Have you ever tasted a fig that had a touch of honey in its flavor? Or did you ever wonder what kind of figs is in those delicious fig newton cookies?
That’s the Kadota fig for you! It’s the sweetest fig out there when it’s heated up, and its tree is easy to grow for beginner gardeners.
Read on to learn about this indulgent fruit and how to grow and prepare it for meals!
Looking to buy a Kadota fig plant? Check availability.
Characteristics of the Kadota Fig
The Kadota fig has many names: Florentine, Dottato, and White Texas Everbearing, to name a few. This self-pollinating variety grows on a deciduous tree in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 10.
The fig is seedless and medium-sized with thick light-green or yellow skin and light pink and amber flesh. On one end is a short neck, and on the other is an open ostiole sealed with nectar.
The tree reaches 12-25 feet high and wide. Its leaves are dark green, round, and 10 inches long, with each of them having three to five lobes.
The Kadota fig is chewy with mildly sweet and bland honey and a fruity flavor. When cooked or made into preserves, the flavor sweetens more.
History of the Kadota Fig
In Roman times, this was the first commercial fig grown for its drying abilities and thick skin. The variety wasn’t called a Kadota back then but a Dottato. Basically, the Kadota fig is an Americanized version of the Dottato variety.
In the 1890s, a fig tree in a California Dottato fig tree orchard was growing more productively than the other trees. Later, a horticulturist took some cuttings from that tree, calling it a Kadota, which became a commercial variety for being self-fertile.
Growing Kadota Fig Trees
Soil and Sun
Spring after the last frost is the best time to plant your Kadota fig tree. Plant it in full sunlight and soil that’s well-draining and loamy with a pH of 6.0-6.5.
Transplanting and Spacing
To grow your own Kadota fig tree, you have two options. You can propagate the tree from cuttings or buy a sapling from a reputable nursery.
With a fig tree sapling, dig a hole that’s as deep as the root ball and three times as wide. Carefully remove the plant from the container, place it in the hole, and fill in the soil.
If you have more than one tree or cutting to plant, the distance between them should be 10-12 feet.
A hot season is good for Kadota figs to ripen into the best quality, but they still need plenty of water. In fact, they require more water than other fig varieties to avoid drying up.
During hot spells, soak the soil to a depth of about eight inches every few days. This will help the roots grow further into the soil and develop drought tolerance.
Digging a hole 2-4 inches into the soil to examine for the moisture is the best way to know when to water.
Fertilize the fig tree with a slow-release formula in the spring to promote growth. Then apply it every two to three years once the tree is established.
The Kadota fig tree requires minimal pruning. During late winter, remove any dead branches close to the trunk. And trim branches that cross or rub against each other or grow out of place to maintain the tree’s shape.
Pest and Disease Control
The Kadota fig resists pests and diseases thanks to the fig nectar sealing the open ostiole. Still, birds are a threat to figs that are ripening. During that time, cover the fruit with netting bags or cover the tree with bird netting to protect your figs.
The figs mature and ripen in late summer to early fall. You’ll know it’s time to harvest when they’re completely yellow and soft when you grip them.
Eating Kadota Figs
A raw and fresh Kadota fig makes a great snack after you wash it. It’s also an excellent addition to salads and perfect for fig and arugula pizza.
The figs are also good for drying in an oven or dehydrator. They’ll last six months to a year when you store them in airtight containers.
When dried in an oven, they’re great for baking and cooking. So if you’re craving fig newtons, dry the figs to bake them into cookies instead of buying them!
The Kadota fig is the most common variety for canning since it’s seedless and has a coarse texture. You can eat the figs right out of the can or serve them in salads or side dishes.
Canned figs will last about one to two years when stored in the pantry.
Because of its taste, especially when heated, the Kadota fig is ideal for preserving. You can freeze, pickle, ferment, or dehydrate the figs or make them into jams for when fig season passes.
Fig preserves go well with yogurt, tea, and oatmeal when you need a substitute for sugar. You can also bake them into desserts and smoothies.
Health Benefits of Kadota Figs
A Kadota fig is low in fat and contains very few calories. It’s also a good source of fiber, benefiting your digestive health. Other nutrients include potassium and vitamins A, C, and K, promoting bone and heart health and strengthening your immune system.
Read our Health Benefits of Figs post to learn more about how good a fig is for your health.
Where to Buy the Figs
Would you like to try some Kadota figs before you decide whether or not to plant them? Amazon sells canned Kadota figs that are specially imported.
Where to Buy a Kadota Fig Tree
You can find the live plant of the Kadota fig tree if you prefer to grow the tree from a sapling.
Wrapping up the Kadota Fig
A fig that’s easy to grow and deepens in sweetness under intense heat is worth trying out for your garden. Instead of eating your usual sweet snack between meals, eat a Kadota fig or two!
Check out our fig trees page to learn more about other fig varieties!