Chicago Hardy Fig
Native to Southwest Asia
Full sun (6 to 8 hours/day)
The Chicago Hardy fig is a cultivar of the common fig plant grown for its resistance to colder temperatures, making it an ideal choice for Massachusetts. It is small to medium in size with large leaves of three or five lobes. It is deciduous, meaning it sheds its leaves annually, and in Massachusetts the plant produces its main crop of fruit from late summer to early fall.
Water regularly during the growing season, or from summer to early fall. You can tell it’s time to water if the top 1 to 2 inches of soil is dry to the touch. Pour your water into the top of the container and continue until water drains from the bottom of the pot. Hotter days means the plant may require more irrigation than usual, so make sure to check more often during the summer. Once you’ve harvested the fruit, reduce water through the fall and winter as needed.
This variety’s stems can survive down to 10° F and the roots are hardy to -20, though a significant amount of leaves will die each winter. If you leave it in a pot, you can prevent the leaves dying back by bringing it inside each winter.
In general, you may need to repot your fig tree every one to two years. It has a medium growth rate, increasing by one to two feet per year when cared for properly. Plant in medium to heavy soil that drains well and make sure the pot used has adequate holes to facilitate drainage.