Ficus carica 'Celeste'

Common Name: fig 
Type: Fruit
Family: Moraceae
Zone: 6 to 10
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Insignificant
Fruit: Showy, Edible


Figs are best grown in USDA Zones 8-10 in organically rich, moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Figs may be grown in protected locations in USDA Zones 5-7 (e.g., against south-facing walls) with root mulch, but plants will usually show significant die back in cold winters. When temperatures in winter dip below 15°F, consider additional protection for outdoor plants to the extent possible (e.g., clear plastic sheets or frames). Many fig cultivars are now available, with ‘Brown Turkey’ and ‘Chicago Hardy’ being noted for having unusually good winter hardiness. In St. Louis, plants are best grown in containers in full sun. Water regularly during the growing season but reduce watering in fall. Containers must be brought indoors in winter. Large containers may be overwintered in greenhouses, garages or basements.

'Celeste' is hardy in Zones 6b(-5°F)-10 but requires a protected site and winter root mulching in the cold end of its hardiness range.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ficus carica, commonly called common fig, is a deciduous shrub (to 10-15’ tall) or small tree (to 15-30’ tall). It is noted for its spreading habit, attractive foliage and edible fruit. Old trees with smooth silver-gray bark (sometime gnarled with age) are ornamentally attractive. Large, palmate, hairy, 3-5 lobed leaves (to 10” long) are rough dark green above and smooth light green beneath. Non-showy greenish flowers form in spring inside hollow receptacles near the branch growing tips. The fruit (edible fig) develops within each receptacle. The main fruit crop ripens in late summer or fall on new wood. In some areas, a lesser crop may appear in spring on new wood. Species plants as well as most fig cultivars are parthenocarpic (fruits develop without cross pollination).

Genus name comes from the Latin name for the edible fig.

Specific epithet refers to Caria, a region in Anatolia (Asia Minor) known for growing figs.

'Celeste' (sometimes sold as 'Celestial', 'Malta', or "sugar fig") is a vigorous, cold tolerant, high-yielding fig cultivar that features sweet, flavorful, small to medium-sized fruits. Mature plants will reach up to 10' tall with a similar spread, but will not reach their maximum size if winter cold kills back the stems. The leathery, lobed foliage can reach 12" long and 7" wide. The 1-2", tear-drop shaped fruits have edible, purple skin and pink inner pulp. The fruits of this selection have a closed bottom eye, which resists pests and splitting. The new growth will yield the largest crop from late summer into fall, but a smaller early crop on old wood is possible with favorably warm winter conditions.


Watch for root knot nematodes, scale, aphids, mealybugs and spider mites. Leaf spots, rust and blight may occur. Fruit can become a mess if not promptly harvested.


Ornamental or fruit tree. The fruits can be eaten fresh off the tree, sliced for use in salads or with cheese spreads, dried, or used in pastries, preserves, and jams, among other uses. In Missouri, plants may be grown in sheltered locations outdoors with root mulch or in containers that are overwintered indoors.