Sultane - Rodney Dangerfield of Figs

Although I grow approximately 50 varieties if figs, this one never ceases to amaze me. It gets NO respect on the fig forum, and is rarely even mentioned. This is it’s 3rd year in the ground and occupies one of the worse spots in my yard. It gets more shade than sun, never gets rust and no winter die back with no protection. Yet, it always produces two crops of large delicious figs. I’ve never pruned this tree, yet it stays at 5-6 tall and grows in a crab like spreading habit, that makes picking the fruit very easy.
This is a photo of the first breba that I picked yesterday. I have big hands so you can relate as to how big this fig is. Although this is the first fig of the season, from all of my figs, and could be a little riper, my girlfriend and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We both gave it an 8.

16 Likes

Nice looking fig Ray. Do you still like the Dalmantie, Preto, and I 258?

Tony,
Dalmatie and I 258 are among my favorites. When I planted
Preto, it just sat there and sulked, so I gave it to a friend. Besides,
I have BM and Violeta, and I didn’t feel that I needed all three. When you have as many figs as I do, plus all of the other things I grow, on just 1/3 of an acre, including my house and garage, you have to make tough choices.

5 Likes

Do you grow I-258, BM and Violeta in-ground?

Yes

1 Like

I almost ended up with that variety, but instead picked up Saint Rita instead for some reason I cannot recall. That’s a great looking one. No ripe figs here yet.

Where are you guys located?
My bad… my name is Paul, I live in Central Missouri (near Ft Leonard Wood and the Big Piney River, just south of I-44), and I try to grow all sorts of things “they” tell me I can"t). I’ve been trying to get some fig germ-stem from the USDA since early Spring, with no success. Tried some cuttings from a commercial grower in New Jersey: one shot out roots, and stopped growing; one put out buds, but no roots; the third one has done bupkis. I also have some cuttings from a friend of mine on Long Island (NY), and some of them look like they might do something, but nothing spectacular yet. I’ve been doing this for over 40 years, all over the country, and have never had this much trouble getting fig cuttings to root and grow. I’m (supposedly) in Zone 6A, but, this is Missouri, where a mile might make a 2-Zone difference.Is this just a weird year, or am I missing something fundamental?

We just got a small potted ‘Sultane’ this year, it already has breba figs on it (in the pot). A reason why lots of people don’t brag about it is because it supposedly aborts figs for many years, and eventually has a crop, many fig growers don’t have the patience, there was actually people on f4f telling people that it aborts figs a lot. I think it does much better in some climates then others, and it’s a mystery as to why.

Same thing is true of ‘Malta Purple Red’, some people act like it’s a very young baring tree, others like me have had it abort a lot of figs. In it’s 9th year in the ground it will finally give us a crop. Yet it’s still aborting some of it’s figs.

I think that the gossip about them aborting scares people from getting them in a lot of cases.

The fig commercially grown as “Sultane” in France is a Smyrna (not San Pedro) fig. There is also a “Dark Sultane” Common fig sold among collectors.

Not sure what the issue is. Figs are the easiest tree to root. Just take a 7 inches cutting then wrap up the top 3 inches with parafilm then scrape the bottom 4 inches on both side and dip it in powder rooting hormone from Home Depot for $6 bucks and direct planting it in a gallon pot fill with Miracle Gro moisture control potting mix. It takes two weeks to root. After a month then hit it with the big gun Urea Nitrogen 46-0-0 about 20 granules per pot every 10 days and hosed them down until all the white granules dissolved and pinch the tip at every 5th leaf. You will get to eat the fruits the same season. I usually stop fertilizer them at the end of July to let all the flush growth slow down and hardened up for Winter.

Tony

8 Likes

Tony,
What is a heat source during your fig rooting stage?

In my area, if I leave cuttings in room temperature during the winter, it will be way too cold.

I did all mine this year outdoor on my cement patio on May 1st. The cement gave them plenty of warm heat from the sun. I am tired of starting them indoor and have to baby them all Winter. I am now officially done with my figs collection. I got over 50 plus varieties in 110 pots. I still have 20 lbs of figs freezing in the crispers for jam and pie usage.

Here they are right now.


Tony

7 Likes

Your early Nebraska heat is helpful. Our May this year was too wet, too cool (40-50) for too long and nearly no day of 70 F.

1 Like

@mamuang I did an experiment this year for winter/indoor fig rooting; the conclusion is that figs root and grow best at 80-90F (I have no data above 90). Figs that I tried to root at 70F were very slow, those between 80-90F rooted very quickly and continued to grow very nicely when kept at the same temperature. Figs rooted at 80-90F and then moved to 70F after a few leaves emerged, stalled and some of them died from root rot. Even now in the spring, on days where the temperature is close to 80, the figs grow much faster than days closer to 70.

2 Likes

Yup. My fig rooting this year get heat from glow light and is in a tent. They have grown but mold has been an issue. I use the rooting method one of the members posted his video in our forum. Similar to what Tony mentioned.

Anyone else here growing "“Sultane”?

15594075345393

I find that to be true as well, yet I find outdoors in the shade at those temperatures is best VS indoors, no mold, and a lot of air movement.

1 Like

On the website of one of the most knowledgeable fig growers in the world, who lives in France, he does not say what type of fig tree it is yet it’s black skinned, the photo shows a main crop fig, the breba crop is long and a deep dark black Pépinières Baud. Une spécialité, le figuier. Notre catalogue de figuiers : Sultane

From Condit’s Monograph:

SMYRNA

  • Sultane Bi-longue. Described by Minangoin (1931), from Djerba, Tunisia, as a variety requiring “fécondation.”
  • Marabout (syns. Sultane du Marabout, Aseltani). … This may be the one which Trabut (1904)
    described and pictured as Thaboukal (Taboukal) or Sultane

SAN PEDRO

  • Dauphine (syns. Dauphine Violette, Grosse Violette, Ronde Violette Hâtive, Rouge
    de Argenteuil, Mussega Negra, Ficus carica punctulata Risso, Pagaudière, Adam) … According to Simonet et al., it is known at Sollies-Pont as Boule d’Or, Bouton d’Or, and Grosse de Juillet; but the last name is also given as a synonym of Sultane.

COMMON

  • Sultane (syn. Grosse de Juillet)
  • Sultani (syns. Fayoumi, Ramadi, Barshoumi, Sidi Gaber, Hejazi). … introduced into California in 1929 from Palestine as Sultane
  • Grosse Sultane … apparently different from the Sultane described by Simonet et al. (1945).

I was making this from Condit’s ‘A Monograph’ when you were posting your last post, it’s very confusing, yet what synonym can mean is ‘similar too’ that is what synonyms means when it comes to figs.

Common-type Figs with Skin Dark (Various Shades of Red, Brown, or Violet to Black); Pulp Color not Designated

  • Grosse Sultane. Described by Soc. Pomol. de France (1887, 1947); apparently different from the Sultane described by Simonet et al. (1945). One crop only. Figs large, turbinate, olive green to violet in color; prominently striated; quality good.

Common-type Figs with Skin Dark (Various Shades of Red, Brown, or Violet to Black); Pulp Various Shades of Red

  • Sultane (syn. Grosse de Juillet). Described by Duchartre (1857), Du Breuil (1876), Mazières (1920), Bois (1928), and Simonet et al. (1945); the last with illustration of both first- and second-crop figs. Simonet and Chopinet (1947) described and illustrated this variety as Noire de Juillet. The following account is after that of Simonet et al. (1945) from fruits produced at Sollies-Pont, in southern France. Tree very productive. Brebas medium to large, pyriform to turbinate, with short neck; average weight 85 grams; stalk up to 1/2 inch long; ribs prominent; eye small, closed, sometimes slightly depressed, scales violet; skin firm, black on apex and body, shading to reddish brown toward the stalk; meat violet; pulp red; quality fair. Season late July. Second-crop figs medium, turbinate; average weight 57 grams; stalk 1/4 inch long; skin unusually firm, resistant to injury during transport; color black, with prominent, pruinose bloom; meat white; pulp dark red, of fine texture; quality good, Season September.

  • Sultani (syns. Fayoumi, Ramadi, Barshoumi, Sidi Gaber, Hejazi). Described and figured by Badie and Ghamrawi (1931) as the most common and widely distributed variety of Egypt. The following all proved to be identical in the variety plot at Riverside: P.I. No. 80,299, introduced into California in 1929 from Palestine as Sultane; No. 81,678, from the Tarring Fig Garden, England, in 1929 as Madagascar; and No. 80,152, from Ariana, Tunisia, in 1929 as Bidh-el-Atrous. The fruits show characters very similar to those described for the Sultani of Egypt. Therefore, all of the above will be treated here as one and the same variety. Bidh-el-Atrous is treated by Guillochon (1913, 1927, 1929) as a small, violet fig, with green ribs. Madagascar is briefly described by Spence (1846) as a small, globular, green sort, with narrowly lobed leaves, found in a West Tarring orchard. J. L. (1890) stated that the name Madagascar, “evidently a misnomer,” was attached to a very large fig, frequently met with at Lansing, England. Trees in Egypt and in California are vigorous, producing two crops. Leaves large, commonly nonlobed. The following description is from fruits produced at Riverside since 1940, in comparison with the account by Badie and Ghamrawi. Breba crop fair; figs above medium, pyriform; ribs prominent; eye large, scales pink; color green, flushed with chocolate brown; pulp coarse, strawberry in color; quality poor. Second-crop figs above medium to large, pyriform; stalk variable, short and thick, or sometimes slender and up to 1 inch long; color attractive, brownish violet; meat unusually thin; pulp light strawberry, texture gelatinous; seeds small and inconspicuous. Quality poor in Riverside, much inclined to split at maturity. Season late.

Common-type Figs with Skin Green or Yellow; Pulp Color not Designated

  • Sultani. Described by Grasovsky and Weitz (1932) as a large, round, green fig of good quality, grown in Jenin, Palestine.

Smyrna-type Figs with Skin Green or Yellow; Pulp White, Amber, or Very Light Red

  • Sultanie. P.I. No. 6,465; a Damascus fig grown in Algeria before introduction into the United States in 1901. Figs medium, yellow, white inside; splitting when ripe

Smyrna-type Figs with Skin Green or Yellow; Pulp Various Shades of Red:

  • Sultane Bi-longue. Described by Minangoin (1931), from Djerba, Tunisia, as a variety requiring “fécondation.” Leaves large, 3-lobed; sinuses nearly closed. Figs very much like those of Bezoult Rhadem at Kalaâ Srira, but the skin color is yellow rather than violet; pulp red. (See Besoul-el-Khadem, p.356.) Sultani (P.I. No. 6,462). Originally grown at Damascus, Syria; later introduced into California from Rouiba, Algeria, in 1901. (See P.I. Inventory No.10.) Tree slow-growing; nodal swellings on branches very conspicuous. Leaves badly mottled by mosaic; variety no longer grown. Description is from trees and fruit at Riverside. Figs large, green; white flecks unusually large and conspicuous; surface glossy; pulp bright strawberry; quality fair. Very susceptible to splitting.

  • Sultani (P.I. No. 6,462). Originally grown at Damascus, Syria; later introduced into California from Rouiba, Algeria, in 1901. (See P.I. Inventory No.10.) Tree slow-growing; nodal swellings on branches very conspicuous. Leaves badly mottled by mosaic; variety no longer grown. Description is from trees and fruit at Riverside. Figs large, green; white flecks unusually large and conspicuous; surface glossy; pulpbright strawberry; quality fair. Very susceptible to splitting.

1 Like