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  • Tissue Culture fig productivity discussion

    There have been several brief discussions on the productivity of tissue culture (TC for short) fig productivity, I thought it would be good for people to share their experiences so we can get a better handle on things. Some people have reported no delays in fruiting, others have plants for years with no fruit. There was a report from a fig researcher that TC plants needed to reach a certain height before maturing enough to fruit.


    I have had 4 plants that I am 98% certain are TC plants from Agristarts (purchased from a garden center). All were about 8-12" tall when purchased, 2 Brown Turkey and 2 Lattarula.

    My first BT was purchased 2 years ago and planted out. Only ever produced 1 fig that didn't ripen in 2 seasons, but it was killed to the ground. Has been removed. The other BT was purchased last spring and is a vigorous grower with lots of suckers but no fruit yet. It's in a pot, so we'll see what this year brings. I'm considering using it as a rootstock for grafting.

    2 Lattarula were purchased last spring. One was planted in ground and for some reason never grew, so it was removed in the fall. The other is in a pot and grew very well, I don't think it set any fruit last year but it is loaded with brebas this spring (2nd year).
    https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
    SE PA
    Zone 6

  • #2
    I bought a VDB tissue culture last year. It was cheap like nine bucks or something. It arrived as I was transitioning the other figs outdoors and received the same treatment. The tree grew four main trunks to about 4 ft. tall. It began producing small figs in mid September however none of them had time to ripen. I suspect that it will fruit this year. I checked it yesterday and a tiny branch at the bottom has a nice green leaf opening! I enjoy the satisfaction that starting a tree from a cutting gives, but for someone in a pinch I do recommend a TC plant. I think mine was from Wellsprings?

    Comment


    • #3
      I've had several cultivars produce figs in their first season, Petite Negra TC, Olympian TC, Violette de Bordeaux TC, Celeste TC and O'Rourke TC. Some of the tissue cultured cultivars "revert" to a "seedling / juvenile stage" due to the tissue culture process.
      Click image for larger version

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      Most of my purchased Tissue Cultured figs were from Wellspring Gardens, http://wellspringgardens.com which sells mostly tissue cultured plants. Agristart is a wholesaler that only sells in quantity to these retailers and the nursery industry, http://www.agristarts.com/index.cfm/...ID/3/index.htm

      These are a few simple procedures that will help get earlier fig production.
      1. Planting the TC plug slightly higher (above the soil line) than it was growing reduces suckers.
      2. Training and pruning as a single stem tree (removing the multiple suckers and branches).
      3. Providing fertilization and water for "excessive" foliage growth (over fertilize).
      Last edited by AscPete; 04-18-2015, 09:23 PM. Reason: typo
      Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

      Comment


    • #4
      Last season (April), I bought "OLYMPIAN" fig trees from Wellspring Gardens. Tiny trees had thin, wire-like stems, less than 1/4" diameter. Planted these "plugs" into 5-gallon buckets filled with 5-1-1-1. By June-July, I had to pinch out all the figlets from the 4-5 ft. single-stem, trees. All trees had clean leaves, no signs of FMV disease, grew vigorously in full sun, and were very productive. I had to constantly pinch out terminal buds and tiny figs. I use (early spring, mid-summer) ESPOMA, IRON-TONE, and very diluted "Miracle-Grow" supplemental tonics. I followed the (AscPete) regimen, and fertilizer schedule.

      Bet this season I will be eating some "Olympian" figs from my tissue-cultured, containerized, trees.

      I would NOT hesitate to order, and grow, T-C trees. They are clean, cheap, true-to-variety, healthy, and will grow vigorously....given the correct culture. You'll get a lot of bang for the buck with these trees.


      Frank

      Comment


      • ninamd
        ninamd commented
        Editing a comment
        What is the AscPete regimen? Sorry been out of circulation.

      • allym
        allym commented
        Editing a comment
        Did you give them full sun or partial exposure when you first planted them? If it was less than 6 hours full sun when first planting, when did you increase the exposure?

    • #5
      Update on the the Violette de Bordeaux TC pictured in post #3, it has put on several feet of growth and is currently over 6 feet tall in a 5 gallon bucket. The single main stem has also grown several new side branches and has more than ~ 60 rice sized figs... The tree is very healthy with thick dark green leaves that don't curl up in midday heat and sun, which is usually typical for VdB. Also there are no visible signs of FMD.
      This is its 2nd Leaf (2nd season of growth)
      Click image for larger version

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      Last edited by AscPete; 06-15-2015, 12:28 AM.
      Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

      Comment


      • #6
        Glad to see everyone is getting results. Seems like the wait is two years for fruit to start.
        Proudly Serving in the United States Armed Forces, 2009-2017
        Everyone should have a green thumb

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        • #7
          Good update, Pete.

          I'll have to pull my Lattarula out from the forest when it's no longer raining for a full photo, but it has 10-15 breba that should start swelling any day and is loaded with main crop figlets, more every day. 2nd leaf as well. Looking forward to finally trying it, it set fruit too late last year.
          https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
          SE PA
          Zone 6

          Comment


          • #8
            I have a 4 year old 10' tall monster of a TC black mission that has yet to produce it's first fig.
            Cutting sales on willsfigs.com started Nov 1 and will continue till about March 1.

            Comment


            • #9
              I have two TC figs, a Hardy Chicago and Strawberry Verte, both from WellSprings and purchased a couple years apart. Both came as tiny straw-sized plants. Both grew like crazy from the start, and both produced figs in their second season. Or I say this by faith because the SV is just now two years old, but has 2 dozen figlets waiting to ripen.

              Growing figs from cuttings is fun, but if I wanted a variety that was hard to find I would take another TC fig in a heartbeat.

              Comment


              • #10
                Hey everyone . . . just joined. I have been growing 4 figs from WellSprings (Ischia, Celeste, Black Mission, LSU Purple) and also the Italian Honey (their dwarf fig) from Gurney's since 2013 and they are just producing fruit

                They all grow like crazy every year and I have to continue to prune them up until summer to beat them back to shape. I agree that they are not productive but I attribute that to their young age.

                The only issue I have is the identity of these plants. My ischia (Breba) had a yellow to clear yellow interior and the Celeste (Breba) had a fairly green/yellow exterior and light reddish interior and the Italian Honey looks to have a reddish interior from the small open eye. The IH main crop is not ripe yet so I can not tell for sure. Crazy!

                They all taste good but I'll have to find pictures I have taken on these and maybe get them identified correctly.

                Comment


                • #11
                  Welcome Chris
                  Cutting sales on willsfigs.com started Nov 1 and will continue till about March 1.

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Welcome Chris.
                    newnandawg 7b Newnan, GA

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      Welcome to the forum Chris.
                      Nothing in the world takes the place of growing citrus till figs come along. Ray City, Ga. Zone 8 b.

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Welcome Chris.

                        lots of going people and great advice here.
                        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


                        • #15
                          I have two TC trees on their second year, a VDB and an Olympian, the Olympian is starting to push a couple figs.

                          From WellSpring as well.
                          Last edited by COGardener; 06-16-2015, 06:49 PM.
                          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


                          • Chris
                            Chris commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Definitely interested in seeing how those two do later on and what they look like. I was planning on getting another VDB (have a VDB from Dave Wilson) along with the olympian from them.

                          • Yeehova
                            Yeehova commented
                            Editing a comment
                            I also have the Olympian and VDB from Wellspring and they are also in their second year. Same as last year, Olympian is producing figs and nothing from the VDB.

                        • #16
                          I am extremely disappointed that some of my wellspring TC figs (Celeste, Ischia) have started to drop their main crop. Just hope to get to finally eating some figs after watching them for a few years now (since 2013).

                          Is this normal due to their young age? Due to lack of space, if they are still like this next year I have to throw/give them away and get something else.

                          Comment


                          • AscPete
                            AscPete commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Fig trees will "drop" their figs when stressed, Celeste are known for this habit.
                            The stress is often due to water or nutrient deficiency. In potted culture these deficiencies can sometimes be traced back to the plants being root bound or having root problems. Good luck

                        • #17
                          Update of the TC VdB...
                          These are the same figs in the 1st photo of post #5...
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                          Report on LSU Purple TC and Brown Turkey TC both 2nd leaf and currently producing figs.
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                          To date all my purchased TC plants have produced figs by their 2nd leaf, which bodes well for those in warmer zones with longer growing seasons.
                          Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

                          Comment


                          • #18
                            My TC trees are in their second season and looking like they will fruit this year. My Olympian is maybe three feet tall with two stems and has a handful of fruits growing. The VdB is growing with three stems and just started setting figlets. The Ischia is a messy bush and looks like it will start pushing figs soon. I'll need to wait a few more days to tell with the Ischia since the buds are still at the ambiguous (at least to my eyes) stage. If I had known about training to a single stem last season, I'm sure my trees would be bigger and giving me more than just a handful of fruit this season.
                            Johnny
                            Stuff I grow: Google Doc

                            Comment


                            • #19
                              Update,

                              My second year TC Olympian from Well Spring gardens officially has figs on it. It has been hinting at pushing them for weeks now and today, there they are.

                              It is to far to late in the season for them to ripen here, yet I may leave one on just to see.

                              The VDB of the same size, age and origin is not showing any signs of figs this year. I do have high hopes for them next 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


                              • don_sanders
                                don_sanders commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Do you do anything to extend your season? I have several figs just starting to and was wondering what I might be able to do to get them to ripen. Fig shuffle (exhausting), make shift greenhouse (maybe to cold at night), bring then inside (bugs).

                              • don_sanders
                                don_sanders commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Do you do anything to extend your season? I have several figs just starting to and was wondering what I might be able to do to get them to ripen. Fig shuffle (exhausting), make shift greenhouse (maybe to cold at night), bring then inside (bugs).

                              • COGardener
                                COGardener commented
                                Editing a comment
                                I can do the shuffle, and usually do. I have a small greenhouse in my garage I did think about using if nessisary. But no truly good options right now, perhaps a temp controlled regular outdoor greenhouse next year.

                            • #20
                              My Olympian has figs also, a few should ripen. It has shown none of the suckering habit that the first 3 TC "Brown Turkeys" I had, one of which had BT type leaves and the other 2 more like Valle Negra and red buds. I bought them from Florida Hill Nursery, just ripped up the last one this spring and the cutting I took to try and grow a normal plant failed. The suckering habit along with winter freezes and lawn mower accidents made the base of the plant a horrible mess of small stumps attempting to all grow buds all season long.

                              I got a Petite Negri from Wellspring along with the Olympian and it came with fruit on it... It was a very small rooted cutting and not a TC plant, there was a cut on the bottom and very few roots. It got severe FMV from fig mites and was also discarded. The Olympian only showed faint FMV on the first few leaves, I won't propagate from it but want to try the fruit.
                              .

                              Comment


                              • #21
                                Thus far, my Petite Negra, VDB, Kadota, BT, Olympian and Lattarula Honey are doing very well, none seem to have reverted nor are they suckering.

                                I am also very fortunate to not have a mite problem.
                                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


                                • #22
                                  Suckering doesn't seem to be an issue for this tissue cultured VdB, its extremely productive in the 2nd year even when the "suckers" are allowed to grow (they're to be airlayered). The suckers account for ~ 30% of the figs (~80) that are currently visible on this TC tree...

                                  COGardener
                                  Added Photo of VdB EL pruned to a Bush Form (single, short main stem).
                                  You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 3 photos.
                                  Last edited by AscPete; 07-25-2015, 03:12 PM. Reason: Added photo and caption
                                  Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

                                  Comment


                                  • COGardener
                                    COGardener commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    Pete, I like the full look the "suckers" add to you plant.

                                  • AscPete
                                    AscPete commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    Scott,
                                    The 'Full Look' can be achieved with any fig tree if its pruned to a Bush Form, http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-ho...-espalier-form . Note the added photo in the above album of a VdB El pruned as Bush Form, several (8) airlayers were removed in late spring.

                                  • COGardener
                                    COGardener commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    I have some I'm pruning as small trees "4 to 5 foot" others as bushes. This will aid in their stacking during winter storage.

                                • #23
                                  Just picked these brebas from my 2nd leaf Lattarula TC plant. Another 3 or 4 to ripen and picked 1 last week.
                                  You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 1 photos.
                                  https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
                                  SE PA
                                  Zone 6

                                  Comment


                                  • #24
                                    Nice, Kelby. I hope they are tasty.
                                    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


                                    • AscPete
                                      AscPete commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      Kelby,
                                      Salting the area around the pots and the surface of the mix with used coffee grounds has worked to eliminate ants, but it takes a week or two.

                                    • COGardener
                                      COGardener commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      I'm hoping to harvest some of off my TC Lattarula next season, it will be second leaf then.

                                    • COGardener
                                      COGardener commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      Coffee grounds.... interesting!

                                      I have no ant problems, but I will keep that in mind.

                                      I can also get some horn toads from down the street. ... they will make short work of any ants.

                                  • #25
                                    Update on my 2nd year TC trees:

                                    VdB has ~20 fruit on it with a good chance of ripening. I've knocked a fair number of figlets off since they set too late to properly ripen.

                                    Olympian has ~15 fruit which should all ripen. I also knocked off several figlets which would probably not ripen.

                                    My Ischia has 1 fig which I think will ripen, and it might have had more if I had more diligent about watering it when it started fruiting. I think water stress caused 3 figlets to shrivel and fall off. I also pinched a few figlets off which weren't going to ripen.

                                    You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 3 photos.
                                    Johnny
                                    Stuff I grow: Google Doc

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