Dwarf Fig Tree
All You Ever Wanted to Know About the Dwarf Fig Tree
The dwarf fig tree (Ficus Carriea) is one of the 1000 varieties the ficus family has on offer. It grows only up to 2 metres which is a dwarf size indeed when looking at other types of ficus trees. Dwarf figs are popular because of their very distinctive sweet taste, and due to the fact that they are a wild fig variety, the flavour is also very natural. The dwarf fig tree originates in the Iranian province of Far, thus is a fairly exotic kind.
Today it is grown in regions with Mediterranean climate and sunny weather conditions as the figs are actually dried on the tree. The result is a much smaller fruit than the average fig tree would grow which is a little less sweet than typical Mediterranean figs.
Mountain regions in particular produce the most natural dwarf figs as they are constantly exposed to the sun and the fresh breeze which naturally dries the fruit without the addition of preservatives and pesticides. Dwarf figs contain many healthy and essential substances such as Vitamin A, B1, B2 as well as fibre, calcium and iron. In fact, the figs are used as a natural remedy in Middle Eastern regions, and it is used to prevent cancer.
However, not all ficus trees produce fruit that is edible for humans and some are only consumed by native tribes or local wildlife. They serve as an essential nutrition source for animals such as monkeys, birds and bats. In particular, the milky substance found in the stems, trunk and leaves can be poisonous for humans and should certainly not be eaten.
Due to its compact size, the dwarf fig tree is a popular plant among gardeners and nature hobbyist. They are easy to keep as indoor plant and ficus trees are generally green all year round, some of them growing like a bush or even like a creeping plant. Although most fig trees carry fruits, they are often planted primarily for decoration and can survive in almost any place with tropical conditions. Although there is a good chance to grow a dwarf fig tree indoors, it is extremely difficult to blossom and produce fruits. When kept indoors, the plant is particularly sensitive and can become ill, thus it is crucial to meet the tree’s requirements. Important are temperature, nutritious earth and clean water, as well as fresh air to keep the plant strong and healthy. If the tree suffers from pest or viruses, there is often no other solution but to throw the plant out and start again.
The best way to keep the plant alive is by providing winter shelter and summer warmth. Many hobbyists store them in large pots and move them indoors when the weather gets too cold. Those who live in colder regions and still want to grow their own tree should choose a more durable ficus variety such as ‘brown turkey’ or ‘violetta’. These plants can survive temperatures of up to -20°C, though only for a short period. A great way to water the plant is with rainwater because tap water may be too chalky. Trimming is also an important procedure so that the tree can grow fresh branches and produce even more figs in the next season.
Those who prefer to enjoy the fruits without investing a lot of effort and growing their own tree can purchase dwarf figs in almost any store. Sometimes they are called ‘mini figs’ and it is strongly advised not to buy any figs that contain preservatives. The best figs remain exports from Iran and it is fairly easy to find those, either in shops or online stores.