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  • Hardy fig planting plans

    I've been assembling my list of figs to plant in ground here in chilly zone 6b. I've selected these varieties based on reports of their hardiness, ability to fruit after ground kill, and productivity.

    Definites (if I root them all):
    Takoma Violet
    Adriatic JH
    Malta Black
    Improved Celeste
    Florea
    Ronde de Bordeaux
    Sal's
    Bari
    Nero600m

    Considering:
    Longue d'Aout
    Binello
    MBvs
    Lyndhurst White
    LaRadek's English BT
    Black Bethlehem

    I'm looking at also growing a handful in pots for breba production:
    Atreano (breba and main)
    Lattarula (breba and main)
    Sweet George (breba and main)
    Nexoe (breba? and main)
    Desert King
    Filacciano Bianco
    and some other San Pedro types.

    Any input? I've wound up with a lot of dark figs, I think I want to look into getting some more good light varieties like Vasilika Sika, Cdd Blanc, Green Ischia, or Brooklyn White.

    Unfortunately I only have good, sunny space for 10-15 varieties. And I don't have an interest in more than a handful of potted figs. Basically, I want lots of figs with as little work as possible.
    Last edited by Kelby; 02-17-2015, 02:12 PM.
    https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
    SE PA
    Zone 6

  • #2
    My Sweet George is extremely tasty and that was ripened inside. I've read that green ischia is very cold hardy and a very tasty fig.

    When you say improved Celeste, which one? I've heard of Floreas legendary cold hardiness which is why I'm getting one from Wills when they are ready to go.

    I'm still to new to figs figs to be much help, but I'm learning.
    Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

    “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

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    • #3
      Improved Celeste not O'Rourke...hope that helps!
      https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
      SE PA
      Zone 6

      Comment


      • #4
        Like LSU improved Celeste? I got one from JF&E for X-Mas last year, I sure hope to get figs this year. Heck, i hope to get and figs from any of my trees this year! !!
        Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

        “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

        Comment


        • cis4elk
          cis4elk commented
          Editing a comment
          Scott, the Improved Celeste you hope yours is will have 1&3 lobe leaves only. It has good breba crop and doesn't drop figs. The fruit is about 1/3 bigger than regular Celeste as well with good flavor. Herman coined the name Improved Celeste O'Rourke Not.

        • dobemom
          dobemom commented
          Editing a comment
          I hope we both get figs this year!

      • #5
        Originally posted by COGardener View Post
        Like LSU improved Celeste? I got one from JF&E for X-Mas last year, I sure hope to get figs this year. Heck, i hope to get and figs from any of my trees this year! !!
        Should be the one, yes. According to my notes Improved Celeste should have leaves with 1-3 lobes,occasionally 3 lobes and thumbs. I think O'rourke has 3-5 lobes. One of the earliest to ripen after Florea. I'm currently trying to root Imp Celeste now, fingers crossed.
        https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
        SE PA
        Zone 6

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        • #6
          Mine is breaking dormancy already I'll let you know as soon as the leaves are fully formed.
          Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

          “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

          Comment


          • #7
            Kelby, good luck with your in ground trees. I've been wondering if it's worth the hassle. I have 12 of them in ground and they usually all die to the ground. Last year I had an eight year old tree die to the ground. It was a nice looking tree. Every spring it drives me nuts when I unwrap my trees and they are dead or chewed up.
            For what it's worth, I have Florea, MBvs, Takoma Violet, and a bunch of unk. Mt Aetna types, and a few others. The only ones that don't die to the ground are the ones that get about a three ft pile of mulch and wrapped.
            Art
            Western Pa -6a

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            • #8
              I hear you Art. I've got some in the ground protected my lazy way (dumped a ton mulch on them). We'll see how they look come spring, especially after this week. I may have to modify my plan, who knows.
              https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
              SE PA
              Zone 6

              Comment


              • #9
                Kelby, here's what survived in my zone 8b open orchard this winter...

                MBVS
                Vista
                HC
                Bethlehem Black
                Gino's Black
                LSU Gold
                Alma
                San Donato
                NJ Red
                Petit Negri
                Sals Corleone
                VDB
                Melanzana
                Feng Huang
                Conadria

                These did not....
                RDB
                Malta Black
                Niagara Black
                KB
                Etc
                Etc
                Etc
                Frank Tallahasee 8B
                North Florida Figs

                Comment


                • Rewton
                  Rewton commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Frank, you already know the RDB, Malta Black etc didn't make it? Did they get hit by a cold snap before they were really dormant? My condolences!

                • FMD
                  FMD commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The freezes started early this year, and the list of dead trees is definite. With a few more deep freezes coming, the list could grow.

              • #10
                Thanks Frank! I'm surprised some of those died. I've been modeling my decisions a lot on herman2's posts since he's in the zone as me. RdB and Malta Black are 2 of his most recommended.
                https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
                SE PA
                Zone 6

                Comment


                • #11
                  One other deciding factor is, last year I probably picked about a dozen figs from my in ground trees and more than 2000 from my potted trees.
                  Art
                  Western Pa -6a

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Originally posted by kubota1 View Post
                    One other deciding factor is, last year I probably picked about a dozen figs from my in ground trees and more than 2000 from my potted trees.
                    As a counterpoint, the year before the polar vortex a local fig friend got 80 lbs off his never protected Sal's GS. Itd ied back hard then, not sure what he got last year.

                    I guess it all depends, but I'll be hoping for mild winters!
                    https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
                    SE PA
                    Zone 6

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      As I am gathering information for keeping my collection happy and healthy, I'm raising an eye brow at figs dieing on Frank in Zone 8b. I'm zone 5, maybe 5b on a good year, I was thinking about putting a couple trees inground this year. ... with very heavy winter protection. I may be rethinking that now, and wait till I move and can build a proper green house. Even then I may keep them in pots in the event of an emergency.
                      Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

                      “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Kelby,
                        Thanks for calling them "Hardy" and not "Cold Hardy".
                        When I discuss "cold hardy figs" I usually start with the disclaimer that "figs are indigenous to an arid semi tropical region which is a Zone 9 -10 minimum.
                        The hardy and healthy cultivars can withstand some extended periods of cold temperature below 20 * F but they still suffer die back without winter protection.

                        I plan on planting most of my fig trees in ground, but I will be growing them as easily protected Step-over Espaliers and not in the standard pruned Bush Form.
                        By protecting the main scaffold branches, the yearly fruiting branches produce figs earlier than if they had died back and started from the soil line.

                        In answer to your question, one group of light figs that has proven to be Hardy across the country is... Lattarula, Italian Honey, Oregon Prolific, St. Anthony, etc. Good Luck.
                        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Thanks Pete, I have called then 'cold hardy' in the past. Perhaps 'Hardier' is the best descriptor.

                          Not sure if you saw my posts last year, but I've been planting mine in 'wells' with rock walls. I filled those with mulch with the idea to at least protect the trunk. Might not work, but in my head it seems like it'll be ok.

                          I'm going to try Lattarula in a pot for now since the breba is supposed to be pretty good.
                          https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
                          SE PA
                          Zone 6

                          Comment


                          • #16
                            The big problem with the North Florida winters is NOT exceedingly low temperatures (mid 20's is pretty mild compared to what is happening up north).
                            No, what actually kills trees here is the cycling of long mild periods in the 60's and 70's with the short timed freezes. The warm weather softens the bark, the sap starts to flow, the buds emerge and then---BAM!!
                            Still, even under this perfect storm scenario, it is good to know that there are cultivars that survive. I believe that certain varieties survive, not because of cold hardiness, but because they have a built in delay in responding to the effects of the warm temperatures.

                            Frank
                            Frank Tallahasee 8B
                            North Florida Figs

                            Comment


                            • #17
                              Frank,

                              I agree. Let's define warm "softiness" as the ability of a cultivar to resist the effects of warm temperatures. I have read in a few places that it is also a combination of warmth and light (length of day/spring solstice) that triggers some.

                              My survivor list includes many of yours with a few additions and the caveat that most of my trees are potted

                              Adriatic JH
                              Aubique Petite
                              Battaglia Green
                              Camuna Small Black
                              Canone Dark
                              Celestes
                              Hunt
                              Kathleen Black
                              LSUs
                              Native Black
                              Negronne
                              RdB
                              Smith
                              Socorro Black
                              Unknown Stallion
                              Voiture #217

                              The die back/dead list includes some of the more prized figs that just have not done well for me

                              Black Madeira
                              Bordisotts
                              CdDs
                              Rimadas
                              Natalina
                              Rmali

                              Jimmie
                              Last edited by JD; 02-17-2015, 06:40 AM. Reason: I attempted to use the font color feature with no success. It is user error or the feature is not yet operational.
                              jimmie aka JD | tallahassee.fl | zone.8b | davistating.eBay

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                              • #18
                                Kelby,
                                I read your post last year. The rocks would help as windbreaks in winter and as "solar collectors / reflector" in summer.
                                The trees that have been planted near buildings and survive decades without die back in colder zone benefit from the radiant heat from these structures.
                                Those next to larger free standing stone wall benefit from the radiant heat from the ground.

                                Frank,
                                I realize that it may not be practical in your case, but some winter protection would help in your situation.
                                If the trees were covered, the constant cooler soil temperature would help to moderate temperatures.
                                Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

                                Comment


                                • #19
                                  Kelby, I can probably hook you up with Lyndhurst White, MBVS, and Stella if you want to give those a shot. Assuming my rooting luck holds, I should have extras.
                                  Johnny
                                  Stuff I grow: Google Doc

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                                  • Kelby
                                    Kelby commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    Thank Johnny, I may take you up on the Stella. I have or am rooting the other two. If I recall you're in Lancaster, do you know Bill yet?

                                  • jkuo
                                    jkuo commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    I've been in touch with Bill through F4F. I'm hoping to check out his forest of fig trees in the spring when our schedules hopefully mesh a little better.

                                  • Kelby
                                    Kelby commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    Bill's a good guy, he'll take care of you! I've down to his place a couple times for tastings, haha.

                                • #20
                                  I wonder if you cut back and heavily mulch a fig if it would be any better protected than if it was not cut back. From what I understand, woody plant tissue can die due to being in proximity to other dying woody plant tissue. I would suggest cutting off nearly all woody limbs and stems longer than 12" and mailing them to me come fall. Then mulch heavily.
                                  Christy, Figging Amateur
                                  Mid-Michigan, USA. USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 5b.

                                  Comment


                                  • jkuo
                                    jkuo commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    lol! I like your solution!

                                • #21
                                  (har har har)
                                  Christy, Figging Amateur
                                  Mid-Michigan, USA. USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 5b.

                                  Comment


                                  • #22
                                    Kelby,

                                    It sounds like we are in similar situations. I have been looking to compile (albeit with difficulty) is ripening order and ripening duration to maximize the season. Given the lack of space, I do not want all my trees ripening at the same time. The ripening order people list seem to vary greatly from year to year and location to location. I think knowing which varieties ripen at the same time and/or overlap is a great benefit.

                                    I am growing several of the varieties you have listed and looking for a several more. Last year was my first season growing in Colorado and my trees were small. I do not think it was a good representation of what to expect in the future.

                                    ~james
                                    Littleton, CO (zone 5b) - In Containers
                                    N.E. of Austin, TX (zone 8b)- In Ground.

                                    Comment


                                    • mountainfigs
                                      mountainfigs commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      In my experience, the Mount Etnas and LSU Purple ripen more or less continuously until frost. I'll be watching other cultivars this summer that are said to behave similarly.

                                    • AscPete
                                      AscPete commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      James,
                                      One of the reasons that I compiled the list and grew "Gateway figs" other than enjoying figs from all the flavor groups, was to also be able to enjoy figs over a longer ripening (harvest) duration... http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-ho...tivars#post246 they may not be exotic, but they're hardy and productive.
                                      Ripening Order: Italian Honey - Celeste - Hardy Chicago - Violette de Bordeaux - Conadria.
                                      Last edited by AscPete; 02-19-2015, 08:28 PM.

                                  • #23
                                    Kelby,

                                    If you are sure you want to try a Sweet George, hit me up. I will either pull an air layer or cuttings next season. The tree has been in my Garage Greenhouse all winter and has not been aloud to go dormant so no cuttings this year.
                                    Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

                                    “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

                                    Comment


                                    • Kelby
                                      Kelby commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      Have one, thanks though buddy!

                                    • COGardener
                                      COGardener commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      No worries.

                                  • #24
                                    Hi Kelby,

                                    Would you mind attaching a link to your google docs spreadsheet so I don't have to search the other forum? Thanks
                                    Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)

                                    Comment


                                    • Kelby
                                      Kelby commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      It's on my signature

                                    • fitzski
                                      fitzski commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      Thanks, Kelby. I missed that.

                                  • #25
                                    Originally posted by FMD View Post
                                    These did not....
                                    RDB
                                    Malta Black
                                    Niagara Black
                                    KB
                                    Etc
                                    Etc
                                    Etc
                                    Frank,

                                    So were these in ground and die completely or just to ground level? Established trees or young? With the exception of KB I was thinking/hoping the other 3 were generally reported fairly hardy. I am in agreement on the long periods of warm weather being my main issue. I lost more trees (not figs) spring of 2012 during one of the mildest winters I have had with a one night cold in mid 20s F after a few weeks of unseasonably warm weather in Feb/Mar. I lost Jujube below graft, which should be a couple zones more hardy and many other things that handle much colder. Regardless this spring is the big fig/pomegranate plant out. Pretty much everybody will have to prove themseleves.
                                    Last edited by strudeldog; 02-18-2015, 08:18 AM.
                                    Phil North Georgia Zone 7 Looking for: All of them, and on and on,

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