UC Davis cuttings suggestions?

andyinnycJuly 17, 2012

I'm mid season into growing my first cuttings - taken from a local tree. I'll eventually post pictures of a ripe fig and leaves from the mother tree in order to get a better ID than 'white fig'.

In the meantime, however, I'd like to put in a request from UC Davis and I'd like some suggestions from the experts (or not so experts).

While I understand that some UC Davis cuttings have FMV, I'm not sure I care as long as they grow (I don't really have other choices for cuttings). I'd like to grow a range of taste, color and size and likely graft several varieties onto a tree or two at the end. Several of the trees I would think they would have - like Chicago Hardy - they don't.

So, I'm in Mercer County, NJ (think Trenton and Princeton) with a backyard that has full sun all day.

I'm thinking so far about:

Black Madiera


Violette De Bordeaux

These seem to have a lot of 'buzz' surrounding them.

I'd like to grow a range of taste, color and size and likely graft several varieties onto a tree or two at the end. They will start out in pots and eventually be put in the ground and wrapped in winter.

Would anyone like to suggest additional varieties which might do well in my area and be fun/productive to grow?



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Yes they do have a lot of buzz.

VDB and Mission are good choices. But BM can be a bit hectic. It is notorious for FMV, being a slow grower, and needing a lot of heat to ripen.

You can get it but don't be surprised if it takes 5 years or so before you get a ripe fig from it. That is also accompanied with tender loving care.

Another to consider is Verdal Longue. An excellent fig but does have heavy FMV. But may produce by the end of its 2nd year.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 7:43PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Herman says don't bother with UCDavis cuttings because of the FMV and to try and get healthy cuttings/trees.

I've won several trees from Herman on eBay and you can bet that they are good trees if they come from him, or several others from the forums to have cuttings/trees from eBay.

Most important of all is to get the trees that have delicious figs that will do best in your area, so you will have productive trees with delicious fruit that will do well for you.

Don't bother with trees that need a long season and high heat to be able to produce figs. Why waste your time and money and effort? Get trees you can enjoy.

My Black Madeira broke my heart when it was doing so well and then collapsed and died real quickly. People say they have the habit of doing that sort of thing.

It's hard not to get carried away when you hear someone raving about his newest delicious fig, but if it doesn't do well in your area, it won't grow delicious figs for you.

From what I understand, there are some really good local trees around in NJ, like Joe's Jersey, I think it's called. Herman lives in NJ. Listen to him. Several others live there who are worthy of truts.

Go fig hunting and see if you can find people willing to let you taste their figs and take cuttings. If a fig is delicious, it doesn't need a name to be worth growing. It's good to know what variety you have, but maybe people from the forum can help you name unknown fig trees for you. A mystery is always fun with the trees, like a treasure hunt. :)

I would like to get another Black Madeira from someone who might have a tree that is looking strong, but I have other trees that do well here to give me good figs, so I can afford to play with a Black Madeira. Get some good trees going for yourself, then play.

Good luck with deciding what you want,


    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 10:47PM
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While I don't dispute that FMV is a concern there are those far more knowledgeable then me that believe that nearly all ficus carica are infected. However good growing conditions can abate the appearance of the virus of many cultivars while a few cultivars always exhibit the effects of FMV. For instance I received Mary Lane scion from UCD and I never could overcome the effects of the virus and I destroyed that plant once I found a healthy one. I completely agree with Noss about the BM for the North East. I have a BM and appreciate it but it is a challenge to get it to provide fruit each year.

I recommend you search the fig forum for the best cultivars for the North East as that is a reoccurring question each year and some of the most knowledgeable growers have answered the question multiple times.

In addition to requesting VdB Scion from UCD I recommend you request DFIC0080 Celeste. Both the VdB and the Celeste are still in my inventory and are winners for the North East

Lastly when pruning your fig plants it is important to bring along a Clorox and water solution to clean your pruners before you use them on the next plant (I use a 20% Clorox and 80% mix). If you don't, you risk spreading FMV or a different strain of FMV from one plant to another.

I hope this helps and good luck!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 8:53PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Hi Vinnie,

I had that really nice Blk Madeira and it was doing well down here, then collapsed and died on me. I'm still hurting from that one and wish I could find another one, but I have other trees that don't show the virus to eat from while I would be growing something like the Blk Madeira and maybe losing another one. :( I was so proud of that little tree.

Please tell me why you like the DFIC0080 Celeste.


noss a.k.a. Vivian

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 8:10AM
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All I can tell you is I received the scion from UCD in 2005 and it is productive. The plant is a heavy producer and I know when the figs are ready because in produces a drop of nectar from the eye when it is ready. I have 12 brothers and sisters and they all have an airlayer from that Celeste. While I sincerely appreciate the tree it is not my favorite. There probably are a dozen or so trees in front of it but it is a winner. Folks in the North East can pick up a Celeste relatively cheap at local nursery's.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 7:38PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Thanks for the information on that Celeste, Vinnie.

Does it drop fruit in hot, dry weather?

Does it have FMV, or I should say, does it show it? I don't have much of a problem with FMV in the plants because of our mild winters and hot summers, but am just wondering.



    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 8:01PM
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Noss my Celeste is symptom free but per your question if it became root bound, under nourished, parched or had wet feet it would probably show signs of FMV. I can honestly say I don't recall my celeste dropping fruit but I am rather uptight about checking my inventory for being root bound around February. If it is root bound I root prune the plant and repot. I think the biggest secret to this obsession is to make sure the soil is just right. Dr Tapla's soil mixture makes hacks like me successful. Dr Tapla'soil doesn't compress like miracle grow and can be recycled during root pruning. I just remove the plant material and add Osmocote. Then during the growing season I use miracle grow fertilizer until late June. That recommendation is for the North East. My guess is folks in zones 7 and higher can fertilize into July and perhaps longer but I don't truthfully know.

I hope that answers your question.
Very Respectfully

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 8:36PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Thank you very much, Vinnie.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 8:59PM
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