Figs on East Coast

Does anyone know how desert king does on the East Coast? It seems like a must have for the breba crop, and I am considering it for an in ground tree. Also any other suggestions for reliable split resistance figs is much appreciated!

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I grow Desert King in ground in NJ, you have to save 1 year wood and protect in winter to get the breba crop. You best bet for other in ground figs on east coast 7a and lower are the Mt. Etna types.
I see your in Zone 8a, you should be able to get away with most figs in ground provided they ripen early enough for your season.

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Wow do you protect it at all? Does it resist splitting in rains?

Yes I protect it all, I built an 8 foot tall boxed frame that gets covered in insulation and tarps. I prune half the tree down to a scaffold branch and leave the other half with the 1 year growth up to 8 feet tall. I alternate pruning so each year only half of the tree produces figs. I have the least splitting problem with desert king , each season is different, however it avoids splitting pretty well because the breba ripen so early, around July 15ish here.


That’s a pretty amazing set up you got there. Thanks for the info.

For east coast figs I’ve tried, LaRadek EBT has been a heavy producer of breba figs. Since it is considered one of the hardiest figs, it is probably a good candidate for you to consider if you don’t want to get into extensive protection of a fig tree to make sure the first year wood comes through winter ready to produce brebas.

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I think most cold climate growers get breba from the container trees. That is more reliable than tree protected over winter. It is not entirely winter proof, unless you build a structure like @Dom does. Anything goes wrong, the breba will be killed the first.

The real White Marseilles has a good breba crop. It is also considered winter hardy. It is just hard to find the real one since that name has been mis-used many times.

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Yes I noticed that about the WM fig. I got one labeled marseilles from edible landscaping, and I plan on visiting the Monticello and purchasing one from there. I would think the Monticello would have the true variety as it is a historical collection. I also see logees sells them.

The recent report from Monticello gift shop is that, the shop has stopped growing their own fig plants. The plants they sell are from certain vendors. Some of them are the mis-labeled Tena with finger leaves. Apparently they are not from the same vendor(s). So I won’t trust the Monticello shop.

From what I know, real WM has thick and deeply lobed leaves. Leaves tend to grow rust due to the hardy and hairy leaves in moist environment. Lattarula/Italian Honey has thin and more tender leaves. Figs are both yellow and light amber color inside and are almost identical. The one with long finger leaves and more yellow inside is Tena.

Here are the photo from the original Monticello Marseilles. You can see the rust on the older leaves. But they do not sell them any longer.

I didn’t know that, do you think logees WM is legit?

I do not know. Most of the WM sold now at nursery and even are not the real WM. No one wants to correct it. But one of the largest wholesale grower (AgriStarts) admitted that they sold the wrong variety.