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Products > Ficus aspera
Ficus aspera - Clown Fig
Image of Ficus aspera
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Moraceae (Mulberrys)
Origin: South Pacific (Pacific Ocean)
Evergreen: Yes
Variegated Foliage: Yes
Bloomtime: Not Significant
Synonyms: [Ficus aspera 'Parcellii']
Height: 10-16 feet
Width: 8-12 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32 F
Ficus aspera (Clown Fig) An unusual small evergreen or semi-deciduous tree (in colder locations) to 20 feet tall or more but usually seen in cultivation as a large shrub. It has decorative large broad leaves that have splashes of a white variegation and are rough textured. Another decorative aspect is its 1 inch showy round fruit that are mottled green, cream, and pink, which like many figs is cauliflorous, meaning the fruit arises from main stems or woody trunks rather than from new leafy growth. It can grow in coastal sun but best with morning sun, part day sun or light shade in a soil that drains well. It is frost sensitive but has grown well and survived short duration mild frosts in inland valleys of California but really would perform its best in frost free or near frost free locations. This plant can be used as a hedge or a garden specimen and can also be grown in a container to be brought indoors in colder climates or as a house plant with bright light and some humidity. It is particularly nice when used to brighten up a shady garden space or on a patio. The Clown Fig hails from the island country of the Republic of Vanuatu which is located in an archipelago in the South Pacific about equal distance from New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand. It was first found on Tanna Island, one of the more southern islands of the archipelago, in the late 18th century and described by the German botanist Georg Forster (Johann Georg Adam Forster) in 1786. Interestingly this plant is naturally variegated and selection of those most dramatically so have accentuated this tendency in plants found in cultivation. The genus name Ficus comes from the ancient Latin name for figs and their edible fruit and the specific epithet is from the Latin word 'asper', meaning "rough to the touch" and is in reference to the texture of the leaves. Another common name for this plant is Mosaic Fig. We thank our good buddy the grassman, John Greenlee for sharing this plant with us. It decorates a shaded east facing house wall in his amazing garden in Pomona, California.  The information about Ficus aspera displayed on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources we consider reliable. We will also relate those observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments we receive from others and welcome hearing from anyone who has additional information, particularly when they share cultural information that would aid others in growing it.