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  • Early Ripening Fig Varieties

    The seasonally earliest ripening fig varieties may be Ronde de Bordeaux, (LSU) Improved Celeste, and Florea (Michurinska-10), also Celeste and Pastiliere (Rouge de Bordeaux). Malta Black and the Mount Etna types like Marseilles Black also ripen relatively early in season, LSU Purple too.

    As far as I'm aware, only the two LSU figs in the early ripening list above derive from scientific breeding programs. It seems that figs have been bred for many purposes - taste, size, texture, appearance, rain and humidity resistance, disease resistance - though early ripening does not necessarily seem to have been a primary goal.

    (By early ripening, I mean early in the season, not necessarily early in the life of the fig trees, though many of these varieties are productive when young. And I'm referring to main crop figs, not brebra crop.)

    However, since one of the most early ripening figs of all seems to be LSU Improved Celeste, along with traditional Celeste, and since traditional Celeste was used in the LSU breeding program, and given the relatively early ripening nature of LSU Purple, I wonder what other LSU cultivars may be especially early ripening. I have limited experience with most other LSU cultivars, so can't much say first hand. Would be interested to hear the experience of others who've grown the other LSU varieties for some years.

    Hunt also seems to be fairly early ripening, and also came out of a fig breeding program (by an individual) that also used Celeste figs.

    Also would be interested to hear of the cultivars that ripen main crop figs both early in season AND at a young fig tree age. It seems that as trees age, many cultivars ripen main crop relatively early in season. In some ways it's most useful to know which cultivars ripen figs seasonally early reliably and from a young age. Even better if they are especially productive and/or ripen continuously till frost, rather than in a short 2 or 3 week burst.

    So, a list of earliest ripening main crop figs in my experience and/or research (not necessarily in precise order):

    Ronde de Bordeaux
    (LSU) Improved Celeste
    Florea (Michurinska-10)
    Pastiliere (Rouge de Bordeaux)
    Malta Black
    Mount Etna types like Marseilles Black
    LSU Purple
    Tony WV 6b

  • #2
    Great topic. I don't have the experience and my trees aren't old enough to add info here but look forward to reading responses. My personal goal is to expand my fig season as much as possible with in ground figs so any info will be helpful.
    Pine Prairie, LA 8B


    • #3
      Kelby's list shows a lot more great information on ripening times at link "Recommended..." tab.
      Tony WV 6b


      • #4
        Added benefit to being early ripening is that fruit will still mature in years of severe winter injury.
        SE PA
        Zone 6


        • #5
          LSU O'Rourke ripens here in mid to late Sept. Latarrula ripens early enough for a good crop. I get a good crop of Osborne Prolific too.


          • #6
            I just went out and did a brief survey. The tree with the most breba is Naragansette. I'll let you know how they taste
            Bob C.
            Kansas City, MO Z6


            • #7
              Black Greek seems to take just a little longer than Etnas but is still early.


              • #8
                LSU Tiger is another early ripening fig. It's a little larger than Hardy Chicago and sweeter too.
                Last year I got my first figs from it and wasn't disappointed.
                Wishlist; Green Michurinska, St. Rita
                Sarver, PA Zone 6A.


                • #9
                  Nazareth August / September USDA Hardiness Zone 8b


                  • #10
                    A lot of time - 3 full growing seasons - has passed since the original post here. The main crop earliest ripening dates for the figs I've ripened first hand in WV 6b are as listed below, through the end of August, based on my firsthand observations in growing over the past several years. ( I commented further on this list recently at link: https://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-h...220#post244220 )

                    Regarding the OP above, which was partly based on research and only partially on first hand experience, I now consider Malta Black to be Mt Etna, Celeste drops figs so badly here as to be not at all worthwhile (very different from Improved Celeste), and Pastiliere drops its figs even moreso.

                    Main Crop Earliest Ripe Dates (in pots, 2014 - 2017, July and August only)
                    1. Ronde de Bordeaux July 27
                    2. (LSU) Improved Celeste 28
                    3. Florea 29
                    4. Mt Etna August 09
                    5. LSU O'Rourke 11
                    6. Atreano 11
                    7. LSU Purple 15
                    8. Conadria 15
                    9. LSU Tiger 16
                    10. Nordland 16
                    11. Sultane 16
                    12. Brooklyn White 17
                    13. Hunt 19
                    14. LSU Gold 19
                    15. Wuhan 19
                    16. Kadota 19
                    17. Osborn Prolific 20
                    18. Violette de Bordeaux 20
                    19. Galbun 20
                    20. Celeste 21
                    21. LSU Champagne 22
                    22. Long Yellow 24
                    23. White Triana 24
                    24. Calverte 25
                    25. Italian 376 26
                    26. Lemon/Blanche (U. Ital. White) 26
                    27. Excel 26
                    28. Emerald Strawberry (UC 143-36) 26
                    29. Lyndhurst White 28
                    30. Fico Bianca 28
                    31. Janice Kadota 29
                    32. Peter's Honey (Pingo de Mel?) 30
                    33. Violet Sepor 31
                    Might be worthwhile to add what I wrote in a note recently:

                    For my growing zone, my 5 best figs so far (good quality & reasonably productive) include my 4 earliest ripeners - Ronde de Bordeaux, (LSU) Improved Celeste, Florea, and Mt Etna (by various names) - plus LSU Tiger. After those top 5: Brooklyn White, Nordland (by various names), LSU Purple, Violet de Bordeaux (by various names), Violet Sepor, Long Yellow, & Kadota and/or Lemon/Blanche.

                    That's all for main crop. Breba crops are tricky but will give some fruit a month before main crop: VdB (by various names), Lattarula, San Miro PIro, Kadota, Desert King, even Florea, these are some of the more reliable, more flavorful, and earlier ones. Also Grantham's Royal except that it is a late breba coming in not much before the first main crop figs begin to ripen.

                    Things change over time. Some varieties are added to these lists, fewer are subtracted. If I had to precisely rank my main crop varieties by "figs I rely on" then currently it would go something like this:

                    1. Mt Etna [by far]
                    2. RdB
                    3. Improved Celeste
                    4. LSU Tiger
                    5. Florea
                    6. Brooklyn White
                    7. Violet Sepor
                    8. Long Yellow
                    9. LSU Purple
                    10. Violet de Bordeaux
                    11. Nordland
                    12. Kadota

                    Again, Mt Etna is by far best overall here in ground and in pots. LSU Purple has been the 2nd best fig in ground, however I have few varieties in ground currently. Expect to greatly change that this coming year.

                    Tony WV 6b


                    • mountainfigs
                      mountainfigs commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I'm slightly above 1,000 feet, about a mile from elevations of 2,000 feet, and then not too far off 3,000 feet. But my figs here grow just above 1,000 feet, about 320 meters.

                    • Atlatl
                      Atlatl commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thank you

                    • MontrealJoe
                      MontrealJoe commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Great work! I’m in zone 5a and now I understand why my Mt Etna is year in and year out my most reliable... Thank you

                  • #11
                    This is very helpful, thanks.
                    Arne - Northern NJ - Zone 6A


                    • mountainfigs
                      mountainfigs commented
                      Editing a comment
                      My pleasure. I find myself referring to notes more often then I would expect. Lots to juggle and things change, years differ.

                  • #12
                    Thanks for that very useful information. I'm sure Raasti Northern Persian UNK will be added to the list of very early main crop varieties as it seems to ripen around the time of LSU Improved Celeste.
                    D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
                    WL: Castillon


                    • mountainfigs
                      mountainfigs commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thanks, Steve, any cuttings of Raasti NPU available? Lots I could trade with. I'll send a PM.

                  • #13
                    Thanks Tony, I am around 1700 feet and in zone 5b. I have watched your posts and have plants grown From cuttings from you it's always good to see your info, it's very helpful.
                    Brenda East Tn. Zone 6B


                    • mountainfigs
                      mountainfigs commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thanks. That's an interesting elevation and zone to grow at given a Tennessee latitude, which would seem to make it sort of northern growing in the south. Would be interesting to hear what ripening results you come up with going forward.

                    • Bren55
                      Bren55 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      mountainfigs the only trees 4 yrs are Negronne & celeste both in 8 to 10 gal pot both rippened last wk of Aug into Sept. My others are 1 to 1 1/2 yrs all in 5 gal Sips rippened last wk Aug. Conadria, Marseilles Black & Malta Black this wk or next didn't write it down but very close. Mid Sept. Peter's Honey, Hardy Chicago. Late Sept. Brooklyn White. All except Celeste continued to put on figs, I removed some & let some ripen, all had figs when I moved them into attached unheated garage in mid nov.. our temps for the last wk and a half have been lows anywhere from 3.6 to teens & highs from teens to todays high of 33, mostly highs in 20's though. Of course wind chill drops those temps., the pond has been frozen solid for days. I put all my figs on the deck except 5 I have in 5 gal sunk into the ground but I don't believe they had enough sun, I will trim the plants in front of them this yr. They did out grow the ones on the deck though.

                  • #14
                    Your information is very helpful. We are at 5000 ft, Zone 7, in Albuquerque, NM. One of my figs is Violet Sepor, which is early, productive, and tastes great. Not many varieties fair well at this altitude. It has taken quite a few years and many disappointments to figure this out.
                    Leon-Albuquerque, NM Zone 7b


                    • mountainfigs
                      mountainfigs commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thanks, always trying to learn. Another thing I would really like to know is how to consistently maximize high quantity of figs per short length of limb by some easy and ready technique. Decreasing nodal spacing, increasing fruit set and productivity, producing 3 dozen figs in a two gallon pot, that sort of thing. Can quickly get complicated, it seems.

                      In the meantime, my 4 earliest ripeners are 4 of my top 5 most reliable and flavorful figs in my zone. Early and best here not a coincidence, I think. So I really look forward to trying to bring some other very early ripeners online, asap.

                      Genetic testing hasn't been able to differentiate between Violet Sepor and Bourjassotte/Bordissot Grise. This and other information and observation indicates to me that they might well be the same. Bordissot Grise was esteemed in Georgia (US) 100+ years ago for its great flavor and productivity, and seems to be highly spoken of everywhere. So I wouldn't be surprised if Violet Sepor can increasingly be confirmed as Bordissot Grise.

                      Something should be said too for the varieties that don't produce much easily but produce at least something that puts a new twist on flavor, shape, size, color, texture. I think of these as spice figs, as they liven up and diversify what comes from the core producers.

                    • delynnr
                      delynnr commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I'm getting back into trying figs this year.... I have one brown turkey fig in my basement. However, I'm interested in other types that do well at altitude. I'm north of you in Colorado, just under 5000ft, but zone 5b. Would you recommend Violet Sepor if I can find it? Any others that you like that have survived at altitude?

                  • #15
                    I have read that with Nitrogen fertilizer, high nitrate/ammoniacal nitrogen ratio produces plants with short internodes. Therefore something like blood meal which breaks down to ammoniacal nitrogen primarily would not be a good idea.


                    • #16
                      Bump. Be interested to here new data from members
                      bergen county NJ 6b
                      Wish list: oh lets face it Ill take any variety I dont have!!


                      • #17

                        Ike, my 2020 ripening order is on the second post of my season report here: https://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-h...-season-review

                        A few others posted similar topics
                        SW PA zone 6a


                        • #18
                          These three seem to ripen with the earliest of varieties:
                          Iranian Candy aka Raasti Northern Persian UNK
                          De Tres Esplets
                          Teramo UNK

                          Fort Mill Park beat my Mt Etnas this past year and were quite exceptional on a second year tree. Have to see if that repeats. Green Michurinska seems early for a green/red fig.

                          Here are some other interesting links I have marked:


                          Don - OH Zone 6a Wish list: Verdolino, Black Celeste


                          • #19
                            very helpful, thanks.
                            Zone 5/6. WL: Black Ischia UCD, Exquisito, Vern's Brown Turkey, Florea, Iranian Candy, Smith, LSU Hollier&Champagne, Cyperus Honey, Lebnese Baskinta Purple, Col de Dema Blanc, Longue D'aoute


                            • #20
                              I agree with Kerry on Florea, RdB, Improved Celeste. I agree with Don on De Tres Esplets and Iranian Candy. My earliest Mr Etnas are Natalina, Salem Dark, Red Lebanese BV followed closely by Malta Black / Danny’s Delight. Yesterday I noticed decent figlets on potted RLBV, which is very early here. Teramo is on trial.

                              I also agree that Green Michurinska is early for its type. So relatively early.
                              Joe, Z6B, RI.