'Giant' figs?....What's the real story?

bronxfigsMarch 24, 2012

I recently bought a "TEXAS BLUE GIANT" fig, that is supposed to produce very large, dark-blue fruit. We'll see about that.

I also know that there are other "giant" varieties...e.g. "Patrick's Super Giant", Fannick's Blue Giant", "Jack's Quarter-Pounder" "Malcolm's Giant"...etc. Do these trees really produce "giant-size", teacup-filling figs? And if yes, are these breba-figs, or, main-crop figs? I'll bet, tasteless breba. (This last sentence was confirmed by a famous NJ grower/collector).

My motto is 90% of everything is bull----, and figs are probably no different. So is this "giant" adjective, just another example of botanical hype, or, do these/can these varieties really produce super-large, main-crop figs?

Just asking.

Frank

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paully22

Fewer figs on branch can also lead to bigger size figs. Mostly bigger figs are brebas with main crop smaller in fig size but crop is larger.

Generally large figs are juicier & not as flavourful as the small ones.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 11:22AM
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bronxfigs

paully....

I had a gut-feeling that there were some specialized provisos regarding these "giant" figs.

Basically then, it's the brebas that will be very large, with just a ho-hum, boring, main-crop.

Very few posters on this forum have even mentioned, or written about these fig varieties, and that should've tipped me off as to the merit of growing one of these super-figs. If they were any good, I'm sure there would be plenty of members singing their praises! However, the silence is deafening. Herman said it best regarding these varieties:... nothing but a larger, "Brown Turkey", with little flavor.

Thanks for the heads-up.

Frank

Not a glowing endorsement.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 12:04PM
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paully22

Frank, there is more info over at Figs4Fun forum.

We started with large figs. Now I focus more on small & medium size figs. Its the flavor we enjoy most.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 9:11PM
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gonebananas_gw

Patrick Malcolm started that notorious nursery in Georgia so those two are probably the same thing, and judged by the reputation are probably nothing.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 8:26AM
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gorgi(z7a_NJ)

Smaller figs seem to perform better for our shorter summer season up north...

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 9:43AM
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mountainman0826(z8B TX)

Jack's Quarter-Pounder, Patrick's Super Giant and Malcom's Giant are all, in my opinion, the same fig as Brunswick, otherwise known as Magnolia. The brebas seem to be larger on the average than the main crop. However, the brebas, under the right conditions, are very tasty. Brunswick is a large fig, but I have to admit that I have never had one that filled a teacup! Fanick's Blue Giant is also a good tasting fig and bit larger than some varieties, but it would be a stretch to call any of the figs that I have had from my Blue Giant fig "giant".

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 11:09PM
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dieseler

yes many figs with different names are the same .
Some may take on a different appearance due to climate.
I'll take a small fig over a large figs as they are better to me in taste.
But everyone palate is different.

Martin

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 5:56PM
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bronxfigs

mountainman, dieseler, and other posters:

Thanks for taking the time to explain a few things about the fig varieties that I have mentioned. Very interesting background facts, especially about the "Brunswick" variety.

I appreciate your thoughts. That's why I posted this question.

Frank, from the re-freezing Bronx, NYC

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 7:43PM
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herman2_gw

Here is a giant Breba fig from My Atreano:
I like it better than Brunswick and Brown Turkey in Breba Form,+ it makes much better Main crop,than, the 2 mentioned

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 9:26PM
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bronxfigs

herman2:

I don't believe what I am looking at!!!! I already have this variety, and have been growing it since 2007. I never let the Breba form, and I usually pinch them right off, so I have never seen what kind of Breba that this tree produces.

I am amazed. If I let some Breba grow this season, will I still be able to ripen a main-crop by September?

Thanks so much for the photo. I love "Atreano", and I went crazy looking for a "Texas Blue Giant" thinking that I was going to get a main-crop of "giant", blue/black figs, until I read that it's only the Breba crop that would/maybe be considered "giant"! If I knew "Atreano" makes a Brebs-fig this size, I would have saved my money!

Live and learn. Good to see postings from you again. You, and a few other experienced growers, taught me everything I know about figs. I've had nothing but enjoyment from my trees, since 2007. That's when I bought my first trees.

Frank, from The Bronx, NYC

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 10:46PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Hello Herman,

Is that a 1/2 pint jelly jar? The figs look so good.

Do the brebas taste any differently from the main crop?

noss

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 12:46AM
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bronxfigs

herman....

I was wondering about the flavor also. "Atreano" main-crop, are always sweet, and jammy... IF ripened properly. I've never let any breba develop in past years, and I would like to learn how to get these figs to ripen for maximum sweetness. How is this done? Should I just let them grow, and watch for the signs of ripeness, like skins starting to crack, necks looking like they will rip off plant?...etc. Should I also hold back on the watering to concentrate the sugars?

The photo of that very large fig: ... Is this typical for an "Atreano" breba, or are they generally smaller? Is the other fig, that's cut in half, also a breba, or main-crop, shown for comparison?

Thanks for the information. Very interesting revelation that took me by surprise. I learned something, again, from the Fig Forum.

Frank

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 6:11AM
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herman2_gw

Well ,.
the other fruit seem smaller a little.
They are both Breba.
The Flavor and taste is very good but not as good as End of September main crop.
I do not know how large a half a pint is,but I can tell you these jar are 10 ounces jars,possible what is called half pint.
That breba fig in top of Jar was about 4 to 5 ounces.
Also what is good about Atreano is that main crop are 3 ounces average and larger than the 2 mentioned above,+ super tasty and flavorful + it had zero die back this past Winter ,in ground,took 10 * F without any problem,so now is full of Breba and because is very early in Forming this year,I think it will ripe both crops just fine in 2012due to early staRT.
fRANK:i AM SORRY,i CAN'T REALLY GIVE ADVICE FOR pOT GROWN FIG TREE,BECAUSE i WAS NEVER TOO GOOD IN GROWING IN POT.
hOWEVER,i WOULD SAY THAT IN ORDER TO GET TOP TASTING FIG,THE CROP SHOULD BE THINNED TO WHAT THE PLANT CAN SUPPORT,THE PLANT SHOULD BE THINNED TO 3 TRUNKS ONLY,AND WATER SHOULD BE ONLY GIVEN AS FAR APART AS POSSIBLE AND ONLY AT MINIMUM WHILE THE FRUITS ARE GETTING RIPE.
Also fertilizer should be kept to minimum,and Limestone powder at maximum.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 1:56AM
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bronxfigs

Herman....

Great to read your postings again! I always learn more useful information after reading your comments. You are one of the best teachers on this forum.

I love the way my "Atreano" has performed for me, over the last 6 years. It has not failed me yet, and I also haven't gotten any die-back at all. In fact, I have to control the growth of this tree, because it's so vigorous. I pinch out some forming buds to thin out branching, and sometimes I have to cut some leaves off, so the sun can reach the fruit.

Each year I get dozens of delicious figs, so many in fact, that sometimes I must thin out the figs, or they will smash into each other. The main-crop figs are usually very large, but have been becoming a little smaller each year. I think I waited too long to root-prune and re-pot the trees into fresh medium...but I root-pruned just last week, and also re-potted the trees into fresh medium...so I'll see how my trees grow this season. They have been in the same pots since 2007. I will give them some fresh, granular limestone also. Yes, I also cut back on the water as figs start to ripen. The figs fall off the tree, into my fingers, filled with thick, jammy, sugars. Just the best!

I think I will let some Breba grow this season. This will be the first year that I allow Breba to form. I usually pinch them all off the trees, so main-crop figs form, and ripen quicker. I would love to grow some quarter-pound, Breba figs!

I hope this turns out to be a very good fig-growing season. Thanks for the photos, information, and expert advice.

Frank

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 5:19AM
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vitalucky(10b)

I grow Atreano and Deanna and they are similar in many ways but Deanna seems to get a little larger.
I have potted some of my trees in 25gal pots. At the bottom I place mulch, then some dry caw droppings and then place my fig tree and fill up the rest with mulch and compost.
This gives me organic juicy figs!
Sal

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 11:53PM
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leon_edmond(z7NM)

I no longer grow Deanna. You're right, slightly larger than Atreano but yellow in color, flatter shape and larger eye.
My Atreano grows fast and produces more figs than my Deanna ever did. To me, Atreano has a better taste whereas Deanna was mediocre. But my conditions are different than yours'.
I lost my in ground Deanna to a house move but as Herman has suggested, Atreano is a keeper fig.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 12:19AM
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mountainman0826(z8B TX)

Although I have had several of Condit's cultivars (and still have some), the Condit trees have produced relatively few figs and have grown slowly. The figs that they did produce were mediocre in taste. Perhaps the slow growth of the Condit cultivars could be attributed to the widespread FMV in the UC Davis collection. However, most Mission trees have some mottling (as Condit noted) as a result of FMV, yet the Mission trees grow quickly. I agree that Atreano is a keeper. It is very sweet, has an excellent taste, is a medium to large fig and the tree grows quickly.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 8:06PM
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vitalucky(10b)

I have tasted some Banana and Janice Seedless figs and they were really good. Also they do well in my hot and humid climate. I have been experimenting with several varieties and all do poorly in our sandy soil: they remain small and even with the addition of fertilizer, they refuse to grow.
Since when I have been planting them in mulch with compost and cow dropping, they have grown over 5 feet in a year. At moment I have about 20 varieties and they are all doing great.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 2:38PM
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bronxfigs

Even though I started this thread, I forgot all about it until just now. Here follows, a brief update. This is my opinion, and experiences.

My quest for great tasting, giant figs is over. I'm in the wrong climate for these kind of figs. I spent two years waiting for the "Texas Blue Giant" to prove itself, and it was one of the worse figs I ever grew. It might be a great variety for warmer climes with longer seasons, but for short season growers....save your money.

The one or two figs that didn't suddenly abort, actually did ripen into dry, insipid corky figs, with barely a hint of sweetness. Absolute dreck. Swine food! These figs made "Brown Turkey" seem like a Gormet fig!

Like I said, this variety might do just fine in the sunny, hot, Western States, and, in fairness to the variety, the catalogs do note these requirements, but I had to take that chance, and grew this variety in spite of warnings from experienced growers. Now, I know better.

Lesson: Match a variety to your climate, and, forget the rest. You will still have many varieties to chose from, you'll be far more successful, and, you'll eat tasty, figs instead of wishing that your figs will ripen.

Frank

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 5:02PM
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cis4elk(5)

Good information, thanks for the update Frank.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 3:02PM
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bronxfigs

cis4elk:

You are welcome.

I try to be open and honest about my experiences, especially, when I fail. It may help others to avoid a disappointing mistake.

The Bronx, NYC is not like the sun-drenched hills of California, nor like the dry, volcanic meadows of the Sicilian countryside. At my age, you would think I would know this! : )

Happy growing to all.

Frank

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 4:48PM
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cis4elk(5)

Frank,

Have you ever grown Desert King? I'm going to guess NO based on what you have had said in this thread so far. I ask this because I guess it is mostly a breba fig unless you have the wasp, but the brebas are supposed to be great.

Anyone else in zone 6 or below have luck w/DK?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 3:52PM
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herman2_gw

Desert King has ripe Breba the same time as Atreano,of the same quality,with Atreano being larger fruits.
Atreano continue with main crop,without any time interval,and when they come they are 10 times mopre tasty than Desert King ,main crop.
So ?Why grow Desert K,when Atreano is a much better cultivar.
I would like to see people in the cooler Northwest growing Atreano,I bet they will never look back after Atreano start producing.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 4:04PM
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budbackeast(FLORIDA)

Hello Frank,

You did not fail, Frank. You experimented and proved that the experiences of others can be confirmed regarding this variety's requirements. Those are truly gigantic figs, but we enthusiasts know there is more to a fig than appearance. Your expererience will probably help many others in cold climates and will save people years of hoping and praying only to face certain disappointment. Thanks!

And on the up-side, we all know that you have many other trees with other varieties. Tell us please: How many GOOD figs have you had this season, and how many more will probably ripen before the winter shuts it all down?

Since you confirm that certain varieties are not made for cooler climates, her is a link to a variety made for cool climates:
COLD WEATHER FIG
The fig info starts at 3:22, so scroll ahead if you wish. A variety you might wish to get, and the video is at the nursery where you can buy it.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 4:28PM
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cis4elk(5)

Herman,

Thanks for the great input, now I have another change of plans. Much better than growing a tree for years only to find out I could have been growing something of higher quality better suited for my environment.
Does anyone have a good line on where to get a clean Atreano?

Calvin

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 10:25PM
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bronxfigs

Forum members....

Nice to read your comments...and very interesting to read the comments posted by herman2.

Mismatching fig varieties can be a trap that we all fall in sooner or later. Location, location, location. I bought that "Texas Blue Giant" before I realized that I had such a short growing season. Now, I'm much more selective about the varieties that I grow.

Currently I now have:

Kathleen's Black *
Black Marseilles-VS *
Red Italian...unknown variety
Dark Portugal *
Black Mission *
Bronx Dark...unknown variety *
Big Brown Turkey...heirloom fig *
Atreano-Belleclare...(the real Atreano)
Hardy Chicago *

All trees marked with * are too small to produce figs, and are on "trial". The "Red Italian" is probably very much like "Hardy Chicago". This year has been not so good. The "Atreano" produced a large main-crop, yet some have still not ripened. Since 2007, this is the first year that this variety was a slight disappointment. However, I did a radical root-chop in early Spring, and I'm sure my trees were set back because of shock. The "Red Italian" made some very sweet little red-black figs, and this year it was my winner. With the good comes the bad...it can split in rainy weather if the roots get waterlogged.

I grow figs because I want to eat delicious, ripe fruit...so, any variety that does poorly in my area will be culled...even if it has a famous name. I have been concentrating on some local, unknown varieties that have been grown for many decades by families in Brooklyn, and The Bronx. I have NEVER seen any evidence of FMV on any of these locally-grown, backyard trees, and few, if any, are protected.

Sources for "clean" Atreano-Belleclare try:

Zaino's Garden Center, Westbury, NY (Long Island)
Dan's Cajun Figs
Durio Nursery...cuttings from my "Atreano" and "Red Italian" trees went to Dalton for propagation.

Hope this may help.

Frank

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 10:50AM
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cis4elk(5)

Frank,

Thanks again for more good information.

Zaino's doesn't ship, that would have just been too easy. I sent an email to Dalton at Durio today, we'll see what the news is there. I checked out Dan's blog, interesting, I'll have to keep an eye on certain aspects of that.

I thought I read somewhere that the One Green World strain had a leaf which appeared different than the Belleclare, but I couldn't find it in the threads I thought it was in. I tried to contact OGW by phone many times today in hopes of getting someone on the phone who knows something about their figs( yeah right! most of the time when I call nurseries I get employee's who don't really know shirt,"what's mosaic?" or "they come from the wholesaler" and shhh that's a secret), but got a message every time that all rep's were busy. Seemed....suspicious, like nobody was really working today, but it could have just been coincidence. Anyhow, perseverance right.

Calvin

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 3:34AM
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fignewbies

Hi, Everyone:

Has anyone purchased the giant
fig cutting that is currently on sale at Ebay named:
"The biggest Fruit FIG JIN AO FEN Cutting's GROW YOUR OWN PLANT"

The fruit looks so gigantic, it is hard to believe!
I wonder if the fruit actually tastes good, (I mean sweet tasting), and just how tall the tree will grow to.

If anyone has purchased the cuttings, please keep
me posted on the fig forum about this gigantic fruit
producing plant as time goes!
Thanks!

Fignewbies

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 7:57PM
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budbackeast(FLORIDA)

Hello Fignewbies,

Frank in NYC had problems with giant figs due to a short growing season, and maybe just a difficult, bland variety. I see that you too are in a cold part of the world with a short growing season.

Now, Frank is a master fig grower, so if he struggles with giant figs, perhaps it's not such a good idea. In addition, we are talking about Ebay here, so what you see might not be qhat you get. On the other hand, if the price is right, what the heck! If it works, we'll all want to give you money for cuttings in a few years, and if it fails, you'll learn so much about fig trees that your next variety will match your climate and reward you with lots of yummy figs.

If cheap enough, I say, go for it. Additionally, please copy the link here so the rest of us can go to ebay and check it out. We might all go ahead and buy some, who knows!

-Bud

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 10:38PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

cis4elk,

I was set to order from One Green World when I saw this thread. Did you ever get an answer from them?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 10:50PM
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cis4elk(5)

milehighgirl,

I made it a mission the one day and must have gotten distracted by something else since. I did hear back from Dalton at Durio however; he said for 2012 he's sold out all but his mother stock but will have more available for the 2013 season.

I saw your reply on a different thread, I live in Littleton.
This will be my first winter with figs, I am putting them in the connected garage, they should be fine, it's pretty much a big refrigerator all winter long. All my plants/trees that were healthy with normal dormant growth buds in April ripened figs. All the plants that had issues and needed to create a growth bud from nowhere put on good growth and made figs, none of which ripened. Anyway, I know if you can keep a healthy dormant bud for your CH to start the season with it will ripen figs for you.

Calvin

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 12:41AM
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fignewbies

Hi, budbackeast and others:

Pleasure to give you this link for the GIGANTIC
fig sale on Ebay:

http://www.ebay.ca/sch/i.html?MT_ID=17&crlp=3545318808_54&tt_encode=raw&keyword=ebay.ca&clk_rvr_id=400415193352&_nkw=fig+cuttings+&_trksid=p5197.c0.m627

I don't think I want to buy these cuttings, they are
too expensive for cuttings. With that price,
I would rather buy a 5-6 feet fig tree ready
to give me fruits soon!
Also, please comment on the
"The Fertility Fruit FIG Cutting's GROW YOUR OWN PLANT"
shown as the 5th image on that page.
There is a lot of fig fruit on the branch,
but I wonder how many fig actually get riped since
there is not much leaves to nuture the fruits.

Thanks!
Fignewbies

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 9:10PM
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bronxfigs

Just checked this thread again...sorry for not adding any updated information.

I see a few intrepid growers wanting to try these imported strains of "giant figs"...if you want to give it a shot....go for it. Maybe you will be (pleasantly) surprised. Then you can share your knowledge, and experiences with us.

Now...."giant figs" from USA sources. Place your orders with a reputable dealer. Caveat emptor. You will need plenty of heat, dryish climate, and, over a long time, to ripen these giants properly. Think, Arizona...California weather. Good Luck!

There are a lot of bogus figs out there and they are NOT the real, original strains. Sometimes they are mislabeled, but they could also be seed-grown varieties that will never give you decent fruit. There is good information that some bogus "Atreano" strains are out there, and these dogs are inferior to the Belleclare original stock. You'll waste your valuable time waiting for nothing. The real "Atreano" is a great, short-season fig, that will produce superior fruit...and without being temperamental. Durio Nursery has the real-"Atreano".

There is a You-Tube video showing a leaf-stripping method for ripening figs: "How To Get the Figs On Your Trees To Ripen Faster". Please Note: The information shown is for growers in the sunny, hot, dry, long-season areas of the country. Stripping leaves will weaken trees. I wouldn't do it!

Have fun with pushing the envelope. When you have success, we all benefit. The information that we all share is cutting-edge, and will not be found in magazine articles, nor, in textbooks...so, it's up to us. Be informed, and post your results...especially the failures. I'm learning new methods each season.

Best regards,

Frank

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 7:32PM
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budbackeast(FLORIDA)

Hey Frank,

If you have not already tossed the big, flavorless fig tree, why not offer cuttings to southern folk? In a hot, dry climate, set in the ground, this might be a great tree after all.

We regularly hear about certain trees bringing poor results in fruit size, quantity and flavor, but sometimes it's just a situational failure. Just go and put a Florida country boy in the Bronx, and he'll do poorly too. Same idea with figs. Situational.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 5:19PM
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bronxfigs

Bud from the East....

Done....and, some cuttings even went back to a Texas grower, where this variety started.

Ah...yes...the wrong situation syndrome. Now, I grow varieties that will...I hope...do well in the short seasons of the North-East.

Good advice.

Frank

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 8:23AM
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