Variegated Ficus
Plant Care,  Rare Houseplants

Variegated Ficus

The variegated ficus needs some special attention sometimes, we cover all you need to know…

Variegated Ficus Summary

Light needs:Bright indirect sunlight.
Watering needs:Water when top 60% of soil is dry.
Fertilizer:A balanced fertilizer once a month in spring and summer.
Soil:A well draining potting compost is ideal.
Temperature:15ºC-25ºC (59ºF-77ºF).
Where to buy:Try one of these Rare Plant Shops.
Common issues:Leaf burn from too much direct sunlight.


Variegated ficus is the beautifully variegated version of the ficus elastica rubber plant (aka ‘tineke’). There is also the variegated ficus lyrata and variegated ficus benjamina. They all are very similar to the classic versions of the plant but with a creamy variegated border. The tineke is a standout beauty and one of my favorite plants.

Light Needs

Bright but indirect light is best to get the most out of the variegation, but no direct sun as it could burn the leaves, especially the variegated areas. A good place for them is to the side of a bight window, out of direct sun but still receiving plenty of indirect sun.

How Often to Water A Variegated Ficus

Water it when the top 60% of soil or more is dry. They are quite tolerant of some under and overwatering.


Feed it a balanced fertilizer once a month in spring and summer.


A well draining potting compost is ideal.

When To Repot A Variegated Ficus

Repot when they become root bound. With a rubber plant you can see roots sometimes on the top surface of the soil when it becomes crowded, so you know it is time for a repot.


50% humidity is best. They will do ok a bit above and below too.


15ºC-25ºC (59ºF-77ºF), they will be fine in most homes.

How To Propagate Variegated Ficus

To propagate a variegated ficus, take a stem cutting and then root it in sphagnum moss before potting it up in soil. Follow these steps:

  1. Take a cutting using clean scissors or a knife with at least two nodes.
  2. Trim all the leaves from the bottom node, but leave all the leaves on the top node.
  3. Put the cutting in cup of wet sphagnum moss.
  4. Keep it in a warm place with plenty of indirect sun, but no direct. And keep it humid too.
  5. It should root in two to three months.
  6. Once it has a decent sized root system you can pot it up into soil and you’re done.

Variegated Rubber Plant Varieties

Ficus shivereana – this is the new kid on the block! A mottled green mojito colored ficus, an absolute to-die-for whilst plant.

Ficus Elastica Tineke – a rubber plant with creamy variegated borders to it’s leaves.

Ficus Elastica Ruby – it has a variegated border to its leaves, but also a light salmon pink coloring.

For more on Rubber Plant Varieties see our guide: Rubber Plant Care.

Where To Buy

Try our list of Rare Plant Shops or Etsy.

Other Names For A Variegated Ficus

Ficus elastica tineke.

FAQs and Common Problems

These plants are really tolerate of a lot of conditions, just don’t let the variegated leaves get burnt by direct sunlight. Also watch out for plant pests.

Variegated Ficus

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