How to Grow and Care for Ficus radicans 'Variegata' Indoors


Variegated Rooting Fig, Ficus radicans 'Variegata'

Botanical name: Ficus radicans 'Variegata'
Synonym: Ficus sagittata 'Variegata'
Family: Moraceae
Common names: Variegated Rooting Fig

Description

Ficus radicans 'Variegata' commonly called Variegated Rooting Fig is an evergreen climber which bears long, leathery, lance-shaped greyish-green leaves marked with ivory-white edges and long drooping stems.

Being a humidity loving plant, it can be grown in the humid areas in the home like the bathroom and laundry area if the lighting is adequate. Ficus radicans 'Variegata' is spectacular in terrarium where it can act as a groundcover.

Size

The Variegated Rooting Fig stems can grow 5-6 ft long. The plant is perfect for a hanging basket where the stems can cascade downwards beautifully.

It is also ideal for a trellis or moss pole where the stems can climb easily by means of the aerial roots.

Origin

Ficus radicans 'Variegata' also called Ficus sagittata 'Variegata' is native to the warm temperate and tropical regions of Asia where it grows as an epiphyte on trees.

The Latin specific epithet, 'radicans'. means 'with stems that take root', in reference to the stems which root easily while 'sagittata', means 'arrowed, in the form of an arrow', in reference to the arrow-shaped leaves.

Where to Buy

Ficus radicans 'Variegata' in various sizes is available online at Etsy. Purchase Ficus radicans 'Variegata' from Etsy.

Variegated Rooting Fig, Ficus radicans 'Variegata'

Photo Credit: The National Gardening Association

Ficus radicans 'Variegata' Care Indoors

Ficus radicans 'Variegata' (Variegated Rooting Fig) indoor care requires bright light with some direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions, and moderately moist well-drained soil which is rich in organic matter coupled with regular feeding.

Variegated Rooting Fig requires regular pruning to keep it neat and also encourage a bushy growth. Repotting is only needed when it becomes pot-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Variegated Rooting Fig grows best in bright light with at least 4 hours of direct morning or late afternoon sunlight. It can also grow under a grow light where natural lighting is not sufficient.

Avoid exposing Ficus radicans 'Variegata' to hot direct sunlight as it can cause sunscorch (brown) marks on the leaves and eventual leaf drop.

It cannot tolerate low light conditions. If light is too little it can result in leggy growth and loss of variegation.

Turn the pot regularly to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth. Check out our guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Watering

Water Variegated Rooting Fig liberally during the growing season until water comes out through the drainage holes and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.

Reduce watering during the cold season to maintain the soil barely moist as growth is minimal at this time.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to leaf drop and root-rot.

Use water that is at room temperature to water the plant as cold water can cause reduced growth and leaf drop.

Variegated Rooting Fig is sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water. Use only chlorine-free water to water the plant to avoid spots on the leaves. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature

The best temperature for growing Variegated Rooting Fig indoors is an average warmth within the range of 13-260C. Keep it away from drafts to prevent sudden changes in temperature as they can cause leaf drop. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Variegated Rooting Fig requires a humid environment to thrive. To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Regularly clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and also discourage pest infestation. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Ficus radicans 'Variegata' every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Do not feed during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can cause fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

Repot Variegated Rooting Fig at the beginning of the growing season only when it has become root-bound. Avoid frequent repotting as it prefers to be pot-bound.

Repot only when it has outgrown its current pot; when roots begin to grow through the drainage holes.

Use a pot 1 size larger and one that has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy. Never allow the roots to sit in soggy soil as it can result in leaf drop and root-rot.

For a large Ficus radicans 'Variegata' which may be difficult to handle, annually replenish the top 2-4 in. of soil with fresh soil while taking care not to injure the roots.

Soil

Variegated Rooting Fig soil should be rich in organic matter and well-drained to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for this plant. Purchase quality potting mix for Ficus radicans 'Variegata' from Amazon.

Pruning

Pruning Variegated Rooting Fig is easy. Remove dead and yellow leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy.

When the Ficus radicans 'Variegata' has reached maximum growth or it has become leggy, cut back the branches to rejuvenate growth and also encourage a bushy, compact growth.

The foliage emanating from the pruning can be used to propagate new plants. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

Propagation

Ficus radicans 'Variegata' (Variegated Rooting Fig) can be propagated during the growing season from stem-tip cuttings.

How to Propagate Variegated Rooting Fig from stem-tip cuttings

Take stem-tip cuttings about 6 in. long from a healthy Variegated Rooting Fig. Strip off the lower leaves from the cutting and retain 2-3 leaves on top.

Allow the sap to dry and then dip the lower cut end cutting in a rooting hormone to hasten rooting.

Insert the cutting in moist rooting soil. Ensure that the rooting container has adequate drainage to prevent the soil from getting soggy to avoid rotting of the cuttings.

To enhance rooting of the cutting, create a mini-greenhouse by covering the set up with a clear polythene bag or sheet.

Ensure that the leaves do not touch the bag or the sheet too much by propping it up with sticks.

Place the set up in warm, brightly-lit spot and maintain the soil moist through out until new growth emerges.

New growth indicates that the cutting has rooted. In about 3-4 weeks, rooting will have taken place.

Gradually over a period of two weeks, remove the plastic cover to acclimatize the new plant.

In 4-6 months, there will be adequate root development and you can transplant the new plants into individual pots after which you can begin Ficus radicans 'Variegata' routine care.

Variegated Rooting Fig, Ficus radicans 'Variegata'

Photo Credit: BioDiversity4All

Ficus radicans 'Variegata' Problems Indoors

Ficus radicans 'Variegata' (Variegated Rooting Fig) indoor growing problems include loss of variegation, leaf drop, brown leaves, drooping leaves, diseases and pests among others. Continue reading for more details on these problems and how to fix them.

Loss of leaf variegation

Loss of variegation in Variegated Rooting Fig is due to too little light The plant requires bright light with some direct sunlight for optimum growth and cannot tolerate low light.

Move the Ficus radicans 'Variegata' to a brighter spot and ensure it is receiving bright light with some direct sunshine or instal a grow light where natural lighting is not sufficient. Read more on understanding light for houseplants.

Leaf drop (loss)

There are many and varied causes of leaf drop in Variegated Rooting Fig. One possible cause of leaf drop is sudden changes in the growing conditions.

This is likely to occur when you bring the plant home or when you move it to a new location in the home.

When you bring the Variegated Rooting Fig home, place it in bright light with 4 hours of direct morning or late afternoon sunlight and warm conditions.

Water it liberally during the growing season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. It may loss a few leaves but will eventually settle.

If you need to move the Ficus radicans 'Variegata' to a new location in your home, do so gradually to acclimate it to the new conditions.

For instance, if you want to take it outside, move it to a shaded place first before you can take out under bright light.

The second possible cause of leaf drop in Ficus radicans 'Variegata' is extremely cold or hot temperatures due to drafts. The plant requires average room temperatures within the range of 13-260C inorder to thrive.

Too high or too low temperatures (outside the above range) will affect the normal functioning of the plant systems.

Too high temperatures will cause dehydration which can lead to wilting and leaf drop while too low temperatures cause the plant to stop growing and begin to die. Leaf drop is one of the signs of a dying plant.

The third possible cause of leaf drop in Variegated Rooting Fig is too little light The plant requires bright light with some direct sunlight for optimum growth.

Move the Ficus radicans 'Variegata' to a brighter spot and ensure it is receiving bright light with some direct sunshine or instal a grow light where natural lighting is not sufficient. Read more on understanding light for houseplants.

Ficus radicans 'Variegata' is similar to Ficus elastica (Rubber Plant) in its requirements and is thus affected by similar problems.

Read more on 14 reasons why Rubber Plant is dropping leaves and how to fix them

Drooping leaves

Drooping leaves in Variegated Rooting Fig are due to a number of varied reasons. One reason is incorrect watering; either underwatering or overwatering.

Water the plant liberally during the growing season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.

Reduce watering during the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely; maintain the soil moderately moist.

Read more on 13 Reasons Why Rubber Plant Leaves are Drooping & How to Fix Them

Brown leaf tips and edges

Variegated Rooting Fig requires high humidity to thrive. If the humidity is too low it responds with brown leaf tips and edges.

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity. read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

You can also grow Ficus radicans 'Variegata' in the moist areas in the home like the bathroom and laundy area if the lighting is adequate or in a terrarium where high humidity can be maintained.

Pests

The common pests in Variegated Rooting Fig are Aphids, Mealy Bugs, Scale Insects and Spider Mites.

Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other plants and treat with Neem oil or Insecticidal soap. Keep the Oak-leafed Fig properly pruned at all times to reduce the hiding places for these pests.

Diseases

Variegated Rooting Fig is prone to root-rot disease which is enhanced by soggy soil. Ensure there is free drainage of both the soil and the pot and also reduce watering during the cold season. Read more on root-rot disease and how to deal with it.

Is Variegated Rooting Fig toxic?

Like other plants in the Moraceae family, Variegated Rooting Fig (Ficus radicans 'Variegata') is toxic to humans and pets as indicated by Pet Poison Helpline.

Ficus plants produce a milky white latex which is an irritant to the eyes and the skin. If ingested it can cause irritation in the mouth, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and abdominal pains.

You liked it? Share on social media.

Related Posts

You liked it? Share on social media.