Sept 6th, 2022
Hey Plant Friends!
This week we are talking about Ficus petiolaris, commonly known as the Rock Fig or Strangler Fig. This fig is native to Mexico from Baja California and Sonora south to Oaxaca and belongs to the Moraceae or Mulberry plant family. This plant can grow 10-20 feet high in its natural habitat. As a houseplant this fig will stay relatively small especially when grown in the style of bonsai. The Rock Fig is known for its bulbous shaped base and heart shaped, green leaves with pink venation. Take time to notice the white tufts of hair on the backsides of the leaves. The flowers on this fig are green with red spots but are infrequent when grown indoors. The rock fig has use beyond plant companionship and is used medicinally, for making paper, gum, fibers, and is also a source of timber.
Let’s talk about care. Like most figs we grow indoors, the rock fig will thrive in bright, indirect light. If you plan to enjoy this fig outdoors for the summer, plan to place it in a shady spot receiving a bit of morning sun. Ficus petiolaris puts on fast growth up to the point at which it fills its pot and does go dormant in winter. Water sparingly during this time allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. During active growth, water when more frequently – when the top 2 inches of soil are dry, but never completely dry. Plant this semi-succulent plant in a well-drained potting soil for best results. Wecrecommend Sol Soils Cactus Coco Grit which allows for a good balance of immediate water retention with sharp drainage. Common pests to keep an eye out for include mealy bugs and spider mites. Keep a bottle of Bonide’s Insecticidal Soap on hand for easy treatment. Check for pests weekly when watering.