8 Best Fig Tree Varieties to Grow in Texas

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Fig trees are originally native to the Mediterranean and are a classic part of the cuisine and landscaping over there. But, did you know that parts of Texas have a similar climate to the Mediterranean?

This makes it very feasible to grow fig trees in your Texas garden! Plus, there are several cold-hardy varieties that can thrive way up in the panhandle.

Texas includes USDA hardiness zones 6 through 11, which is just about the sweet spot for fig trees. Most fig tree varieties grow best in zones 7 through 11, but the hardier varieties do well in zone 6 as well.

There are tons of different varieties of fig trees and each has a growing advantage. Read on to see which variety would be best for your space and fig desires!

Breba Crop vs. Main Crop

Before we get into the best fig tree varieties for Texas growers, let me explain to you what a “breba crop” is and why some fig tree varieties have two seasons!

The breba crop is an earlier harvest of figs from the last year that are just now ripening. At the end of the main fig season, there are some figs that haven’t ripened yet and will stay on the branches over the winter.

In the spring as temperatures warm up and the tree comes out of dormancy, these figs will be the first to ripen. So, the breba crops form the first harvest that is several months earlier than the main harvest.

Usually, the breba crop is in late spring and the main crops ripen in late summer to early fall. Many species of fig tree have a breba crop and a main crop.

Top 8 Fig Trees for Texas Gardeners

1. Black Mission (Dorstenia ficus ‘Black Mission’)

Black Mission figs are very well known for their sweetness and rich flavor- making them a favorite among chefs and home cooks.

For this reason, Black Mission Fig trees are grown intensively in California, which has an ideal climate for mediterranean plants.

However, they grow great in Texas too! In fact, Black Mission fig trees thrive in hot and dry climates and zones 7 through 10, which covers most of Texas.

This makes Black Mission figs ideal for anyone in central TX with long, hot days and several hours of sun.

Growers in northern TX can still grow Black Mission figs but will need to protect them from frost.

Black Mission figs have dark purple skin when ripe and a fuschia pink flesh. When they’re fully ripe, their insides are juicy and sweet like jam.

They have full breba crops in late spring and main crops in late summer and into fall.

  • Other Common Names: California Black Mission
  • Growing Zones: 7-10
  • Average Size at Maturity: 10-30 ft tall by 15-30 ft wide
  • Season: Fruits in late spring to fall

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2. Brown Turkey (Ficus carica ‘Brown Turkey’)

Brown Turkey Fig (Ficus carica ‘Brown Turkey’) Tree and Fruit
Images by Fern Berg, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

Even at full maturity, Brown Turkey Fig trees don’t grow as tall as Black Mission or Chicago Hardy. This makes them easier to prune and harvest, but they still grow to be a full-sized tree.

Often, Brown Turkey Fig trees are wider than they are tall, which adds interest to your landscape. These trees are also highly resilient- tolerant to high temperatures but cold hardy down to 10 F.

Brown Turkey figs are lighter in color, often with dusty pink-green skin although they can be dark purple when completely ripe. The flesh is light pink and very juicy but not as sweet as other varieties.

These figs are said to have a mildly sweet, melon-like taste that is the classic fig flavor. Although, the main crops tend to be sweeter. Brown Turkey Fig trees usually have a large breba crop.

  • Growing Zones: 7-10
  • Average Size at Maturity: 10-25 ft tall by 12-15 ft wide
  • Season: Fruits in late spring to fall

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3. Celeste (Ficus carica ‘Celeste’)

Celeste Fig
Image by 512bits via Wikimedia Commons (CC 3.0)

Celeste Fig trees are a smaller variety that are perfect for growing in containers.

This is ideal for growers in northern Texas, who might need to bring the tree inside when it gets too cold.

However, Celeste Fig trees also have a high heat tolerance and would thrive in southern or west TX.

Regardless of your location, these fig trees are known to have a high resistance to pests and produce lots of fruit!

Celeste figs are bronze purple when ripe and have a pink, chewy flesh. Their flavor is sweet but light, refreshing like a berry.

These trees typically have a light breba crop and a full harvest in late summer. The main harvest tends to be a dense crop of small to medium figs.

Celeste Fig trees can often fruit in the first year and will be ready for harvest earlier in the season than other varieties.

  • Other Common Names: Sugar Fig
  • Growing Zones: 7-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 5-10 ft tall by 5-10 ft wide
  • Season: Fruits in late spring to fall

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4. Desert King Fig (Ficus carica ‘Desert King’)

Despite its name, the Desert King Fig tree is better suited to colder climates.

This variety is also ideal for northern TX, but doesn’t need to be potted like Celeste. Once its root system is established, Desert King Fig trees are cold hardy down to 5 F!

Which is good news because this tree isn’t well-suited to be grown in a container. Not only does it grow quite big but it grows fast!

Desert King figs are a green variety, meaning that their skin stays green even when fully ripe. This usually means less birds coming and eating the fruits!

These figs are much larger than other varieties- which is why they’re also called King Figs. They have a dark pink flesh that’s filled with juice and is very sweet.

  • Other Common Names: King Fig
  • Growing Zones: 6-10
  • Average Size at Maturity: 15-25 ft tall by 15-20 ft wide
  • Season: Fruits in late spring to fall

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5. Chicago Hardy (Ficus carica ‘Chicago Hardy’)

Chicago Hardy
Image by Debouch via Wikimedia Commons (CC 4.0)

If you live in northern TX and were thinking that the Desert King is a great fit (which it could be) just hold your horses.

The Chicago Hardy is a cultivar known all over the country for being super cold hardy.

The Chicago Hardy was supposedly found growing in Chicago all on its own and is the only variety that tolerates -10 F!

So, even if you’re up far north or in the mountains of west TX, you can count on the Chicago Hardy.

These trees give an abundant harvest each year of dark purple and juicy fruits. Chicago Hardy figs have a light pink flesh with a mildly sweet flavor.

These trees don’t often have a breba crop, especially if you have a very cold winter.

The branches can get frost damage, but the roots can tolerate the cold and allow the tree to come back in the spring.

  • Other Common Names: Chicago Fig, Cold Hardy Fig
  • Growing Zones: 5-10
  • Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 ft tall by 15-30 ft wide
  • Season: Fruits in late summer to fall

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6. LSU Purple (Ficus carica ‘LSU Purple’)

The LSU Purple Fig tree was developed by the LSU Agcenter in 1991 to be a cultivar with extremely sweet fruit and high disease resistance. Thank you, LSU!

Since this variety was bred in Louisiana, you can imagine that it grows very well in eastern TX.

Though, it can thrive almost anywhere in Texas as long as it’s protected from the cold since these trees prefer warm climates.

In fact, when warm enough, LSU Purple Fig trees will have three seasons! They have their breba crop in early spring, main crop in summer, and a late crop in early fall.

These figs are medium-sized and very sweet, with lots of juice inside. Their skin is dark purple when ripe and the flesh is dark, raspberry-pink.

Because of their size, these trees can easily be grown in a pot or planted in your garden.

  • Growing Zones: 7-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 8-10 ft tall by 8-10 ft wide
  • Season: Fruits in late summer to fall

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7. White Marseilles (Ficus carica ‘White Marseilles’)

These trees comfortably grow in zones 7 through 11, which covers all of Texas except for the far northern tip.

White Marseilles is also a very resilient variety- it’s fairly cold hardy and disease resistant.

These trees are called White Marseilles, or Yellow Fig tree, because their figs are light green, almost bright yellow.

Even the flesh is light yellow and the flavor is mildly sweet, like honey.

Although the figs don’t change color as they ripen, they’ll become softer as they’re ready for harvest.

White Marseilles Fig trees have a late breba crop in June or July, then the main crop is early fall.

These trees are pretty small, so they’re also a good candidate for growing in containers.

Even if you plant one in the ground, their size will make pruning and harvesting much easier.

  • Other Common Names: Yellow Fig Tree
  • Growing Zones: 7-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 10-12 ft tall by 8-10 ft wide
  • Season: Fruits in late summer to fall

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8. Kadota (Ficus carica ‘Kadota’)

Kadota Fig Tree
Image by Chic Bee via Flickr

Kadota Fig trees really thrive in zones 7 through 9, which covers most of Texas. But, it’s still possible to grow these figs in far northern TX in zone 6.

Once the roots are well established in the ground, Kadota figs can be cold hardy down to 5 F!

These trees also tolerate high humidity very well. This can be a great advantage if you live in central to east TX.

Also, Kadota figs are the type that were used in Fig Newton cookies!

That’s because Kadota figs aren’t as juicy as other varieties, making them better for drying or turning into jam.

These figs are another green variety that finish with a yellow-green skin when ripe. Their flesh is a dusty pink color and is mildly sweet.

Kadota figs are small to medium sized and usually these trees only have a main crop.

  • Growing Zones: 7-9
  • Average Size at Maturity: 15-25 ft tall by 15-20 ft wide
  • Season: Fruits in fall

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Comparing Texas Fig Tree Varieties

VarietyDescriptionGrowing ZonesAverage Size at Maturity
Black MissionKnown for its sweetness and rich flavor. Produces dark purple skin figs with fuschia pink flesh.7-1010-30 ft tall x 15-30 ft wide
Brown TurkeyProduces lighter dusty pink-green figs, mildly sweet, with main crops being sweeter. Has a large breba crop.7-1010-25 ft tall x 12-15 ft wide
CelesteBronze purple figs with pink, chewy flesh. Usually has a light breba crop and a full harvest in late summer.7-115-10 ft tall x 5-10 ft wide
Desert KingFast-growing, not ideal for containers. Produces green figs with dark pink, sweet flesh.6-1015-25 ft tall x 15-20 ft wide
Chicago HardyProduces dark purple, mildly sweet figs. Main harvest in late summer.5-1015-30 ft tall x 15-30 ft wide
LSU PurpleThrives in warm climates, producing bronze purple figs with dark raspberry-pink flesh.7-118-10 ft tall x 8-10 ft wide
White MarseillesProduces light green, almost bright yellow figs with light yellow flesh, sweet like honey. Ideal for smaller gardens or containers.7-1110-12 ft tall x 8-10 ft wide
KadotaKnown as the type used in Fig Newton cookies, less juicy and ideal for drying or jam.7-915-25 ft tall x 15-20 ft wide

Figs Forever

Figs aren’t as popular in the U.S. as they are in the Mediterranean, since they’re not part of our native flora, but more and more people are learning to love these delicious fruits.

Thankfully, there are many places in the U.S. where we can grow figs and Texas is one of them!

Fig trees can thrive pretty much anywhere in the state and with such a range of varieties, there are options for each region.

You may not be very familiar with fig trees but they’re easy-going fruit trees that are very rewarding to take care of.

If you’d like to learn more about growing, harvesting, and storing figs, check out the LSU AgCenter Fig Guide for detailed information.

I hope this article exposed you to all the options you have for growing fig trees in Texas and inspired you to get growing!

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Peyton Warmack-Chipman

Environmental Politics & Permaculture Enthusiast

Peyton considers trees not just as plants that provide shade or yummy fruits, but as necessary for a healthy life and community. Peyton has done most of her research on environmental politics, but recently has shifted her focus towards actual agricultural practices, learning about ideas like agroforestry, food forests, and permaculture gardening. She's most often in the kitchen whipping something up, but otherwise can be found on long bike rides or doing research.

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