Ficus Species, Rock Fig

Ficus petiolaris subsp. palmeri

Family: Moraceae (mor-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ficus (FY-kus) (Info)
Species: petiolaris subsp. palmeri
Synonym:Ficus palmeri



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade



Foliage Color:

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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)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


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Bloom Color:

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Bloom Characteristics:

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Bloom Size:

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Bloom Time:

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Other details:

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Soil pH requirements:

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Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

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Seed Collecting:

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This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Bakersfield, California

Marina, California

Mountain View Acres, California

Orange, California

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Mulberry, Florida

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 2, 2007, bear12 from Crestline, CA wrote:

I have owned 2 Ficus palmeri for about 34 years. They are still in the bonsai pots I bought for them. The base has expanded but the height is about 2 feet. Last winter the greenhouse heater went out and they received frost damage but came back. I also have 3 Ficus petiolaris that survived frost but they aren't as old or rare. Since I bought the F palmeri at El Monte Tropicals in the Early 70's I have never seen them for sale. I think they are great patio/house plants. I talked the Owner of the little Nursery in old town San Diego and he said he remembers selling the seeds or plants back then. fyi bye


On Jun 9, 2006, madyaas from Marina, CA wrote:

I originally bought mine in Carmel, California. It was in rather poor shape, covered in spider webs with small, water starved leaves. Upon taking it home, the plant perked up and grew much larger leaves. The stem caliper also thickened. It came with a rather interesting bottle shaped caudex, but with very thin roots.

It never really thickened its roots up no matter how much water or light was given to it, but after taking cuttings, I let the old plant dry out accidentally, which died. Fortunately these root as easily as other ficus and the cutting is doing well. I disagree with the usual comment that cuttings won't form caudexes (mine has a caudex).

This plant does well indoors, however in low light it will tend to grow quickly, growing long, thin stems which ... read more


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

On older potted plants it comes closest to haveing buttressed looking roots than other ficus. Very sensitive to being overwatered in winter or summer. Roots will rot easily. It requires the warmest placement-loves the heat. Might not be a good indoor plant,more a greenhouse or outdoors tree/shrub for a warm zone 10 and up.

2007 update. Mine has now gone through two bay area winters and has shown to have greater cold tolerance than its cousin petiolaris. 32 unprotected degrees failed to defoliate or harm the leaves. It also branches much more than petiolaris. With its very attractive bark and trunk this tree should be grown outdoors-at least in Southern Cal or Florida, much more.


On Jul 31, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Caudiciform fig from Baja California and Sonora Mexico... excellent bonsai species- makes a fat, white trunk with papery bark and large, smooth leaves (and figs), with minimal water. Not sure how tall it gets when planted in the ground as I've only seen this as a potted plant in southern California