Figs from seed?

jdreinsteinAugust 20, 2010

I have a contact in Turkey who has several Turkish and other varietal seeds from fruits pollinated by the wasp. They do germination grow-outs to test for trueness of seed and fertility, and they claim upwards of 75% germination.

My questions are:

1) How quickly could I expect a fig to grow from germinated seedling to small sapling (about a foot tall)?

2) Are there other perils associated with growing fig trees from seed that would make this unappealing?

Thanks for any help - you can never trust the salesman.

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bonsaist(Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa)

In ideal conditions, a seedling can fruit in 3 years, and can take up to 7 years. You have to be aware that not all seedlings will produce fruit, some will be a capri fig, some san pedro type, some can turn out smyrna type. only about 30% may produce a common fig type that doesn't require pollination. So if you have the room and the climate why not.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 5:26PM
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I would rather buy a known quantity. I mean why take years to grow who knows what when you can buy one of the best instead?

You could plant 50 seeds and get 50 crappy figs trees or one good one and 49 crappy ones.

Obviously this kind of growing is not for me. However doing this holds some fascination with some who have lots of land and time on their hands. In the time it takes to do I will have spent $ 15.00-25.00 on a tree that produces great tasting figs and it will be 6'-10' tall producing lots of great fruit. Or for the price of shipping I can get cuttings from UC Davis and grow out lots of trees of some of the best cultivars.

Sorry for being such a killjoy but 75% true from seed is unheard of. Figs have been cultivated and cross pollinated for thousands of years in that part of the world. You have a similar chance of having giving birth to your identical twin. Have ten kids and tell me how many of them will look identical to you in every way? I bet its not 75%. Many of them will look somewhat like you but they won't look exactly like you. It does happen sometimes but its rare. Far fewer than 75%.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 7:55PM
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So If you are in Oklahoma how are you going to grow fig wasps?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 2:12AM
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Wow! Thanks Bass - that is excellent info. Can you tell me about those other type of non-fig fig trees? I am interested, although you have cured me of trying fig seeds!

ThisIsMe - what is this about UC Davis and cuttings and shipping? I do have a goal of (after purchasing 5-6 starter trees) growing large quantities from cuttings - and the more cultivars the better! Can you provide more detail?

Not a killjob at all, btw, I appreciate the honest advice! I would have watsted much time and money.

And Herman2, I would have no need for wasps, as I would be buying seed from Turkey that would have come from wasp-pollinated trees and fruits. But no more! I am cured!

Thanks all!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 9:52AM
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Good that you renounced buying seeds,because in order for those,figs from polinated seeds,to ripe fruits you would have needed the wasp every year.
Turkish,cultivars are known as Smyrna and Bursa figs,and all need polination by the wasp to ripe fruits.
Without they fall out when half grown.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 11:40AM
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Most figs from Turkey are of the (S)myrna type.
The fig wasp exist in Turkey.
Sooo, most seeds are viable (aka. caprified).
What comes out of those seed(lings) is a crap-shoot.
Do a google history search on the (Cal)myrna figs...
Good Luck.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 2:14PM
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Also, if the male tree was an inedible fig, your chances of getting a good common fig type (not needing fig wasp)from those seeds are even MORE diminished. When fig breeders in the US breed figs they used a mother fig which had desirable traits and a father fig which is of the EDIBLE types. They did that so they would have a much better chance of producing a new productive fig variety. Even with that scientific strategy, the net result of seed propagated trees producing any new fig varieties worth growing were very low.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 1:04PM
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Sorry for not getting back sooner but I was busy with other things.

Keep in mind you should include a short letter stating what research you are doing with the cuttings. A simple statement saying you are doing research to see what verities will grow well and taste best in your zone would be fine.

Here is a link that might be useful: UC Davis

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 11:06PM
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I kept some seeds from a fig I bought at a street market in Munich, Germany. I put some in a wet paper towel in a zip sandwich bag, and now have at least a dozen little sprouts.
I have planted several and hope to be able to nurse them into a tree. What are my chances of success ?? Has anyone on this forum tried this ?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 9:13AM
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Attached is a photo of my fig seed sprout from the fig I bought at the Munich street market

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 8:32AM
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