Is the fig tree hardy? List of winter-proof varieties


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fig tree

Savvy fig gardeners do not allow themselves to be swept away by sweeping statements about the winter hardiness of the fig tree. In fact, the frost hardiness of a Ficus carica depends primarily on the regional conditions at the location and the selected variety. This guide brings important requirements to the spot where you can devote yourself to growing and harvesting fresh figs in your own garden. In addition, a tried-and-tested list makes recommendations for winter-resistant varieties that can also assert themselves north of the Alps.

Origin causes low frost tolerance

The true fig has been widely used since antiquity in the tropical and subtropical regions of this earth and is assigned to the family of the mulberry family (Moraceae). The deciduous fruit tree probably comes from the ancient region of Karia, which extends between Asia Minor and the Mediterranean, in the territory of present-day Turkey. There is a continental climate, with hot summers and mild winters. This is due to the conditional hardiness that all varieties of Ficus carica naturally possess. In contrast, the varieties of oriental fig Ficus sycamorus are threatened by cold death even at temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius.

What does conditionally hardy?

Conditional hardiness refers to a temperature range between -6.7 and -12.3 degrees Celsius. Where winter temperatures do not fall below this limit, you can plant a fig tree without hesitation and look forward to one or two harvests a year. As a rule, these are mild winegrowing regions, for example on Lake Constance, in the Palatinate or along the Middle Rhine. As a result of global warming, the boundaries of winter-mild areas are rapidly expanding beyond the boundaries of the wine-growing regions.
In order to better assess the location of your own garden in this context, a look at the classification of Germany for the following 3 hardiness zones is helpful:
  • Hardiness zone Z8 (- 6.7 to - 12.3 degrees Celsius): Rhineland, coastal regions, Heligoland and Lake Constance
  • Hardiness zone Z7 (-12.3 to -17.8 degrees Celsius): Central Germany, mainly in the lowlands
  • Hardiness zone Z6 (-17.8 to -23.4 degrees Celsius): southeast and the Alps
Outside winter hardiness zone 8, not all Ficus carica survive a severe winter, but only cultivars grown for frost resistance. The following list details proven, winter-proof hybrids.

Winter-resistant varieties and their properties

It would be easy to simply plant the hardiest fig species to avoid a risk of default. However, it should be remembered that the cold-sensitive fig trees produce the juicier fruits with the sweeter taste. It is therefore advantageous to match the variety as precisely as possible to the winter hardiness zone of your own garden. In this way, the perfect compromise between frost hardness and quality of the fruit succeeds.

Bayern fig

One of the most popular fig varieties in Germany, which is now available in almost every garden center and hardware store. Thanks to its broad and upright habit, the Bavarian fig also offers as a trellis fruit for the south wall of the house. In the ideal location, two crops of purple figs are possible, in July / August and October / November.
  • hardy to - 12 degrees Celsius

Bianco

Overgrown fig tree

As an early ripening variety, the Bianco is perfectly suited for a garden within Z7 and Z6 climates. Although the growing season is shorter than in southern countries, the tree provides a satisfactory harvest. The white-green fruits with the white flesh taste juicy and sweet. Associated with the purple fruity Bavarian fig, the two varieties offer a decorative appearance in the autumn garden.
  • Hardy to - 20 degrees Celsius

Bornholm fig

Probably the winter hardest fig species comes from Denmark. With an extra short maturation time and low crop yield, it pays tribute to the winter-like climate. In addition, the fruit tree rarely reaches a height of 200 cm. If your green empire is within the Z6 winter hardiness zone, you can grow this resistant fig. The taste is satisfactory, but does not reach the juicy-sweet figs of cold-sensitive varieties.
  • hardy to - 21 degrees Celsius

Brown Turkey

If your regional nursery has fig trees in its range, this variety is very likely to be included. As a large shrub, the fig branches to a width of 400 to 600 cm, with a stature height of 200 to 400 cm. Of particular advantage is that 'Brown Turkey' is self-fertile, so no fumigant variety is required. The pear-shaped, juicy-sweet fruits can be harvested already at the beginning of autumn. In full sun, warm location 2 harvests are possible in August and October.
  • hardy to - 18 degrees Celsius

Brunswick

As one of the oldest German figs, 'Brunswick' should not be missing in this list of winter-proof varieties. The variety name refers to the city of Braunschweig as the hometown. The figs reach a full 100g in full sun and taste fruity-fresh. Gardeners with limited acreage will appreciate that the variety thrives on a self-fertilizing basis.
  • Hardy to - 20 degrees Celsius

Califfo Blue

Blue-violet fruits, restrained growth, productive and good hardy. These attributes characterize the late-ripening fig species. For the cultivation in the garden north of the Alps 'Califfo Blue' is thus a suitable candidate. By cultivating the young plant in the tub for the first two years and then planting in the sunny bed, you optimize the characteristics of the fig tree.
  • hardy to - 12 degrees Celsius

Celeste

Fig tree hardy

For all regions with a short summer, this fig variety is intended. Based in the USA, 'Celeste' creates a zest for home gardeners with their dark, tasty fruits and a stable frost hardiness.
  • Hardy to - 20 degrees Celsius

Columbaro

If you want a late maturing and delicate fig variety, 'Columbaro' is a good choice. Since the fruits leave their maturity until October, they absorb the warm sunshine in late summer, resulting in a sugar-sweet taste.
  • hardy to - 18 degrees Celsius

Dalmatia

In rainy regions you do not have to do without the cultivation of figs thanks to this variety. As part of the breeding of 'Dalmatie', the focus was on good compatibility of long-lasting rainfall. If that is not enough, this fig brings you aromatic and juicy fruits from August.
  • hardy to - 12 degrees Celsius

Early Dark

The big figs of this variety inspire with an exciting play of colors, when they turn dark violet shortly before the harvest. Early Dark has proven to be profitable and allows the enjoyment of fresh figs from September.
  • Hardy to - 15 degrees Celsius

Fehmarn

When choosing your favorite fig species, play safe with 'Fehmarn'. The fig has its origin on the known island in the north and has a correspondingly robust constitution. The sweet fruits are comparatively small, but appear in large numbers. Harvested once a year in September. The advantage of the small garden is the self-fertile property, so you can leave it to grow a single specimen.
  • hardy to - 17 degrees Celsius

Hardy Chicago

In the cultivation of figs north of the Alps, this fig from America has made a name for itself as an indestructible survivalist. If the shoots freeze to the ground once again, despite the good hardiness, there is no cause for concern. As the name of the variety already announces, 'Hardy Chicago' is tough and is pushing again. In contrast to most Ficus carica, annual cutbacks after the harvest of one third are recommended here.
  • Hardy to - 20 degrees Celsius

Icechrystal

Fig tree winterproof

The lover's variety comes as a cross between Ficus carica and Ficus afghanistanicia. Therefore, the fig trumps with beautiful, deeply lobed and silvery shimmering leaves. The price of this decorative splendor are smaller fruits than classic varieties. This does not diminish the delicious taste.
  • hardy to - 22 degrees Celsius

Michurinska

One of the most valuable fig species is widespread in Bulgaria, Romania and Macedonia and is affectionately called 'Little Fig' there. In fact, the red fruits are comparatively small, which does not detract from their aroma. Due to their origin, you can grow this fig in any German garden in a sunny, sheltered location. Nevertheless, winter protection is recommended in the first year, because the frost hardiness builds up only gradually.
  • hardy to - 23 degrees Celsius

Montana nera

The black mountain fig is a breeding success from the Swiss mountains and accordingly winter hardy. Since 'Montana nera' is only on the market since 2015, the experience in terms of their frost resistance is not yet solidly substantiated. If the statement of the breeders apply, you will get to know the most sturdy fig variety here.
  • hardy to - 24 degrees Celsius

Morena

In the full-sun, wind-sheltered location, there are best prospects for a rich harvest of yellow, medium-sized figs. It is advantageous to cultivate the variety first in the tub for 2 years. Shrubs or tree trunks preferred by the master gardener already bear from the second year onwards at the suitable location.
  • Winterproof up to - 12 degrees Celsius
Tip: Best season for fig trees is in spring, when the soil is completely thawed. In the bucket, the exotic fruit trees can be planted throughout the growing season.

Mère Veronique

With up to 10 cm large, yellow figs invites the popular and frost-resistant variety in late summer to snack. Not only the shapely fruits are a feast for the eyes.When the green leaves turn yellow in autumn, the compact, bushy fig shrub attracts everyone's attention.
  • Hardy to - 15 degrees Celsius

Paradiso

Fig tree in winter

Spherical, wine-red figs and beautifully lobed, green leaves, which in autumn undergo a transformation into golden yellow, characterize the proven fig variety. As with all varieties with a lower winter hardiness than - 20 degrees Celsius, we recommend cultivating in a large pot for the first two years. Plant the young fig tree in the spring and protect it in the first winter with leaves and brushwood.
  • hardy to - 18 degrees Celsius

Peretta

Thanks to its reliability and delicious fruits, 'Peretta' is a blockbuster in the German trade that can sometimes even be found in the supermarket. Even in bad-figged years, 'Peretta' will not let you down and bring you the big, green fruits with red pulp and seductive aroma. Come spring and summer with plenty of sunshine, the harvest can begin in July. As a new-generation variety, 'Peretta' is also bearing fruit at the appropriate location on this year's shoots so that it can be harvested again in autumn.
  • hardy to - 12 degrees Celsius

Ronde de Bourdeaux

The premium variety comes from the knowledgeable hand of French breeders and is in great demand in German gardens. Apart from its reliable winter hardiness, the fig inspires with honeyed, 25 to 30 gram fruits. Carefree enjoyment is ensured by an unusually thin shell. Since this fig tree is rarely larger than 250 to 300 cm, it is ideally suited for the small garden and the tub culture.
  • Winterproof up to - 20 degrees Celsius
Tip: The fruits of fig trees thrive on the previous year's wood. The best time for pruning is therefore immediately after the harvest. In late winter or early spring, the crown is only needed if necessary.

Rosetta

If the green-yellow fruits turn into an intense red, the harvest is imminent. In addition to the good taste and a good winter hardiness, the variety scores with a high productivity. Planted in the spring in a protected, sunny spot, the first harvest in late summer can already be expected after 2 years.
  • frost-resistant to - 12 degrees Celsius

Rossa Rotonda

If you can offer a fig tree plenty of space in the bed, the expansive variety 'Rossa Rotonda' might be of interest to you. The red-brown to dark-red fruits do not thrive in large numbers, which is offset by a honey-sweet taste. Spring planting and good winter protection in the first year ensure that the fig tree is reliably established in the garden.
  • Winterproof up to - 12 degrees Celsius

Twotimer

Fig tree varieties

This fig tree keeps what its variety name promises. Planted in a sunny, warm bed with southern exposure or cultivated in a large pot, 'Twotimer' gives you fresh fig enjoyment in August and October. You can already see the pear-shaped fruits, which turn yellow-violet at maturity.
  • Winterproof up to - 20 degrees Celsius
Conclusion
Fig trees are not part of the natural inventory of German regions, so the question of their winter hardiness is obvious. Presumably native to today's Turkey, Ficus carica naturally have a conditional winter hardiness between -6.7 and -12.3 degrees Celsius. In mild winegrowing areas, there is nothing wrong with planting the favored fig variety. If the garden is within the Z7 and Z6 hardiness zones, extra hardy hybrids may be considered. This list gives you winter-proof varieties and gives hints to the special attributes.

Video Board: List of uncommon cold hardy fruits to grow.

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