Ficus Petiolaris anyone?

Esolin

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I was gifted a Mexican Rock Fig (Ficus Petiolaris) a few months ago by someone who was told they are popular for bonsai. Researching them, many websites claim they are, but I couldn't find any threads on here about them, and pictures of them as actual developed bonsai are scarce. Does anyone have experience with them?

Right now it's just an ugly round caudex with two small upward branches. Their strength in the wild seems to be their ability to send craxy banyan-like roots over rocks in search of nutrients, and they can get big. I don't have any root-over rock bonsai yet, so this seems like the perfect candidate for such a project if I can get it to grow out of it's ugly young caudex stage.
 

Redwood Ryan

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I don't think you'll ever get it out of that caudex form, that's just what they do. They aren't super popular for bonsai, they're kinda just like a desert rose in appearance. Root over rock wouldn't quite work.
 

NaoTK

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Nothing special but I had one as a house plant that I chopped into a broom style because the trunk had no character. It back buds, but far less vigorously than other ficus species. It is much slower growing than other ficus species. I enjoy it for the leaves.

1628875330619.png
 

Esolin

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Why did I know that would be the first question from somebody? :p

Like I said, it's nothing much to look at.
rockfig.jpg

I don't think you'll ever get it out of that caudex form, that's just what they do. They aren't super popular for bonsai, they're kinda just like a desert rose in appearance. Root over rock wouldn't quite work.

I expect you're right, but since it was a gift I can't just give it away, and if they really do this in the wild...

rockfigweb.jpg

...then maybe it's possible if the scale of the rock is big enough? It's worth an experiment since I don't want another 'adenium sumo'.
 

Esolin

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Nothing special but I had one as a house plant that I chopped into a broom style because the trunk had no character. It back buds, but far less vigorously than other ficus species. It is much slower growing than other ficus species. I enjoy it for the leaves.
One website claimed that pot size drastically affects how much these things grow, and that if they run out of root room, the top stops growing much. So maybe they need to be developed in a large grow pot, or allowed to root into the ground? I think I'm going to try that.
 

NaoTK

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You're in SoCal so you should be able to go nuts with it. I have seen large petoliaris in people's front yards with some character. There is a nice example in UCLA's botanical garden growing on rocks.
 

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