Ficus petiolaris
Common Name: rock fig 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Moraceae
Native Range: Mexico
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 20.00 to 30.00 feet
Spread: 20.00 to 30.00 feet
Bloom Time: Rarely flowers
Bloom Description: Green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-12. In St. Louis, grow plants indoors in containers in a soil-based potting mix in full sun. Water regularly during the growing season. Avoid overwatering. Reduce watering from fall to late winter. In containers, the size of the plant can be minimized by both container size (small) and watering (minimal). Prune as needed. May be trained as a bonsai.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ficus petiolaris, commonly called petiolate fig or rock fig, is a small tree that may grow to 20-30’ tall, but infrequently may reach as much as 90’ tall. It is native to Mexico where it is typically found from Baja California and Sonora south to Oaxaca. In its native range, it is often found growing in rocky areas where the roots stretch over rocks, often grotesquely, in search of rooting soil. Trees develop a large and distinctive woody basal caudex in early age. Older trees can be magnificent. Pale green leaves (to 3” wide) are cordate-orbicular with basal lobes sometimes overlapping and with an abruptly short-pointed apex. A distinctive identification feature of this plant is the presence of white hairs in tufts along the vein axils. Green flowers are followed by figs (to 1/2” diameter) that appear in pairs. Flowers and fruits rarely appear on indoor plants.

Genus name comes from the Latin name for Ficus carica the edible fig.

Specific epithet means with petioles.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for scale, aphids, mealybugs and spider mites.

Garden Uses

Indoors in containers. Bonsai.