If you had to pick just one?

alexislsApril 27, 2012

It's time for me to pick a variety of fig to plant in my garden, and while I've narrowed it down I still need help getting to the final choice for the tastiest fig (and that I can get at Edible Landscaping, since they are fairly close by).

For me, "tasty" is a complex flavor that's best fresh (I won't be drying them or making preserves). My grandparents had a huge Kadota tree (in central California) when I was growing up and I remember them being very sweet -- good but not all that remarkable.

I think I'm going to give a VdB a try in a container that can be moved into the garage for winter - I'm willing to have one that I baby but I also want something easy that will be eventually be prolific in my zone. This choice will be to plant in the ground - I've got a spot with good soil and direct sun all day but it only has room for one full-sized tree.

Here are my options:


LSU Purple

Green Ischia

Peter's Honey

Marseilles (though EL isn't going to get this for at least a month and I'm anxious to plant - is it worth waiting for?)

Which one is the best choice for what I'm looking for?


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I'm not familiar with the flavor of the varieties on your list but others might be able to help you. The problem is that flavor seems to be affected by a variety of factors including climate, soil etc. A fig can taste fantastic in one area but mediocre in another. Hopefully you can get input from others in the DC area that grow these varieties. I have heard that Celeste does well in our area though and I am growing this variety too (but haven't tasted it yet).

By the way I'm curious how much space you are planning for your one in-ground fig tree/bush. My understanding is that in our area figs are generally more productive as a bush with multiple canes as opposed to a tree form. I'm trying to decide whether a spot in my yard is big enough so long as do regular pruning.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 1:21PM
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sorry, I have no answer for you, but I second your question! I have a very similar situation, with space for one fig in the ground and one in a pot. I'm a bit north of you but still a zone 7a as well. I too am looking for a fig that's good to eat fresh, with complex flavor, not just sweet and bla. I realize taste is a personal matter but since I've never tasted any of the figs described in the nursery catalogs, only supermarket figs of unknown origin, I have no idea what to pick. They all sound good.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 1:54PM
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RE: If you had to pick just one?

Haha, that sounds familiar!

(30+++ years later) I do rembember that 'picking' a good lifelong wife was not that easy...

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 7:07PM
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Only one off that list from edible landscaping for hardiness would be Hardy Chicago a very good tasting fig .
Violette de Bordeaux is also excellent but not sure how hardy in your climate.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 4:14PM
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All your choices are good but my favorite from your list is the Peters Honey.

Others might argue the opposite but I will swear by it.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 3:14PM
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I have Celeste, VdB, Hardy Chicago, and Peters Honey (among others).

Yes, I enjoy eating Peters Honey too but mostly because the brebas are tasty and early and the main crop is early, but it is like Kadota, not very figgy or complex, just sweet--sometimes there is a little bit of vanilla taste.

VdB is very good, but a sparse bearer here compared to Hardy Chicago (which I prefer). To me VdB has a little bit of a red raspberry flavor and has to be fully ripe (shredded skin) to be really good.

Celeste is great tasting, but small figs (only main crop with no brebas). Here mine will sometimes drop figs if it dries out.

I don't know about the other two. Good luck.


    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 9:23PM
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I would personally forget the marseilles. I grew it here in ground and it was not too cold hardy and not bad just not great. I agree with the vdb in a pot. Even less cold hardy than marseilles but a great tasting fig. I tied Peters honey, for me sweet but nothing special (may have not been the best strain of the variety). As far as the green ischia, I think it is closely related to adriatic (JH), battaglia and even white/green genoa. Very good figs, but they ripen rather late here. Not sure as to their cold hardiness, mine are in pots. Finally there are many inferior strains of celeste out there that drop figs prematurely and are just plain too small for my liking. But if you can aquire a good one it certainly is cold hardy enough.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 9:47PM
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Of the listed figs, Green Ischia gets my vote for taste.
MBVS (Marseille?) is a must have fig.
LSU Purple would ne next in line

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 7:56AM
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peterknop(z7 VA)

Our most popular fig (and we grow commercially in zone 7 a next to Dulles Airport Northern, Va, is what we call Champagne, but some call verte. Unfortunately we did not realise what a demand there would be for it, so only have about thirty trees, but we are adding another 50 this year.
Our second most popular is brunswick - but it has issues with splitting some years, but a huge producer and 2nd best for our customers (and we sell both retail and wholesale to some of the best restaurants in the area, including Inn at Little Washington, Girasole, etc.) We have a nice interesting white fig wild collected in mountains of Bulgaria - people either really like it or do not like it..... Excellent for us as has a very large late crop, but no breba. We grow 4 other varieties we sell commercially, and have another ten or so which seem not to appeal a great deal to people, so will probably be replanted with champagne. We always keep two of everything in case someone really likes it or tastes change. For us, early-on big issue was reliable hardiness and good production, why we wound up with so many varieties, names of some of which have been lost (if one can trust the names in the first place). Anyone still looking, we have a fig festival in September where numerous varieties can be tasted, along with what we consider a very good pure balsamic vinegar.Figs make a great vinegar and great way to use up extras or split.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 10:30PM
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Personally - I don't like LSU purple...

I have had it in the ground for 3 years now...
Seems plenty hardy...

but the flavor of mine is not very sweet and quite "Grassy" - even when droopy and shrivelly ripe....

The Brebas are worse... Very grassy and less sweet...

I very much prefer a Black Mission....

I agree on the Violette de Bordeaux - It dies back to the ground in my yard - which is probably 150+ miles south of yours...


    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 5:20PM
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