Fig Trees
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[Go to Fig Varieties]

  • See Figs: A Texas Heritage for some general info.
  • Aggie Horticulture: Figs
  • Aggie Figs Q & A
  • Agrilife Figs
  • From Drew Demler’s Fruit Tree list (Central Texas):
    Alma, Black Jack, Brown Turkey. All three types of trees can be grown without chemical sprays under normal conditions.
  • Hasten ripening: An ancient but little known practice can provide a simple way to ripen figs 30 days or more before their normal ripening date. This practice, in use as early as the third century B.C., is known as “oleification” and consists of applying one of a variety of oils (mineral oil has worked as well as vegetable oils) to the eye of the fig fruit at a time when it will respond by ripening at a greatly accelerated rate. The treatment to induce early ripening is quite simple. Care should be taken to avoid applying the oil to other parts of the fruit. The use of a small cotton applicator makes the job easy. Timing the application is very important. Applying too early can cause the young figs to drop before ripening, and applications made too late are ineffective. The receptive stage seems to coincide with the time that the pulp of the fruit turns pink. By cutting open a few different size fruits, one can easily determine what size figs on the shoot are receptive. An application of oil to the selected figs will usually cause ripening within 5 days after treatment. Untreated figs of the same age may require more than 30 days longer to ripen.
  • Planting. If you are growing your figs in a row, plant the trees 15 to 20 feet apart. Prune your new plants back a little when you plant them. It is better to plant them a little deeper than they were growing in the nursery, about 2 to 3 inches deeper. The best planting time for bare-root plants is in the late winter – late January and February. Potted plants can be planted any time.
  • Some claim that figs do not transplant well as bare root.
  • Breba Crop For the most part, figs are produced on new parts of the tree that have grown that season. However, some varieties of fig trees will produce a few “bonus” figs earlier in the summer — late May to late June — on the previous year’s wood, or growth. This extra, early crop is is known as a breba crop.
  • Breba-Crop Trees Some breba fig tree varieties do well in Texas. Ficus carica “Black Mission” is a large fig tree that produces an elongated, purple-black fruit with pink flesh and a rich taste. “Black Mission” often produces a heavy breba crop in early summer and a main crop in late fall. This is a suitable tree for parts of Texas with mild winters. Ficus carica “Texas Everbearing” fig tree produces a breba crop of its mild and sweet fruit in late May to late June and a second crop in late September to early November.
  • Deer don’t usually eat fig leaves, but they aren’t totally predictable. (cf http://forums.gardenweb.com/discussions/2040930/do-deer-eat-fig-or-persimmon and http://forums.gardenweb.com/discussions/1882319/are-deer-attracted-to-fig-plants)
  • Fanick Nursery and Garden Center
     sells figs 1 gal @$15.00, 5 gal @29.99
  • The Plant Haus, 528 Jefferson Street, Kerrville, TX 78028 (830-792-444) carry figs beginning  September @$29.99/5 gal.

Fig Varieties

Alma Fig Tree?

alm-figAlma is a new common fig variety released by the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in 1974. Alma resulted from a cross between the female Allison and the male Hamma Caprifig. It is a late season variety with very high fruit quality. The fruit skin is rather unattractive; however, the flesh has an excellent rich, sweet flavor. The tree is moderately vigorous, very productive and comes into production at a very early age. The eye of Alma fruit is sealed with a drop of thick resin that inhibits the entry of the dried fruit beetle, thus reducing on-the-tree fruit souring. Alma is very frost sensitive, especially as a young tree and should be grown no more than 200 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. BobWells bare root $16.50

Celeste Fig (aka Celestial)

celeste-fig

(Malta). The Celeste fig is small, brown to purple in color and adapted to all areas of Texas. Celeste is the most cold hardy of all Texas fig varieties. The tree is large, vigorous and very productive. Celeste usually does not have a Breba crop; the main crop ripens in mid-June before the main crop of other Texas fig varieties. Celeste fruit has a tightly closed eye which inhibits the entry of the dried fruit beetle. The fruit does not have excessive souring on the tree. Celeste has excellent fresh dessert quality with a rich sweet flavor. It is an excellent processing fig, either frozen or processed as fig preserves. Do not prune mature Celeste trees heavily because this can reduce the crop. BobWellsWomack

Kadota Fig:

Kadota Fig Tree (Standard)

Commercial variety in California. Common canned or dried fig, probably best in coastal areas of Texas. Fruit is large, with light green-yellow white skin and amber flesh.  Very sweet taste if has hot weather for ripening. Dave Wilson’s Taste Test Top Scorer. Long-lived, vigorous tree you can prune to any shape. Delicious fresh or dried. Its great flavor it is the favorite variety for canning. Self-pollinated. Takes 2 years to recover from being killed to ground. The fruit becomes rubbery in very dry, hot areas. Bob Wells bare root $16.50

*Improved Brown Turkey Fig/ Texas Everbearing:

Improved brown turkey fig

(GrowOrganic) Fruit are large, with brown skin and pink flesh. Sweet, rich flavor often eaten fresh. Dave Wilson’s Taste Test Top Scorer. Widely adapted, cold hardy tree that grows from coast to inland areas. A relatively small tree easy to prune to any shape. It will fruit on new growth if winter killed. Self-pollinated. (GrowOrganic) BayLaurel

*Texas Everbearing/ English Brown Turkey Fig

(English Brown Turkey). Texas Everbearing is a medium-sized fig adapted to central and east Texas. It is the most common variety in central Texas. The tree is vigorous, very large and productive. The early crop ripens in May; the main crop ripens in late June and continues to ripen until frost. The fruit has a short, plump stem and moderately closed eye which reduces fruit souring on the tree. The fruit is nearly seedless and has a mild sweet flavor. Early crop fruit is very large, sometimes 2 inches in diameter. Very hardy, will resprout from the base if frozen and produce on first season’s growth. Bob Wells Texas Everbearing (probably not the same as the CA one)

Hardy Chicago

This plant was acquired this variety from an Italian grower in Chicago a number of years ago and shared it with fig enthusiasts. It now has also become a commercial variety and proven to be excellent fig. Hardy Chicago does resemble Brown Turkey a lot, but the leaves and fruit are distinguishable. It is much hardier than other figs. The fruit is small to medium with blackish/purple skin and strawberry pulp. Small eye. Very good fresh, dried or in preserves. Responds well to oiling (a method of inducing ripening of immature fruit in late Fall). Zone 6-10. For us (Zone 7) this one sometimes dies back to the ground but still produces on new wood the same year. GardensOyVeyBayLaurel

Brown Turkey

This variety (Lee’s Perpetual, Eastern Brown Turkey, Brunswick, Ramsey, Harrison, Texas Everbearing, Everbearing) has the longest ripening season of the recommended varieties. Although it is not quite as cold hardy as Celeste, it will, if injured by a freeze, produce fair-to-good crops on sucker wood the next season. This is an advantage in areas troubled by late spring frosts. The fruit is medium to large, with a reddish-brown skin tinged with purple. The pulp is reddish-pink and of good quality. It is subject to cracking in wet weather and has a larger eye than Celeste and hence will sour more quickly. The fruit is excellent for making home preserves. Bob Wells Brown Turkey

Black Jack Fig Tree

blackjackfig blackjackfig2

Large, purplish-brown skin over strawberry red flesh. Sweet and juicy. Naturally dwarf, can be maintained at 6′ – 8′ and is well suited to containers. A hardy fig that may be identical to California Brown Turkey. Self-pollinated. GrowOrganic 24.99

Black Mission Fig

black-mission-figLarge, purplish-black skin over strawberry red flesh. Rich flavored fig, good fresh, dried or canned. Heavy bearing, long-lived tree, good on coast and inland. Originated in the Spanish missions of California. Self-pollinated.

 

Peter’s Honey Fig

peterso-honey-fig

Beautiful, shiny, greenish yellow fruit when ripe with dark amber flesh. Very high quality, superb for eating fresh. Good tolerance, prefers warm location with southern exposure if it is grown in a full maritime climate. A very popular new variety from Sicilly. It has an early second crop so it is suitable for locations with an early frost. Self-pollinated. Widely planted in NW. BayLaurel

Tiger Panache Fig Tree TTW

tiger-pinache-fig

Zones 8-9. Small to medium sized green fruit with yellow “tiger” stripes. The aromatic pulp is blood red in color with a very fine flavor. Unique fig coloration is a fine choice for fresh eating. It can take on a violet coloration in cool weather. Very productive tree. Long, warm growing season required. Late harvest. Self-pollinated.  GrowOrganic BayLaurel, Trees of Antiquity 29.95

* Lemon Fig Tree

Fig variety that was found growing on the banks of a levee near Del Rio, Texas. It has an attractive yellow skin with a creamy, smooth flesh and a closed eye. ‘ Lemon’ has a unique flavor with mild citrus notes. It has produced well in Fredericksburg and San Antonio and is suggested for trial plantings on the southern half of the state. ‘Lemon’ is somewhat cold tender, but produces moderate crops on new growth in years winter freezes kill it to the ground.

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