Black Mission Figs have a rich sweet flavor, and a smooth jam-like texture that makes them popular for cooking, eating fresh, drying, and preserving. The versatile Black Mission Fig Tree is cold-hardy down to 10 degrees F, and can be grown in the ground in USDA Zones 7 to 11. They are self-fertile, grow quickly, and produce heavy crops of excellent fruit twice a year.
Black Mission Fig Trees will reach a mature height of up to 30 feet tall, and 15 to 30 feet wide. They can be pruned to keep them smaller, and in proper conditions can produce fruit within their first year in the ground.
Fig Tree Care
If you are growing a Black Mission Fig Tree in its preferred Zone of 7 to 11, then plant in the ground in a sunny location. The soil should be rich in organic matter, and well-draining. Dig a hole that is at least twice as big as the tree’s root ball. Plant so that the potted Fig Tree’s base is just below the surface of the ground, and back fill the hole, watering the tree in as you go. It is okay to cover the tree trunk base with 2 to 3 inches of new soil. To increase organic material, you can add compost, potting soil, or raked leaves to the hole, along with mixed soil and sand.
If you are growing your Black Mission Fig Tree in a container, select a sturdy pot that is at least 4 inches larger on all sides than your current tree’s pot. Use a potting mix with added perlite to ensure proper drainage. Position your potted Black Mission Fig Tree in a spot that receives as much sunlight as possible. In colder climates, you can grow a Black Mission Fig Tree outside in warmer months, and bring it indoors over the winter.
Fruit & Harvesting
Black Mission Fig Trees produce fruit that is medium sized, up to three inches long, and mature from green, to streaked green and purple, to dark purple, then nearly black. The inside is red, juicy, and filled with edible seeds.
Black Mission Fig Trees will bloom and produce fruit two times per year: once in early spring, and again in early fall. The second bloom provides larger yields, and these fruits can be available to pick between August through November. Pick figs when they have turned mostly dark purple. The skin can still have some green streaks, but the fruit should be slightly soft to the touch and the flesh should be red, juicy, and sweet.
Black Mission Fig Trees are self-fertile will make fruit without a second pollinator companion tree. However, you can greatly increase the quantity of fruit by adding a second Black Mission Fig Tree. Two Black Mission Fig Trees grown in containers make a sophisticated and productive pairing for any patio or garden.
When planting in the ground, be sure to allow enough space for the tree to grow. Remember that these trees can reach widths of 15 to 30 feet. A common mistake is to plant a Black Mission Fig Tree too close to a building, shed, or other plants. Allow space for the tree to grow, and to provide access to all sides of the tree for pruning, harvesting, and caring for the mature fig tree.
Should a Black Mission Fig Tree be planted deeper than other fruit trees?
Yes. While it is a common rule to never bury the base of a fruit tree trunk, fig trees are different. Figs, like the Black Mission Fig Tree, benefit from the insulation provided when the base of the tree trunk is buried with 2 to 3 inches of soil.
Can a Black Mission Fig Tree survive freezing temperatures?
Yes. The Black Mission Fig Tree can survive temperatures as low as 10 degrees F. Fruit and leaves will sustain damage at low temperatures, but the tree should live and grow new leaves in spring.
Why is it hard to find Black Mission Figs in grocery stores?
Black Mission Figs have two characteristics that make them difficult to find in your local market. First, they are not as widely grown commercially as other figs. Second, they are very popular with chefs, home cooks, and fig lovers, so when they do appear, they sell quickly. Growing your own Black Mission Fig Tree is the best way to get this gourmet fruit.
Does the Black Mission Fig Tree need a pollinator?
No. The Black Mission Fig Treeis self-fertile and will reliably grow two annual fig harvests as a solitary tree. But multiple Black Mission Fig Trees grown together will produce higher yields.