Return to the Fig Forum | Post a Follow-Up

If you had to pick just one?

Posted by ZoeCat17 z7a MD (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 27, 12 at 12:03

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?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: If you had to pick just one?

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.

RE: If you had to pick just one?

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.

RE: If you had to pick just one?

  • Posted by gorgi z6b_NJ (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 27, 12 at 19:07

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...

RE: If you had to pick just one?

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.


RE: If you had to pick just one?

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,


RE: If you had to pick just one?

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.


RE: If you had to pick just one?

  • Posted by ejp3 7NY (My Page) on
    Thu, May 24, 12 at 21:47

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.

RE: If you had to pick just one?

  • Posted by FMD_ none (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 8, 12 at 7:56

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

RE: If you had to pick just one?

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.

RE: If you had to pick just one?

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...


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Fig Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here