These top main crop fig cultivars for short seasons, when winter protected in pots, begin ripening figs on new wood here in zone 6b, a few miles from the Mason-Dixon line, on the following dates:
Ronde de Bordeaux
Improved Celeste (LSU)
Florea 1st week of August
Mt Etna… 2nd week of August
Nordland / Longue d’Aout
Wuhan 3rd week of August
Violette de Bordeaux…
Long Yellow 4th week of August
Pingo De Mel…
Lemon / Blanche 1st week of September
Scott’s Black (LSU)
Brown Turkey (Eastern/Southern)
Mary Lane 2nd week of September
9 early main crop varieties and their flavors:
These top first crop (breba) cultivars, when winter protected from freezing temperatures in pots, ripen figs on the previous year’s wood here in zone 6b in the month of July:
Violette de Bordeaux…
San Miro Piro
8 quality breba bearers and their flavors:
One of the most productive of all main crop cultivars, and the cultivar that best ripens figs when planted in-ground and frozen back to ground level each winter by harsh weather: Mt Etna…
For short season growers, a few particular cultivars can be very useful. In my experience, 3 varieties begin to ripen a week or two before other varieties – Ronde de Bordeaux, LSU Improved Celeste, and Florea – which helps them to be among the most productive figs. The 3 earlies are followed in a couple weeks by Negretta and especially Mt Etna, as prolific as any, or moreso.
Quite a number of other cultivars begin ripening the following week and can also be quite productive, including: LSU O’Rourke, Longue d’Aout / Nordland, Brooklyn White, and LSU Tiger.
Many of the figs produced here in recent years, northern West Virginia, zone 6b, belong to those 9 cultivars, also increasingly Violet Sepor and Long Yellow. They are potted and in winter garage-protected slightly above freezing at the coldest. People tend to reach for RDB, the Etnas, and Tiger first on a plate as they are the most visually appealing, of these figs.
In ground unprotected, the Mt Etnas have bounced back best each summer to ripen fruit after winter top-kill.
Breba producers like the Violette de Bordeauxs, Kadotas, Marseilles, Desert King, Lattarula, San Miro Piro, and Palermo Reds can provide some quality fruit in the month before the main crop 8, if protected from freezing temperatures through winter.
With winter shelter and decent care, these 13 types can produce significant fruit July through September (or through October with good and full sun), peaking in August. A lot of other varieties can add to October, September, and late August production but for heavy August production the fast five or early(ish) eight have proven key in this part of the world.
(Atreano and Conadria main crop can be prolific, coming on big, bright, and early in the middle of August, but here these have tended to be too watery to be very flavorful, with a sometimes bitter skin, and weak collapsing texture.)
Assorted other figs, mid ripeners, can also do well in the second half of the ripening season (note the number of yellow skin figs) – Long Yellow, Lemon, Excel, Pingo de Mel, LSU Gold, LSU Champagne, Wuhan, LSU Purple, Violet Sepor, Emerald Strawberry, White Triana:
A few late ripening varieties that can ripen well near the end of short seasons – Mary Lane, Ischia Green, Black Madeira, LSU Scott’s Black.