Violette de Bordeaux fig (3' tall tree) - A Fig for Common Kings

This tree is a little over two years old and stands just under three foot tall with the pot and all. This tree has been freshly pruned and is in a potting mix of 30% peat moss, 30% homemade compost, 30% rice hulls with 10% homemade worm castings as well. This has been placed into a 2 gallon pot after root pruning to reduce transportation costs, but it is highly recommended that you up-pot this tree immediately. For $50 plus shipping you could be the happy new owner of this tree.

Regarding the discovery of this fancy fig, this story was provided by The Arboretum Company: "This fig created a sensation and fairly ignited the fig renaissance in California when we discovered it on a rare fruit growers' journey to the doomed fig orchard at UC Davis in summer 1987. Tramping through the weeds in August temperatures, we were ready to go no farther after tasting the fruits of this tree. That tree provided cuttings for us the next winter, and all now grown in America are its progeny ... the rest is history."

Indeed, the rest is history, but that is just one tale of discovery for this precious fig. Its tale goes back much farther than the 20th century, where it is first described by Jean Baptiste de la Quintinie, famous gardener at the Château de Versailles: "of a violet color and long but not very big, the pulp red and reasonably good." This man's literal job was supplying decadent food to the Sun Emperor Louis XIV's table, a man of rich and snobbish taste. If he says something is "reasonably good," it to the rest of us mere common folk means "Dig in!"

This fig is known as a "dwarf type." What this means is that instead of focusing its energy on new growth, growing taller or wider, it instead focuses the majority of its energy for the year into fruit development. This means a lot of very tasty fruit in the middle of the season, but it means that the tree is also ideal for home production. Its compact nature fits snugly into even the smallest yard or apartment balcony, providing delicious, healthy snacks for years or decades to come!

The main crop yields a fig that is dark black, small (40-50g) but elongated. Its flesh is a wonderful red hue, with a sweet and rich fig flavor. Its flavor includes an acidic tang that I really like. This quality is lacking in the breba (first) crop, but many people still find the breba crop to be nearly as good as the main crop. The breba produces a fig that is slightly larger in size. The high quality breba makes this fig an ideal candidate for northern latitudes where the growing season is too short to ripen a main crop fig. It is also very cold resistant, as evidenced by its cultivation in Paris and London.

Rigo, founder of, says this fig is "[b]est tasting when it is starting to dry/wrinkle on the tree. The flavors become rich and some what complex. The fruit is small and has a small eye. Not so tolerant to constant rains but can handle a little. Black skin and a bit chewy and red interior with rich, jammy texture."

Ross Raddi, the actual fig boss, lists Violette de Bordeaux as one of his top-tier mid-season figs. He also includes it at #6 in his top ten figs list of all time. He calls it the "old standard" and says it "is adapted to almost any climate and everybody loves them." He also says that he knows people with over 100 fig varieties who still insist VDB is one of their favorite figs.

In addition to being somewhat rain-resistant, it is also resistant to souring.

Sun requirement: Full sun

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