason why we do what we do; plant figs to reap the rewards.

From what I’ve read, some figs need pollination (wasp: blastophaga psenes) to bear fruits while some don’t. Fig cultivars that don’t need pollination can still bear fruits. This is because they are self-fertile. However, they don’t produce seeds unless there are wasps nearby. Meaning, you will have the flesh (syconium) but without the seeds, if I’m not mistaken. Then there’s also the case of male trees with female flowers and female trees with female flowers. Caprifigs (male figs) are inedible and yet useful for pollinating other figs, again if I’m not mistaken. So yeah, it’s a long confusing story. Please search the internet for more info.

In short, figs grown from seeds may or may not bear fruits and if it does bear fruits, they may or may not be edible. They are difficult to judge unless you know the sex of the tree (male/female) and types. That’s why like avocado, many prefer to get grafted or cuttings of figs. You know the tree it was grated/cut from and therefore less chance of failure. For me, I planted lots of figs to up my chances (like avocado). Haha

Figs can take anywhere between 2 to 6 years to bear fruits. I’m very hopeful!

2 Years Old Fig Plant
Fig plant grown on ground. Just a small space.

As of writing, I have 7 fig plants. Of the 7 only one is grown on the ground at a small narrow area (also in car porch). The rest are in pots. They are 2 years old. As for their species/cultivars, I’ve no idea. But I’m very sure they will bear fruits. 🙂 Even if they are not able to bear fruits (touchwood), I would still like to keep some as fig leaves have interesting shapes and very pretty. I sometimes decorate my home with figs branches that I pruned, but usually, I dried them and make compost. Haha

Fig
Beauty!

I’ll update this post if there’s any good news.

Please share with me if you know more about figs ya.

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21 Comments

  • Reply Asri November 1, 2019 at 11:46 am

    Hi,
    Just arrive here when searching information on avocado. Just want to share some information that i know from reading and experience.

    If you grow from seeds:
    1-it will take long time to bear fruit. I think you already know about this.
    2-if let say it has fruits, it may drop earlier because we don’t have wasp here to pollinate it. Unless you’re certain about the variety and it does not require wasp to pollinate.

    Solution:
    1-you can graft the fig tree from seed with other variety that confirm can bear fruit in Malaysia.

    • Reply Che-Cheh November 1, 2019 at 2:24 pm

      Hi! Thanks for the info. Yes, already know it will take a longer time to bear fruit, needing wasp for certain variety and grafting. Hoping mine do not need wasp but even if they do I know nature will provide the best situations for them.

    • Reply Dave September 27, 2022 at 9:11 pm

      Have they beared fruit yet, 3 years has gone by?

      • Reply Che-Cheh September 29, 2022 at 11:08 am

        Hi Dave, no fruit yet. I’m very patient.

  • Reply Che liang lee November 3, 2019 at 4:17 am

    Hi any news regarding your fig trees? Are they fruiting yet?

    • Reply Che-Cheh November 3, 2019 at 9:45 am

      Hi, not yet fruiting, and they’re doing great. 🙂

  • Reply Alex Tan January 26, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    Hi, how long from seed to visual seedling pop out

    • Reply Che-Cheh January 27, 2020 at 11:00 am

      Hi Alex, about few weeks. I’m not too sure the exact.

  • Reply Lin May 9, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    Hi all,

    My fig tree is growing on a pot for a year. Pruned few weeks ago and growing many brunches with healthy leafs. Anyone has idea of fertilizer to facilitate fruiting?

    • Reply Che-Cheh May 9, 2020 at 6:40 pm

      Is your fig grafted?

      • Reply Lin May 10, 2020 at 9:20 am

        No. it is from a seed.

        • Reply Che-Cheh May 11, 2020 at 6:40 am

          Hi Lin, I’m not sure how to facilitate it to fruiting. I can only say when the time is right, they will do what they will do. 🙂

          • Lin June 24, 2020 at 8:38 am

            Hi Che-Cheh,
            I am so happy that my fig tree bearing fruits after punching.

  • Reply Che-Cheh June 24, 2020 at 10:13 am

    Hi Lin, interesting. Share with us how you do it. What is punching?

    • Reply Lin June 24, 2020 at 8:23 pm

      Oh sorry! I was typo error; pinching. I pinched the end of the branch.

  • Reply Hani September 13, 2020 at 12:56 am

    How’s your fig plants? Please post an update 🙂 I found your blog when searching for fig plants Malaysia. I happened to plant some figs too. Keep up the good work!

    • Reply Che-Cheh September 16, 2020 at 4:31 pm

      Hi Hani, thank you. You too keep up the good work! My figs are doing great. They’re 4 years old now. Just waiting for the right time to flower and bear fruits. 🙂

  • Reply Rose5 June 27, 2022 at 7:22 am

    We are in 2022 = 6 years for your fig trees from seeds, but even after 4 years they should ‘ve begun forming fruits, if they don’t, your trees aren’t getting enough energy from the sun because you put them in the shade or sun only in the morning.

    • Reply Che-Cheh June 27, 2022 at 4:40 pm

      Hi Roses, although they are in the shade, they get morning and afternoon sun. Perhaps the soil health is not optimum. I’m a bit worried about shifting ’em back outside because of the weather here (hot and wet). They have had major rust on the leaves when under full sun.

      I didn’t realise it has been 6 years as I’m not waiting for the result. I’m just enjoying the beauty and shapes of its leaves. 🌿

  • Reply Rose5 June 27, 2022 at 7:59 am

    Some caprifigs bear edible seedless fruits like Moscatel Branco (aka Croisic, Gillette, Pingo de Mel), only its brebas must be avoided.
    Another example is Ficus Johannis Digitata but their fruits are small.

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