Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Figs, Figs, Figs...... Cuttings for You, Help for Girls!

Did I mention that, in celebration of my 60th birthday, I have committed to a 200 mile bike ride fundraiser for the San Mar children's home slightly north of us in Maryland?  My commitment includes raising as many $ as possible for San Mar, which is a foster facility/adoption center/teen crisis center for young girls who need help they can not get at home or on their own.

It occurs to me that one unique resource I have for this venture falls back to the faithful fig trees that have been such a part of our life, forming the basis for the thriving fruit nursery business we retired from five years ago.  Having given cuttings for that nursery for years, I think I can cheerfully get the trees to give up some cuttings for this worthwhile venture.

If any of my blog friends are interested in fig cuttings, here's the "deal":  Let me know, either by email ( or by comment to this blog, what dozen cuttings you would like (fig varieties follow below on this page) and where to send them.

Then use this online link:  Link is now disabled! - Sybil (that's my ID for The Great Bicycle Tour of the C&O Canal, which is the crazy fundraiser for San Mar) to make a $20 cc donation (or more if you really want to help some kids!).

If you are like me and you'd rather use Paypal online, donate via the ChipIn widget Link is now disabled! - Sybil When your donation comes through - I'll send you the cuttings, no postage charge if you are lower 48 US.   My treat! (Sorry farther-flung friends, your shipping is more than I can afford.)

So, to recap:
  1. Pick your 12 cuttings and email me your choices (how many of what varieties) and shipping name/address.
  2. Make a donation by link or by PayPal. (Feel generous - it's worth it!)
  3. You will get an email from me letting you know your fig cuttings are on the way.
Here are the fig varieties: (Starred varieties may have limited cuttings)  All cuttings will be terminal cuts if possible.  All photos shown are mine and of the actual tree unless noted otherwise.

Alma Gold - Possibly my favorite fig.  It is the first to ripen here in VB as a gold/green fig, continues throughout the summer and finishes as a deep bronze fruit in the late fall.  Our most prolific and continuous producer.  Rarely splits or sours and produces hundreds of figs every season.  Makes insanely good fig jam!  (Yep, it is the same as just Alma - we added the Gold at the nursery so folks would know what it was like.)

All Gone!!! Everyone came on for this fig - and she's worth it!  Thank you, San Mar supporters!!  Battaglia Green (a deep Strawberry Verte) was introduced by our nursery about 15 years ago.  The tree was saved by our friend, Sandy Battaglia, hence the name.  It turned out to be one of the most beautiful of the verte figs with a rich, dark burgundy-red center.  Stunning in salads and any kind of fruit plate.  Surprises everyone who cuts or bites into it.  Very sweet and delightful.

Panache ("Tiger Fig")- One of the most unusual figs we've grown.  We prized this mother tree for the very distinct stripes on the fruit - each of which has a raspberry red interior.  Susceptible to splitting in wet conditions, plant well drained.  Long ripening period so best for southern, southwestern locations.  Can be grown in pots for northern locations if you have a really hot sunny summer patio spot. This tree shoots on short node length, so expect full but slightly shorter cuttings. This pretty ARS photo shows it better than my own shot!

Celeste ( Celestial, Button Fig, Sugar Fig, Southern Fig) - Our Celeste is the true, small fruited, super-sweet old southern fig.  Folks frequently mistake Celeste and Brown Turkey.  We worked with a number of fig growers to figure out final differences - the names are interchanged in the south - and this is a true Celeste.  We believe Hardy Chicago is a sport of this Celeste.  This is the sweetest fig we grow and consistently won any taste trials here at the nursery. ( I understand that this photo of mine is also the most copied of all the fig photos I ever posted on our site!)  I also have some cuttings of Blue Celeste - not that we've ever noticed any remarkable difference between them, that's just how it came designated years ago, so we've kept the ID in case.  If you want some of both, you can make your own decision!

Italian Golden Honey (Lattarula, Lemon Fig, Peter's Honey) -  An old and classic golden fig, green to gold on the outside, bronze on the inside.  Fruits medium, sometimes fairly large.  A very mild and very sweet fig.  Surprisingly hardy, this fig has very flexible stems and we had great fun pruning espaliered forms of it at the farm.  Sweetest in drier seasons so don't overwater once established.

ALL GONE!!! ** Violette - The true Violette introduced by Mike McConkey at Edible Landscaping.  This variety has a thin, long-lobed leaf and is very distinct. If you have a long warm fall season in your area, these fruits slowly ripen to a perfect, wrinkled heaven of sweetness.  Unmistakable!  This tree was cut severely back after storm damage and so there will be fewer cuttings of this than the others so put your request for this one in early!  (FYI, yes, this is the Violette de Bourdeaux, according to Mike McConkey.)

ALL GONE!!! **  San Piero (California Brown Turkey)- This grows for me as a smaller, multi-stemmed fig, more like a bush.  Quite large figs, however, that are lighter than a Brown Turkey but with a nice flavor.  As a young fig, it routinely froze to the ground and sprang back up - took about four years to really fruit (an eternity in fig time).  In really warm areas, I'm told you need to prune heavily to get strong fruit set.  Here, the winters do it for us!  (PS  I believe that  San Pietro is a separate and different fig but I have not grown it.)

ALL GONE!! **Hardy Chicago - I think this particular tree came to me through Ray Givan but it is from the original H. Chicago that Fred Born propagated and introduced.  We think it may have been a sport of Celeste, the fruit shape and leaf shape is very, very similar but the fruits are much darker and the leaves have a rougher, tougher texture.  Almost a black fig with a very sweet, dark red interior.

ALL GONE!!!**Texas Everbearing - This fig gets listed as Brown Turkey but it bears little, if any, resemblance to our Eastern Brown Turkey.  Ira Condit lists them as the same thing but I don't agree - maybe it's an eastern/western thing.  The fruits are smaller - not as small as Celeste - kind of a medium fig with a really nice flavor.  Seems pretty hardy and slow growing.  We really like this fig and have given lots of cuttings to our hort educator friends in hopes that it would be more widely grown here.

Okay, that's the line-up so far!  If anything looks appealing, let me know your choices and we'll get the cuttings on the way.  It's warming up FAST here in  Virginia Beach, so this needs to happen over the next month!  Let me know if you have questions or if anything is either unclear or not working - this is a big experiment!

All the best,


  1. Great idea and I have been thinking about figs a lot for our new yard at our new house! I will send you an email with the cuttings list and our address shortly!

    Again, what a great idea and a great charity! Great luck on the bike ride.

  2. Replies
    1. Newfs (and Newf Caregivers) - Send me an email - I can't find yours and need to verify address for fig cuttings!! Many thanks - Sybil

  3. I am interested. But, I don't know what figs to choose. I live in NJ, zone 6b and I would be growing them in pots. So, could you please choose them for me? I am new to gardening and thus learning all these. Let me know where and how to send the money and how to send you my address. Thank You.

  4. Dear KL - Thank you so much for your interest! I'm so sorry to say that we've finished this quick fundraising offer - We shipped out a raft of packages this weekend with the fig cuttings and all are now gone and on their way to new gardens! If you hop over to the fig forum, you will find a whole bunch of knowledgeable fig growers and many of them are in New Jersey! - Sybil

  5. Hello I will love to get some fig cutting 4 Alma Gold, 4 Panache ,4 Italian Golden Honey .Please let me know if the others still available

    1. Sorry, Viola! Fig cuttings are long done - we had a wonderful response from folks and raised a lot of money for the girls' home. Thanks for asking! - Sybil

  6. Do you have any Panache Fig cuttings available?

  7. Hi, De Winne! I sent you a comment answer from another one of the blog pages but, just in case, we are not doing any cuttings exchange as we did last year. That was a wonderful experience and helped a terrific organization. This year, the "girls" (our trees) will get to rest! Thanks for coming by the blog! Sybil

  8. I love figs. Great site! I've been buying cuttings off ebay but the variety is limited or too expensive at times $60 or $80! I'm willing to pay that much if its for a good cause like this but I can't justify it for fig cuttings alone. Anyway keep up the good work and hopefully next year we can donate for cuttings again. :)


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