With over 800 varieties all over the world, it would be difficult to try every type of fig that exists. However, the desert king fig is worth the effort. Tasty, healthy, versatile, and notably reliable even in cool climates, this fig deserves a place in both your garden and kitchen. Read on so that we can explain why!
Want to grow the desert king at home? Check availability.
Characteristics of the Desert King Fig
Desert king figs look somewhat similar to the common pear; the top part consists of a round nub that balloons into a bulb-like shape halfway down. Their skin has the same light green color, too. However, the figs are smaller, usually measuring just one to two and a half inches in length and width. Also, their inner flesh is dark pink and filled with pulp.
A fully mature tree reaches 15 to 25 feet. The leaves will be dark green and measure four to eight inches in length.
When you put a desert king fig into your mouth, you’ll be treated to the sensation of pulp melting with a luscious sweetness on your tongue. It balances the potency of a fruity flavor with the dainty earthiness of a floral one.
Desert king figs can make you healthier! We’ll summarize a few particular health benefits for which they are prized.
With fiber, your body can better regulate its blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, optimize the digestive tract, and feel full faster, making you less likely to overeat. If you want healthy weight and bowel movements, you need fiber. One desert king fig has almost three grams of this nutrient.
Thanks to vitamin A, you can have a robust immune system, clearer vision, better cell production, and a stronger reproductive system. As an antioxidant, vitamin A can also help protect you from serious diseases, especially cancer. You’ll find this vitamin A measuring 142IU in a desert king fig.
Also known as vitamin B-9, folate is critical to creating healthy red blood cells to prevent or alleviate conditions like anemia. It contributes to the production of DNA and RNA, too.
Since it also assists with proper brain and spinal development, it affects your mental and emotional health. A desert king fig contains six grams of folate.
History of the Desert King Fig
Although figs, in general, first grew in Western Asia and the Mediterranean region, the desert king fig’s origin is less certain. However, after the Western Evergreen company found and planted a wild cutting, the trees began flourishing in California.
Despite its discovery in such a balmy climate, farmers from cooler regions took a chance to grow the trees themselves. Fortunately, desert king figs excel at surviving in such places. These days, the fig is particularly widespread in the Pacific Northwest.
Ways to Enjoy the Desert King Fig
Once you have some desert king figs, what should you do with them? You can always eat them raw, but these figs are also the main ingredient in some scrumptious recipes. We’ll give you a few examples!
Cheesy Fig Bombs
Combine goat cheese with bacon and desert king figs, and you’ll get a uniquely sweet and savory treat! With only three ingredients and minimal prep necessary, cheesy fig bombs are quick and simple to make.
Labneh Stuffed Figs
Going back to the desert king fig’s roots, labneh is a Middle Eastern yogurt known for complementing the fig’s flavor. Put them together with pistachios and honey, labneh stuffed figs are a classic snack or appetizer.
Nothing like delicious jam enhances your toast, pancakes, waffles, cookies, or other food items. If you follow this recipe for fresh fig jam and use desert king figs, you can enjoy their taste for weeks!
Growing Your Own Desert King Figs
Once you have desert king fig tree cuttings, what should you do next? Though these trees are hardy and versatile to grow well in many kinds of weather, they have particular needs.
Read our advice on ensuring that you get the best tree possible for your effort! You can also read details in our “Fig Tree Care 101” guide.
Aim to plant your cuttings in the fall. Since rainfall tends to be heavier around that time, there will be less need to water the soil yourself. However, late winter and early spring are acceptable, too. Since these trees can thrive in cool climates, the cuttings will get a good start.
In any case, choose a spot with well-drained soil and plenty of direct sunlight. We have a handy guide to get you started growing a fig tree from a cutting!
Would you prefer to grow a fig tree inside your home? We’ll show you how to grow a healthy indoor fig tree!
Early spring is the most effective time to fertilize a desert king fig tree. When young, they should receive an ounce of fertilizer once a month and consistent deep watering. After that, however, they can stay hydrated independently and may only need fertilizer every couple of years.
Here are the five best fertilizers to use for fig trees!
Like most trees, they should be pruned and trimmed in the winter when they’re dormant. This will not only help the tree distribute water and nutrients more efficiently, but you’ll protect it from fungi, bacterial diseases, and/or pests likely to affect specific branches.
We’ve got a step-by-step guide for trimming fig trees!
If you’re a beginner, you may still have questions, which is understandable. Don’t worry–we’ve made a beginner’s guide for growing fig trees!
Desert fig trees typically start producing fruit after growing for two years. When you see the fruit drooping at the neck, and if it easily snaps off the branch, they’re ready to harvest. Remember that figs don’t ripen once they’re off the tree, so avoid harvesting too early.
Where to Buy Cuttings
If you want to try growing a desert king fig tree from the ground up, you’ll need cuttings or trees ready for planting, which you can find at Nature Hills.
Try a Desert King Fig!
Whether you buy fresh desert king figs from the store or grow them in your yard, we’re certain you’ll love them. Of course, they aren’t the only species of fig worth your while!
We have an entire article about the 21 types of fig trees you need to know, so check it out and consider becoming a fig connoisseur!