Within the ficus it is possible that you know some, even that you have them at home. But what we are going to talk about next is rather unknown. The Ficus benghalensis is striking for its leaves, but it actually has so much more that you’ll appreciate it for.
For this reason, on this occasion, we have prepared a guide for you to discover in depth what this ficus is like, what its care is and some more information. Shall we start?
How is the Ficus benghalensis
The Ficus benghalensis, also known as banyan or banyan tree, It is a species of tree belonging to the Moraceae family. It is native to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, although it is currently found in many parts of the world, including Spain (although it is not as well known as other ficuses).
It is an impressive tree that can grow to heights of 30 meters or more, and its crown can be up to 150 meters in diameter. On the market, however, we found it tiny both in its green variety and also variegated, both very similar to each other, but different in the part of the leaves.
The bark is gray and smooth. One of the most notable characteristics of the Ficus benghalensis is its ability to produce aerial roots that spread downward from the branches and develop into new trunks. These aerial roots can make the tree look like a small jungle, and they also make it very resistant to wind and storms.
As for the leaves, they are large and oval, with a length that can reach up to 30 centimeters and a width of around 20 centimeters. Are from bright green in color and have a smooth, velvety texture.
The leaves of the Ficus benghalensis are perennial, but there are some cases in which they can fall off. For example, during the winter or in times of drought. In some cases, the tree can lose all its leaves at once, although in general the fall is gradual.
An interesting feature of the leaves of this ficus is that they contain white latex, a milky substance that occurs in many species of ficus. This can be toxic to some sensitive animals and humans, so care should be taken when handling the leaves and other parts of the plant.
Also, you should know that this plant produces small yellowish-green flowers that grow in groups of two or three and give rise to small round dark red fruits approximately 1-2 cm in diameter. These are edible and are often used in some culinary preparations. They have a soft and meaty texture, and their flavor is sweet and slightly astringent.. Now, you have to make sure that they are ripe to eat them, because if they are not they may contain toxic substances that will irritate the skin and mouth.
Ficus benghalensis care
Now that you know a little more about Ficus benghalensis, How about we help you to know what are the main care that you should give it? This way you could get hold of one and watch it grow and get big. Go for it.
location and temperature
The right place for the Ficus benghalensis will always be in the sun. In fact he loves it. But you have to keep in mind that if you just bought it, the sun in your climate may not be adequate for this plant. Keep in mind that their natural habitat is usually tropical forests with high humidity. Therefore, we recommend that you better put it in semi-shade.
Therefore, at least during the first full year, in summer we do not recommend that you put it directly in the sun since it can go thirsty or run out of leaves.
As for the temperature, it usually supports cold and heat well, but extreme cold is something else.
It is recommended that it be fertile and light soil, with good drainage, such as perlite.
How do you like humidity? We recommend that you use peat, mulch and sand mixed with perlite as well.
The Ficus benghalensis likes water very much. In fact, it has to be watered throughout the year but you have to wait for the soil to dry out between watering. Besides, You have to be careful with the amount of water you add because the roots can rot.
As important, or perhaps more, than irrigation, is humidity. It is important that the leaves of the Ficus benghalensis are sprayed, daily in summerso you get the hydration you need.
It is recommended that it be fertilized 1-2 times a month, but not with the manufacturer’s dosage, rather it is better to divide the fertilizer in half. In fact, it is better to use the granules than the liquid.
In principle it is not necessary to prune the Ficus benghalensis, just in case it gets too big or puts out too many leaves. Of course, protect yourself if you are going to cut him.
Plagues and diseases
Although they don’t usually have problems, sometimes the red spider mite and thrips do their thing with it. To solve it, it is best to wash the plant with soap and water.
Regarding diseases, these will appear if they are not given the care they need.
To end, We want to talk to you about the uses of Ficus benghalensis. Beyond the decorative, the truth is that it has others that are not so well known (except in their natural habitat). These are:
- Medical uses: The various parts of the tree are used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to treat various ailments including skin diseases, fever, headache, cough, and asthma. It is also believed to have anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Animal food: The fruits of the Ficus benghalensis are an important source of food for numerous species of animals, including birds, bats, monkeys, and rodents.
- Religious use: In India this tree has great cultural and religious importance. Therefore, it is common for you to find it near temples and sanctuaries. It is considered a sacred tree in many cultures and is used in religious ceremonies and rituals.
- Madera: The wood is hard and resistant, which is why it is used in the construction of furniture, crafts and tools.
- Rubber production: And of course, by producing latex, it is one of the best trees for producing natural rubber.
As you can see, the Ficus benghalensis is a tree that you could well have at home, either in a pot or in the garden. Do you dare to have one like this?