I know I’m pushing the boundaries of zone hardiness, but I just had to try to grow a fig tree. None of the varieties I found were listed as hardy to Zone 6, where Columbus is located, but a variety called Hardy Chicago seemed a likely winner. This variety was propegated from a tree growing near Chicago, naturally, which is quite a bit colder than Columbus. On a few messageboards I found, growers said it consistently came back and fruited, even if it froze to the ground in the winter.

This one is going to take some coddling, but I think figs are completely worth it! I’ve saved the best spot in the yard for this tree: right against the south wall of the house in full sunlight. The southern exposure and proximity to the house should guard the tree against extreme cold, and I have a couple options in how I plant it. I could plant it in a large pot for about four years, until it’s well established, and bring it indoors during the winter. Or, I could let it stand up to the elements and give it some protection outside by bending down the branches in November and covering it with leaves, mulch and a tarp. Not sure what I’ll try yet.

Hardy Chicago Fig