Fig Questions

Fig growers:

Is there some place someone can go to sample a lot of different figs to see which taste best?

If growing in pot, do I need to start with a small pot and gradually pot up or can I start in a 15 in x 15 in. pot?

Is there a hardy variety that’s good for drying or do they all dry well?

Are deer a problem with fruit or foliage?

Many thanks- got the fig bug from reading Drew’s reports.

I doubt think there’s any one place where you can sample a variety of figs,
unless you know of someone, who grows a number of different varieties, and will let you sample from his orchard. You can start a fig plant in any sized pot, and it will grow just as fast. Starting off in a large container will save you from having to constantly up pot, as long as you don’t mind moving the container during the winter.
I don’t have deer, but I’ve never heard anyone complain about them.

Thanks Ray. Do you have a favorite potting mix?

Deer generally are not a problem with fig trees due to the latex that it produces.

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Good sample of fig varieties is: Celeste (better yet Improved Celeste), Malta Black, Ronde de Bordeaux, Adriatic JH, Italian Honey, and English Brown Turkey. Black Madeira, too, but that’s expensive. There are some people in MD on the fig forums, plenty in PA as well. I’m sure you can reach out late summer to try some fruit. I’m happy to host you if you make the trip to SE PA.

I’ve used a bunch of different soil for potted figs, haven’t seen a big difference in performance. I usually blend pine fines and good quality (promix) potting mix 50-50, works well.

Figs are vigorous, so pot size is usually not an issue. I get them going in a 1 gallon then usually jump to a 7 or 10 gallon.

No real experience with drying, but I find they tend to rot if left too long. Perhaps it’s a climate thing?

Deer have sampled mine but generally don’t touch them. Squirrels and birds can be a problem.


Also add to the sample list a Mt Etna type, like Hardy Chicago, Sal’s GS, Takoma Violet, MBvs, etc etc. Not too different from Malta Black, but worth growing.


Kelby and others,
Where can I find pine fine, please? Around me, there are only pine bark mulch which is too coarse. Thanks.

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Often Lowes or Home Depot carry a claybreaker soil amendment, this will work. The really good pine fines are hard to find. Some people screen pine bark nuggets and use the fine stuff from that.

@ampersand Thanks for that list. Which of those do you grow in the ground at your place. Thanks for tasting invitation- may take you up on it.

On that list I have several Mt Etna types, Malta Black, RdB, Adriatic JH, and Improved Celeste. I have other types in ground, too, but don’t​ have enough experience to truly recommend them yet. Flores and Long d’Aout show potential, though. English Brown Turkey types are probably hardy, but I container grow them to get brebas. Same with Italian Honey.

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I’ll add nearly all of these need to acquired from collectors, most aren’t available from any nurseries except specialty ones like Trees of Joy.

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Thanks, Kelby. The only thing I can find is clay breaker with gypsum. Wonder is that appropriate?

That’s the stuff

Great. Thanks so much.

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Do you put claybreaker in all your fig soil mix?

I just started using it this year because I couldn’t find any sources for ‘good’ pine fines, but it should work well. Of course, today I found a place with the good pine fines. I usually cut in some smaller pine bark nuggets as well. I’ve even added river pebbles for drainage. Don’t stress too much, with some sun, water, and fertilizer figs are weeds.

Also, consider Atreano for pot growing. Insanely productive breba and main crops.


I use Proven Winners all purpose potting soil from Home Depot.
You have to order it on line, because they don’t sell it in the store,
and they’ll deliver it free. It’s all I use for everything, even rooting

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I tried some Timberline Soil Conditioner from Home Depot and it was mostly mulched up pine bark not really soil as I thought it was but the batches might change so the next bag might be more soil.

You can usually buy dried figs from grocery stores they are usually black mission but it’s not really cold hardy, maybe see if anyone has dried a Chicago Hardy, Celeste or Brown Turkey.

The deer eats my neighbors fruit that is low so he has a tall fig tree and uses a ladder to get up high.

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There are also online places from which you should not order them. Just a heads up.

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You’d have to do some serious and expensive traveling to try a lot of varities of figs fresh unless you are lucky enough to know people with such a collection in your area. There are a few places on the west coast, and some of the larger fig collector gatherings would have a decent selection to try on a good weather year.

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