Southern Figs

Any body have a list of fig trees that grow well in the south east US, preferably zone 9?

I’m in Pensacola Florida and want to grow some good productive and tasty figs other than Brown Turkey and Celeste.

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I was told by someone in one of the hottest parts of Florida, that any fig tree can grow there, if you know what to do, she never told me her secret.

Yet the people here Google Maps sells a fig tree variety, that is great for even warmer Florida than you are in, most likely it originated from central america.

She was right. All you have to do is keep them watered.

I am recalling someone else in Florida, who mentioned her fig tree, she had to put it in an area that has shade much of the day for it to do well in Florida’s hottest months and it produced like it was in the sun most of the day in a not so hot climate.

Floridia figs don’t need shade as much as those in the hottest parts of CA and AZ. Maybe her’s were potted and under watered. Some people seem to think that watering potted figs more than once a week is a sin.

Depending on what part of Florida, you may need to have it potted and off the ground to protect it from nematodes.

I’d look into the OurFigs forum as there are a good number of Florida residents on that board.

Any of the LSU varieties will do fine in Pensacola. You could also heck out the selection at Just Fruits and Exotics in Crawfordville - they have example specimens of almost everything they grow.

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I think I’ve read that some figs are more prone to splitting and rotting before they’re fully ripe in humid climates like the Southeast. Isn’t something like that true? If so, which popular varieties is it true of? And don’t some figs also taste better when grown in different climate conditions? I imagine the same people might rank their favorite fig varieties differently according to where they were grown.

That was certainly true for me last year. We had an extremely wet summer last year in zone 7b, west central Georgia. All Chicago Hardy figs split before ripe. About 10% of the Celeste figs split. Brown Turkey was fine. LSU gold I don’t remember for sure because it was once again not productive, but it seems like the few I had were splitting. It was an unbelievably rainy summer here, though, not just humid, and my figs are all in ground.

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I think four traits are important to growing figs in the SE. 1. Flavor, that’s a given. 2. Some kind of resistance to nematodes which are omnipresent down here. Mulching helps. 3. Thick skin to prevent splitting from too much rain. 4. Closed eye, to prevent fruit flies from getting in and turning each fig into a bag of maggots. I have three fig varieties that so far fit the bill. Brown Turkey, Olympian, and a third unnamed cultivar with yellow-green figs and amber flesh that I got from a neighbor who tells me it’s Brown Turkey, but I know it’s not because it’s not brown (Duh!!!). I’m sure there are more varieties out there that do well. Others can chime in.

Figs are a bit of a challenge here in the SE USA because of our typically heavy summer rains and high humidity most of the time. That being said they are truly worth the challenge. As HALDOG already stated 2018 was not a great growing season and not just the figs. Suggest you check out “OURFIGS.COM” because those folks are amazingly talented with growing figs including several members rom the SE states. Good luck and great growing 2019. I am hoping for a much less wet year. Randy/GA

The LSU varieties for sure are going in the ground, i know they were tested in same climate as mine. As for just fruits and exotics, i have little faith in them anymore due to new management. Trees purchased years back were well pruned and now they don’t. Also, if you look at their website, there’s so many out of stock and now the trees are expensive. It’s not even close to being what it was, even the locals told me they don’t buy there cause it’s too expensive. Hardly any of the figs are in stock. Damn shame.

I called there the other day asking when they would have fig trees in stock and the lady was rude with me cause i didn’t know there’s a waiting list to join for notification. I really wanted the JFE Black Madera and when i asked if that trees was coming back in stock she told me i was going on hold. Eventually i got a dial tone from holding so long. I’ll never buy another tree from them.

Hmmm, when did it come under new ownership? I went there fall of 2017 and got a couple things and had a great experience. They even let me take a few cuttings from their Gainey Sweet Pom.

It’s been about a year now.

Any LSU figs should be very rain and split resistant, that is what a lot of people say anyway, high end figs that are said to be are Maltese Falcon (GM#5), Black Beauty 10, so is Ginos Black.

Yet unless you grow all the rain tolerant ones side by side it’s very hard to understand which the most rain tolerant ones really are. Even with age a fig tree can get less rain and moisture sensitive, so unless everything is the same age and put in the ground at the same time, it’s very hard to tell. The longer and the thicker a fig trees roots get, the more water the trees roots needs to store, the same thing is true for the trunk, and the branches, they need more water to grow and survive, same is true for the fruit, the bigger the tree the more fruit and in some cases the bigger the fruit, that fruit needs more water.

Also planting things in between the fig trees like marigolds, their roots absorb water, and here they get very big so the marigolds need a lot of water. I grow fig trees for variety not quantity, so I put them closer together than most other people do, which means more fig roots in the same area than other people have.