Cold hardy figs


I pinched tips this year but like Bob my in ground figs were not impressive this year. My figs in pots have been burying me in fruit!


You’re doing it right. If enough roots it should work.


Hopefully in a few weeks my figs will be ready for the taste test.



Those look great and they look like they are really close!


Battaglia Green really wants to fruit for me, but moves slowly…

This plant dropped all its leaves - and a few figlets - when I went on vacation at the height of summer, and it did not rain for 10 days with sunny temps in the 90s. It has recovered since I watered and up-potted it. These might ripen before season’s end.


Looks good Matt. In June I bought a just rooted cutting of BG and planted it in ground against instructions to keep it in pot until bigger, stronger. Bad things can happen to pots so I decided to try it in ground. Well, it just sat there- two leaves and did nothing for two months. I thought maybe it was dying. Four days ago it put out a new leaf shoot! It’s Alive! Will bury it in leaves this winter and hope it makes it. I read that BG is very similar in taste to Adriatic JH but a couple weeks later.


Here is a follow up to my post above about using the stone fruit organza bags to protect ripening figs from birds. So far it seems to be working. Anything I didn’t bag is badly pecked or gone, even though I have a net on top… Just not full coverage. I put them on when the fig swells and starts to color. Here are 2 Steve’s Brown Turkey and one Briguglio still in their bags.

They are untouched by the feathered fiends.

With so much rain they have been splitting at the eye, but the bags keep bugs out as well.

Steve’s was mentioned above. Briguglio I think is an Adriatic type that is a local heirloom. The guy I first got the Briguglio from said it was his favorite of the green/white figs. Today it beat out Steve’s in a taste test by my daughter and i, but Steve’s was great as well.


I’ll try that. Last year the bugs, especially ants destroyed my ripe figs.


Let’s us know if it works for you. I just tried it to try to protect from the birds and chipmunks, but so far I haven’t found any insects in any of the figs I’ve picked, including a few more today, and some have pretty open and split eyes but still no ants.


Thanks for your thoughts on what this fig might be. Here is one of the Steve’s brown turkey figs next to an Aldo’s which I think is similar or the same as Sal Corleone and Sicilian Red.

Aldo’s are usually larger than this one and closer in size to the SBT, but Aldo’s seem redder on the outside, almost purple sometimes and the flavor and interior color is different as well. SBT are usually quite large and about twice the size of my Black Bethlehems. Also, SBT is very precocious, usually yielding at least 4-6 figs ripe figs on a first year cutting and is quite vigorous. It makes a nice breba crop (like my Aldo’s). I asked my neighbor, the Steve, about it again and although he has always thought it was a Brown Turkey, he said his parents in Rochester probably got it from a guy from Italy who runs a nursery near them. So maybe it is just another unknown type that someone brought over as a cutting. Or maybe Red Sicilian is a possibility and it isn’t as similar to Aldo’s as I was told.

I’m happy to hear any more thoughts you or anyone else has on what it might be.


I think a lot about possible explanations for this…

  1. Maybe the different groups of named varieties are just expressions of dominant gene groups, in that scenario there could be several truly different varieties within the Etnas, Vertes, Sicilian Reds etc. that have the same macro features but minor differences due to their unique recessive gene pairs. Fig seedlings are all unique, but areas with smaller gene pools should have less variation in wild populations.

  2. Epigenetics/mutations could be responsible for some differences, figs have been cultivated by cuttings for a long, long time and being in different conditions/selected by growers could be responsible for the differences. I think in the case of epigenetics, two different named varieties that have subtle differences would become more and more alike over time when grown side by side (forgetting their different pasts). Mutations would be more permanent, but seem unlikely to be the cause of multiple differences.

  3. Growing conditions change how a variety expresses itself… I have seen lots of variation from different trees with the same mother due to minor individual circumstances: damage, growth structure/pruning, soil variation, weed pressure etc. So making fair comparisons is hard, maybe impossible when you add in other known and unknown factors like tree age, mycorrhizal and endogenous fungi, pests and disease, sun exposure, different mothers, and so on.

I have a very similar situation where I can’t tell Tatnall Red and Sal’s Corleone plants apart by growth or leaves, but Tatnall has been much more precocious… Can’t remember eating a Sal’s C, actually, my original plant was in a bad spot for a number of years. But other people have reported that Sal’s C is precocious, and while Tatnall usually looks just like Steve’s BT and SC usually looks just like that Aldo’s, I have seen pictures of Sal’s C with the same features as TR and SBT. So I started some side by side last year, but down deep I think that either could outperform the other by chance or favor.

The reason I like to lump named varieties into groups is that it makes selecting what to grow easier… If I like a variety enough to have lots of trees I might get other varieties of the same group as well, hoping for small differences like ripening time, color, growth habit etc. If I have had a bad experience with a variety I try to avoid others from that group. I also think it is much safer because of the reasons listed in #3, things like fruit size, color, taste, vigor, etc. can change from one year to the next. I think it would take a longterm, meticulous trial to really prove anything, and even then some people would probably still disagree, there will always be another example of a type to trial also.


I can’t help thinking we lose to many figs every year to cold weather. We know we need roughly 90 days to ripen our figs so if the main crop sets in August we are not missing our goal by much. August , September, October and bam late October we are in trouble but sometimes the cold holds off until November. Makes me think about hoop houses, heaters, brood lightbulbs , hay bailed etc…I don’t like losing that last big crop of figs. Anyone been experimenting with a little more zone stretching with figs? Sunlight can be a problem with growing things in winter but many times things will still ripen. Any really thick greenhouse plastic or is it best to go with plexiglass or glass? I’m considering building a wood or metal greenhouse just large enough for my fig 5x5’. If we can keep from losing the wood due to dieback we have it next spring to set the figs earlier. I buried a branch last year to start a new fig and you know what was alive this spring! The wrapping figs in leaves and straw doesn’t work here because it drops to 20 below many times. I’m thinking of wrapping the entire fig bush in heavy plastic and putting it under 2 feet of cow manure! Old timers had a huge problem I was told keeping the model T’s running so I naturally asked how the people did it and those smart old timers backed those cars up a manure pile to keep the engine warm! The reaction of manure, compost, wood chips etc. breaking down is heat. Perhaps we need to rethink some things.


Like an old fashioned hotbed. Would the soil being warmer than the air be good or bad?


I think it would be very good. When I was a kid we grew up on a farm right off a busy road. Naturally all kinds of things blew out or were thrown out by passing cars. We had one house close by and no other houses within miles. Needless to say as a kid I would go walk the roads and railroad track ditches hoping to find a case of candy bars that bounced off lol! Like all kids do I was treasure hunting! Well sometimes in the nastiest cold I’d find a huge sheet of clear plastic or a clear glass that flipped over and it always smelled like spring in there with green lush grass! Having chickens, ducks, and guinea at home that were my responsibility I made some mental notes back then thinking of ways to use those ideas to feed our families poultry, cows, or pigs that green grass in the winter. Well I solved that problem differently by growing winter wheat and grazing the animals on the wheat. I intentionally planted it in early september to get the extra height so the animals went into winter in prime condition and I could graze them again on it in February. I never forgot those glass jars so before I saw my first greenhouse I knew exactly what it was. Kids nowadays need that time to develop their own type of smarts but they are so busy learning they don’t have time to think!


Clark, I think the hoop green house plus some light bulbs will definitely extend your figs season.
I am thinking of building a small one too.



I was thinking of making hoops out of clothes line wire. What are your thoughts on plastic for the walls?


I will use plastic for mine. I will build the frame with 1 inch PVC at Home Depot and connect them with 90 degree angles. They are very easy to cut and glue them together. PVC is not that expensive.



Lots of Youtube vids on making hoop houses. I got my poly from Greenhouse Megastore, 6 mil treated. I remove mine when weather warms o/w it’s an oven - even with vents and a fan in my zone.


Thanks for the source Anne. I’m going to try to winter this baby brown turkey over without losing wood. It’s about 3 feet tall by 5 feet wide. I’m working on getting some more figs now but there are not many left to pick that are close to ripe.


Looks like I may have a couple more figs soon.