Chicago Hardy/Plantranch

12 years ago

Anyone dealt with this firm?

They have one fig listed, Chicago H, and they say it is hardy to zone four. Ridiculously inexpensive, but small plants.

Just google Plantranch.


Comments (22)

  • gene_washdc

    Yes, that's a good price. Can't say that I would agree with the parts that I've bolded in their description:


    I have 50 x 5-year old HC figtrees in my orchard, and dearly wish that they were some other variety. In regards to taste it's not a bad fig, but for me it hasn't been all that productive compared to others -- maybe it's just my area. HC is famous for bearing even after being frozen back during the previous winter, but the wood isn't any more hardy than most; and one still needs a long season to ripen, and even more so if frozen back to the ground the previous winter. Suggesting that 2 or more is best for fruiting implies that cross pollination helps to increase fruit set. This is incorrect, HC sets fruit parthenocarpically.

  • thisisme

    Sounds like a great price for a rooted HC. I have never purchased anything from them but it looks like they have nearly 95,000 feedbacks at eBay so a lot of people have.

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  • oxankle

    From your signature I take it you are somewhere near Washington, DC. I would suspect that your climate may be milder than mine here on the N. edge of zone 7. I can be below freezing one day, sixty degrees three days later. Once since I have been here the temperature dropped to minus ten.

    I found a thriving tree in a sheltered space between two houses in Tulsa, so I intend to plant my figs on the S. side of my home next to a fireplace chimney. Perhaps that will provide the microclimate they need.

    I place no stock in the "takes two to fruit well" stuff, and I put a little salt on the zone four claim. The Plantranch fellow is just doing a bit of used-car salesmanship, but other writers say that the HC is a good fig in its own right.

    I have had no luck at all with anything the nurseries sell here, so am willing to try the Celeste and HC figs. Any fig is better than no fig. Still looking for a genuine Tennessee Mountain source and I would also like to try a Sal's fig.

    Thisisme: Yeah, 95,000 hits must mean that they are at least filling orders satisfactorily.


  • herman2_gw

    Oxancle:That is a very good Price.
    Hardy Chicago is a good fig,but like Gene say is not very productive if left on its own.
    However if you prune and thin it every year ,down to 30 inches or less ,then i noticed that is producin very well.
    So it need pruning and thinning to be productive.
    One thing i noted looking at the picture Plantranch have ,of Hardy Chicago.
    All the leaves on the fig in that picture has three lobes????
    Hardy Chicago has uniform 5 ,leaf lobes, with 2 tumbs each.
    The rest is up to you to figure out.!!!!!Ha ,Ha.

  • pitangadiego

    I have not dealt with them because I just don't get a good feeling from their "style" - can't quite put my finger one it, but there seems to be a lack of true knowledge of the product, and a little too much hype. A lot of feedback on Ebay can be from people who don't know an HC from a BT - just wanted a cheap tree - and they got fast service, and so, gave good feedback. As noted in an earlier post, the info given is a little suspect.

  • oxankle

    Lol; you fellows make me nervous. Sure as shooting I'll get what is available.

    I have Hardy Chicago/Chicago Hardy coming from three sources. We'll just see if they are all the same.

    Now, if one of you purists can tell me where I can get either cuttings or a started plant of the Tennessee Mountain Fig I'd appreciate it.

    By the way; thanks for the tip on pruning HC. I'll keep that in mind if it does not do well here in OK.

  • chills71

    they're the same outfit that claims to have a jasmine hardy to Michigan. I emailed a couple years back asking what variety it was and I got "a jasmine" as a response.

    If you order it, take a picture and share it with us. I'm curious what they are selling (I've thought of getting one myself, but the jasmine thing always left me wary)


  • massidea

    For all of you who live in or near zone 7 such as gene and herman, if you could only have one fig to grow outside in the ground without winter protection, which variety of fig would you choose? I have a sister who lives in maryland,zone 7 who loves to eat figs. She's not a great gardener though so winter protection is out and a hardy easy to grow variety would be great. What would you recommend?
    I thought HC was supposed to be really good but after reading this post, I'm not so sure....

  • stevec


    Whereabouts in Maryland? Depending how close to the water/bay she is can make a big difference (or cities.) I live 10 miles north of DC and can not keep a fig w/o it dying back to the ground if I do not cover it ... regardless of variety. Near the bay or the ocean you tend not to suffer such loss. A few miles can make a big difference. I can remember my Grandfather's tree in downtown DC when I was a child. It reached the second story of the house w/o covering. My grandfater's variety?? Who knows ... in the day the people brought cuttings with them when they came over from Sicily. Fancy names like black ... white etc.


  • italiangirl74

    I've never seen a Hardy Chicago with its main leaves as only having 3 lobes. Their leaves are very distinctive. If they are selling a Hardy Chicago with the main leaves only with three lobes, its Boloni.

  • herman2_gw

    Celeste and Hardy Chicago was making it with NO,protection,2 years ago,and we had 4*F.
    But my Celeste was dropping about half of the fruit without reason,so I discarded it.
    Now I have four Young Different cultivars,and it does look that all of them drop some fruits,so that i made a mistake by discarding the 10 foot tall tree.
    It was very good tasting,no doubt.
    Any way I will choose the best Celeste out of this 4 I have so in the long run,is a learning adventure.!!!!
    Best Regards

  • massidea

    Thanks Herman. It sounds like Celeste and Hardy Chicago are your choices for cold hardiness (and I assume tasting good). I have neither but do have a rooted cutting of blue celeste to send to my sister. Have you tested this celeste variety for taste and cold hardiness? I guess it drops fruit also...
    Regarding Steve's reply. My sister lives in Silver Spring MD about 15-20 miles north of DC. She used to live in DC and the neighbor behind her had a fig tree that was productive and good so she knows they grow there. Variety unknown of course. I didn't think there was much of a difference between DC and MD as it's all zone 7? I hope she doesn't have the same dieback as Steve!

  • palmfan

    Desert Kimg is a great "no wrap" fig for zone 7. It gets large tasty brebas as it is a "San Pedro" type which requires pollination of the main crop (usually) in order for that crop to persist. That said, the breba crop is generous in quantity and size! The flavor is a "keeper" as well!

  • herman2_gw

    One of My Celeste is Blue Celeste,and it gave me a handfull of figs this year Second.It was dropping only a third ,and i assume that it did because of being too young.
    I have a hint that Blue Celeste is going to be the Best Celeste Out of 4+1+Megaceleste, i had to Date.
    Fruits taste best notch and is hardy too.

  • massidea

    Thanks palmfan for the good news. I also have a rooted cutting of desert king to send to my sister in MD, zone 7! Desert King always seems to surprise me. Whoever came up with that name was not thinking too clearly as I never thought it would grow well here in the foggy San Francisco bay area nor survive the cold back east.
    So far, I like Herman's comment about Blue celeste tasting good and being hardy, but this fruit dropping thing seems very irritating. Besides breba dropping off, I've never had trouble with the main crop dropping on a fig before, let alone one third! But then, I don't grow celeste... Anyway, if anyone figures out why they drop, please tell us.

  • valentinetbear

    I don't come to the fig forum, so didn't notice this post, until I did a search on the Hardy Chicago Fig. I DO know Plantranch, and am curious, if you bought from him (him, not "firm.")

    I used to think it was me in particular he hated, but after some investigation, no, he really is as creepy, dishonest, and bizarre as I thought. Here's a link to some folks, who had the same experiences I had. (For the record, I did contact him, by e-mail, and outlined, plant by plant what was wrong with each, and what I wanted - which was as simple as LIVE plants that lasted more than a season, since they were all periennials. His gripe with me was that I didn't also make the long distance phone call to repeat my request.) Check out the negative remarks, and know that not one of those came from me - http://davesgarden.com/products/gwd/comments.php?compid=1693&type=3

    Sooo, did you buy from him? And, if so, was it even alive when you got it, or did it survive the winter?

  • oxankle

    Well, old posts do come up now and then, don't they?

    It is too early to tell whether or not my Plantranch celeste is going to perform this spring, but it was healthy when I put it away.

    I should tell you that when I got the plant it was a dead cutting; the packer had simply pulled a tiny pot that was supposed to have a rooted cutting (dormant) and shipped it without even looking at it.

    I called the company, got the owner. He apologized, saying that he had to hire temp help in shipping season and they made mistakes. He told me I could have a larger plant out of his greenhouse if I would just pay shipping, which I readily agreed to. He sent me a small fig, which I potted in a mix I now know to be unsuitable, and the tree did not grow as well as others I put in a better mix. I feel certain that it survived (It is still in shelter with my other figs) and I intend to pot it up in a better mix as soon as the weather permits, about two more weeks now.

    That said, I prefer now to pay a bit more and get well started figs. I can root cuttings myself now that I have learned a little.

  • jay_7bsc

    I take exception to Gene's comment that _Ficus carica_ 'Hardy Chicago' is "no hardier than most" other figs. My observation of 'Hardy Chicago' is that it is considerably hardier than 'Brown Turkey' and 'Celeste,' our Zone 7 standard benchmarks for fig hardiness.

    I think it would be foolish to order plants from a company that suggests _Ficus carica_ can be grown successfully outdoors in Zone 4. Go, instead, with a reputable mail-order source such as Edible Landscaping in VA for figs and many other fruiting plants.

  • gene_washdc

    One of the curious and frustrating aspects about figs is the wide variability of any one fig variety depending on location -- even within short distances. So I'm not surprised that you've had a different experience with HC. However I still have the same opinion of this variety one year later. If I could magically switch out the 50 HC I bought from Edible Landscaping, I'd do it in a heartbeat. The Celeste from Paradise is as hardy if not more so for me and more productive, and better tasting.

  • paul_nc

    I have lived just N. of Raleigh, NC for a year and 4 months. I planted the figs I had rooted and brought with me, from Charlotte, NC area, in pots (Hardy Chicago, Brown Turkey, Celeste, Black Mission, LSU Purple). We had a mild first winter followed by a 28 deg night after all the figs had put on 2 to 4 inches of new growth so no breva and the Black Mission froze nearly to the ground.
    This Winter just ending had a decently cold Fall and the trees hardened. I covered my Black Mission and a 3' tall LSU Gold which I purchased and planted in the Fall. I hope to have a report in about May on all these figs but we did have one night down to 8 degrees (Black Mission and LSU Gold were covered w/ light bulb under cover) and several night down to about 15 deg. I am mostly from FL and have never been so cold! I am very curious what will happen to these various trees (all young). My Celeste is in an un-sheltered part of the yard and seemed to be fine last week.

  • johnsvmf

    gene_washdc, your orhard must be a beautiful thing to behold. Although I know nothing about grafting, have you considered grafting more desireable cultivars on your HC trees? My guess is that would be a significant effort but it might be worth it.


  • herman2_gw

    Paul:Black Mission proved to be less hardy for me too here in New Jersey.
    Because thre are more than one strain of Black Mission,This year I Traded cuttings of Black Mission,with a handfull of other Gardener,in order to grow them side by side and select a strain that is hardy,in colder regions.
    Black Mission is in my opinion a group of superior high quality cultivars.
    The chalange is to find the most cold hardy strain.
    LSU gold proved to be more cold hardy than Black Mission ,and has a future here in zone 6b.
    To Gene:I would like to point that your H Chicago from Ed. Landscaping ,is not Identical,to Hardy Chicago I kept from Hartmann,s plant co.
    The difference is that the HC,from HPC,is more vigurous,and with absolutelly no sign,of Fig mosaic,at all.
    I grew them side by side,and at the end I kept the Hartman's plant co.,specimen.
    As for the being very precocious,with branches too havy of fruits,that is,an exageration.
    It is an acceptable first choice cultivar from people living outside ideal climate for growing figs,That is true.
    It is also reliable,and ripe figs every year,here,unlike other more exotic plants,that end many season with green fruits,and that is another reason to grow it.
    One have to have only a couple to keep up with pruning them as they do not produce well when growing out of proportion,and especially when having dense branches.
    And it can be done when one has a couple of trees,but when one has 50 of them,then it is a lot of work,to keep up,too much for older people ,with dissabilities, like me.
    Best Regards

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