Suggestions for Flavorful Fig Varieties?

alexislsFebruary 9, 2012

I'm working on a garden plan and I would like to plant a couple of fig trees in my garden. I'm looking for suggestions about the most flavorful varieties that would do well in my zone (7a) and the best source for them.

I'd prefer to plant them in the ground, as opposed to containers -- the spot I'm thinking of is against a fence facing SW and gets full sun all day.

Any advice for a novice fig grower?

Thanks!

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King.Fig

Here are the results of a search on this forum for the "best figs". Using the link below, you should be able to find ideas and specific recommendations for your particular climate. If you see any particular fig variety that appeals to you, let us know and someome should be able to advise you where you might find one.

IMO, Violette de Bourdaux is a must have fig and it does well in most climates. This variety is usually available from a couple of reliable mail order nurseries.

Here is a link that might be useful: Best Figs

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 9:10AM
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dieseler

Ronde de Bordeaux would be the one, i have the Violet de Bordeaux as well both favorites of mine .
If i had to pick between the 2 it would be the Ronde.
Regards
Martin
Chicago, Z-5
Ebay 1996 - Dieseler6z92
Member- Garden Web, Figs4Fun, Friends of The Fig Society

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 4:33PM
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ejp3(7NY)

Martin, are you saying rdb is better even than your hardy chicago?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 6:12PM
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King.Fig

Both RdB and VdB are excellent tasting French figs. You will like the flavor of both of these figs. However, VdB is much easier to find for sale at a reasonable price at a retail nursery or a mail order nursery. If you do manage to find a RdB tree, it will likely be very expensive. Even unrooted cuttings of RdB bring a premium price on eBay.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 6:15PM
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dieseler

EjP ,
my hardy chicago to me has that rich fig taste, Ronde and Violet bordeaux do not have that but yet they have a taste that hardy chicago does not have so i enjoy those 3 mentioned very much so.
Regards
Martin

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 10:12AM
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King.Fig

ZoeCat,

Hardy Chicago is another good tasting fig that would do well for you. It too is easy to find at a reasonable price from several good sources. Below is a link to a very reliable source of both Violette de Bordeaux and Hardy Chicago fig trees. The pictures are correct for the variety of figs being sold. Some vendors use generic pictures which do not represent the actual fig being sold.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fig trees for sale

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 10:35AM
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King.Fig

To see the fig trees that are for sale from this source, type in the word "fig" in the quick search box that you will see located on the top left side of the screen that will open.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 10:44AM
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alexisls

Thank you for the suggestions! Edible Landscaping is a couple hours away from where we live, so I may go check it out in person. I looked at their website and was excited to also find pomegranates, which I didn't think would grow here.

I'm assuming at this point, I should wait to plant until after the last frost risk (I think early May here) - is that right?

And what do you think about my placement - against a fence facing SW with full sun?

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 12:32PM
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King.Fig

When you go to EL, ask to speak with Mike McConkey. He will give you some excellent and specific advice about the recommended fruit trees for your particular area. He knows his figs and can give you advice on other fig cultivars that you might like too. Lucky you to live so close to that excellent nursery

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 1:53PM
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nothwehr

Zoe,

I am also in Maryland zone 7a and am about a year ahead of where you are at as I was planning my edible landscape last winter. I also wanted a couple of fig trees which would eventually be planted in the ground. I read the fig forums, tasted fresh figs for the first time last summer from a friends tree, and to make a long story short I've ended with up more trees than I originally intended! From what I have been told we need varieties that can stand up to the rain without splitting, cold hardiness and of course good flavor. Green figs are supposed to be less attractive to birds but most people seem to favor dark figs a bit more for flavor.

So based on these characteristics and advice from various figophiles here is what I currently have: Hardy Chicago, Celeste, Violette de Bordeaux and an unknown green fig from another Marylander that she calls Mildenhall. I have arranged to receive Marseille vs Black and Ronde de Bordeaux later this Spring. Only the Mildenhall is in the ground (protected). The others will probably stay in containers at least one more season. The only one that is large enough to obtain cuttings from is the Mildenhall. Let me know if you are interested.

Good luck.

Steve

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 10:07PM
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newtoucan

I like Panache. Both delicious and beautiful.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 10:46PM
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gene_washdc(zone 5a)

I would put in a vote against Hardy Chicago. A few years back I set out about 50 HC in Southern Maryland that were from EL. They were fine plants (nothing against EL), but were sub-average for flavor. The Sals variety that EL was then selling was a very similar fig, was much better overall.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 4:53PM
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gorgi(z7a_NJ)

Hi Gene; one of our good old charter FF fig friends!
Nice to hear back from you, and good luck
with your new (beyond) figs endeovour.
If you ever need something from me(us), just let me(us) know...

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 11:41AM
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girlbug2(z9/10, Sunset zone 24)

I don't have any personal experience in your Zone, but the tastiest figs that I have grown that have done well for me:

VdB
Black Jack
Panache Tiger
Peter's Honey

Lattarulla and Seedless Kadota are just alright in my experience.

One that I DO NOT recommend for ANYBODY unless they don't care about flavor is California Brown Turkey. It grows well here but tastes bland.

I am waiting on my Green Ischias this year to taste for the first time, I'll keep you all updated.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 12:46PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I don't recommend VdB for in-ground growing in zone 7, mine keeps dying back and I have gotten very few figs in ten years of having it. It is by far the most tender of my figs. On top of that I lose most of the crop to freeze since they ripened too late. Battaglia Green is my favorite and good old Celeste is not bad at all.

Scott

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 12:18PM
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baumgrenze(9 Sunset 15/17)

I see a couple of posts suggesting Panache (Tiger.) I agree that it is a very good tasting fig, and it is attractive, too. Friends and I have experienced little or no fruit set here in Palo Alto in Zone 9a. I got less than 10 fruits and the biggest would have easily fit on top of a nickle. They did not ripen until late in October. My tree was in pots for several years before being planted in the ground in 2008. Believe the descriptions that say that Panache wants hot growing conditions. This year I hope to begin top working the tree with other varieties.

baumgrenze

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 2:57PM
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stevec(Z6b MD (DC suburbs))

For our area (flavor & adaptability to the weather) my current favorites include:

. Fracazzano Bianco
. Celeste
. Italian Honey
. Alma

All do well surviving the winters outdoors after a few years of bringing containers indoors for winter (garage) and burying the containers in the garden in the summer.

For pictures see the link on this post.
-Steve

Here is a link that might be useful: Fig Orchard

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 1:35PM
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AZSandman

Hi,

Does anyone know how large the Violette du Bordeaux / Negronne fig tree gets in the Phoenix, AZ area? This sounds like a really good variety, which I am looking to plant in the ground. I planted a Brown Turkey years ago, and it was not very good. I'm looking to make up for it with quality!

Also, what have been the experiences with Bourjassote Gris, Italian Ever-Bearing, and Petite Negri in terms of taste and size? In other words, is the Negronne fig the best of these?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 12:11AM
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girlbug2(z9/10, Sunset zone 24)

Baumgrenze,

My zone is 9 but one of the cooler, semi-coastal influence. In other words, we get long but cool summers. Last year I had a bumper crop of panache tigers (60) on an 18 month old tree. They did take their time to develop and ripen, in late September. However the high temps for that summer stayed in the 80s, mostly at the end of August and early September. So my experience with PT is the direct opposite of yours. I got a great crop with not much heat. Perhaps my PT is a different strain from yours?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 12:03PM
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AZSandman

Long, cool summers - now that sounds nice! We have those in Phoenix, minus the "cool"...

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 1:25AM
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nothwehr

To make this thread more information-rich I would like to suggest that everyone who grows figs in the mid-atlantic area (Maryland, Virginia, DC, etc) or who previously grew figs in the this area (Gene, your legend lives on) post information on the figs that they grow/grew and their impressions. What varieties do well and which don't. Information on flavor, fruit color, cold hardiness, productivity, open/closed eye, resistance to splitting in wet weather etc. would be very welcome. I this regard, the information upthread on Chicago Hardy, VdB, and Battaglia is very interesting though I had previously heard from many sources that Chicago Hardy is one of the better tasting figs.

As I mentioned upthread I grow VdB, Chicago Hardy, Mildenhall and Celeste. I will obtain Marseilles vs Black and Ronde de Bordeaux later in the spring. My figs are all too young to provide any useful information on at this point. Space is limited so I plan to growth them in containers another year and then decide which 2 or 3 to plant in the ground. I am open to collecting another one or two varieties if there is good evidence that they do well in Maryland. By the way, I would like to obtain Kathleen Black but so far haven't had luck finding it - if anyone could spare a cutting of this one I would be very grateful!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 8:27AM
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thunderbird1956(7a)

If you are interested poke around the area. Long story short there are lots of places around to get cuttings and taste the figs but knowing exactly what cultivar it is can be much harder.

Personally I have a couple fig trees that the people on the forum thought are Battaglia Green. http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/fig/msg081839277453.html

There is a very nice fig tree in Arlington but I don't know exactly what type but the tree is a good two stories tall.

You can also go out to Ticonderoga Farms in Centreville VA http://www.ticonderoga.com/ and do a fig tasting to see what you like in this area as they have several types.

There are also some fig trees in the community gardens around here but I would have to dig around online again to find them as that is how I found them last year.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 3:58PM
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