The ficus carica is a plant of ancient origins, originating from Middle Eastern countries, (Turkey, Syria and Arabia).
It is a tree that reaches 7-8 m in height, it has large leaves with three and five lobes, thick and wrinkled. Some varieties can produce two types of fruit, the first are harvested in May June and are called the "fioroni", they are generally of large size, while the second production, called "real figs", are harvested in August-September and are of lower size than the florons. The plants that produce fruit twice a year are called "bifere", while those that produce only once a year are called "unifere". The Fico is easy to grow, has no particular needs, apart from the sensitivity to too low temperatures, in fact, at about 8-10 degrees below zero, the whole plant can die. The Fico prefers stony and calcareous soils, while the clayey and excessively damp ones suffer.
There are different varieties of figs, which are classified according to the ripening period and their color. Ficus carica plants can be divided into males and females; only the latter produce fruits that can be eaten.
There are various techniques for the propagation of Fico, without a doubt the most rapid consists in removing the shoots rooted from adult plants or stumps, or, another technique used mainly by nurserymen, is the cutting, which roots very easily burying bits of branch 30-40 cm long and leaving only one gem out of the ground. Seed reproduction is not very suitable, as the plants obtained are not always faithful to the characteristics of the mother plant. Grafting is practiced especially in orchards, in case you want to replace a variety. The planting of ficus carica plants usually takes place in the autumn or at the end of winter.
Forms of farming
Being a rustic plant, the fig is cultivated with the forms it takes in a natural way. Generally it tends to grow with a bushy habit, while, with simple pruning, sapling shapes can be obtained with the stem of the desired height: low at 30-50 cm from the ground, medium at 90-110 cm and high at 170-190 cm.
It has no particular needs, it is sufficient to intervene also with abundant organic fertilizers, mature manure and manure, towards the end of winter. It is also good to mix organic fertilizer with the soil when the plant is planted, so as to prepare the ideal substrate for the best cultivation.
Pests and diseases
The Fico is a plant little subject to particular attacks of parasites and pathogens, they are in any case possible attacks of cochineals, which strike the branches and the stem. Root rot and bacterial cancer are the most serious diseases that can affect the fig, which significantly weaken the plant until it is completely dry. These pathologies usually start from unfavorable environmental conditions, with the presence of a high level of humidity; even a poorly draining soil that allows water stagnation may be the cause of this problem.
These plants are very resistant and can be grown even in areas where winter temperatures drop a lot. Only under -15 ° C trees of this type can also present serious problems, especially in the presence of young specimens. It is a plant that resists very well even at high temperatures, without showing signs of suffering in particularly hot days. It can adapt to various environmental conditions, even if it grows better in low-humidity environments. It is a good idea to check that the soil in which it is planted to the plant has a good draining power, to avoid the formation of water stagnations that are very dangerous for the health of the fig tree. As far as pruning is concerned, they are not strictly necessary, except to give a more orderly shape to the foliage and to eliminate dry and damaged branches. Operations of this type must be carried out during the summer season.
It is a particularly fine variety, the fruit is large in size with a blackish skin, the flesh is very sweet, excellent for fresh consumption.
Ripens from August to September.
There is also the variety of white brogiotto, always very appreciated for its sweetness and for its large size fruits.
It is one of the best varieties for the production of dried figs, the fruit is of medium size with a light green skin, the pulp is yellow and has a sweet taste.
It is a very good variety also for fresh consumption.
Ripens from late June to September.
It is one of the most cultivated varieties in Italy.
Fico - Ficus carica: Portugal
Fruit of large size with the particular elongated shape, the skin is reddish and the flesh is very sugary, excellent for fresh consumption. Ripens in June-July. It is a very resistant and vigorous plant.