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PlantFiles: Rock Fig, Lava Fig, Mary's Tree
Ficus petiolaris

Family: Moraceae (mor-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ficus (FY-kus) (Info)
Species: petiolaris (pet-ee-OH-lair-iss) (Info)

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One member has or wants this plant for trade.


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)
30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall
Late Fall/Early Winter
Mid Winter
Blooms all year
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds
Ferment seeds before storing
Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 21 photos.
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2 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive BayAreaTropics On Sep 24, 2005, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

It is a poor indoor plant and when keeping it small it does not develop many branches. Indoors susceptible to mites. And it needs full sun to color up the leaves.
Looking at Palmbobs photos i might have the red leafed form if there is a real 'red leafed form' I only say that since i bought mine many many years ago as a seedling at a drug store.Seems unlikely that it would be anything other than the generic plant.The red leaf might be cultural. More humidity and sun? Something. Deciduous outdoors for me. They grow ok on mild summer temps.Check out the Palmbob photo of one growing in front of Birches. Desert heat welcome, but not needed!
Great patio container plant.Sculptural as can be,colorful trunk, and they do as small plants grow small red tinged figs.Not tasty.Not poisonous.I'm still here.

Positive palmbob On Apr 28, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have to say I was surprised this one wasn't in the data base yet... very commonly grown plant in southern California... not just by gardeners, but also by cactus and succulent nuts... makes a great caudiciform bonsai tree forming a stout, short trunk and putting out a few attractive prominently veined, oval leaves, often tinged with red or pink. It seems to be pretty drought tolerant as a bonsai, too. As it ages, the roots can slowly be moved up and out of the soil making an incredibly interesting display of fat, twisted, sausage-like roots. Planted in the ground, as I did in my old yard, it grows slowly but steadily. It still forms an ornamental fat, round trunk base at first, but after 7-10 years the rest of the trunk seems to catch up with it and the swelling becomes less prominent. I had mine planted where unfortunately they were in full shade... yet didnt' seem to suffer other that probably growing slower than they would have in full sun. Eventually this tree forms huge trunks (usually mulitple) and becomes a large, spreading, low-growing impressive shade tree (maybe in 30-50 years?). But for those who don't want that, it seems happy enought spending its life in a tiny, cramped bonsai pot.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Apache Junction, Arizona
Maricopa, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Carlsbad, California
Encinitas, California
Hayward, California
Long Beach, California
Santa Barbara, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Valley Center, California
Miami, Florida
Mulberry, Florida
Palm Beach, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Venice, Florida

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