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)




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

This plant is suitable for growing indoors


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Miami, Florida

Mulberry, Florida

Palm Beach, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Venice, Florida

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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 poisonou... read more


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 prominen... read more