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PlantFiles: Common Fig, Edible Fig, Higo
Ficus carica 'Brown Turkey'

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Family: Moraceae (mor-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ficus (FY-kus) (Info)
Species: carica (KAIR-ih-kuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Brown Turkey
Additional cultivar information: (aka California Brown Turkey, San Pedro, San Piero)

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

41 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Shrubs

Height:
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

Spacing:
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Danger:
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Inconspicuous/none

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Foliage:
Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 20 photos.
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Profile:

14 positives
7 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive Themomma On May 20, 2014, Themomma from Alamogordo, NM wrote:

I've had this fig tree for 7 yrs. It was a tiny thing barely a foot tall now its over 6ft. It's survived the crazy NM weather including high winds, hail, late freezes, and blizzards. I water 2x a week and it always has big beautiful leaves, and sweet delicious fruit. My soil isn't the best and I do pound in a fertilizer stake 1x a year. After a particular nasty ice storm it did kill the mature branches but she's come back healthier. I love this tree. If I could get a few more I would in a heartbeat.

Neutral gammaneetz On Sep 19, 2013, gammaneetz from Garden City, MI (Zone 6a) wrote:

I purchased my fig tree 3 summers ago and kept it as an indoor potted plant until the next spring. It was planted out, along the south facing wall of my house, and it did well. It did produce a few fruit that first year. It died back this past winter as I did not do anything to it for protection. It did come back this spring and is bearing a good amount of fruit. I just don't know if I will have had enough summer this year for the fruit to ripen. We'll see how things go this fall.

Neutral RebeccaLynn On Oct 2, 2011, RebeccaLynn from Winston Salem, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

Nine years ago I planted a Brown Turkey fig tree on the south side of the house. Seven years ago I planted a Celeste fig tree also on the south side of the house. The Brown Turkey tree is huge and produces large numbers of big green figs, but only about 10% of the fruit ripens. The Celeste tree and its fruit are not as large as the Brown Turkey, but about 90% of the figs ripen deliciously.
This winter the Brown Turkey goes. I'll probably plant a Celeste in its place.

Positive oscarkat01 On Jun 18, 2011, oscarkat01 from Rochester, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have this plant growing near a south facing wall. I had 10-15 fruits the first year and it was very small. It survived our brutal Rochester winter and is coming back mostly from roots but one branch made it too. I have not done anything special to it but a slightly thicker mulch layer over winter.

Positive mdgdnr On Apr 26, 2011, mdgdnr from Essex, MD wrote:

My father bought this and planted it in his yard 3 - 4 years ago. It has survived and THRIVED - each year producing more enormous leaves and figs. I pruned it this year for the first time and it is about 4.5 - 5 feet tall. It's been a constant struggle, though, protecting the fruit. The tree is situated by some fence posts and squirrels are able to jump from those onto the tree. We installed netting the first year, but the branches and leaves would bust through every other day it seemed and the netting proved worthless. We decided to focus efforts elsewhere- the ant infestation that occurs whenever there are ripe figs. We could watch colonies of pusy ants trailing up the trunk and into the bottom of figs through the small hole that is present on each of them! We were at a loss for what to do. A local gardening center recommended we place a goopy, gluey, saplike substance on the bottom of the trunk to stop the ants from crawling up the trunk. It was somewhat successful in stopping the ants, and did not harm the tree, but flying ants still get at the figs! We've pretty well given up on harvesting fruit from the thing because most figs we are able to pick off have bugs in them. Oh well. Beyond this fact, the tree is so beautiful! The natural shape is just great and the tree canopys very wide at the top. All I had to do when pruning was eliminate some crossovers and a couple of suckers. I recommend this tree for anyone in coastal Maryland! Our hot, humid summers are perfect for this tree and I guarantee it will grow like a weed! Most sources claim my area is a 7b and some claim 8a. Our summers are that of an 8a, no doubt, however it does snow some, so the winters would be 7b. I wish there was a median zone of 7/8. Either way, if you live from the Baltimore region south, you should have no problems whatsoever with this plant. Give it a go, if only for its ornamental qualities!

Positive suentommy On Sep 7, 2010, suentommy from Souderton, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Brown Turkey Fig Trees are a very easy plant to grow. I had one at my first house, just outside of Philadelphia and then planted one here about ten years ago. I do nothing to it and it keeps growing year after year. The foliage is always healthy looking and it does not seem to be bothered by any pests. Drought doesn't seem to affect it either. There is some stem die back at the tips in the winter but the plant has never died all the way to the ground. There is no winter protection provided other than that given by a slight windbreak of cherry laurel. Each year we get a fair amount of figs off the tree - and while they are not huge they are very tasty, Unfortunately my dog also finds them very tasty and there are very few figs from about the four foot level on down. I found him in the tree this morning looking to see if he missed any.

Positive kyredskin On Jun 21, 2010, kyredskin from Grand Rivers, KY wrote:

Easy, troublefree, oddity to grow in zone 7. To be safe, I always cut the plant back to a couple feet and put a large potting container over it stuffed with mulch or pine needles. But even if I forget it comes back from the root if it is killed back.

Positive blueflower19 On May 30, 2010, blueflower19 from Lufkin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I wanted to try my hand at air layering, and read the ficus family was easy to do, so I decided to experiment on the 'Brown Turkey' fig at our old house. I peeled the bark back to the cambium layer on a branch that had the thickness of a pencil, which was fairly easy to do with an exacto knife. I wrapped the wound in sphagnum moss that had been soaked in water over night. I secured the moss with kite string. Then I wrapped the moss in plastic cling wrap and just kept it moist. After a few weeks I could see the roots through the cling wrap and when I felt there were enough I cut the branch off right below the new roots, removed the wrap, moss and string, and potted it up. I did this fairly early in spring - about late March - and my new fig tree made a couple of figs that summer.

Negative Turtlegaby On Jul 18, 2009, Turtlegaby from Decatur, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Be careful planting this tree close to your house. I had one growing beside the house and the root system was so strong and intensive, that it grew under the slab and cracked the foundation. I had the tree and roots removed, but still dig roots out all the time after 2 years, when tilling or digging in the ground. Trees will grow back from a piece of root left deep in the ground, even if there is nothing to see above ground. The roots are as thick as tree stems and it's very difficult to get rid of them.

I loved the fruits, but the roots travel long ways and it's just too dangerous to take the chance that they get to the house. Even if you can plant them far away, be aware that there is no grass moving possible 10 feet around the tree, because thick roots also grow on top of the ground.

Neutral RosieDay On Mar 16, 2009, RosieDay from Greenfield, NH wrote:

I have a potted Brown Turkey fig which I bring into the garage (min. temp ~ 40 degrees) in the winter. Got a few delicious figs the first year, more the second, and looked like many more were developing the third season but none matured, despite fertilization and regular watering, with a good deal, but not all day sun.

Neutral rntx22 On May 7, 2008, rntx22 from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

The tag on my plant says this:

Richly flavored fruit has purple tinged, mahogany brown skin. Has few seeds and is best eaten fresh. Tree is cold hardy. Once established, needs only occasional water. Fertilize 1-3 during growing season.


We'll see.

Positive BrooklynJon On Jul 23, 2007, BrooklynJon from Brooklyn, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have my Brown Turkey in a container. For the winter, I moved it into my unheated garage, watering it twice. So far it's doing great this year, growing vigorously, and getting started on its second crop of figs. Big, juicy figs. Yum!

Positive aasalas On Jul 2, 2007, aasalas from Lewes, DE (Zone 7b) wrote:

Our 3 planted here near the coast in Delaware have done extremely well. They bore a few figs the first summer planted; several more the 2nd year, and have fruit on seemingly every joint, as I write this in the 3rd summer. They always seem to drop the spring fruits, but then bear heavily in late summer/fall.

Positive MsCarolanne On Sep 25, 2006, MsCarolanne from Madison, AL wrote:

I have just moved into a house in AL and this beautiful tree is growing heartily in my backyard. It brings fond memories of my childhood where my grandfather had one in AR. This tree is about 20' tall and just beautiful. I have small fruits appearing for the fall-bearing time but they seem small. I'm not sure how large they should be. I am happy to learn that I should mulch, but can you tell me with what? I love the way this tree looks, it 'feels' cool in the yard and I have seen a variety of songbirds flitting in and out of the dense foilage. I also love the thick furry-feeling leaves. If I can figure out how to harvest the fruit successfully that will be an added bonus!

Positive bed24 On Sep 10, 2005, bed24 from Denver, CO (Zone 5b) wrote:

Not stem hardy most winters, but roots seem very hardy. Can put on 4 feet of growth from roots when stems die back to within a few inches of the ground. Certainly still an option in zones 5 and 6 if you don't mind treating it as a perennial.

Neutral nick89 On May 31, 2004, nick89 from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Brown Turkey figs make nice trees and are quite popular in here in Alabama. They have no major pest problems. The fruit takes longer to mature than other figs and splits when it rains. I personally think brown turkeys are kind of bland and the skin rough but they are okay.

Positive AliceinCT On Apr 24, 2004, AliceinCT from Northfield, CT wrote:

Every summer as a child when we went to Jackson Mississippi we made turkey fig preserves in August. Now in CT (Litchfield) I've had a turkey fig tree (that I bought at HOME DEPOT!!!) survive through 2 winters. The first year, although well covered, it died off to the ground. The new growth produced figs that never had a chance to mature. 2003 was a cold wet summer in CT.

BUT the tree grew to 4' tall! So I created a frame with PVC to protect it from fall winds until the leaves fell off and then wrapped the whole thing in left over tar paper (from our roof) with a plastic bucket on the top. I heard this is what they do in Italy. I also threw about 2 bales of hay around the base of the wrapped tree.

It worked!!! I have new leaf buds!! It's back in it's frame to help it stay warm since late it's April and I'ts supposed to go down to 32 tonight...but I'm hopeful it will have time to grow figs that have a chance to mature!

Positive clv On Mar 28, 2004, clv from Columbus, OH wrote:

I have this fig planted in the city, along a south facing brick wall of my home. We wrap it for the winter in a heavy paper bag filled with leaves. It has made it thru the winters without die back for the last few years and is doing well.

Neutral sytall On Mar 8, 2004, sytall from Tennessee Colony, TX wrote:

Although I had a lot of success growing them in Louisiana and south Texas, I have not been able to get them to grow in Tennesse Colony, Texas. They do flower.although you will normaly not see the flower, the fruit forms and the flowers are internal of the fruit. There is a small opening at the base of the fruit through which the polinating insects enter. If you slice an unripe fig open, while it still has the opening open you will be able to seee the flowers. although they are small and without petals. just stamens and pistles.

Positive suncatcheracres On Nov 24, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

There is a huge Brown Turkey fig tree growing in my 97 year old Aunt's yard in South Georgia. This was originally her Parent's, my Grandparent's, home, and I believe this fig was planted by my Grandmother in the 1950's, as it has always been there during my lifetime. Every summer this ten foot tall tree, probably kept pruned by my Aunt's almost equally ancient yard man, is literally covered in the most delicious, medium sized figs, with a pink-red flesh and a dark purple-brown skin. They can be eaten fresh out of hand, or put up as a "preserve" in canning jars for later use.

I recently bought a small fig tree labeled 'Everbearing,' but the grower said this term is used interchangably by fig nurseries with 'Brown Turkey,' and the few dozen figs I got from this little tree this past Summer were exactly the same as the fruit from my Aunt's 'Brown Turkey' tree.

I also recently purchased a booklet about growing low-chill fruit trees in Florida, where I live in zone 8b, and it says that figs have been grown since Biblical times and will grow all over Florida from the Panhandle to the Keys, and "like limestone soils with a high pH of 7.0 or more" so they do well planted by the foundation of a house, which is usually more alkaline due to the leaching of concrete foundations, walkways, driveways, etc. In more Northern climates figs freeze back to the roots, but resprout vigorously again in the Spring. Older plants are more hardy and can survive 15F degrees or lower.

Figs bear in their first year after planting, and usually produce two crops, in the Summer and in the Fall. My new fig tree had some figs this past Spring and again in July, so I hope it lives up to its 'Everbearing' name. I planted it in a low spot in a perennial bed, surrounded by several types of water loving iris, including Louisiana iris 'Black Gamecock," and planted some sprouting garlic found in a grocery store close by its trunk as an insect repellent. Country folk, who often have their washing machines out in a shed, will usually drain their wash water into a bed of fig trees, as they are heavy feeders, and can handle the heavy phosphates found in detergents and also like a lot of water. Supposedly the only serious pest of figs is nematodes, but heavy mulch helps the tree roots resist them.

I recently attended a plant propagation session, and the speaker used some fig cuttings in his demonstration. He simply put the 6 inch cuttings in a sandy soil in a pot and put them under a mist system located under a protective screening, without even using rooting hormone.

'Brown Turkey' is the most popular fig tree in the South, and the fruit is absolutely delicious.

Neutral dogbane On Nov 23, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Figs grow and produce very well here. In the town I grew up in, figs and perssimons were really the only fruit trees around. However, a rust fugus often defoliates the fig trees prematurely. This can be avoided by using a foliar fungicide - but follow the directions closely! Some fungicides rely on toxic metals that can be harmful if ingested.

Positive planter64 On Jun 27, 2003, planter64 from Alexandria, VA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Michael Dirr in his Manual Of Woody Landscape Plants says that excessive cold will cause injury and it is best grown in Zone 7 and south. Dieback can occur further north but new growth will appear.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Clayton, Alabama
Daleville, Alabama
Decatur, Alabama
Dothan, Alabama
Fairhope, Alabama
Hartford, Alabama
Madison, Alabama
New Market, Alabama
Higley, Arizona
Surprise, Arizona
Little Rock, Arkansas
Dana Point, California
Pasadena, California
Pomona, California
Redwood City, California
Rialto, California
San Diego, California
Northfield, Connecticut
Lewes, Delaware
Beverly Hills, Florida
Deltona, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Hampton, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Lady Lake, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Middleburg, Florida
Old Town, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida
Saint Cloud, Florida
Valrico, Florida
Alpharetta, Georgia
Emerson, Georgia
Lithia Springs, Georgia
Pooler, Georgia
Snellville, Georgia
Stockbridge, Georgia
Derby, Kansas
Frankfort, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Smiths Grove, Kentucky
Tiline, Kentucky
New Orleans, Louisiana
Essex, Maryland
Garden City, Michigan
Waynesboro, Mississippi
Saint Louis, Missouri
Helena, Montana
Exeter, New Hampshire
Alamogordo, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico
Brooklyn, New York
Rochester, New York
Asheboro, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Greensboro, North Carolina
Huntersville, North Carolina
Kure Beach, North Carolina
New Bern, North Carolina
Wake Forest, North Carolina
Washington, North Carolina
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Dallas, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Bath, Pennsylvania
Hummelstown, Pennsylvania
Morrisville, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Souderton, Pennsylvania
Bluffton, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Simpsonville, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Beech Bluff, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Broaddus, Texas
Brookshire, Texas
Cibolo, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Hutto, Texas
Leakey, Texas
Lufkin, Texas
Milano, Texas
Red Oak, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Shepherd, Texas
Alexandria, Virginia
Leesburg, Virginia
Manassas, Virginia
Unionville, Virginia
Allyn, Washington
Bellevue, Washington
Ridgefield, Washington
Walla Walla, Washington
Eglon, West Virginia
Falling Waters, West Virginia



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