A member of a large genus of over 1,000 species according to the Purdue University Extension, edible figs (Ficus carica var.) are small trees that grow from 10 to 30 feet high, depending on the variety and growing conditions. They will not grow in severe winter climates and are reliably hardy only above 20 degrees F. Figs tolerate a wide range of soil types, providing the soil is deep and well-drained. They will survive in a site with puddles that remain long after a rain. Although figs are tolerant of a moderate amount of saline in soil, they are intolerant of acidic soils.
A ribbed pear-shaped variety, the Celeste fig is a productive, vigorous-growing tree. Its main crop ripens in mid-June. Celeste figs have purplish-brown skin and creamy white or pinkish, richly flavored, sweet, nearly seedless flesh. The fruits are excellent for desserts. Heavy pruning greatly reduces the yields of Celeste figs. This variety of fig is resistant to the dried fruit beetle because the fruit has a tightly closed eye, inhibiting the beetle's entry into the fruit.
A late-season fig, the variety Alma is a relatively new variety released in 1974 by the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, according to Texas A&M University Extension. A moderately vigorous but very productive tree, Alma begins to produce when quite young. Although the skin of its fruit is rather unattractive, its flavor is rich and sweet. Bearing late in the season, it seals the eye of its fruit with a drop of resin, which keeps the dried fruit beetle out. Grow highly frost sensitive Alma outdoors only in frost-free areas.
A popular variety with several cultivars, Brown Turkey fig has a long ripening season beginning in mid-July. It is a heavy cropper and bears excellent quality copper-colored fruits with whitish-pink to light red pulp and few seeds. Fruits of Brown Turkey figs make excellent home preserves. Although not exceedingly cold hardy, it will produce a respectable crop on sucker wood the season following a killing late spring frost.
Widely grown commercially in California, Kodota produces yellow to green fruit with amber pulp and is excellent canned or preserved. It requires adequate moisture to prevent the fruits from becoming rubbery. Its eye contains a honey-like substance that keeps insects out, preventing it from souring on the tree. Not cold hardy but quick to recover from a frost, Kodota will produce a crop the year following a freeze on newly grown sucker wood.