Synonyms: Banyan Fig, Taiwan Ficus, Laurel Fig
The Ficus Retusa, often referred to as Ficus Ginseng, is a highly popular evergreen indoor tree. They are most commonly found in the form of a bonsai, as they’re easily manipulated to stay compact and small. These Ficus Bonsai often have thick trunks that are shaped into an S-shape, which makes its full canopy of oval deep green leaves pop.
As a Native to native to the Malay Archipelago and Malesia floristic region, this Fig variety is accustomed to warm, humid conditions, though will tolerate lower humidity due to its thick waxy foliage. It is important to note though, like all Ficus varieties, they like their ambient temperatures to be consistent, making the Ficus Ginseng the ideal indoor plant candidate.
This lovely variety of Ficus is also extremely easy to maintain as long as they are provided with good filtered light and airflow, but avoid placing in a cool draught or direct sunlight. Watering is also a dream with this beauty as they require their soil to dry out completely, adding to their tolerance of occasional under or overwatering.
Depending on the size of the Ficus Ginseng you have chosen, you can display them in a multitude of fantastic ways. Smaller options are ideal as tabletop or shelf candidates, especially in an office environment. Large specimens will make a statement as a floor-level statement, otherwise placed on a stool or countertop, which will make a huge impact in large and small spaces alike.
Toxicity: All ficus are considered toxic, especially the latex that extrudes when cut.
Ficus Ginseng Common Symptoms:
- Lower Leaf drop is often the result of cold temperatures or lack of light. The Ficus Ginseng likes it consistently warm, so be sure it is out the reach of any cool drafts or open windows, which can lead to temperature fluctuations. If your plant is in a position that is getting consistent temperatures, then check the lighting. They like it bright, however, avoid too much hot direct sunlight. Relocate if in a lower-lit situation, and see if the leaf drop improves.
- Yellowing foliage, Stunted Growth & Rotten trunk: The most common cause of yellowing leaves on your Ficus is often due to overwatering. Ficus like their soil to be barely moist to the touch, and if the soil becomes waterlogged and overly saturated, root rot will set in, causing the plant to produce yellow foliage, lose leaves, stop growing and eventually rot the stem and cause the plant to die. For more on identifying watering issue read: Identifying Over vs Underwatering in Houseplants.
- Yellowing Leaf edges: This symptom can sometimes take time to present itself, and is caused by water quality and using cold water. As Ficus like consistently warm temperatures, pouring cold water over the roots can have the same effects as placing the plant in a cold space. It is recommended to use room temperature water when watering your plants. Yellow leaf edges are commonly caused by fluoride in tap water, thus using filtered water or leaving tap water to stand for 24 hours is more beneficial to your houseplant.
- Curled leaves and Brown leaf edges: This is a sign that your houseplant is likely underwatered. Check the potting soil, if it is dry to the touch, water your plant thoroughly, and allow it to drain well. Another cause for leaf curl and browning leaf edges is caused by overly bright filtered light to direct sunlight. Relocate your plant if it is showing signs of light stress, to a more filtered bright light situation, and check on your watering regime.
- Pests: Ficus are not often susceptible to pests but if care is not taken to keep your plant in its optimal condition to avoid stress occurring. Stress will lead to pest infestations causing excessive leaf discolouration and leaf drop. Mealybug, Spider mite and Thrips are the most common indoor plant pest to be attracted to your Ficus Plant and can weaken your plant relatively quickly if left untreated. Adjust environmental stressors for your house plant and treat infestations with an Organic Pesticide.
Ficus Ginseng Care Instructions
- Origin: Malay Archipelago
- Height: Can reach 20m in Nature, indoor size depends on Bonsai care.
- Light: Bright filtered light is best. Avoid direct sunlight.
- Water: Keep soil very evenly moist, and avoid overly dry or overly soggy potting soil.
- Humidity: Preferably 50% or higher. To raise the humidity for your plant. Spritz it daily and place a plant on a pebble tray. Will also tolerate average room humidity if care is taken with watering.
- Temperature: Ficus prefer warm environments of between 17 °C and 27°C.
- Soil: A very well-draining Potting Medium that will hold onto some water.
- Fertilizer: Fertilize every two weeks from Spring to Autumn with a balanced liquid Fertilizer.
- Pruning: Ficus Ginseng Bonsai respond well to pruning, especially younger plants if done correctly and at the right time. Pruning is best done between mid-Spring and Mid-Summer to give the plant time to grow back lost foliage. Prune back any leggy stalks with a sterilised pair of scissors or Bonsai pruning shears. Trim back as much outgrowing growth as possible, as this will encourage new growth that is more compact, creating a bushier plant. Please note that pruning should only be performed on healthy plants with vigorous growth. NOTE: White latex will exude from the cuts, and this may cause skin irritation, it is best to wear gloves when pruning.
- Repotting: Plants should be repotted every two years in the Spring using moist but drainable indoor potting soil in the original container. With a clean pair of scissors, reduce the rootball by one-third in order to maintain the plant's desired size. In the center of the pot, add a layer of soil and place the specimen on top. If there are any air pockets between the roots and the pot, gently tap either side to remove them. If you note any root rot, trim back damaged and dead roots before re-potting.
- Propagation: Ideally, stem and eye cuttings should be used for propagation. Though this method of propagation can be hard to achieve, it is not impossible. The best stems to use are the ones that are woody and slightly thicker than a pencil, yet still juvenile enough to bend slightly. Cut at least 5 - 6 stems to guarantee success. Each cutting should be left with only one leaf, and a small portion of the stem, around 2.5cm on either side of the node. Cut directly below a node using a sanitized sharp pair of scissors or a knife. Situate the cutting into a lightly moist potting soil with a little added Perlite for drainage, with only the leaf sticking out of the soil. Place in bright light and keep the soil evenly moist while avoiding direct sunlight or cold draughts. Place the pot and plant in a clear bag or in a miniature greenhouse, and provide bottom heat with a heating pad, maintaining temperatures of above 18°C. Once a second leaf has developed, remove the bag and place each cutting into individual pots, big enough to house the cutting. Follow the same care routines can you would for the mother plant. You will need patience and a proper environment for successful propagation over the course of five months!
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