Blog by Beebe Cline

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If You Have Room for Only One Fruit Tree

Few things that you can do in the garden are more satisfying than growing your own fruit. But what if your space or time is limited? Based on my personal taste, and with a mild-climate slant, here are some choices when you have room for only one fruit tree.

These are plants that I have grown or wish I could grow. You might want to consider the same factors that I do: Will the homegrown, tree-ripened fruit taste better than what you can get from the amazing array at farmer’s markets these days? Is the tree fun or interesting or pretty to grow? Can you avoid the complications of pest control or pruning? Notice that below I don’t bring up a number of popular fruit trees, such as apples, which often need precise pest control — and so many good apples are available at markets today.

Whether you want to grow this depends on how much you like fresh figs, which are really perishable and expensive to ship. Trees can be productive — often to a messy degree. It’s not a tidy tree for small spaces.

Botanical name: Ficus carica, many varieties
Where it will grow: Hardy to 0 degrees Fahrenheit (USDA zones 7 to 9)
Water requirement: Light
Light requirement: Full sun
Mature size: 15 to 30 feet tall and wide or more when grown in the ground. In a big pot, pruning can keep the height at less than 8 feet.
Care: Prune back in winter