When looking for a tree to work as a bonsai, a plant with the thickest possible trunk and a more or less formed crown is usually sought, characteristics that the Ficus ginseng fulfills better than any other plant . However, it is often thought that it is an easy-to-grow plant, but the reality is that… it may not be so.
Although that does not mean that buying one is a waste of money. Moreover, we are going to help you so that this does not happen to you. If you want to know everything about Ficus ginseng, don’t miss this article.
History and characteristics of Ficus ginseng
Our protagonist is a tree native to South and Southeast Asia. Its scientific name is Ficus microcarpa , although it began to be marketed as Ficus ginseng because of its roots. The term »ginseng» translates as »ninjin» in Japanese, which in English means «carrot» (carrot). And it is that this species, like that of the carrot ( Daucus carota ) has napiform roots, that is, with the shape of a turnip that thicken due to the accumulation of reserve substances .
What tree would we end up with if we planted it in the garden? East:
As you can see, it is a large tree, which can reach 15 meters in height with a crown of 5-6 meters in diameter . It is a perfect species to provide shade, but due to its size it can only be kept in very large gardens, since it also emits aerial roots that eventually touch the ground, taking root and thickening, so they end up joining the main trunk.
Its leaves are evergreen, which means that the tree looks evergreen. They are dark green, leathery, and measure 4 to 13cm in length. The flowers are dioecious (there are male and female flowers on different individuals), they are white and sprout between the axils of the leaves. The fruit is small, 1cm long, yellow or red when ripe.
What care does it require?
If you finally dare to have one, either as a bonsai or as a garden plant, you should take into account the following:
- Location : it has to be in a place where it receives direct sunlight, except during the central hours of the day.
- Irrigation : abundant in summer, and somewhat less during winter. You have to check the humidity of the substrate before watering by inserting a thin wooden stick to check how much soil has adhered to it. If it comes out practically clean, then it will mean that it is dry and that, therefore, it is necessary to water it.
- Fertilizer : throughout the growing season, that is, in spring and summer, it must be fertilized with organic fertilizers. If it is in a pot, liquids should be used following the instructions specified on the container, but if it is in the garden, you can choose to fertilize with organic powdered fertilizers ( manure , earthworm humus, guano) by adding a layer of 2- 3cm thick around the trunk once a month.
- Pruning : it is not necessary unless it is in a pot, in which case the branches that have grown too much must be trimmed at the end of winter, when the risk of frost has passed.
- Hardiness : withstands mild and punctual frosts of up to -2ºC.
- Precautions : if you want to have it in the garden, it must be planted at a minimum distance of 10 meters from any construction, be it floors, swimming pools, etc.
For what do you use it?
Ficus ginseng is used as an ornamental plant and to attract birds . It is a very large tree that produces numerous fruits, which these animals feed on, so despite the fact that it is an invasive species in many places such as Hawaii, Florida, Central America, Bermuda and South America, in other areas it is plant in many gardens so that the birds can have a greater availability of food, especially in Brazil.