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Ice Crystal Fig Tree Options Explained

3-5L pot, 30-60cm tall, 1-2 years old

Ice Crystal (Ficus carica 'Ice Crystal') is a most unusual fig, with divided leaves that appear in the shape of ice crystals making this a very ornamental plant. It is very hardy and also produces delicious, small figs.

A taste of the Mediterranean or the Alps. Fig trees make an attractive garden tree, with its strong branch structure creating an interesting appearance. Figs from this tree are exceptionally tasty brownish-purple fruit, which is produced twice a year, in late spring and again in late summer.

If you are confused about figs and are not in the mood to buy one that could be new, problematic, exotic, non-mainstream or whatever your perception maybe, then the Brown Turkey Fig Tree is for you. We are not sure why it is more popular, it just may be that it has been around for longer. We would not sell any fig tree that would not be suitable for UK growing conditions and we add new fig trees to the range from time to time once we have had a chance to see their track record. So buy this fig tree if you already have a Brown Turkey Fig tree or want to try something a little different.

Folklore states that the Greeks, the Spartans and athletes included figs as their staple diet, as it increased their strength and swiftness. In fact, in ancient Greece, it was forbidden to export figs. During the time of the Roman Empire, in Latin mythology, it was dedicated to Bacchus (Dionysus) the 'jolly god' who was supposed to have gained his vigour from the fig tree. Figs were used in religious ceremonies. In fact, figs were held sacred by the Romans because the wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus rested under a Fig tree. Figs were offered as presents during the celebrations of the first day of the year by Romans.

The inhabitants of Cyrene crowned themselves with wreaths of Figs when sacrificing to Saturn, as he was said to have discovered the fruit. The fig was considered an antidote against poison. Much interesting history that will make your Fig tree a worthy addition to your garden. Expect a final height of between 5m and 7m (15ft and 21ft) if planted out of a container.

We usually have 2 options of Ice Crystal fig tree to choose from which are:

30+cm: 1-2 years old in a 3-5 L container
150+cm: 2-3 years old in a 7-12 L container and Half Standard in shape.

If the option you are interested in is not listed then we are waiting for them to come back into stock.

Ice Crystal Options Explained
Half Standard refers to the shape it has been pruned to. It looks a bit like a lollipop shape in that around half the tree has a clear stem. Considered quite ornamental but arguably less branches for figs to grow on.

Type of Fig: Eating

Time of Picking: Mid Season

Fertility: Self fertile

We will include a personal message at no additional cost if required.

Quick Fruit Tree Links
Take a look at our 
TOP SELLING FRUIT TREES, Wet ground issues then choose a PEAR TREE first, followed by APPLE TREES. For more information on pollination please look at  POLLINATION EXPLAINED or choosing the CORRECT POLLINATION PARTNER

Fruit Tree Life Expectancy
Most fruit trees will give you AT LEAST 40 years of fruit. Pears can go to 70. Records of 200 year old trees exist but this is the exception, not the rule.

Do I Need To Stake My Bare Root Fruit Tree?
9 out of 10 times the answer will be no, especially if under 200cm tall. However our article on Tree Staking should help guide you. 

Climate Change
Climate Change has increased aesthetic foliage issues such as Powdery Mildew, Shothole, Rust, frost damage etc These are not terminal issues and will usually last a season or less. All trees are inspected before being sent out to ensure they are fundamentally healthy and will bounce back. 

Planting In The Corner Of A Garden 
Air and light is reduced in this location which could promote fungus and bacterial issues. If the corner is of the house and a fence then you also have leeching issues to contend with from cement and wood preservatives. Also when it rains, that area would experience higher water levels so we advise against it unless the plant is very hardy. 

Fruit Tree Heights
Taller does not mean more value for money. A 1 year old fruit tree can easily be substantially higher than a 2 year old, this is because they are hard pruned at 1 year old to create the desired shape. Some trees have over 100cm of height removed. They can then have another pruning at 2 years old to increase fruit growing real estate. Most fruit trees will benefit from having a third to half of the seasons new growth cut back in the Autumn to prevent long whippy branches which break easily. Age and pruning completed determine real value. 

Fig Tree Appearance On Arrival
We experience the same issues on the nursery as you will at home. Caterpillars and fig tree rust are two common issues. Manual removal or spraying with an insecticide is one option and a natural remedy is soapy water which doesn't kill them. 

Brown marks on the leaves are nothing to worry about, this is when wet and warm conditions exist. It is purely an aesthetic issue and you will see it regularly. Water the roots, not the leaves and try to keep moisture levels down in the garden e.g. short grass. Prune to allow as much air and light into the canopy as possible. New growth coming through that doesn't have any marks also tells you the tree is fine. 

Fig Tree Notching
This is a technique used to promote new side branching. Useful if you want more growing "real estate" or if you want to change the look of your fig tree. Cut a small notch above a dormant bud and ensure you get through to the white wood. Search Youtube for "fig tree notching" or "fruit tree notching" for a far better explanation. 

Fig Tree Planting

Most fig trees thrive better in a sheltered but full sun position i.e. facing South or South West. For larger crops of figs, contain the roots because if allowed to grow uncontrolled, the tree will do a "Prescott" (Put all efforts into getting bigger). Fig tree roots are known to be wanderers and can travel quite a distance. Keep in a 45cm (18 inch pot) or more, which can also be buried for a conventional look. Do not fill with soil, leave at least 10 cm (4 inches) for compost which will be required every year or other form of feeding.

You can vary the size of the pot or other root restriction e.g a hole surrounded with buried paving slabs and broken brick on the bottom, the rule of thumb is the smaller the pot or confined area, the smaller the tree will be but pruning can also be used to restrict final size. We put ours in 80 litres containers and may take them up to 150-200 depending on their progress. 

No need to worry so much about soil quality, Fig trees will thrive in most conditions, especially chalky. For legal reasons we should point out that a nuclear winter, meteorite strike and agent orange do not come under "most conditions". 

White Marsaille, Bayernfeige Violetta, Ice Crystal and Brown Turkey are best for outdoor growing, most others would benefit from some form of shelter. 

Planting Fig Trees Near Brick Or Concrete Walls
Generally this can be a good thing as they retain the heat in the soil which figs like. Be aware that brick and concrete walls can leach calcium into the ground making the soil more alkaline. Figs will grow in most soils but prefer a range of 6.0 to 8.0 PH, so If your fig is not performing as expected, check the soil PH. The warmth from the wall dries the soil out quicker so make sure your watering takes that into account. 

Fig Tree Root Stock
Fig trees are one of the few fruit trees we sell that are not grafted (grown as Mother Nature intended)  

Preserving Figs
If don't have enough friends to give them away to then try preserving figs in the drying cupboard. Rotate them daily and in 6-8 weeks you will have dried figs and possibly a lot of wet washing.

Not Sure Which Fig To Buy Online
Go for the Brown Turkey. Very popular and particularly suitable for UK climate. 

Fig Tree Aftercare
As with all other restricted root growth or containerised trees, ensure you water regularly, especially in summer when 3 times a week in very warm weather maybe required. If potted, the smaller the pot, the quicker it will dry out. Although fig trees can cope with drought, it will cause the figs to drop prematurely and too much water will cause the fruits to split. As a guide, if the top 4-6 inches of soil are dry then time to water. Little and often in the mornings or evenings is easier and better than a lot in one go however we all have a life so don't loose any sleep over it. A mulch will reduce evaporation and therefore the need to water as much. We are experimenting by growing Red Clover at the base of our containerised trees. They are a green manure and should reduce the need for watering.  

If the Fig tree is young, in a container or struggling e.g. leaves not so healthy, fruit production poor, our of breath when it climbs the stairs, then feed with compost/well rotted manure or fertiliser. In very early Spring you want to feed with high Nitrogen for the foliage. When the fruits start to show use one high in Phosphorous and feed again as the fruits start to ripen. Feed as per instructions or around every 2 weeks. 

Some Figs are hardy down to -10 centigrade but the tips are vulnerable to frost and this is where the fruits will be made. If you live in a particularly harsh frost area or your potted Fig tree is the equivalent to Wilson the ball from Castaway and you take it on Polar expeditions with you then you might want to wrap it in fleece if planted during the frost season or move to a warmer environment if potted e.g. greenhouse or conservatory, even a shed or garage.    

Fig Tree Pruning
Be wary of the white sap when pruning as it can be a skin irritant. If your fig tree is looking a little sorry for itself, hard prune and leave, it will produce new growth and recover. Try not to take more than 25% off if possible. 

The best time to prune a fig tree is in Spring although removing dead or diseased branches can be done at any time. Cut out any branches that are crossing with others. 

In early summer, shorten the new growth to 5-6 leaves to encourage new tips formation which increases fruit yield.

You can train your tree as a fan shape or as a standard "lollipop" shape.

When pruning your fig tree, aim for an open crown. This is when you allow the light and air into the centre of the fig tree. If you are going to remove a branch, ensure you leave a 2 inch or 5 cm stub.  

Fig Tree Fruits
When the fruits start to appear, cover with a net to deter birds. The fruits are ready when they start to droop on the stalk with well coloured skin or the skin cracks. 

In very warm climates and some greenhouses depending on location, you get up to three flushes of fruits.

Only the small embryonic fruits forming on last years growth will turn in to ripe fruits. A second embryonic crop may appear later in the summer and these are very unlikely to mature in UK so pick them off.

Green unripe Figs will not mature after they have been picked unlike some other fruits but those picked just before full ripeness will become sweeter when stored in a dry location. 

Figs Not Ripening
This can be maddening and causes can be wide and varied. Stress is a leading cause of non ripening fruit and lack of water in high heat conditions will cause that. 
It seems one cold spring snap can also check fruit production long enough for a normal Summer to be too short and in extreme cases, it will drop the fruit. Other causes include lack of sunlight, too much/too little nitrogen, insect infestation and disease.  

General Fig Tree Information
If you do not know what type of fig tree you have, give it a sunny and sheltered spot. If you have one of the hardy varieties e.g. White Marsailles, Brown Turkey, Ice Crystal and Bayernfeige then a sunny spot will do. If containerised, bring it into a greenhouse, conservatory or other protected environment (armoured vehicle?) during Winter. Planting close to a south facing wall will help but fan training it against a south facing wall will be even better

Most fig trees can spread up to 3m if left to grow unchecked. 

All cuttings will grow into female trees and bear fruit.

Figs are apparently good for treating warts!

Figs can be used as a laxative and are good for diabetics as they are high in sugar.

It is thought figs originated from Asia.

A maintained fig tree can crop for centuries if looked after. 

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