Do fig cultivars differ in cold hardiness

alicia7b(z7b/8aNC)March 27, 2008

or is it just a matter of not too much fertilizer and some patience? Our fig came from DH's grandmother's garden, where it was hunkered down on the south side of a shed and was frequently cut back by winter cold. Here it grows quite large every season but the growth is too tender to overwinter. Last year I put new pieces of the plant south of the house and up on top of the hill above the house, so it will interesting to see if there is any difference in performance among the 3 locations. I saw very large figs out in the open around here all of the time but no one knows the cultivar names.

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karen__w(z7 Durham, NC)

I've got 'Celeste', which seems relatively cold hardy. It's in a pot that stayed out all winter, with leaf buds just starting to break now. I need to plant it out in the ground, but have been too lazy. Even with my neglect, it's started to produce a few figs.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 5:18PM
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tamelask(z8a NC)

Definitely- go over to the fig forum and you'll see certain cultivars work well even for those in cold mountains (like chicago hardy)and up north, whereas some are barely hardy here (some of the LA and TX cultivars). Where they are sited and how protected they are has a lot of bearing, too. I have a celeste in a 32 gallon tub up against a south facing wall that is perfectly hardy. 2 tubs down is a petite negri, and i lost about 1/2 of its branches because i was too lazy to put it in the basement this past winter like i normally do. Before we put it in the tub, it basically died to the ground each winter and barely struggled back. It's a dwarf with incredible fruit. I'd hoped to have enough to do cuttings since it was getting big & frisky but this winter blew that. it'll bounce back, but it'll prolly be next yr before i have enough to do cuttings now. I haven't been in the back to see how the one big fruited kind i have fared this winter. I got it from Betty, and where she had it was somewhat protected, but it was the biggest thing- 10-12' at least and trunks 4-6"around. So it's obviously cold hardy, but whether it loses the breba crop without protection, i don't know. Some types don't even set a breba crop (what karen is seeing now- they overwinter just in the stem)- those are safer in cold areas. If you lose the breba or the cultivar doesn't have one, you only get one crop a year instead of 2. People go to crazy, elaborate measures in colder climes to have fresh figs. Being one of my absolute favorite fruits (and that's saying a lot from me!) I know if i ever head back up, i will too. There's nothing like a fresh fig still warm from the sun with some great cheese - mmmm.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 7:06PM
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alicia7b(z7b/8aNC)

OK, I'll run over to the fig forum. We ordered a Celeste from Edible Landscapes a couple of years ago but with being moved and the drought she's still tiny. We don't know which cultivar Eva had.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 8:22AM
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tamelask(z8a NC)

It's too bad you didn't get a more unusual one from ed land., since celeste is widely available here. That's where i got my petite negri. He never has it in the catalog, but i called, and he had a few. If for some reason you lose it, it'll be easy to replace- i can give you cuttings, or even the big boxes sometimes have them. It is a great fig- very reliable and sweet and rich. If you take pix of Eva's fruit and leaves someone over on the fig forum may be able to ID it for you. The ones i got from Betty are un-ID'd, too. Guess names meant less to the old timers, so long as the fruit was good.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 8:50AM
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alicia7b(z7b/8aNC)

Tammy maybe we can trade for cuttings when your plant can handle it. We ordered another fig besides Celeste but we lost it and I can't remember the name. It wasn't Petit Negri. I didn't get that one because of the lack of cold hardiness, but it sounds like it's worth having.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 9:32AM
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tamelask(z8a NC)

Definitely! I have some small ones that i took cuttings from betty of, but like a dork i or squirrels mislaid labels so now i don't know which is which til i get figs. So those will have to wait for a bit, but hopefully i can cut on pn next year. As long as you can bring it in or have a really really protected spot it's worth it- the fruit is the best i've had! Pete & i sneak them so we don't have o share w/kids (bad, bad parents!!) We do share celeste.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 1:34PM
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alicia7b(z7b/8aNC)

Looking at the fig forum Hardy Chicago is recommended as the most cold hardy, followed by Celeste.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 5:40PM
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tamelask(z8a NC)

i just posted this link to the other post, but here it is again:

btw, betty said she was sure one of hers was hardy chicago, but i'm not sure if that's the ones i got cuttings of. When we talked about it i always got confused about which she got me (she brought the cuttings down from the farm few yrs ago, since they are best done in feb). So it's possible i have that one.

Here is a link that might be useful: great info site

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 5:46PM
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Ralph Whisnant(z7b-8 NC)

I recently removed the suckers from my fig tree that I am fairly sure is a 'Celeste'. They all have some roots and I expect most to live. They vary from a few inches to over a foot tall. I would be glad to share these with anyone on this forum in the triangle area who would like one.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 6:02PM
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