Cold Hardy figs for 6a

ekierkSeptember 16, 2012

Hello. I am a newbee just starting out.I want to order some fig cuttings from UC Davis site. I want a fig cultivar that can be planted in ground with NO protection. The coldest it ever got here that I can remember -14 degrees. Some cold hardy cultivars im looking at are Celeste,Genoa White,King,

Osborn Prolific,Verte,Violette De Bordeaux. If you have any cold hardy fig cutting please send me some. i can pay for it.

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I have a Chicago Hardy Fig Tree. I bought it from Amazon and with shipping it came out to $11 in mid July. The tree itself was about 3 inches, but now its about 12-14" tall. I think I'm gonna leave it in the pot, bring it inside this winter, but come next spring, I will plant it.

I live in NJ and it gets really cold with heavy snow here from time to time. This fig tree is more of an experiment, but from my research, I think this chicago hardy fig tree should last and survive the weather. I'm not sure about absolutely no protection, though. I've heard some people wrap their fig trees with newspaper once all the leaves have fallen, and then unwrap it in early spring. You might need to do that for a year or two before you leave it alone and remove protection.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 8:55PM
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Omni. Chicago Hardy fig Tree will work for our zone BUT it will die to the roots. which means it will grow from the ground usally 3-4 feet and produce figs before frost. I like your idea about waiting till the are bigger

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 9:16PM
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Figs evolved in hot, dry, sunny, climates. You will fight a losing battle each season. If you are lucky, your tree will/might continually re-grow all the top growth that will be killed each Winter. After a bad Winter, you will be shopping for another tree. You may not be able to get figs to ripen if main-crop forms late in the season. Growers in colder areas generally all use protective measures, or store trees in cool areas - like unheated garages - to prevent the death, or damage of their fig trees.

In-ground planting, with no protection, in severe climates...doesn't work for figs.

Search this forum for cold-climate growing methods, for your options. Keeping a fig tree alive from season to season is the hard part for many. In-ground, in Zone-6a, without protection, just increases your odds for failure.

I would take a good look around your area, and try to find trees that are growing without protection. If you do find a tree, beg, borrow, or, steal some cuttings. Bribe the owners with a bottle of wine. Grow the cutting into a fig tree, and you might have a shot, in a protected, micro-climate area.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 6:28AM
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Just thought of Joe Morle. His site is: "Italian Fig" He is in the Boston area. He might be able to help you.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 6:34AM
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You might want to look into, Marseilles Black VS, LaRadek's English Brown turkey, and Hanc's English Brown Turkey, which some collectors think is really a hardy version of Southern Brown Turkey.

All three have been reported to handle down to at least minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit, without winter protection, if planted in a protected location, and after they have matured into adult trees. 3, 5, maybe 7 years.

We have been testing for cold hardy figs for some time now, and have all three. LaRadek's English Brown Turkey, and Hanc's English Brown Turkey show great promise But, we have been only testing long enough to recommend only Marseilles Black VS, for zone 6 locations.

There are a lot of requirements that figs need, to grow in a zone 6 location without winter protection. No winter winds. No heavy amount of water in soil. No fertilizing after third year. At least 8 hours of direct sun light during the summer months. Not allowing any new growth or new figs, after the 5th to 6th leaf. Just to name a few.

But, none of that will work if the fig is not cold hardy to start with. Even for a zone 6b, there are only about a dozen or less figs that can be grown with out winter protection. But in a protected location.

Fig trees can not be grown in the north like an apple or pear tree. You will have to protect them the first 3 to 7 years.

By Googleing up cold hardy figs you will find a wealth of information on the internet.

Bob Zone 5b/6a Connecticut

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 3:43PM
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BronxFigs I have talked Joe and his said the chances are slim to none. I will plant on south east side of my house and put bags of leafs to winterize it and hope for the best. I have found one person in my area that sells fig trees. He has one that has survives the winters. He said he mite consider selling it.

Robert_2007 Do you mind sending me a Marrseilles Black VS. cutting in the winter time. I live close to Connecticut almost in the same zone as you. I have a thermonter on the south side of my house and it has range from 110 degrrees to -5. Back in Europe in zone 5. i see people growing orchards of figs. I have no idea what varity the are but they must be really hardy.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 9:00PM
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Ekierk, it looks like you have gotten a lot of good advice here. I just wanted to point out that from what I have read Violette de Bordeaux is not a particularly hardy variety. Hardy Chicago, Brown Turkey, Marseilles vs Black all sound like good options though.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 10:06PM
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Send to me a email at

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 10:07PM
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Be careful planting a fig in a Southern exposure. The tree will heat up in the higher daytime temperatures, and soft growth might be damaged when temperatures plunge below freezing during night.

I would start with Hardy Chicago first. It is easily replaced if lost, and will make delicious figs. Brown Turkey will also work, but figs can be insipid, and disappointing.

You will probably have to try different locations to find that right micro-climate.

Good luck with your search.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 7:40PM
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Any figs Robert advised are hardy but you still have to protect at least the first three Winters,like you said bagged leaves are good but it needs a tarp over so the rain does not get to branches when freezing rain comes in Winter.
And also very important is to take the protection off as soon as the hard cold is gone so the tree does not overheat,and dies.
Very tricky,like place protection on,by Dec.10,and take off by March first,or at least take some off so the tree breeds.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 2:43PM
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herman2: I am thinking about getting Marseilles Black VS and Brooklyn White. They seem cold hardy for 6a. I will make sure too do that. The really cold tempratures start in mid December and end late Febuary. They will be near my house and will be protected with bags of leafs with tarp for the first 2 to 3 years. (after it gets to about 6 feet) I might be thinking about getting a Hardy Hartford because I live in a mircoclimate and it stays a 1 degree celcuis warmer than Hartford.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 2:41PM
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Next to the chimney is a good micro-climate. Just remember to build a fire if its going to get below 10 degrees.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 4:43PM
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I am in zone 6 and have a fig grow outside behind of my storage, only do heavy mulch in winter, I got a lot of figs on it, my tree came from north China, Fengtai, shrub like but I got huge size fruit. super sweet.
Send me email if you are interested.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 9:13PM
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After reading in several blogs about how special the V in a chimney is, We planted a Chicago Hardy fig some 6 to 8 years ago.

That has been a big mistake. That tree never got enough direct sun light to produce more the a dozen or so fruit, a year.

The chimney did in fact keep the ground from freezing during the winter months, at night. But, the air around the top stayed so warm the tree never harden off, and would freeze.

The tree finally got tired of waiting for me to figure out what was wrong and sent out root runners three feet away from the V. Now some 6 to 8 years later it is finally setting a good crop of figs.

Bob Zone 5 Connecticut

Wish List: Any figs growing in a a zone 5 northern location for the past 50 to 100 years, without winter protection

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 6:03AM
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Have you figured out what type of fig you have.
Id like to buy a cut when you trim that up.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 11:38PM
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Ekierk I live in Northern Delaware about 35 miles south of Philly. Have a chicago hardy in ground since last year. Southeast side of your house in fine but invest in some garden burlap and wrap the burlap around the tree (multiple layers) then chichen wire around then fill up with leave or straw, cover chicken wire with heavy duty trash bags Protect that small guy the temps get low but the wind can cause damage too. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 7:58AM
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I live in Ontario, Canada.
My fig was put in the ground last July and I covered
it with fallen leaves.

Now the weather is getting colder and the fig needs to be
covered soon in November.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 10:55PM
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I Live in a Very cold Zone 6b, I have a Fig Brown Turkey, that has Been in the Ground for at least 5 years, it produced a Ton of Figs this Year, I agree with the time line as suggested
the first year I cut the bottom of a garbage can, stuffed it full of the neighbor's Leaves, covered the top with Heavy Black Plastic
then put a small rock on top of that.
that Tree grew so Huge, I had to wrap twine around the Limbs, just to keep it neat looking. I have gotten so many Figs of it, this
Year, last winter was the only year, I didn't do anything to it
but it is protected by my house,& the neighbor's house.
also Last winter was a lot milder than most we've Had

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 8:10PM
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