What temperature can figs survive?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

Figs are a delicious and versatile fruit that can be enjoyed fresh or used in a variety of recipes. However, when it comes to temperature tolerance, fig trees have their limits. In general, edible figs can tolerate temperatures down to about 20°F (-6°C). This means that they can withstand mild frosts and brief dips in temperature without suffering significant damage.

It’s important to note that not all fig varieties are created equal in terms of cold resistance. Some varieties are more tolerant of colder temperatures than others. For example, ‘Chicago Hardy’ is a fig cultivar that is known for its ability to withstand temperatures as low as 10°F (-12°C) without sustaining severe damage. This makes it a popular choice for gardeners in colder climates.

In my personal experience, I have grown ‘Chicago Hardy’ fig trees in my backyard, and I have been pleasantly surprised by their resilience. Despite living in an area with harsh winters, my fig trees have consistently bounced back after being exposed to freezing temperatures. However, it’s worth mentioning that even the hardiest fig varieties can still suffer some winter damage when faced with extremely cold conditions.

When temperatures drop below 15°F (-9°C), fig trees are more likely to experience true winter damage. This can result in the death of branches or even the entire tree in severe cases. Therefore, if you live in an area with frigid winters and want to grow figs, it’s important to take precautions to protect your trees from freezing temperatures.

There are several strategies you can employ to safeguard your fig trees during the winter months. One option is to plant your fig tree in a sheltered location, such as near a south-facing wall or in a protected courtyard. This can help to create a microclimate that is slightly warmer than the surrounding area, providing some extra insulation for the tree.

Another method is to wrap the tree in burlap or other protective material. This can help to shield the tree from cold winds and retain some of the heat generated by the soil. Additionally, you can apply a thick layer of mulch around the base of the tree to help insulate the roots and prevent them from freezing.

If you live in an area with particularly harsh winters, you may also consider growing your fig tree in a container. This allows you to bring the tree indoors during the coldest months, providing it with a more controlled and protected environment. Just make sure to place the container in a cool but bright location, such as a garage or basement, to ensure the tree receives enough light.

While fig trees can tolerate temperatures down to 20°F, they are more susceptible to damage below 15°F, except for the ‘Chicago Hardy’ variety. By selecting cold-resistant varieties, employing protective measures, and considering container gardening, it is possible to successfully grow figs in colder climates. However, it’s important to be aware of the limitations and take steps to protect the trees during harsh winter conditions.