PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Violette de Bordeaux Fig a.k.a. Negronne

This is a very old variety documented to at least 300 years ago in France. We used to say that there isn’t a huge difference in flavor among fig varieties, but this one changed that attitude in a big hurry.

The fruit is gorgeous with a deep purple skin and strawberry red flesh inside. They are somewhat smaller than more common figs like Desert King, Brown Turkey, or Olympian. All fresh figs are delectable, but the flavor of Violette de Bordeaux is on another level. It has the characteristic fig qualities of sweet & mildly fruity with a hint of resin, but then it adds deeper flavors hinting at strawberry, cherry, and blackberry along with an extra punch of sweetness.

In the fig world, many varieties (including Violette de Bordeaux) produce two crops of fruit. The earlier one, called the Breba crop, can ripen in late July to mid August and the late one in September. Here in the Puget Sound area, the late crop often runs out of strong sun and warmth before it can ripen, but sometimes we get lucky.

Violette de Bordeaux is a versatile choice for growing in a limited space. It is naturally a smaller tree (8-10 ft. or so) and will happily share its bounty with you while growing in a large pot on a patio, balcony, or deck. All figs want to be bushy, fully branched to the ground, small trees. If you want it to look more like a tree with a trunk and a canopy, trim off the lower branches as they appear. you can safely do this any time of year.