Ficus - Ginseng Ficus (Ficus Retusa) - Information & Care Instructions

Posted on 19 Aug 00:17

GINSENG FICUS (Ficus Retusa)

    

Ficus Retusa is Native to Malaysia, Taiwan and other Southeast and East Asian countries. Ginseng Ficus is an excellent choice for bonsai tree growers. Also known as the Banyan Fig, Indian Laurel Fig, or as Taiwan Ficus; Ginseng Ficus will have two or more, heavy thick, exposed, aerial roots that appear to look more like tree trunks than a typical root.
The thick, pot-bellied trunk appears similar to a Ginseng plant’s root and its grey to reddish bark is dotted with small horizontal flecks that look like tiger markings.
The leaves of the Ficus Retusa are small, oval dark green; they alternate up the stem; in comparison they are more oval than the leaves of Ficus Benjamina.
The Ginseng Ficus is ideal for beginners; especially suited to anyone looking to grow a bonsai tree as a casual hobby. It is commonly regarded as the easiest bonsai tree to grow because it is very tolerant.

How To Take Proper Care Of Your Indoor Bonsai Tree

Bonsai is the reproduction of natural tree forms in miniature. The art form of Bonsai originated in China & Japan where it has been practiced for centuries. Since your bonsai is a living miniature tree, it will increase in beauty as it matures through the years. Grown in pots, Bonsai are totally dependent on you for their care. With proper care, your bonsai will remain healthy, beautiful and miniature for many years. The instructions below are just the basics and, therefore, we recommend that you purchase one of the many fine books available on the subject.

POSITIONING

Ginseng Ficus is a tropical plant with a USDA hardiness zones rating of 10B through 11.which can be placed outdoors in the summer, as long as it is taken indoors when the temperature drops to 55 F.
This tree does well indoors; but again it should not be positioned where it will be exposed to cold drafts in winter or direct air conditioning in summer. Either can cause leaf-drop through stress. Leaf loss in this plant is almost always caused by either incorrect temperature, sunlight or over watering. Catch leaf loose early, improve the conditions, and your plant should re-leaf within 3-6 weeks.

PLACEMENT SPRING, SUMMER & FALL

This Ficus Ginseng will thrive indoors in good indoor light; it will also appreciate being kept outdoors during the spring and summer. Placement outdoors provides your tree with better quality light, humidity and warm air circulation, all of which will increase growth and health during the growing season.
Outdoors Ginseng Ficus does best in moderate to low light conditions; excessive sunlight can actually burn the leaves and inhibit proper growth.
Caution: Do not position outdoors until temperatures are consistently above 55 F. Though the tree probably will not die from lower temperatures; continual temperatures below 53 to 55 F degrees will cause a deterioration in the over all health of the tree.

PLACEMENT WINTER

Unless you live in USDA Zones 10b or 11, you need to move your indoors in the fall when temperatures drop to 55 F degrees.
This Ficus does very well indoors, all year round if you wish; with a good southern exposure and moderate watering. It will tolerant of moderate light levels; however it will do best on a sunny windowsill, with as high light as available indoors. Just be cautious of winter drafts. Remember continual temperature shifts, drafts and low temperatures will slow growth; continual exposure will eventually lead to ill-health; indoor or outdoors.
Once nightly lows begin approaching the 55 F degree mark, bring your indoor bonsai inside. The ideal indoor location is on a windowsill facing south. An east or west exposure is second best. A northern exposure will work, but will necessitate the use of "grow lights" to provide sufficient light to keep your bonsai healthy. Four to six hours of supplemental light per day should suffice.

WATERING

The watering of your bonsai must never be neglected. Ginseng Ficus Bonsai should be watered moderately; apply water before the soil appears dry; never allow the soil to become completely dry. Water should be applied until it runs out of the holes in the bottom of your pot. It doesn’t really matter “how” you water your tree, but rather that when you are finished the tree has been well watered.

HUMIDITY

When your bonsai is inside, we recommend placing it in a shallow tray filled with a layer of gravel with water added. This provides extra moisture around the tree as the water evaporates and reduces the amount of moisture lost to modern heating systems. Your tree will also appreciate a weekly misting, more often if the environment is dry.

FERTILIZING

Fertilizing is also necessary if your bonsai is to remain healthy and beautiful. Since your bonsai is growing in such a small amount of soil it is necessary to replenish the soil's supply of nutrients periodically. For the Ginseng Ficus feeding is only necessary during active growth from spring to fall. Any general-purpose liquid fertilizer will do fine and is available at most garden centers. We suggest that fertilizers be used at half their recommended strength. Do not feed during the winter when growth usually stops.

TRAINING

This brief explanation of basic care does not cover training. Training deals with the art of bonsai and should be thoroughly understood before undertaking or left to a professional. However, most of the true bonsai trees you find have already been through their training period, thus requiring only periodic trimming and pinching to remain miniature.

TRIMMING & PINCHING

Trimming and pinching keep your tree miniature. Pinch and trim back the new growth to the farthest safe point. Never should all of the new growth be removed. A little should be left to sustain the health of the tree. Tropical and sub-tropical trees used for bonsai will require periodic pinching and trimming throughout the year. Since different trees grow at different rates, it is necessary to evaluate each tree’s rate of growth and adjust your trimming and pinching to accommodate it.

REPOTTING

Repotting must be performed periodically on all bonsai, when their root system have filled the pot. The Ginseng Ficus usually only requires repotting every 2 years.
The reasons for repotting are to supply your tree with fresh soil, and to encourage a more compact root system. Since trees grow at different rates, you should examine your tree's root system each year to determine if it has become pot-bound.
In most cases, the potting process is easy and safe, if performed properly, at the right time of the year. Repotting should be done in early to mid-summer (before excessive heat).
The tree, along with all of its soil, should be removed from the pot. The outer and bottom most fourth of the tree's root mass should be removed. This is done by raking the soil away, then pruning back the roots. In most cases, it is not good to prune back more than one fourth of the tree's root mass. After this, the tree can be placed back in its original pot or into another.
The pot should have screen placed over the drainage holes. Then a thin layer of small gravel is placed in the bottom of the pot for drainage purposes. On top of this gravel is placed the new fresh soil. Place a layer of well-draining soil which is sufficient enough to elevate the tree to its previous height in the pot. After placing the tree back in the pot, the area left vacant by the pruned root mass should be filled in with fresh soil. This fresh soil should be worked in around and under the root mass in such a manner as to avoid leaving any air pockets.
After repotting, your bonsai should be thoroughly watered. This can be achieved by submerging the entire pot in a tub of water. Moss or other ground covers can be used to cover the surface of the pot to help prevent soil erosion when watering.

INSECTS & DISEASES

Since your bonsai is a tree in miniature, it can be treated for insects and diseases the same as any other tree. If you discover any insects or diseases, visit our website where you will be able to obtain the necessary products to eliminate the problem.