Ficus altissima

Ficus altissima (Ficus Yellow Gem)

Yellow Gem Ficus

Ficus altissima

The leaves of the original Ficus altissima come in an even green color. However, the ‘Yellow Gem’ variety has vibrant, variegated foliage. Bold rubbery leaves are patterned in bright yellow, lime green and dark green.

Ficus altissima

BOTANICAL NAME: Ficus altissima 'Yellow Gem'

FAMILY: Moraceae

OTHER NAMES: Ficus altissima 'Golden Gem'

COMMON NAME: Ficus Yellow Gem, Lemon Lime Rubber Tree, ficus altissima variegata, Ficus lemon lime, Lemon Lime Ficus, Ficus altissima variegated, Yellow Gem Ficus


PLANT TYPE: Tree, Perennial

ORIGIN: Cultvar

CLIMATE: Tropical



ZONE: 10-12 (USDA)

LIGHT: Bright, indirect light

LIGHT TOLERATED: Strong light (21,500-3,200 lux)

WATERING: Keep moist between watering

SOIL: Well-drained

SOIL TYPE: Acidic, Neutral

INDOOR GROWTH: 6-8 feet (1.8-2.4 m)

OUTDOOR GROWTH: 40 feet (12 m)

INSECTS: Mealybugs, scale, spider mites

LEAF COLOR: Light green & cream

TOXICITY: Toxic to pets

Ficus altissima Care

The Ficus altissima ‘Yellow Gem’ is all about foliage. This compact tree-like houseplant has broad, oval-shaped leaves with a leathery texture. The foliage has a pronounced midrib and veining in yellow with the central part of the leaf sporting bright green. In contrast, the margins have variegated patches of light green.

Ficus Altissima Yellow Gem works great as a houseplant. Although it can develop into a large tree-houseplant slowly with age.  In fact, it is easy to grow and looks great in large planters. Perfect for adding a pop of golden yellow to any room. Even more, it is not nearly as finicky as the Fiddle Leaf Fig.  

Most rubber plants have thick, darker leaves. Even the variegated versions tend to be darker in the middle. However, if you’re looking for a brighter plant, the Yellow Gem Ficus is a great option. 

Ficus altissima Light

The Ficus altissima can handle low light conditions. However bright light is preferred. Remember, variegated rubber plants need sufficient light in order to keep their level of variegation. Lighting that is too dim, will cause the plant to lose its variegation. 

Be sure to rotate altissima in intervals to ensure the entire plant gets sufficient light. Indoors, lower-light conditions and containers will restrict root development and will slow its growth. Therefore, you can keep it a manageable size for your space if needed.

Ficus altissima Watering

Ficus altissima tends to prefer a little less water than other varieties of ficus. Water when the first two inches of soil are dry to the touch, or when a moisture meter reads about 3. We highly recommend using a moisture meter as it is a much better indication of what is going on deeper in the soil. 

Alternatively, you can stick your finger into the soil or use a wooden chopstick to test the moisture of the soil. If it comes out dry with just a little dirt, then it is time to water. Water thoroughly until water runs out the drainage holes and be sure to empty the excess water from the tray. Be careful not to over-water as this may cause yellowing leaves.

Ficus altissima Soil

The Yellow Gem Ficus likes a chunky, well-draining soil mix. Specifically a soil medium that can retain moisture, but drain excess water to avoid root rot. Make sure that there is plenty of organic matter, like coco-coir, peat moss, or orchid bark. 

I like mine in 2 parts potting soil to one part each of perlite and orchid bark (which also contains charcoal). Then, I toss in a handful of worm castings and cactus gritty mix, but that’s probably not necessary. You just want something that lets the roots breathe and drains well. 

Ficus Temperature Range

The Ficus is native to the Southeast regions of India, with an average temperature of 80°F. Therefore, a range of 86°- 50°F (30°-10°C) is ideal. Anything below 50°F (10°C) is bad for your Tineke.

Also, be sure to be aware of any sudden weather changes. Specifically changes in wind or sudden excess rain.

Ficus altissima Humidity

This plant will thrive in high humidity. However, the average humidity level in your home is typically enough for your Ficus. Of course, that does not mean you cannot do more for your plant. 

Regular misting with the help of a pebble tray will help. For the best humidity level, you should buy a humidifier and place it near your plant to encourage growth.

Ficus altissima Fertilizer

Nutrition is essential for your Ficus Yellow Gem. A liquid houseplant fertilizer will replenish its nutrients. Fertilize at half strength in spring through summer. Give it a break during winter.

We recommend Fiddle Leaf Fig Food because it’s perfect for ficus trees, not just fiddle leaf figs. It’s also gentle enough to use with each watering. 

Ficus altissima For Sale

Golden Gem Rubber Plant

Ficus altissima Golden Gem 4 inch pot. Perfect for brightening up any room!

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Ficus altissima

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