Brand new, saying hello

ohiojenMay 8, 2012

I just bought my first fig tree. :)

After lurking quite a bit last fall gathering info, I bought a little Hardy Chicago that I plan to grow in a pot on my back porch.

There's a large (5'ish) very nice looking Celeste at my local nursery too that I am considering. It's $40 - is that reasonable? I only paid $10 for the Hardy Chicago, but it's only about 2' - looks great and healthy, though.

I have no idea what I'm doing, but you all have inspired me to try! Thanks for all the info already.


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When I first started reading and posting on this forum, I also knew next to nothing about figs. Stay with us. Everything you need to learn about growing your new tree will be found here. Welcome to the Fig Forum.

The price for the Celeste tree is reasonable if it is at bearing age, but save your money...there are better varieties. Besides, Celeste is known from shedding all its figs if challenged by cultural stress, weather, water/dryness, etc. That's my opinion. Others will swear that its a great variety.

Before you spend a ton of bucks on a larger fig tree, consider, what will you do with this tree come winter? I assume you live in Ohio. Your fig will need protection. If you have an unheated garage, grow your tree in a large container, and store tree in the garage. If you plant the tree in the ground, it will need to be protected from severe weather. But how, you ask? There are many ways to do just this, and a quick search on this forum re: "winter protection" will give you some alternative strategies. Search for containerized figs, and you'll get tons of info about container culture of fig trees. You will be reading for weeks. That's good...and growing fig trees is really easy. Basically, you buy a tree, you plant a tree, grow it, eat figs, then, store it/protect it for the winter...then, grow it again the following season.... blah, blah, blah...That's it. Done.

I, would personally buy the largest tree(s) that you could afford, and not waste time growing rooted twigs until they start bearing. Bearing-age trees are a bargain, and will give you figs THIS season.... instant gratification. Your biggest problem will be your winters. Find a solution, and you'll be hooked.

Be inspired! You will be eating figs for a very long time. You will love your new tree(s), and growing figs is probably one of the most rewarding things that you can do, botanically speaking.

Hope this will help you. If you have problems, post them, and we will help you raise your new Chicago.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 7:21AM
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Hi, Frank, thank you so much!

Yes, I'm planning to grow in a pot (or pots) and put it in the garage over winter. Our garage is unheated but attached to the house, so it never gets too cold - is that a problem, actually? I never thought about that. This year we only had a couple of days that were under 10 degrees, but it was a very unusual winter. After reading all the stuff to do to leave them in the ground, I thought the pot was a better plan because I travel so much for work, and I can't see my husband doing all that!

Thanks for the info about Celeste. This tree is big, and it says there will be fruit in June, so I'm assuming it's bearing age. The only other variety I've found locally is Brown Turkey, but I didn't get the impression people were wild about their flavor.

The other varieties I was thinking about were Marseilles v. Black and Violette de Bordeaux along with Celeste and Hardy Chicago. I think I picked those because I was looking for good fruit, smaller, easier to grow, and varieties that do well with the cold. I could still try to order one of the others, but I may be getting too late in the season?? I think I'd like to end up with 2 trees total.

I planted in a rich soil, good bit of compost, pretty light. But I saw that the plant I bought looked to be mostly in big chip mulch, so I'm wondering if that was right. I can add in mulch or other things if I should to make it faster draining. There are holes drilled all around the bottom of the pot.

Thanks again! I had my first fresh fig ever in my life last year from a grocery store and it tasted like it had come a looong way, but I could tell the promise, and I love them dried. :)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 8:10AM
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You are off to a good start, and you are asking the right questions. Most people buy the trees, but then wonder how to keep them alive until the following spring. I think you will do fine with containerized figs, and overwintering them in your cool garage.

I grow all my trees in large containers - plastic storage tubs - that I buy in Home Depot. I drill holes into the bottom sides, and not the bottom surface, of the containers, fill them with quick-draining mix, and plant my trees in them. To prevent hernias, place these heavy containers on cheap dollies, and just push/roll the trees where I want them. In your case, you'll just roll them into the garage for winter storage.

Check: Trees of Joy, Durio Nursery, and, Italian Fig Trees, for some sources for good fig trees, and, they ship. You are not to late to order. There are other sources for good trees, but start here.

You mention growing in containers because you do a lot of traveling for your job. Will your husband take the care to water your trees while you travel? As an alternative, you can always sink your containerized figs halfway into the ground, then mulch heavily. so the trees stay hydrated for longer periods. They can be grown this way all season, then lifted for winter storage. Just run a sharp spade down the outside of the containers to sever any roots that might have grown out the sides through those drainage hole that you drilled. If you drill holes in the bottom of the containers, roots will anchor your containers into the ground, and you will not be able to sever the roots easily. This will be a BIG mistake! You can have the best of in-ground and containerized growing by using this method. This forum has plenty of information about just how to do this.

You are going to love growing figs, and you'll find tending to your trees very relaxing, and very rewarding. The taste of a properly ripened fig cannot be compared to anything bought in a store.

Have fun, and ask questions.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 5:52PM
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Thanks again! Yes, my husband "babysits" for me when I'm gone, but the majority of the gardening is mine, so I think potted in this case is the way to go for us. Thanks for the tip about the dollies. :)

So, if you were choosing, would you pick the Marseilles v. Black or the Violette de Bordeaux (which I've also seen as Negronne and Vista)?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 9:47PM
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I have no experiences with these varieties, but by reputation Violette de Bordeaux is an excellent fig.

But shopping for, and researching varieties, is half the fun. So that decision should be yours. Just make sure it's a variety that will ripen fruit in your climate zone. If you run into problems regarding a selection, contact herman2, Bass, at Trees of Joy, and Martin/dieseler. for recommendations. You can e-mail them from this forum.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 3:43AM
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Good luck with your new Hardy Chicago. I am also a fig newbie of sorts although I have been trying to learn for several years now. I bought a Hardy Chicago last year, it is potted and grew quite a bit last summer, it is about five ft high now. It has not produce any figs yet but I am hoping for some this year.
It is important to learn how to pinch and prune fig trees so that you force them to produce fruit. You can search the forum for tips on that.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 10:06PM
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