The ficus ginseng is a variety of ficus microcarpa, which is quite small in size. The species f. microcarpa is a tree, which reaches 20-25 m high, originating in Asia and Australia; F. ginseng is instead a medium-sized shrub, which can reach 100-130 cm high, evergreen. The foliage is glossy, oval, leathery, bright dark green; the bark is light in colour; in nature these plants produce small figs of purple or black colour, which develop along the ramifications.
The main characteristic of the ficus ginseng are the roots: they have an aerial development and reach conspicuous dimensions, giving the base of the trunk a characteristic shape; the big aerial roots recall wide robust tubers. This species of ficus has rather small foliage, this feature, combined with the total size of the plant and the large aerial roots has made the ficus ginseng very popular as a bonsai.
The ficus microcarp is a plant that is very commonly found in the market; it is almost always sold in the form of a bonsai. However, it should be noted that it is actually a houseplant that can easily be kept small. The small size of the leaves helps to make it look like a miniature tree.
It can actually be considered and treated to all intents and purposes as a houseplant. Cultivation is widespread throughout the world and is commonly kept mainly in containers. In areas with mild winters it can always be left outside. Where the winters are rigid (as in Central-Northern Italy) must be withdrawn.
This tree is ideal to be kept also always in the apartment because it tolerates a wide range of different conditions. It has a very resistant root system, it grows slowly while remaining small in size. Its aerial roots are extremely particular and decorative. Ficus ginseng originates from South-East Asia and its aerial extends from India to Borneo. In nature it can reach 15 metres in height. The dark red fruits it produces become food for the wild animals that contribute to the spread of seeds.
The plant in brief
Rich, but very well drained. Also inorganic
Liquid, every week from spring to autumn
Not below 12°C
Pests and diseases
Ladybugs, radical rottenness
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Exposure: prefers well-lit positions, but it is best to avoid excessive direct sunlight; especially a gradual exposure to direct sunlight is recommended, and to avoid excessive sunshine during the hot season. This ficus can bear temperatures close to zero, even if we have a better development growing the plant with minimum temperatures not inferior to 10°C.
Therefore from March to October we can expose it to the open air, in a partially shady place, while during the cold months it is cultivated as an apartment plant, or in a temperate greenhouse.
Watering: from March-April until the end of the summer, watering is abundant, always waiting for the soil to be dry between one watering and the other, and avoiding leaving water in the saucer; with the arrival of autumn, watering is thinned, moistening the ground periodically, without forgetting to spray the foliage often. During the vegetative period, provide fertilizer for green plants, every 15-20 days, mixed with the water of the watering.
Soil: use a good compound rich in humus, very well drained; you can use universal soil, mixed with a small amount of sand and mature manure. Usually, not too capacious containers are chosen, in way to stand out well the size of the aerial roots. Multiplication: it usually happens by seed, in spring, or by cutting, during the summer months.
Parasites and diseases: they suffer from the act of cochineal, especially in a very dry climate. Excessive watering, or poorly draining soil, can promote the onset of rottenness.
As with all indoor plants, the lighting should be intense, but not direct. It is therefore ideal to place it in a room with large windows that may be screened, especially from May to September, with light-coloured curtains.
If you do not have these conditions we can place the tree in a room even less lit. The only consequence will be less vigorous growth.
If we have a garden or a terrace you can decide to move it when the minimum temperature does not go below 12°C. The position should always be bright, but direct sunlight on the leaves should be avoided as it could cause burns.
Like all ficuses, it appreciates a substrate that is always moist and fresh. In small pots, however, too frequent irrigation can cause rottenness at the root level. It is therefore advisable to wait for the substrate to become rather dry before distributing water again.
It has no particular requirements in terms of pH and water purity. Tap water can be fine. If it is too hard, we can replace it with the one for irons or collect the rain periodically. Ambient humidity, on the other hand, is very important for the general wellbeing of the plant and for its vigorous growth.
Especially during hot periods it is good to vaporize often the leaves and the aerial roots or place near the containers full of water so that this, evaporating, makes the environment more comfortable.
The ideal soil must be well drained. Soil for succulent plants or even citrus fruits is very good. Alternatively, we can buy a generic product and add plenty of sand. The important thing is that the water is not retained for long. The ideal substrate must dry quickly. Some grow this plant in perlite or in the bark (like the one for orchids). Clearly, a thick and efficient drainage layer should be provided at the bottom of the pot.
All green house plant fertilizers are suitable. During the growing season, the product should be distributed once a week. Let’s avoid this practice instead during the winter and in the case of diseased or debilitated plants.
Pests and diseases
They are generally very resistant plants and are rarely attacked by pests.
In an apartment, one of the most common problems is the cotton cochineal or scudetto. If it is a few specimens we can pass on the alcohol and then remove them.
Otherwise, it will be necessary to intervene with white oil, possibly activated by a systemic insecticide. Thrips may also be present and must be combated with specific insecticides.
Let’s remember that the plant begins to suffer when we go below 12°C. In that case it is better to withdraw it and put it back in a rather cool room for the whole winter season.
Ficus microcarpa ginseng: Repotting
Ficus ginseng will need to be repotted every two to three years. Proceed in early spring and try to change the soil as much as possible, also cleaning and sprouting the roots. During the first two weeks after the operation you should water slightly without moving the substrate and keep the plant in mid-shade.
Watch the Video
- The term ginseng comes from the Chinese “Jen – Shen” and means “plant of man”, in fact it has roots that recall
to visit : ginseng plant
- The bonsai of Ficus Microcarpa needs, like any other plant, an ideal and healthy environment.
visits : ficus microcarpa