Fig Ripening Times

Good afternoon,
I am interested in creating a reference document that will show the ripening times of all figs. I’d like to create something more meaningful than the early/mid/late guesstimates that fig growers typically use. Ultimately I think it will result in something like the chart that Baud produced except that I will be using growing degree days instead of calendar months to normalize the data for any location.
I know many people have put some level of effort into this already but I’m not aware of a really good data set that will allow me to create this. I’d like to get volunteers who would be willing to record ripening data for their fig varieties during the 2023 season.
There will be requirements placed on the data collection to ensure data quality and then I’ll normalize it to create something that should be applicable to standard growing conditions at any location.

If you are interested in participating please let me know.


Hi Pete
Thanks for going this I tried a couple years ago to get input similar for persimmons but got relatively fewer participants than I wanted. After two seasons I gave up and just rely on others that provide ripening fruit pics which I use to compare with my data here. You can count me in for your efforts! I have only Dessert King variety old enough to fruit and I only get the Breba crop. Occasionally I get my Black Mission to ripen a few Breba only and the same with my Black Jack. It just depends on getting a long hot summer here near Seattle.
Kent wa



I am glad you are starting this. I have 700+ grown outdoors year-round in containers and a weather station a few yards away. For 2023 I have not recorded the separation between breba start dates and main crop start dates so I might not be of help until next year. In fact, I’m already planning on it.

Just as a heads up, Harvey C. has 355+ specimens which he’s possibly collected data for. Between the two of us we only have 33 in common! Also, I am working on a vetted list of variety names sold on figbid since 1/1/2020. This will be published here.


I can collect data on about seven or eight varieties, when should I start? I might even through photos be able to tell date when figlets appeared this year and do the math from that.

think I’ve got florea, negronne, CH, white Genoa, desert King, black Bethlehem, VDB, all showing fruit right now. ischia and toya have no fruit set yet.

are you collating by zone/region, latitude, dry/damp, etc?

Great! I’ll send out some information soon.

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Here’s a couple observations about crop degree days that I inherited from my father plus one of my own.

  1. The standard cumulative approach is a good measure where temperatures only vary monthly.
  2. The threshold temperature for the standard approach can be estimated with freshman calculus or junior level regression.
  3. Some of the software supplied by agricultural sensor manufacturers use nonlinear models with damping and acceleration.

My thought is that this hasn’t been done because it’s a very difficult undertaking. I’ve been growing about 50-100 varieties per year for the past 10+ years. This has been in a greenhouse both in pots and in-ground. I’ve had high turnover in varieties due to several reasons: mostly some don’t sell well and some don’t pan out for eating quality. Ripening dates have been extremely variable. Mostly due to when they start setting fruit. Only a few stand out as early or late.

I’ve gotten rid of most varieties that are considered early because the fruit is generally inferior in eating quality or small, or both.

There is often a huge difference between in-ground and potted. For me in-ground sometimes never sets fruit or is very late to start setting fruit.

Pruning can have a big effect on date they start setting fruit. Taking cuttings often sets back date of first fruit set.

I got frozen out for the first time last winter. That adds another variable that often affects figs. Right now I’ve got nearly ripe fruit on some plants and others that haven’t begun growing back from the freeze. Figs get frozen back often in many situations.

I have a very long growing season with up to 7 months main crop harvest. That makes first ripe date nearly inconsequential. Many growers up north in pots don’t have 7 months growing season. We grow different varieties.

How many people grow all varieties, none. Richard and Harvey grow hundreds each and share few in common. Combing all these data sets with few in common and very different growing conditions (northern pots vs long season in ground) makes this a very daunting task IMO.

Pete: my advice if you really want to do this is concentrate on the earliest ripening varieties, before Smith. I’ve seen pretty good lists from those guys growing in pots in short season areas. That’s the only conditions where it’s really important. In your new greenhouse, in mine, or in other long season areas other factors, like eating quality, are much more consequential.

First ripening dates relative to Smith or RdB would be interesting for the short season folks. Those are widely grown and early. Days + or - those like they use Redhaven and Elberta in peaches would interest those growers.

In summary figs aren’t like many fruits that get a uniform start setting fruit. For me at least it’s made first ripe date highly variable.


I think it can be done. I just need good data. I’m still looking for volunteers.


I’m posting this note and pic hoping there is a fig aficionado who can tell me why my Blackjack fig is now ripening some of its main crop? This tree in in the same location since planted about 20 years ago! For the past 5-6 years I have been pruning it about the same way, and each year tip pruning each fruit bearing limb in hopes that it would ripen the main crop. Now after so many years it seems to be responding differently than all the past 5 years when tip pruning got no results at all. What principle am I missing other than this has been a super dry summer! Could that be what the catalyst actually is? Please advise if you have a similar experience, particularly growers in zone 8.

Kent, wa

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