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  • Which varieties would you choose and why?

    New to the fig growing game but not gardening. I teach high school science and at some point this school year I am going to have students attempt to root fig cuttings. I am in the area west of Houston TX. There are a bunch of local celeste trees that I can get cuttings from for free but I really would like to introduce them to some better varieties if possible. Here is my wish list of possible varieties for this project so far. How would you change it? Why? Thanks for your help.

    PONTE TRESA (probably too expensive)

  • #2
    Professor Schnabl, if it were me, I think that I'd drop the Adriatic JH from my rooting lineup. It has been quite a bit more difficult for many forum members to persuade it to root for them. Italian-258 is tastier to most palates than the JH and it is a very robust grower.

    As kids really need the reinforcement that successful ventures provide, I think that maybe pairing up a very willing rooter such as the Strawberry Verte or a White Texas Everbearing with another of the tasty cuttings on your list for each student, would help ensure that at least one of the two cuttings rooted and leafed out for them.

    Between myself and another very generous forum member here, we should be able to provide enough of the Strawberry Verte and White Texas Everbearing for the classroom of yours.

    CA 9b "May you sit under your own fig tree..." This metaphor, in use since Solomon, is a wish for the receiver's spirit to know peace, for their family to be secure, and for their life to be fruitful.


    • #3
      Professor I would disagree with the previous statement. First of all, Adriatic JH is native to the Houston area so it will do well for you. 3 years ago, when I was much less an expert at rooting figs, I attempted to root, and successfully did root, 4 Adriatic JH cuttings with no difficulties. I have never heard anyone say it was difficult to root before. I encourage you to try it as an in ground tree in your area. It is also an easily available, affordable variety to acquire, unlike Italian 258.
      Last edited by Rafaelissimmo; 10-16-2016, 12:55 PM.
      Zone 10b, Miami, FL


      • #4
        Definitely drop the Ponte Tresa. Just hype at this point. May turn out to be great or maybe a flop. Great for enthusiasts but crazy for the average Joe.

        I would probably drop the El Molino. May not be a common fig.

        Never heard of SAO MIGUEL ROXO.

        As far as Adriatic JH, I really like it but can't comment on the difficulty rooting as mine rooted. Something to consider though if it is a known difficult rooter.

        Not sure how many you are having each person try to root but including at least one easy rooter as mentioned is a good idea. The fresh local free Celeste may be the easiest of all. Atreano and Daisy's Cornilio IBT were very easy rooters for me.
        Don - OH Zone 6a Wish list: Verdolino, Black Celeste


        • #5
          I am no expert, however, I would say the LDA is a great choice! It rooted readily for me, and it has already been productive in its first year. As far as rooting success has gone Unk Carini has been the best for me. 100% rooting success my first year rooting Both of these are good size figs and great tasting. Sounds like a great class to be a part of! Enjoy!


          • #6
            I am a total naysayer to your list as listed for your stated purpose. A fig cutting and resulting success or failure is a fig cutting, and hopefully a juvenile tree is the same in all ways for a couple of years. The cultivar has nothing to do with the process other than some are easier than others. The area around Houston had a very large commercial fig production industry and the majority of the trees were Brunswick which if used, would also bring a touch of history to your project.

            I think the project is a great idea and well worth the effort, I do not think the list of premium/exotics is the way to do it. As a group, we seem to always suggest newbies start with more common figs for first efforts and wait until skills are developed prior to moving "Up" to the premium/exotics, so why is this any different?

            Probably going to start a firestorm, but you asked.
            Wish List - Any LSU fig


            • #7
              Luckily , jh adriatic and alma are the two little fig trees I already own and the jh adriatic should give me a handful of cuttings this winter I hope. It is about 3ft tall. The students and I sure would appreciate any of the donated cuttings that you mentioned bluemalibu. That would be very gracious.

              Don_sanders, I too like the idea of having an easy to root, coommon one like the celeste. Maybe I will have one celeste for each and just add whatever else that can be found from the list.

              Dkirtexas, I thought kadota was what they used to grow and can around Houston.


              • #8
                I heard that Smith can be tricky to root.
                RDB or Adriatic would be fairly easy rooters.
                Wishlist; Green Michurinska, St. Rita
                Sarver, PA Zone 6A.


                • #9
                  I teach a fig rooting class each Spring and it's hard to come by the more rare varieties. I have options from what I can get a lot of, describe each fig and let them choose 2. 90% of the fig cuttings rooted. I had Hardy Chicago, Desert King, Celeste and a few other varieties available, including some unknowns. There probably aren't enough PT cuttings in the US to give everyone in your class one, lol. I, too, think going for exotic varieties isn't your best course of action. You're much more likely to get enough VdBs and they taste great.

                  Bluemalibu gave you a great offer as Strawberry Verte is a great fig and easy to grow.
                  Bob C.
                  Kansas City, MO Z6


                  • #10
                    I rooted several JH Adriatic cuttings very successfully. I thought they were very easy to root for me.
                    Coastal NC, humid 8A


                    • #11
                      It has been stated that Kadota is the fig of choice around the world for canning in syrup and there was a lot of that down there. The Brunswick was used for preserves because of its size. Both Kadota and Brunswick would be historically correct for the Houston area. I can remember many acres of figs down around the Friendswood and Pearland areas, they were bulldozed to make way for homes. Most of them were in bad shape having gone unattended for a while.
                      Wish List - Any LSU fig


                      • #12

                        I too am very new to growing figs. I had no idea that there were so many different ones to choose from. And I am not able to buy one of each to try them all, so I have been reading all that I can find to help me select the right ones.

                        One of the discussions that I read talked about two gardeners that could not get the Adriatic JH fig cuttings to grow roots. It is good to see that others here had good luck with them. In my studying I am seeing that there are very many different experiences with how everybody roots their cuttings also. Lots and lots of different methods. What may not have worked for one person, some one else uses every day. Amazing.


                        • #13
                          Harborseal, PT is very likely not going to happen. Wishing doesnt cost anything though Heheh.

                          I think that some of the others might be possible though. Especially with bluemalibu contributing to the cause. I do think rooting some varieties that not everyone has around here and can't be found at the local outlets would add to the experience. I imagine few if any of my students will be canning them in syrup so kadota and such are not real high on my list. Probably just eating them from the tree and I believe there are some superior figs for that. Some of these may also get donated to the life skills program to be used for fundraising purposes. It would be nice if they brought a decent price for them. I always encourage my students to donate to the life skills kids.

                          A lot of great advice from y'all and I'm happy to get it from you. Thanks.


                          • #14
                            I think you are doing a great thing for your students! In fact I am thinking of doing something similar for my group of students who are in a intensive partial hospitalization unit (high school based) that I am interning with.. I would strongly suggest staying away from the more expensive varieties that are known to be very difficult to root (CDD's in my experience were difficult) as is Bourjasotte Gris. If you would consider using Atreano, Lyndhurst White, or Italian honey I would definitely be able to donate a few just for the cost of shipping.. I also have Golden Celeste which would do nicely for you and VdB.. I could probably send 3 or 4 cuttings each on those varieties if you'd like? Let me know when the time comes via PM👍🏼Its a great thing introducing your students to, best of luck to you! Please post some pics of the process for us, Id love to see the kids in action!
                            My Plant Inventory: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...HZcBjcsxMwQ7iY

                            Cuttings Available 2022:


                            • #15
                              Prof --

                              My two cents. . . . I am a relative newbie but I rooted 17 varieties last winter. My takeaways:

                              1. The quality of the cutting matters. Acquire from a trusted supplier. I assume you want dormant wood. Make sure it's recently cut (e.g., Dec '16 not March '16). An old cutting that has spent 9 months in somebody's fridge may be dried out or moldy.

                              2. The size of the cutting matters. Finger-size seems ideal. Thicker may be OK. Thinner, like a twig, is bad. It seems that a thin cutting has stored too little energy to develop fully.

                              When quality and size are good, your success can approach 100%.

                              Regarding varieties, I had the best success with Black Greek, acquired from Marius. Close behind was Emerald Strawberry, acquired from Tony (mountainfigs). A variety of Mount Etna types did well. Of the varieties you list, I started only JH Adriatic and LSU Champagne (but also Nero 600M, which may be identical to VdB). For JHA, I received two cuttings as gifts. One thick cutting did very well; a very thin cutting rooted only with great difficulty. For Champagne, I received one thick cutting as a gift. It did very well. For Nero 600M, I bought a few medium size cuttings. They all rooted but it was a bit of a struggle; the plants were/are healthy but the variety seems a little bushy / dwarfish and the growth is not as robust as others mentioned above.
                              Joe, Z6B, RI.


                              • #16

                                I am more than happy to be able to lend you a hand with your class project, Schnabl. As a youth firearms instructor since '87 and a Scoutmaster since '94, I know that the more that we are able to expose young people to the miracle of nature and the adventure of the great outdoors, the better off that they will be for it. (There are surely other's willing to contradict that statement as well, though... as you've already experienced here today. But I assure you, that all of this free advice has been worth every cent that you've paid for it! LOL!!)

                                It's great that you already have the Adriatic JH growing for you there... as a gardener, you too have probably found that the fresher the cuttings are that you are attempting to root, the more likely that you'll meet with success.

                                Best of wishes to you and your class... and welcome to the madness!!!

                                CA 9b "May you sit under your own fig tree..." This metaphor, in use since Solomon, is a wish for the receiver's spirit to know peace, for their family to be secure, and for their life to be fruitful.


                                • #17
                                  Go for Bourjasotte Grise..taste is excellent and you won't regret.


                                  • #18
                                    Schnabl, I can supply you with ample supply of White Texas Everbearing cuttings after Valentines Day. It's when I prune here in south central Texas. This 48g fig when properly ripened is a dirty dark golden color and is very sweet with amber center. Some might consider it a honey type fig.

                                    It roots easily for me. When I want to root cuttings taken on Valentines Day I stick 12 in cuttings upside down vertically completely covered with potting soil in a 5 gal bucket with holes drilled around and in the bottom. The bucket sits under a fig tree unti around April 1st. The cuttings are repotted right side up 6-8 in deep. Most leaf out well with just spring rains.
                                    Jerry, Canyon Lake TX 8b


                                    • #19
                                      ...Speak of the devil and he doth appear. ( "...very generous forum member" )

                                      Jerry was the source of my WTE which I have described before as being willing to root in the middle of the Highway after being doused with Roundup. You can't go wrong with it, Professor!
                                      CA 9b "May you sit under your own fig tree..." This metaphor, in use since Solomon, is a wish for the receiver's spirit to know peace, for their family to be secure, and for their life to be fruitful.


                                      • Jamie0507
                                        Jamie0507 commented
                                        Editing a comment
                                        I have to agree with Blue here, he sent me a couple WTE cuttings last Feb/March time-frame & I now have a beautiful tree that is full of figs already! Both cuttings rooted easily (they were beasts!) and I ended up gifting one of the 2! Can't go wrong with that one 👍🏼

                                      • danw
                                        danw commented
                                        Editing a comment
                                        I also got a WTE from Blue and the roots practically exploded from it. It was one of the later cuttings I rooted, and it is far from the smallest tree.

                                    • #20
                                      Avatar Red fish?

                                      jh is my choice. Strong grower. Cold hardy and belle leafs.
                                      Attached Files
                                      Last edited by Taverna78; 10-16-2016, 08:55 PM.
                                      Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                                      1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
                                      2) This weeks ebay auctions.


                                      • #21
                                        As a retired teacher, I applaud your teaching children how to root fig cuttings. I wish more teachers would do this. I’ve rooted most of the trees on your list and found all of them root pretty easily except for my version of Col de Dame Blanc (maybe), which I finally had to air layer. It’s great you’re introducing new varieties of fig trees to your area. Most people think “fig newton” when you mention figs and “turn off” when there are many other great varieties of flavors to explore. If people are going to learn to like figs, they will need more choices than big and taste-less commercial varieties sold in stores.
                                        Ronde de Bordeaux is one of my favorites and roots easily for me. Unlike Joe, I went through three batches of Emerald Strawberry before I was able to root just one.
                                        If you can get some I-258 cuttings, it might be a better choice and more affordable than Ponte Tresa.
                                        I don’t know Texas geography, but Herman once recommended these varieties as being his best tasting and most productive of 150 varieties for someone in the Texas Hill Country area, 8A, west of Austin:
                                        “Adriatic JH, Atreano, Mission, Marseilles vs black, Hardy Chicago, Sal Corleone,and Gene strains, Bataglia green, Gino's fig, Malta Black, Aubique Petite, Violette de Bordeaux, Kathleen Black, Lindhurst Wht, Paradiso: white, bronze, and Nero(black), LSU Gold, Scott's Black, Improved Celeste, Weeping fig, Sicilian Black, Stella, Tacoma Violette, and White Texas Everbearing.”
                                        Best of luck with your project.
                                        Last edited by Altadena Mara; 10-17-2016, 11:11 AM.
                                        Mara, Southern California,
                                        Climate Zone: 1990=9b 2012= 10a 2020=?


                                        • jrdewhirst
                                          jrdewhirst commented
                                          Editing a comment
                                          I like RdB too. I've had good success air-layering it, so I believe that it'd root easily.

                                      • #22
                                        From my experience this past year trying to root 100+ varieties, Hardy Chicago types are the easiest to root. Literally all 15 or so of them had good success rates.
                                        Zone 7A - Philadelphia
                                        Flavor Profiles & Variety List / Facebook / YouTube / Blog


                                        • #23
                                          Thanks for all of the great info Guys!

                                          Yes it is a red fish in my avatar. I also fish. Heheh.

                                          Jmaler, Jamie, and bluemalibu, I thank y'all for your generous offer and intend to take y'all up on it!

                                          In class, we have already grown/started
                                          Oyster mushrooms
                                          Bocking 4 comfrey in soil from root cuttings
                                          Lemongrass rooted in water
                                          Vietnamese white guava from seeds
                                          Mexican guava fromm seeds but most of those died.
                                          Sold shark tooth fossil necklaces to make money to buy a really big pot for a banana shrub that was donated to us (going to take cuttings from it too)
                                          Formed a gardenIng club called "The Garden Gnome Fellowship" with 22 members so far.
                                          A few mandarin and tangelo seeds were sprouted.

                                          I airlayered my jh adriatic to show them.

                                          Plan on doing

                                          Banana shrub cuttings from the donated plant
                                          Wooly lambs ear
                                          Indonesian papayas from seed
                                          Holy basil (Krishna, Kapoor)from seed.
                                          Fig trees from cuttings of course
                                          Heirloom tomatoes ( did Cherokee purple, German Johnson, mortgage lifter, stupice, Matt's wild cherry, Eva purple ball, Amy's sugar gem, brandywine, black brandywine last year)
                                          Maybe other stuff


                                          • Altadena Mara
                                            Altadena Mara commented
                                            Editing a comment
                                            Just a suggestion. You might want to try water rooting holy basil tulsi plants from cuttings. I’ve grown Vana, Krishna, and Rama tulsi as well as different Italian basils. They all interbreed and often produce seedlings that look like Italian basil. Krishna tulsi is especially difficult to grow, even from commercial seeds, but roots easily in water. Best of luck with it.

                                        • #24

                                          The pictures below are of a 6' White Texas Everbearing and a 5' Strawberry Verte that I snapped at dusk this evening. Both of these plants were cuttings that I began rooting in March. Again, I think that these two robust cultivars will be perfect for your project Schnabl; they are very willing rooters and fruit readily. PM me to coordinate a time frame that you are going to want the cuttings to be available.


                                          CA 9b "May you sit under your own fig tree..." This metaphor, in use since Solomon, is a wish for the receiver's spirit to know peace, for their family to be secure, and for their life to be fruitful.


                                          • #25
                                            I have plenty of Black Mission fig cuttings - not on your list - but have done very well for me here in East Texas. You're welcome to some. Just PM me your address.