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  • Most Dependable Berry Flavor Fig for Central Florida

    Hi folks. I'm located just SE of Orlando, FL, 9b and have tried to look through the forums so hope this isn't a commonly posted question.

    With everything else I've grown in my region, I've had to be very specific about selecting varieties that won't succumb to FL heat, humidity, and rainy season. When it comes to figs, the UF extension service and plenty of websites recommend several common figs like celeste, brown turkey, olympia, etc. but almost nothing about figs in the berry flavor groups.

    I have tried figs from 3 different trees of unknown type and found them somewhat enjoyable, but wanted a richer, more acid balanced flavor than the general brown sugar these each offered. In looking at the FAQ flavor grouping guide, I believe a variety from the adriatic, Bordeaux, or dark berry categories is more of what I'm looking for. Beyond that I have not seen where people recommend specific types within the berry groups ( other than Violet de Bordeaux for taste it seems).

    For the berry flavor group fig cultivars, will any variety I select which has a closed eye most likely do fine in my climate? Are there any specific berry type cultivars that provide a good balance of taste quality, productivity, and robustness that might offer me a good foray into fig growing?

    I'm very excited by the thought of some of these berry figs, as my neighbors sugar type figs seem to do well. I have had my hopes dashed before trying to grow things that aren't bulletproof in my climate before and want to make sure I'm set up for some degree of success and not just pick the "best tasting fig" but end up disappointed by poor production or disease resistance.

    Thanks much for the help.

  • #2
    Welcome to the board. You may have to watch out for root knot nematodes in Fla. You could graft onto LSU Purple which is nematode resistant.

    We have lots of Fla posters so hopefully some can help you out with a good berry fig variety.
    CJ in Memphis 7b/8a….tight eyes, nonsplitters...Pons figs, French figs, Mario figs & tasty Cali seedlings!

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    • #3
      I know FMD has tried a lot of different varieties in-ground in Florida. I believe he is in the panhandle. I'm sure other growers in FL could give you good advice too. I suspect Violette de Bordeaux would be better than most.
      Steve
      D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
      WL: Castillon

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      • #4
        Welcome to the forum!
        in Florida, you don’t have the wasp but you can’t open anything you want!
        Round Rock, TX 8b
        WL: Delicious figs

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        • #5
          I've never had a Chicago Hardy split. It has a berry flavor, is productive and is extremely common. I don't know how they do in Florida, though.
          7B Southern NJ

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          • #6
            Appreciate the help very much. In my yard I luckily have not had many issues with nematodes, though I'll keep LSU purple in mind.

            Chicago hardy is looking like a good pick for both the taste I'm looking for and reliability.

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            • #7
              Fellow 9B’er, but at the other end of I4 in the Tampa area, here. My LSU Scott’s Black has done really well this year, very minimal splitting. I’m still waiting on my I-258 to ripen, but haven’t had any issues there yet. This is my first year, but next year I’m going to add Smith to my collection. It’s not berry flavored, but my Brown Turkey has been awful for me. Every single one has split, but we haven’t really gone a day without a downpour for the past couple weeks so that may have something to do with it.

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              • #8
                If you’re willing to roll the dice, Smith is a great choice for the humid south. It has a fantastic berry flavor. You could also research varieties like Moro de Caneva, Hative d'argenteuil, Ischia Black, RLBV…every variety has it’s quarks, but you will see these mentioned quite a bit on this forum.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MyDogMike View Post
                  If you’re willing to roll the dice, Smith is a great choice for the humid south. It has a fantastic berry flavor. You could also research varieties like Moro de Caneva, Hative d'argenteuil, Ischia Black, RLBV…every variety has it’s quarks, but you will see these mentioned quite a bit on this forum.
                  What about Smith is considering rolling the dice? What sorts of things will make or break a fig variety in the humidity? Most I've heard is having a closed eye to prevent spoiling some are prone to splitting. Is there a wide variance in disease resistance?

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                  • MyDogMike
                    MyDogMike commented
                    Editing a comment
                    A closed eye helps, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee it will do well with humidity. Some time spent researching on this forum and others, you will get a sense for which ones do well in your climate.

                    As far as disease resistance, I don’t know much about that, but I know figs don’t have a whole lot of problems with diseases IF you give them proper care.

                • #10
                  Some have reported Smith isn’t very productive. I have not found that to be the case, and it does take a few years to produce a large crop.

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                  • #11
                    This is based on others’ reports, not my own, from humid, wet spots in the SE.

                    Mt. Etnas such as Malta Black
                    RLBV
                    CDD Gris
                    Bourjasotte Gris
                    Adriatic JH
                    Thermalito
                    VdB
                    maybe Pastilliere
                    CJ in Memphis 7b/8a….tight eyes, nonsplitters...Pons figs, French figs, Mario figs & tasty Cali seedlings!

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                    • #12
                      Just ordered a rooted cutting of VDB and a Chicago Hardy! I'll keep you all in the loop how things go. Are figs like most trees I've dealt with where the sooner you get them in the ground the better?

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                      • #13
                        You live in 9b. Sky is the limit! But I recommend to grow figs it in the pot before you plant in the ground.

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                        • Yook
                          Yook commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Thanks for the help. I am curious, why do you advise to start in pots? And are you recommending that I keep these first plants in pots for a long period? Maybe to help me get used to their needs?

                      • #14
                        Several reasons. First, they fruits in a year in the pot(mostly) but it will take more time in the ground. Second, You don’t know which one is going to be your favorite and plant in the ground because there are so many figs. Third, Some works really well in rains but some doesn’t. Lastly, there are nematodes in Florida sandy soil (some areas) and it will slow down its growth and fruiting. Biggest advantage growing figs in the pot is that you don’t need a big yard to grow many figs.

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                        • #15
                          Yook, he fellow Floridian.
                          ​​​@Fig-Doctor offers very solid advice, and if you see his figs you will agree that he knows a thing about growing figs in Florida.

                          Another variety you can look into is Green Ischia. Another member grows this on the west coast of Florida, and according to him it has been very successfull. Unfortunately he hasnt -been on the forum for awhile.
                          C.Florida 9B WL: I-258 , Black Ischia, Ham Rham, Ghoudane , Moro de Caneva

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                          • #16
                            I would suggest Smith first and foremost.

                            Then one of the better Mt. Etna types. My favorites are Malta Black and RLBV.

                            These varieties taste great, have closed eyes, resist splitting, and ripen before our monsoon season gets started.

                            Some bonus varieties to consider- Borgasotte Gris/Socorro Black, Madeira Island Black, I-258 and Scotts Black. These are a little later, so you will get fewer but the ones you get are really good.
                            North Central Florida, Zone 9a.

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                            • It Could use another day
                              It Could use another day commented
                              Editing a comment
                              these may taste good but they WILL split. (madeira island black & i258)

                          • #17
                            Good Morning Fellow Florians,
                            I am a newbie, presently I have several varieties of fig trees in pots. I plan on planting my I 258 & my Chicago Hardy in ground next spring. The appear to be the most vigorous growers. I started my fig journey as of June of 2021. When is our dormant season? When do we start to prune, when do we stop fertilizer?
                            TIA.
                            Guy A
                            St Augustine Fl.
                            Zone 9A.

                            Comment


                            • Figarious Maximus
                              Figarious Maximus commented
                              Editing a comment
                              You're not far from me, so your dates will be about the same.

                              Mine are totally dormant by Christmas, so I generally prune between then and bud break which is February/March.

                              I don't generally fertilize much after August unless I'm pushing growth on something. I do use a controlled release fertilizer, so they're getting some, but I don't add.

                            • GuyA
                              GuyA commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Awesome, thank you for the advise.

                            • It Could use another day
                              It Could use another day commented
                              Editing a comment
                              your i258 will split inground, i would think twice about that one.

                          • #18
                            One variety that I haven't seen mentioned on the thread is Alma. This has been a workhorse fig for FMD I know. MD can also be hot, humid, and wet. I find that Alma can tolerate much better than most.
                            Steve
                            D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
                            WL: Castillon

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