2020 fig harvest inground zone 5, 6, 7

Here is a thread for 2020 fig reports z5-7.
I read a results thread from a few years ago and am interested to hear more results!
Improved Celeste??
It looks like my first figs are forming now on a 2nd year Sunfire inground that died back here in 6b! Sunfire looks promising! RdB and HC 2nd year are regrowing vigorously but do not yet have any that I can see forming but I think any that form in the next 2 weeks should have time to ripen.
Any main crop forming yet for you guys?
Any breba from unprotected wood z6±?
The results are exciting to hear!!


Zone 6b-7a east coast. I have ten freeloaders, I mean figs in ground. They rarely have breba and main crop is often to late in the season to ripen. Every now and then there is a good year though. Figs are widely affected by location, so others results will be better.
Brown Turkey
Chicago Hardy
White Marseilles


Interesting! What seems to be your best producers out of those varieties? Or are they similar?

I have a hardy Chicago that did not die back to the ground here in NE Ohio. It is forming figs now, which is much earlier than years past. I have a Malta Black in my unheated greenhouse that did not die back and the HC is only slightly behind in forming figs. My longue daout died back to the ground and no sign of figs yet. I have pinched a few branches to see if I could get some to form though. Pastilliere died to the ground and was slow to wake up. I. Not expecting anything from it. I have an i258 in my unheated greenhouse that is putting figs on too. My unground figs in the greenhouse are great, they never die back.


Winter was fairly mild here in Kentucky, but we had hard freezes in fall and spring that were heck on in-ground figs. Everything was protected, so nothing died completely to the ground, though some came close. Worst hit was Ronde de Bordeaux, which is regrowing nicely. The early November freeze apparently hit the figs before they were in full dormancy.

Only figlets at present are some on a pair of Malta Blacks, which bounced back from damage quickly. Some are about to emerge on Marseilles Black, Hardy Chicago, Papa John, Olympian and Unk. Italian Yellow Westfield. Improved Celeste was my best producer last year, but not much on it yet this season. Olympian had some brebas on protected wood, but spring freezes destroyed them.


I cover all my in ground trees with tarps here in 6b. There are lots of fruit forming on Hardy Chicago, Malta Black, and Marseilles Black VS. They are always hardy and vigorous. We also had very minimal winter damage.

Gino’s Black is starting to form some. Dalmatie looks like a week or 2 away. Adriatic JH is having trouble recovering from a late freeze in April. A lot of them started leafing out much earlier than usual; this set them back further than of they had just stayed dormant.

I need to find a healthy tree of RdB to try in the ground and have a Florea that will likely go in ground next year. LdA is another candidate for in ground culture.


Andrew, my RdBs have no fig mosaic symptoms. If you like, I can send you some cuttings this winter, or run you an airlayer, which I enjoy doing.

Full disclosure: I have had fig mites in the past. I now treat preventively early in the season and do periodic microscopic surveys of buds and young leaves. I think they are gone, but would re-treat anything before sending it out. Still, it’s hard to be 100% sure of anything so tiny—so if you dont want to risk it I understand.

Anyway, RdB has not been as hardy as some of the cultivars I’m trialing, but am hoping it will toughen up with age.


Hi Jeremiah. Thank you very much for the kind offer. I would gladly trade or pay for an airlayer. I already have 2 RdBs in potted culture but they both show FMV. They will likely be destroyed once I get my hands on a healthy specimen. I don’t like using FMV symptomatic trees for in ground culture. My climate is already marginal so I don’t need anything else hindering their success.

I appreciate your concerns about the fig bud mite. My trees got hit a few years back when I carelessly introduced new trees without quarantining them. Now, they all get isolated in a far corner of the yard, and sprayed down with pesticide for at least a month before getting near my other trees. They get sprayed down inside the box before I even take a new trees out! I also leave my potted trees outside to be exposed to the first fall freezes in an effort to kill off any mites that could be present.


From what I have seen they are all about the same. It’s all about the die back. Sometimes it takes more than a year after a die back to begin fruiting again. And those years have to be somewhat mild as well. Full disclosure though I do not baby any of them. They are on their own. I have noticed less die back as they get older though which might equate to more figs.


Which cultivars have seemed hardier than RdB?

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Most of the Mt. Etna-type figs—Marseilles Black, Hardy Chicago, Papa John, Nyack Purple, Unk. Chios Dark—did better. Improved Celeste did better, though it lost more wood than the Etnas. Olympian did quite well and had some brebas before the late freezes. Malta Black—which some class among the Etnas, and it is certainly very similar—did better than most, and bounced back the fastest. Unk. Italian Yellow Westfield did almost as well as the two Malta Blacks; it is reportedly the same as—or very similar to—Brooklyn White, although I do not have the latter to make a comparison.

Of course, it is hard to make any absolute statements about hardiness. These figs differ in age—some have been in the ground over two years and others (RdB among them) only a year. And they are in different locations—some of which may have microclimatic advantages the others do not share. RdB may well do better with age; I hope so. The two in-ground specimens are not, thus far, setting any figs or even showing “double bumps,” which may confirm reports that it is shy to bear after losing a lot of wood. Two small (3 gallon and 5 gallon) potted specimens of the same age and from the same mother have set a number of figs; but then, they lost no wood.

It is worth noting that everything would have had better survival if the temperature hadn’t dropped into the teens in early November. They were obviously not fully dormant when that early freeze occurred, and many took a bad hit. In full dormancy they would’ve been fine this winter, though they still would’ve suffered from our unfortunately combination of early spring and late freezes.


Thanks for the interesting feedback Jeremiah!

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July 7 update:
2nd year inground after total dieback, same age, same conditions:

Versus Chicago Hardy:

RdB of same age has even smaller bumps. I just pinched RdB and CH so we will see what happens this month!

@PharmerDrewee check out my update. :slight_smile:


Wow, very impressive observations. You are planting more of this variety right? The long stem on the fruit is interesting.


It will be neat to see the fruit mature! Yes I have 3 airlayers going and plan to eventually have 5+ bushes. :slight_smile:


@PaulinKansas6b Though they weren’t killed to the ground last winter, my experience with Hardy Chicago this year is similar this yours. Compared to my other Mt. Etna-type figs (with the exception of an unknown from Chios, which is similarly slow), my HCs have been slower to put out figs after our April hard freeze events. Have two in ground. One recently put out a couple of tiny figlets; the other only has double bumps. Malta Black has done the best; and Marseilles Black and Papa John have also been pushing some figlets for weeks now.

In the past two or three weeks have also seen a number of figs appear on Unk. Italian Yellow Westfield (which probably would’ve been loaded—relative to its young age and location, anyway—if not for those late freezes) and Olympian. Don’t know, however, if if they’ll have time to ripen—or ripen in good weather, anyway. Biggest in-ground RdB (which I’m airlayering for somebody! :wink:) just recently pushed a couple offiglets: which is not too shabby, considering it was killed nearly to the ground by an early hard freeze in November, then zapped twice in April! Improved Celeste didn’t take kindly to those late freezes. I’ve found maybe one little figlet on two plants; moreover, they’ve regrown in a very weedy manner—just a proliferation of shoots growing every which way. I’m going to have to try to clean these messes up when I have time. My in-ground Longue d’Aout has a couple of double bumps, but no figlets; of course, it’s probably not in an ideal location.

Not going to be a big fig year here—but I guess that’s just how it goes in 6b!


Thanks for all the information, not only-Jeremiah.

My mother has about a 3 or 4 year MBVS (Marseilles Black for all you beginners - sorta like me) with figs the size of a penny, a nickel in a few cases and lots of others 1/2 a penny or been forming just as Jeremiah states.

I had her plant Florea a few weeks ago; She has a White Triana from “Robert” up there I believe. If that’s my friend Bob on the East Coast? Is that you, Bob?

I planted a really old, one trunk MBVS in heavy construction CLAY last-year that however did not come back. I say and it’s said that come mid-July if any hardwood doesn’t return that it’s done.

My Mother’s MBVS fig is under a dryer vent and in a corner of a brick and concrete staircase and of course the foundation’s home. It’s got 2’ of “corner.” The dryer chute is 24" above it. I tell her to pile mulch 18" and walk away now. I used to go over and wrap it with Aluminum insulation during both year’s 1 and year 2.

She’s in Rock Island County, IL. a solid zone 5b including urban heat.

White Triana is on year 3 I believe and I had her move it from the north side of her house (she didn’t want to lose space for her perennial flower bed) to full south sun and close to that dryer vent, too. The same for Florea, now. I can’t wait to witness florea. I’m going to run hedges of it along with Easton Purple and I have ‘Longue d’Aouts, as-well.’ I’m one county to the south of her.



No love for Hardy Chicago on here! Mine along with Malta Black, and MBVS are the farthest along. They have hundreds of figs that have grown to the stagnant stage. I hope some will ripen in the middle of August like last year. To be fair, HC is oldest and is in a very good microclimate on a hill, next to the south-side brick wall of my house.

Gino’s Black is a couple weeks behind with hundreds forming too. Dalmatie is maybe 3 weeks behind HC with maybe 100 figs forming. This one is not forming any figs on the first 5 or so leaves of new growth. The bush is also more compact and less vigorous. It is very interesting in that it did not gradually form figlets. Dozens suddenly popped out all at once a couple weeks ago. Adriatic JH is still struggling to recover from the late freeze. I obtained a new tree from a very kind member for temporary pot culture.

It seems that our lack of rain recently has slowed or stopped all my figs from growing. They are responding my forming many fruit al practically every node after the leaf where they start on a branch. Hopefully the wood hardens better to withstand the upcoming winter.

I acquired 3 more Mt Aetna-like figs to try growing: Kesariani, Sunfire, and Norella. I also have a Red Lebanese BV that’s very good. These are all candidates for growing in ground, but will spend life in pots for now for observation.

Florea will go in the ground next year if I like it enough. It looks very productive.


As for me, I will take any type of fig as long as it produces in my climate, and the better it produces the more I will like it. Any ripe fig is a good fig. :slight_smile: And i am hoping for flavor variety variation also, but that is secondary. Fresh, preserves, dried, jam etc! Hopefully my CH will be a good strain, I have two sources so it will be interesting to see if there are different strains of CH. I have heard conflicting reports on it, from it being a top producer to it being below average. :slight_smile:


I’ve only got one HC, in a compost sock, and it did seem like for the first few years it was later/less productive than other similar varieties. But then last year it was one of the first to ripen and plenty productive. Was it because I was comparing it to so many more? Is it less precocious? I don’t know, lol.

I’m beginning to think that maybe the Etna types carry dominant genes. For one, the genetic testing the USDA did showed HC was homozygous at a number of loci, while 2 others that “look” like HC are heterozygous in those same loci, but have one of the same genes… The other thing, seedlings from MBVS all pretty much have the typical “Etna” leaf shape so far, there is some variation with pigment and slight differences in shape, but if I got them as cuttings I think I would probably call them all Etnas. Which is kid of a bummer because I want some variation, hopefully there will be other differences.

I’ve got a new phone with a nice camera coming so I’m going to want to try it out and take pictures, stay tuned :wink: