The White Marseilles Fig, scientifically known as Ficus Carica, is a deciduous fruit-bearing tree that is a favorite in the southern regions.
It usually forms multiple trunks with low branches that hold the famous greenish-white fig fruit.
- 1 How to care for a White Marseille Fig tree?
- 2 The Marseille Fig Tree
- 3 White Marseille Fig Plant Care
- 4 Common Problems for White Marseilles Fig
- 5 Tips for Growing White Marseilles Fig
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions About White Marseille Fig Tree Care
- 7 Conclusion
How to care for a White Marseille Fig tree?
The White Marseilles Fig tree likes full sun and moist and organic soils, with plenty of compost or fairly rotted manure. Due to its fairly small size, it does not need frequent fertilizing; a high nitrogen fertilizer should be rubbed onto its soil every four weeks. The White Marseilles Fig tree likes being irrigated with lukewarm water after 7 to 10 days. Moreover, it likes slightly acidic to neutral soils that promote nutrient absorption.
The Marseille Fig Tree
The White Marseilles Fig tree has a reasonably rapid growth rate; it can reach a height of approximately 1530 feet and spreads to a similar dimension as it matures.
This fruit plant originates from France and was brought to the United States by Thomas Jefferson, a famous farmer, and horticulturist, back in the 18th century.
Although it can survive mildly cold climates of the South, it is better to bring the White Marseilles Fig tree inside during the extreme winter months. It grows best in the warm climates of the Northeast and Northwest.
If you plan to grow your Fig tree outdoors, you should plant it in the spring season or at the start of fall in full sun.
The White Marseilles Fig tree prefers subtropical regions, such as the United States Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 8 and warmer.
The Fig trees can withstand temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 degrees Celsius); however, is it best that it is cultivated in mild winters only and not exposed to lower temperatures.
In the Middle South region, the White Marseilles Fig tree sometimes freezes to the ground if the temperatures are intensely low and become like a shrub.
When the temperatures rise again, it takes up its original form. The Fig tree is fairly easy to grow in large containers and can be trained to survive as an espalier as well.
White Marseille Fig Plant Care
One of the major growth determinants for any plant is its soil composition. While some plants prefer water-retaining soils, others thrive in well-draining and well-aerated soils.
The White Marseilles Fig tree belongs to the latter category.
The White Marseilles Fig tree grows exceptionally well in organic and loamy soils with abundant well-rotted manure or compost.
An excellent feature of the Fig tree is that it manages fairly well even in heavy clay-like soils and can survive in other types of soils as long as they have good drainage.
The White Marseilles Fig tree prefers slightly acidic to neutral soils (6.2 to 7.0). The slight acidity does not only decreases the probability of infections but also helps the Fig tree take up an adequate amount of nutrients from its soil.
Furthermore, the White Marseilles Fig tree’s soil should be kept moist, especially during the growing season. I also suggest keeping a close eye on the soil during the dry winter months when the ground is more likely to dry up unless your area receives plenty of rain.
If it seems too dry, add water to the White Marseilles Fig plant’s soil, close to its roots, so that it can easily absorb the extra moisture it needs.
The White Marseilles Fig tree is a mesic plant; it requires moderate watering. While under-watering can lead to drooping of leaves, overwatering can cause problems such as increased fungal infections.
Maintaining a balance between the two extremes of under and overwatering is essential for the White Marseilles Fig tree. Generally, the Fig tree requires at least 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week.
The Fig tree’s leaves are a good indicator of its moisture level; if the leaves seem to be dropping, add one inch of water. In contrast, if the leaves appear sufficiently moisturized, wait for a few days.
You can also rely on the White Marseilles Fig tree’s soil to determine whether it needs water. One way to do this is by dipping a finger into the soil; if it is damp, withhold the water.
However, if it seems to be dry and cracking, water the soil promptly.
Another method is to simply look at the soil and add water appropriately. The goal is to keep the White Marseilles Fig tree’s soil moist but not saturated.
To retain moisture, I also recommend putting some mulch around the Fig tree.
The White Marseilles Fig tree likes growing under sunny spots so that it can soak in plenty of sunlight. The sun’s energy is primarily involved in photosynthesis, a process that helps the plant produce energy for various functions, such as growth and fruiting.
The White Marseilles Fig tree should ideally be exposed to the sun for 7 to 8 hours. As seasons change, the direction of the sunlight may move as well.
When deprived, the White Marseilles Fig tree’s branches begin bending towards sunlight.
If you also experience a similar situation, simply move your plant where it receives greater sunlight.
For the varieties that grow better in dappled sunlight, I suggest you grow them indoors next to a southeast or southwest facing window. Such varieties, when placed in direct sun, usually undergo leaf-scorching and eventually die.
To prevent leaf-burns, simply turn your White Marseilles Fig plant every few months.
The White Marseilles Fig tree does fairly well in mild temperatures. While the ideal temperature range for Fig tree is not established, it is known that it cannot tolerate temperatures lower than 15 degrees Fahrenheit (9.4 degrees Celsius).
Slightly warm temperatures are necessary for the White Marseilles Fig tree to reach its full potential in terms of growth and produce flavorful fruits.
Naturally, the White Marseilles Fig tree grows in cool regions; therefore, protecting it from the cold, harsh winters is necessary.
One trick to save your Fig tree is to plant it against a south-facing wall, which often restricts cold winds from coming into contact with the Fig tree.
Another method is to wrap the White Marseilles Fig tree in burlap layers. Alternatively, you can surround your Fig tree with fallen late autumn leaves.
All these ways will prevent your White Marseilles Fig tree from dying back during the cold winters.
The White Marseilles Fig tree is a subtropical species; therefore, it prefers mild moisture levels. The mild humidity helps the Fig tree form juicy, flavorful fruits and keeps the foliage and soil sufficiently moist.
The exact ideal humidity levels for the White Marseilles Fig tree are unknown; however, they usually grow well in 60% to 70% of humidity. If you reside in an area with a dry environment, do not fret.
There are several ways you can bring up the humidity levels in your house.
You can mist your White Marseilles Fig tree every other day; however, please ensure that you do not spray directly and mist the surroundings only. Moreover, if excess moisture accumulates on the leaves, wipe it off with a cloth.
Another way is to put your White Marseilles Fig tree along with other plants that take up and release adequate water into the air in a gaseous form.
I advise you to take care and keep a close eye on your White Marseilles Fig tree’s leaves and soils. When exposed to high moisture for long periods, it is quick to catch an infection and show adverse effects. Checking your Fig tree often will help you spot any abnormalities before it is too late.
The White Marseilles Fig tree is quite small; therefore, it does not need fertilizer weekly, or even biweekly. It can do considerably well even if not fed for over a month as it can absorb nutrients from its soil and use them temporarily.
The White Marseilles Fig tree is a somewhat low maintenance plant; it grows happily even when given little fertilizer. However, if you wish to enjoy its fruits which are rich in flavor, feeding it every four weeks with a balanced and good-quality fertilizer is imperative.
You can use fertilizers made explicitly for figs and spread them on the White Marseilles Fig tree’s soil when it is moist. As mentioned earlier, compost is also a good food source for White Marseilles Fig trees.
The plant fertilizers mostly contain nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. While nitrogen promotes the development of lush, green foliage, phosphorous and potassium enhance fruit formation during the growing season.
Since the primary focus for growing the White Marseilles Fig tree is its delicious fruit, it is better that you feed it with potassium and phosphorus-rich fertilizers.
I also recommend applying seaweed extract to your White Marseilles Fig tree biweekly if it seems a little paltry to you during the growing season.
If you have a White Marseilles Fig tree, sit back and relax because it does not need repotting for years. The Fig plant requires little maintenance and does exceptionally well on its own.
However, after a few years or when the plant seems to be outgrowing its given space, you can repot it.
Usually, the White Marseilles Fig tree is repotted after about three to five years during the dormant phase, when the plant is not actively growing.
Once the Fig tree fills its pot completely, you can remove approximately 20% of it and cut off the larger or excessively long roots from the outside of the root-ball.
You can either use a slightly bigger pot or repot it into the same container after replacing its growing medium and filling in any present gaps.
Unlike other fruit trees, the White Marseilles Fig tree does not need pruning often, which makes it a popular choice among houseplant owners.
Even on their own, the Fig trees maintain a tidy and neat appearance. Occasionally, some intervention may be required, and the plant may have to be cut off from a few places.
Another reason for infrequent pruning is the White Marseilles Fig tree’s small size. However, annual pruning will do your plant good and keep it healthy and manageable for fruit harvesting.
During the dormant phase, typically, the plant is leafless, making pruning a lot easier. I suggest removing any diseased or dead branches during this time with a pair of pruning shears.
Similarly, if your White Marseilles Fig tree has surplus fruit, the fruit’s taste may be affected. In such a case, remove the excess fruit so that the Fig tree produces larger, more flavorful fruit next season.
The White Marseilles Fig tree propagation process is pretty manageable. Follow the steps below for planting a Fig tree:
- Get hold of a sharp-centered digging shovel and dig up a hole slightly larger and wider than your Fig plant’s root system and 2 to 3 inches deep.
- Spread out the roots into the dug hole, careful not to damage them.
- Set the tree into the hole and cover it up with an appropriate soil mix.
- Keep filling and settling in the soil around your Fig tree. Try to remove any air pockets without entirely blocking the airflow.
- Create a slight depression around the top of the hole so that when watered, the water can settle here naturally.
- Add some mulch around the Gig tree’s base while keeping the mulch away from the trunk barks.
- Irrigate and water your newly planted tree and give it sufficient time to absorb it before adding more. The water will help the soil settle around the tree’s roots and eliminate any air pockets that may have formed during the propagation process.
Keep feeding and irrigating your plant till it matures fully and bears fruit.
The White Marseilles Fig tree does not produce any flowers. However, it does bloom during the spring season.
The plant is famous for its small greenish fruits with high sugar content. The fruit is covered with a yellow skin coat and has white flesh.
It is also known to be delicious and full of essential vitamins and should ideally be eaten fresh.
The White Marseilles Fig tree has a moderate to fast growth rate. Some varieties take two years to produce fruit, while others may take up to six years or longer to fully mature.
The Fig tree develops to a height of 120 to 144 inches (10 to 12 feet) and spreads to the same dimensions. Its planting and harvesting time are spring, while the pruning period is the winter season.
Ideally, it is hardy to USDA zones 6 to 9 and grows actively in the south region.
Common Problems for White Marseilles Fig
Several insects, such as spider mites and scale insects, can infest the White Marseilles Fig tree’s fruit. Spider mites are small insects that often reside on the fruit-bearing plants’ leaves’ undersides.
They often spin protective webs of silk and hide in them during the daytime.
Such insects feed on the White Marseilles Fig tree’s fruit nectar and cause significant damage to the plant’s leaves and vines.
Other problematic pests and animals include fruit flies and the Fig Mosaic virus; they cause premature fruit drop. Another problem is birds, which can eat the fruit on the Fig trees planted outdoors.
To spot Spider mites before they cause harm, check your Fig tree’s leaves’ undersides. If your plant is already infected and you want to get rid of them, you can either use neem oil or an insecticidal spray. The latter also keeps other pests and insects away.
Several fungi infect the White Marseilles Fig tree; while some are treatable, others cause significant irreversible damage. The fungi can affect any part, including the leaves, fruits, and internal tissues.
Fungi commonly attack Fig trees when they are exposed to high moisture consistently or when there is an opening.
Some frequent fungal diseases include Fig rust, which causes the plant’s leaves to turn yellow or brown and drop in early fall or late summers.
Another fungal condition is Leaf Blight, this fungus attacks leaves and leads to the formation of spots that give the plant a yellow and water-soaked appearance.
Another one is the Pink Blight fungus, which affects the interior of overly mature figs and covers them with a pink or white velvety coating.
To treat each of these diseases, good sanitation must be practiced. Moreover, make frequent use of neem oil and immediately remove any diseased parts before they spread their infection to other sites.
Tips for Growing White Marseilles Fig
- Grow in partial to full sunlight.
- Repot after a good 3 to 5 years.
- Provide frequent irrigation and watering.
- Maintain good hygiene.
- Ensure that good quality, instead of great quantity, fruit is produced.
Frequently Asked Questions About White Marseille Fig Tree Care
How long does it take for the White Marseilles Fig tree to bear fruit?
A young, healthy White Marseilles Fig tree may initially use its resources to establish and strong, healthy, and reliable root system before it starts producing fruit. Therefore, it may take up to 10 years for the Fig tree to mature fully and produce fruits.
Why do White Marseilles Fig tree leaves turn yellow and fall off?
If the leaves fall off during winter, it is most likely normal. However, if it is dropping an excessive amount of leaves during the growing season, go over its fertilizing and watering routine, and ensure that it is placed in ideal conditions.
Can I grow a single White Marseilles Fig tree or do I need to grow multiple White Marseilles Fig trees?
The White Marseilles Fig tree is parthenocarpic, meaning it is fully capable of producing fruit on its own and does not necessarily need fellow trees for development.
The White Marseilles Fig tree is a magnificent plant that requires little maintenance. It has a fairly small size and so is manageable and easily harvested. It likes partial to full sun, moderate watering, little fertilizer, and bears delicious fruit that all can enjoy.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.