Dating back to ancient Versailles in the reign of Louis IV, Fig 'Madeleine des Deux Saisons' is particularly hardy and remains a worthy garden variety. With delicate pink coloured flesh and an exceptionally sweet flavour, the fruits are delicious eaten freshly picked. Literally translated as Madeleine of Two Seasons, this productive variety produces two crops per season during hot UK summers and if protected over winter the second crop will ripen early during the following summer. Height: 3m (9'). Spread: 4m (13').
Estimated time to cropping once planted: 1 year.
Estimated time to best yields: 3 years.
Water fig trees regularly, particularly during hot dry periods. Figs will not require much feeding except for a mulch of well rotted manure or compost to the base of the plant in spring. In particularly cold areas container grown plants can be moved to a frost free position in winter to protect the developing fruits and fruit bearing shoot tips from frost. Protect the fruits and stems of figs grown outdoors by wrapping them in a layer of straw and hessian in severe weather.
Figs may be fan trained against a wall or grown as a bush. To bush train: Start pruning fig trees in the first spring after planting. Select 8 to 10 well spaced branches on a clear trunk of at least 60cm (24") and shorten them by half to encourage more branching and to establish a framework. Remove the central stem to just above the highest of the selected branches. Remove any crossing, crowded or damaged shoots from between selected branches to create an open bush.
In following years figs require little pruning except to remove any damaged or misplaced shoots to maintain the open framework. New shoots can be pinch pruned in summer back to 5 or 6 leaves to encourage fruit formation.
When growing figs in the UK climate the fruits will develop in spring and ripen throughout the summer for harvesting in late summer or autumn when soft. A second crop may begin to develop in late summer. Leave these figs intact - any that survive the winter will ripen the following year.Caution: irritant to skin and eyes, harmful if eaten.
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