The triangle Ficus (Ficus triangularis) is also known as the triangle fig. The plant is originally from South Africa. While many Ficus plants are fussy, this Ficus is easy to grow indoors. Learn how to grow this popular indoor tree.
The triangle Ficus has triangular leaves, hence the name. These leaves are dark green and shiny. There is also a variegated variety that has cream and green leaves. With optimal care, the Ficus can reach eight feet tall with a spread of four feet. The variegated version only grows to four feet.
How to Care for a Triangle Ficus
The triangle fig is easy to grow. However, once you place your fig somewhere, don’t move it around much. It hates being moved and will drop its leaves if you do.
Because the triangle fig can grow so big, you need to choose a heavy pot with drainage holes. It is wise to put the pot and saucer on a wheeled base because the plant will get very heavy.
Indoors, the triangle Ficus needs lots of bright, indirect light. Do not place it in direct light as the leaves will get burned.
The triangle fig needs well-draining but fertile soil. Use a commercial potting mix for indoor plants. You can increase the draining capacity by adding one part potting mix to one part perlite. If you prefer to make your own potting mix, use equal parts of sphagnum peat moss, pine bark, and perlite. The pH of your potting mix should be between 6-6.5.
Use room temperature water because cold water can shock the roots. When watering, pour in water until it runs out of the drainage holes. Wait fifteen minutes and empty the water out of the saucer the pot is in. Don’t water again until the top of the potting mix is dry. If the soil stays too wet, it will cause rot and other problems.
The triangle Ficus grows best in places a little more humid than the average home. You can put a humidifier in the room the tree lives in to keep that area humid. Another option is to place a large saucer with pebbles in it under the pot and saucer. Fill the pebble tray with enough water so that only the tops of the pebbles are dry. As the water evaporates, it creates a humid microclimate around the tree. Make sure the pebble tray always has water in it.
Triangle figs are adapted to the same temperatures people enjoy. Do not let your tree get below 55 degrees F or it will have problems with the cold.
Triangle Ficus plants need fertilizing every four weeks during the growing season. Use a water-soluble fertilizer mixed at half strength. Do not fertilize in the winter.
Once a week, dust the leaves of the triangle Ficus. Turn the tree one-quarter turn so it does not start to grow toward the light. Inspect the tree for signs of diseases or pests and treat accordingly if you find any.
Prune away any broken, diseased, or damaged leaves. If the branches of the triangle fig start to get leggy, prune them back one-third in the early spring when the plant starts putting on new growth. You can also prune the top, so the tree does not grow so tall.
Because triangle Ficus does not like to be moved, you should not repot the tree too often. Every three years or so, remove the old potting soil and replace it with new potting soil. Even the best potting mix ages and begins to compact. If the plant has roots growing out of the drainage holes, move up to a two-inch larger pot.
Propagating the Triangle Ficus
Triangle Ficus is propagated through cuttings. Sterilize a knife or shears. Cut fifteen inches from the tip of a healthy stem. Make sure you get two to three leaves on the stem. Put the cutting in potting mix and water it in. Support the cutting with a stake. Cover the pot with a clear plastic bag to retain humidity and place it in filtered light and warm temperatures (at least 77 degrees F). Keep the soil moist. After two weeks, remove the plastic bag. After five to seven weeks, you can move the cutting to its new home.
Diseases of the Triangle Ficus
Triangle Ficus does not get many diseases. Overwatering will cause root rot. If your plant wilts even though you are watering it, look at the roots. Healthy roots are white. If the roots are black or slimy, you have root rot. There is no cure for root rot, so it is essential not to overwater the plant.
Pests of the Triangle Ficus
Like most houseplants, the triangle fig is susceptible to a few pests.
These are small soft-bodied insects with pear-shaped bodies. They feed on the sap of the tree. In addition to the direct damage they do to the leaves, aphids produce honeydew. Sooty mold grows on this and covers the leaf, preventing photosynthesis.
Mealybugs are white and have a waxy, cottony coating. Filaments stick out from their bodies. They cause the same damage as aphids and excrete honeydew. Sooty mold is a problem when mealybugs are present.
These are tiny white flies that look like white spots on the plant. When you touch the foliage, a cloud of flies will fly up from the plant.
Spider mites are so small you need a hand magnifying glass to see them clearly. Webs are usually the first clue you have these pests. The plant will show loss of vigor, loss of the green color, and then death.
These insects are covered by a hard or soft covering and suck the sap from your tree. They also produce honeydew, so sooty mold is a problem when they are present.
All of these pests can be eliminated with neem oil. Spray neem oil on the entire tree, including the underside of leaves and branches. You may need to repeat the treatment once a week for several weeks to eliminate the pests completely.
Why Is My Plant Doing This?
When you observe changes to the triangle fig’s leaves, the plant is stressed.
Leaves Turn Yellow
The tree is getting too much water. Let the soil dry out before watering again.
Leaves Are Black
When leaves emerge as black instead of green, the tree needs more water. Don’t let more than half the soil dry out in the pot. Water the plant until water comes out of the drainage holes.
Leaves Drop Off
If the leaves drop off, the plant is stressed. Moving the plant often causes the leaves to drop off. Another possibility is overwatering. Only water when the top half of the soil is dry. Finally, check to see if the plant is getting enough light. Triangle Ficus needs lots of bright light, especially the variegated variety.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, the triangle Ficus has a white milky sap that will irritate the skin. The plant is poisonous to pets and humans when eaten.
You can purchase a triangle Ficus at nurseries or online. They are becoming more common but can be hard to find at big box stores.
No, the Ficus almost never flowers indoors, so seed is not readily available. It is grown from cuttings.
Triangle Ficus is considered slow-growing.
Triangle Ficus almost never blooms indoors.
In conclusion, the triangle Ficus is much easier to grow than other Ficus trees. However, it does not like to be moved and will drop its leaves when that happens. Triangle Ficus is still hard to find, especially the variegated variety. Some nurseries and online dealers do have the plant available, however.