As my two potted HC figs mature I find myself asking what fig I can grow that will be the most productive without compromising much on flavor, suggestions?
That is a tough question… Productivity ends up being an equation of fruit set plus size, divided by ability to ripen. HC is among my most productive inground because it handles freezing back well, ripens early, and does not split in the rain. If you have less rain, then LSU Tiger might be more productive, because ripening time and fruit set are about the same, but fruit size is a little larger. And they are actually more resistant to yellowjackets because of the thick skin, but then again the eye is a little larger so ants can be a problem. I like them just as much as HC, so there would not be any compromise on taste for me.
Florea is the king for productivity in ground for me, but the flavor is not really on par with either of those 2. I like them enough, and dehydrate almost all of them, but for fresh eating I prefer HC or LSU Tiger. They taste good enough after not having any fresh figs for ~9 months and are 2-3 weeks earlier than HC. Ants and fruit flies are more of a problem, because they often have an open eye.
In containers, things can be different, something like Adriatic JH might be just as productive as HC as long as you get enough warm weather to ripen them. With less growth in a container HC is done producing by the end of September here, and Adriatic JH goes until frost or later if you protect them. You could push growth on your container HCs and extend the harvest later into fall, but I’ve found the quality drops off when it cools down, while AJH still tastes good late into fall.
I only have two different figs producing for me right now, so my experience is pretty limited. That said, in my zone (10b), my 3-year old in-ground VdB is super productive with dozens of fruit with a superb jammy flavor. I have a Deanna fig in a pot that has two ~3’ branches, but each has about a dozen figs. The figs themselves are very large, but I’m having problem with splitting at the moment. I’ve dialed back the amount of water its getting, so we’ll have to see if it works.
On the flip side, my in-ground Black Mission has barely a half-dozen figs and it was planted at the same time and in almost the same location as the VdB. The two figs that ripened were not as good as the VdB. This is a candidate for grafting in the future.
Hope this helps a bit.
For me it’s Red Lebanese Bekaa Valley. This tree doesn’t know
when to quit. We’ve had these figs for breakfast every day, all
summer long, and it still won’t stop producing.
@rayrose Your RLBV is in-ground or potted?
I am sure ray will respond but I believe he grows figs inground.
It’s in the ground. No container grown fig is going to
produce like this one does.
Resurrecting this thread to ask the same question to everyone after some more experience and time trialing. I have Hardy Chicago, Black Mission, and Atreano potted as 1st year cuttings currently (z6, Western PA). I am open to the idea of planting one, maybe two or three trees in ground with the expectation that they will die back many years but survive some too. That said, I guess the question of which fig is most productive potted vs in ground is important. I know @eboone @PharmerDrewee and others may have some input on this.
Additionally, I don’t want to spend an arm (or a leg) on anything as HC appears to be an all star from what I gather even though it is very affordable. Anything that is readily available as root-able cuttings would be a great suggestion. Fresh eating or drying are both options too!
Hardy Chicago and similar varieties are great in ground. I do prefer the flavor of Malta Black to HC and it’s as easy to grow but not commercially available from big nurseries. You can easily get cuttings for cheap or free since it’s been in circulation for a while. With some good winter protection, you’re as good as gold. Keep in mind your winters are a little colder than mine and my summer might be warmer on average, so you’ll likely have to spend more effort protecting yours for the same results I get. Planting it next to your house on the south side also helps for sure. Mine are planted against the house which has a slope and brick wall — really an ideal site. My 2 HC trees will likely yield over a thousand figs this year.
I am not sure Black Mission will produce in the ground well here unless you can give it a head start some how ( low tunnel/high tunnel in the spring for example). I am personally not sure how well Atreano will do though I have heard of others growing it in ground. It starts to ripen before Black Mission.
I would agree with Florea as a good choice. HC of course. There are other HC-like figs that I think are earlier and at least as good, especially Salem Dark. Red Lebanese (BV) is better and earlier but I’m not yet sure how Hardy it is
Another plug for Florea. It grows with shorter internodes than HC and has clumps of figs for me. Definitely the most productive variety for its size. However, I prefer the flavor of HC types, and it tends to somewhat split around the eye during rain. I planted Red Lebanese Bekaa Valley in the ground next to a Dalmatie that yields well. I’ll have cold hardiness info going forward.
I bought both Black Mission and Atreano prior to any research, with the intention that they would live in pots so they might get grafted to HC as a test down the road for in ground. I don’t necessarily want to embark on an exercise in zone pushing (I’d rather lug a few pots into the garage under grow lights in the winter) but the more I read on the forum it appears many figs are marginal here.