The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Fig Plants Available

Fig Plants Available

Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 532
Hi everyone, I'm heading down to a NH fig growers place in 2 weeks (Saturday 7/20) to buy some plants for my father and my boss as retirement presents (ok, I'm getting a few more to add to my collection as well). Anyway, since I'm taking the drive I don't mind at all bringing back more plants for others if you're interested. I asked Kerry Sullivan (the grower) what he has available and he listed the following:

He has two sizes of plants available...5" pots for $15 and 1.5 gallon pots for $25
He has the following cultivars ready:

Sal's GS - 5" and 1.5 gallon pots
Marseilles Black VS - 5" and 1.5 gallon pots
Ronde de Bordeaux - 5" pots
and a few Florea, Gino's Black, and Hardy Chicago in 5" pots

All these varieties can ripen early enough for us and are hardy as far as figs go, though you'll need to bring them in for the winter or provide good protection and a proper site if you want to try your hand at in ground growing. I've brought my four plants in for the last two winters after they dropped their leaves and stored them in a cold part of my basement (about 40 degrees) until spring...checking soil dryness and watering about once a month in storage.

Just post replies if your interested. First come, first served. I'll need to cut off orders by Friday 7/19 or as the varieties are sold out (or my car space is completely filled...I also have this listed on the Dover page). Kerry is a great guy, but he's starting to turn me into a fig I have 12 plants potted out in the garden and bunches of cuttings that I'm rooting (super easy to root and share)...very fun though. May try cooking with the young leaves this year from my biggest plants. Like some mulberries (relative of the fig), fig leaves have long been used as a cooked green in some parts of the world and there are studies that suggest the leaves can help diabetics.

Oh, BTW, these figs do not require pollination. They are so called "persistent females" meaning they don't require a male tree nor the fig wasp that can't live in cold areas like Maine.
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 533
Here's some descriptions of some of these cultivars I found online.

Sal's GS: (GS stands for Gene's strain, considered to be the same as the EL strain) One of the best figs for northern areas. Very sweet and productive small to medium dark fig. Very hardy (for a fig) and vigorous.

Marseilles Black VS: It is an extremely cold hardy (again, for a fig) black fig with a red interior. Fig size is medium and it has a closed eye which stops ants from entering and resists splitting from heavy rains and high humidity. Taste is exceptional. It is also one of the earliest figs to ripen here.

Ronde de Bordeaux: An excellent flavor, small, dark fig. Better than Violette de Bordeaux. Very sweet and cold resistant.

Florea: hardy Serbian fig...some say the hardiest. In zone 5 will still likely need winter protection, though, it is a fig after all.
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 534
Here's the growing method Kerry shared that I've been following for the last two years:

☼ Use a 5-gallon or larger pot or container with many dime to quarter sized holes drilled in the sides only, from the bottom edge of the sides up at least halfway or all the way up to the rim. No holes in the bottom of the pot, the low holes on the sides are good enough for drainage.

☼ In mid June choose a site in full sun; bury the pot in good garden soil as deep as you drilled holes. Prior to mid June the soil in the pot warms faster than the garden soil, giving you a jump in growth compared to a tree planted in the ground. Once the pot is planted in the garden the fig tree can send roots out the side holes. No longer confined to the pot, it has as much root space as it can use.

☼ As soon as any shoot grows 6 leaves, pinch or trim the very tip of that shoot to make it branch and to encourage it to form fruit at that point. This pinching gives you a bush form, which will allow better production as the plant gets older. Continue to pinch all season as soon as the next 6 leaves form on new growth. Usually in NH you only end up pinching 2 or 3 times in the season.

☼ Remove any figs that begin forming after August 1st, because those won’t have time to fully ripen.

☼ Figs will ripen their fruit earlier every year until they are about 3 or 4 years old when they reach regular timing. In NH, depending on variety, that can be anywhere from mid-August until frost.

☼ In October/ November, when cold weather causes the fig to drop its leaves and go dormant, use a shovel to slice down the outside of the pot, cutting the roots. Pull the pot out of the garden and store anywhere the temperature won’t go below 20oFor above 45oF. Usually an attached garage is a good choice. A very cool basement can also work.

☼ In Spring, as your fig wakes up, treat it as you would a tomato seedling that needs gradual hardening off to sun, wind and temperature.

☼ In order to grow the strongest plant possible it is best to remove all the little figs that form the first year. Doing so will give you a better crop the following season. If you just can't control yourself, you could leave one or two per plant just to get a taste, but remember any that form after August 1st won’t have time to ripen.
Erica W.
user 14489653
Portland, ME
Post #: 2
Hey Greg - Thank you for posting. I am very interested in getting fig trees if there is still space left. If so, two 5" Marseilles Black VS would be great. Where would a good pick up be? Let me know. Thanks!
Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 2,323
Hi Greg - I think we would also like to go in on this order. I'll put my head together with David and report back... Thanks!
Shannon R.
Bar Mills, ME
Post #: 51
Hi Greg,
I'd like a Hardy Chicago (if still available) and a Marseilles Black in a 1.5 gallon pot. If the Hardy Chicago is out, I'll take a Sal's 5" in exchange. Thank you!
- Shannon
user 9298467
Old Orchard Beach, ME
Post #: 82
Hi, Greg,

Thank you for your generous offer. I'd love to get in on the deal. Can you pick up a Florea for me?


Sue M.
user 3284483
South Portland, ME
Post #: 147
Hi Greg, I'm wondering how you root the cuttings. I have an Atreano fig. I have 8 cuttings I tried just rooting in damp potting soil. Two of them have taken. I'm just wondering if there's a better way. Thank you for the tips on growing the figs. I have struggled with needing to take the fig out of the pot to cut the roots back. The way you described sounds so much easier!
Lewiston, ME
Post #: 24
Hi Greg--
I'm excited! How generous of you to volunteer to chauffeur figs for us. How and when do you want to be paid? I would like a 1.5 gallon Marseilles Black and a 1.5 gallon Sal's GS. Also, where would you like us to pick up?
Lisa K.
user 43348532
Freeport, ME
Post #: 4
Hi Greg,

These sound great, and thanks for including all the detail.
Do you have room for one more Marseilles Black?
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