Ficus triangularis variegata: Triangle fig

Family: Moraceae
Common name: Triangle ficus, Natal fig

One of the less-fussy Ficus species with beautiful green and yellow leaves in a unique cut-shape, these trees can be grown indoors or outdoors. They can reach a height of 3 meters in home gardens, but is capable of becoming large trees in the wild.

At the same time, they can be grown as bonsai plants when placed in shallow pots with occasional root and stem pruning. Their aerial roots give them an old tree grandeur, even when they are young, making them ideal bonsai tree candidates.

The leaves are 3-6 cms long and almost the same width at the tips. They are narrow and pointy towards the base, making the leaf almost triangular, giving the tree its name ‘Triangle ficus’.

The stem is brown towards the base and dark green towards the tip, with leaves clustered at the tip of the stem in their green and ivory glory. Leaf edges are creamish-white or light yellow, with shades of dark and light green towards the center.

Though it’s rare in house plants, triangle ficus trees can produce small berry-like flowers which later turn into green and then red fruits, which are preferred by birds and small animals.

Like all ficus, these Triangle ficus trees don’t like to be moved from a place it’s grown comfortable in and responds by dropping leaves. This is one of the primary reasons gardeners consider Ficus plants very fussy and difficult to maintain.

If your tree is losing many leaves, it denotes distress in terms of light or watering. If you recently changed the location of the plant, it might help to move it back. If the soil looks dry, give it a good soak. And don’t fret. Most times, your ficus tree will get acclimatized to the new location and produce leaves again.

Triangle ficus trees prefer good sunlight and have to be placed near a bright sunny window when grown indoors. They can grow well in partial shade when grown outdoors, and it’s best to keep them away from bright, direct sunlight. Being slow-growers, they don’t need frequent fertilization, but a slow-release fertilizer every month would help the plant stay healthy.

Related Ficus trees are Ficus benjamina or Weeping fig, Ficus microcarpa or Curtain fig and Ficus lyrata or Fiddle-leaf fig popularly grown as ornamental plants in gardens, in addition to Ficus auriculata or Elephant ear fig and Ficus ingens or Red-leaved fig that are grown for their edible fruits. Lord Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment under a Bodhi tree, Ficus religiosa also known as Peepal tree.

Propagation is mostly through stem cuttings, though seed propagation is also possible.