En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - September 30, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Fruiting of non-native fig trees
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Regarding a Fig Tree that I have, it's about 3yrs old. Last year it gave us about a handful of figs and they were good. This year the small tree is full of figs and they remain green. This summer I have picked about (3) that were good. Maybe not enough sun? It gets shade up until 10:00am and again shade about 3:00pm.

ANSWER:

Ficus carica, edible fig, is native to western Asia and found all through the Mediterranean. The attention of Mr. Smarty Plants and the Lady Bird Wildflower Center is centered on the propagation and protection of plants native to North America. Since many gardeners like yourself wish to try to grow non-native fruiting trees, we will try to help you with some information. This site from the California Rare Fruit Growers can give you a great deal of pertinent detail on the care and harvesting of figs.

In answer to your question about the lack of viable fruits this year, there could be several reasons. One, as you suggest, might be too much shade. Fig trees need a lot of sunshine, and they need room to grow, as their roots will spread far and wide. Ficus carica does best in dryer, warmer climates and our very unusual Texas wet summer could be at least a partial culprit. And, finally, maybe you're taking too good care of your fig tree. One source we consulted said that young, vigorous trees that are being too well-fertilized will drop fruit. However, since you didn't mention your tree dropping fruit, but only failing to ripen, the weird summer weather is more likely to blame. Don't worry, our normal dry, days will come blazing back, and your figs will probably get back on track.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Reference for native critical populations from York, PA
May 25, 2010 - I have recently read a naysayer of native gardening. He states that native garden plants usually do not have the critical population size to be self-perpetuating. He says that one could better help t...
view the full question and answer

Brown, dry leaves on weeping willow tree
May 01, 2008 - We live in central TX and have just planted a weeping willow tree. Our back yard has a retention pond and ravine that parallels our property and we were told that the weeping willow will do perfectly ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native, invasive bermudagrass from Memphis TN
August 17, 2012 - I live in central Memphis and have well-drained clay soil. I have converted much of the front yard from turf grass to beds of native plants, which survive our hot humid without supplemental watering e...
view the full question and answer

Winter care for non-native ice plant in Virginia
August 15, 2008 - I have an ice plant in my garden and it is doing very well. What would be the care for winter. Ground seldom freezes, temperatures mostly 20 but can get in single digit occasionally. Very little snow ...
view the full question and answer

Irish Strawberry tree care from Sydney Australia
April 15, 2012 - Hi I have an Irish Strawberry tree - AKA Arbutis Enedo. I have had it for a couple of years now, I have it planted in the ground quite healthy soil, I feed it Dynamic lifter (chicken manuare/pellet f...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center