ficus microcarpa ginseng bonsai

Ginseng Ficus Microcarpa Bonsai: How to Grow and Care

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Ficus microcarpa, or ginseng ficus, is a popular species of tree used for bonsai. Although it is frequently confused with Ficus retusa, it is actually a member of the fig family, Moracaea. Native to China and other areas of tropical Asia (as well as Australia), this species is often grown as a shade tree.

However, ginseng ficus bonsai is an appealing specimen that you need to consider growing. It is tropical and has a beautiful trunk with numerous roots, making it a good choice for bonsai. It grows well indoors and has dense foliage. It is a plant of many names, including laurel fig, laurel rubber, Chinese banyan, and Indian laurel fig. 

bonsai boy

Ginseng ficus bonsai gets its name from its attractive growth habit. Its unique pot-bellied trunk is thick and gnarled, looking much like a ginseng root. It is part of the Ficus species, which includes up to 2000 different kinds of ficus plants (including Ficus retusa, another popular choice for bonsai and one with which ginseng ficus bonsai, or Ficus microcarpa, is often grafted). 

Here is what you need to know about ficus microcarpa ginseng bonsai. 

Interesting Facts about Ginseng Ficus Bonsai

Height3-10 inches
Width2-8 inches
SunlightFull sunlight
Flowering Time LengthFlowers inconspicuously in the winter
Lifespan50-150 years
Scientific NameFicus microcarpa

Growing Ginseng Ficus Bonsai from Seed or by Propagation

The best way to cultivate new ginseng ficus bonsai is by taking cuttings in the middle of the summer. You can also do air layering in the spring, which is also the best time to plant ficus seeds. 

ficus microcarpa ginseng

How to Care for Ginseng Ficus Bonsai

Sunlight

Ginseng ficus bonsai should be kept in full sunlight. It can be kept outdoors in the summer months but only if temperatures remain above 60 degrees at all times. Otherwise, keep temperatures constant indoors. 

Watering

Unlike many other types of bonsai trees, ginseng ficus bonsai can endure periods of low humidity. It has thick, waxy leaves that do not require quite as much water. However, just because they can endure less water doesn’t mean that they should

Ideally, you should water your plant every day or whenever the soil gets dry. Daily misting is ideal, since this will maintain humidity without oversaturating the soil and creating fungal problems. 

Fertilizing

Fertilize your bonsai once every two weeks during the summer and about once every four weeks in the winter, provided that its growth does not stop. You can use a liquid fertilizer or an organic fertilizer pellet

Potting and Repotting

Once every other year, you should repot a ficus tree. This should be done in the spring with a basic bonsai soil mixture. 

See more: how to take care of a bonsai tree

Pruning Ginseng Ficus Bonsai

Prune your ginseng ficus bonsai often to help retain its shape. You should prune two leaves after six to eight have grown. This kind of pruning, known as defoliation, will help reduce leaf size. You can forego all pruning if you want your tree to develop a thickened trunk. 

You can also wire and bend thin branches, since these are quite flexible, but you should check the branches often to make sure the wires aren’t cutting into the dark. You can use other unique training techniques like approach grafting with your tree, too.

Pests and Diseases

Ginseng ficus bonsai, like other plants in the fig family, tend to be quite resistant to pests. However, you do need to keep an eye out for risk factors for certain pests and diseases, particularly during the winter months. 

For instance, dry air and poor sunlight levels can cause your plant to become weak and lose its leaves. You may also notice issues at this time (caused by a weakening of the plant) like scale and spider mite infestation. 

Supplementing with grow lights during the winter and regularly misting the leaves will help your plant recover. You can use an insecticide to get rid of the pests, too.

Where to Buy Ginseng Ficus Bonsai

You should be able to find ginseng ficus bonsai plants for sale as potted plants at just about any nursery or gardening store. However, you will have better luck purchasing bonsai from specialized traders, who will sell plants that are well cared for and haven’t been poorly grafted. Choose these to make sure your plants grow optimally. 

Feel free to check other types of ficus bonsai.

References

Reference list:

1. Indian Laurel Fig or Chinese Banyan (n.d.) California Polytechnic Institute Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute. Retrieved from: https://selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/ficus-microcarpa 

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*image by Wirestock/depositphotos

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