Ficus palmeri

Baja rock fig
Cut back tree hard each year to maintain size and develop the characteristic caudex or let it grow to show off the thick tapered trunk! Winter or drought deciduous.
height 10–40ft
width 15–50ft
tolerates Coast, Drought, Heat, Pots, Salt
This ficus is from a habitat that experiences prolonged drought. That doesn’t mean that the fig needs drought, but it will tolerate drying out longer and survive it better than other ficus. Often once it goes bone dry it will dropping its leaves to conserve moisture; don’t worry if all the leaves fall off! Restoring consistent watering will help your ficus leaf back out.

This plant wants the top two thirds of its soil to dry out between waterings, while always having some moisture left deep in the pot. Generally the plant will want water every one to three weeks.
exposure Part Shade – Full Sun
drainage In Ground: Cactus Mix, In Pots: Cactus Mix
fertilizing All Purpose
origin Mexico, Baja
13, 21–24

Sunset Zones Map

Outdoor Exposure Guide


Full Sun
Six or more hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Shade
Three to five hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Sun
One to two hours of sun beams directly landing on the plants leaves.

Full Shade
The plant is never fully lit by sun beams, but is in a bright spot or has dappled sunbeams playing over the leaves throughout the day.

Deep Shade
The plant never has dappled light on the leaves, and is in a place that feels dim, even on a nice sunny day.


Growing Notes

All ficus respond well to pruning, allowing even very large ficus to be maintained at a modest size. They do exude white sap, often containing latex, so if you have a latex allergy avoid the sap.
If exposed to cold winter weather black spotting on leaves is common.

Special Interest

Great for root-over-rock bonsai or sumo style bonsia.

Ficus make figs, which at first don’t seem to be flowers. The trick is that the flowers are on the inside of the fig, which is why many figs are hollow and so unusual inside.

More Info

This plant has been raised to live indoors; however, it can also grow outdoors in mild areas of California. Keep in mind that the plant will go through a stressful transition, especially if moved outside in particularly hot, cold, or wet weather. Even if this plant will eventually thrive in direct sunlight, it has not been grown in this level of light, so if you plant it in direct sun, just expect that the leaves may burn at first, then happily regrow as they acclimate to the new levels of light. Planting in the spring or fall will help with this transition.