Indoor plants

The ficus ginseng

Information and botanical notes

Native to Southeast Asia, ficus ginseng is the common name of Ficus retusa, widely cultivated in much of the world as a bonsai plant due to its adaptability and manageability. Like all ficus, ficus bonsai also tolerates low temperatures poorly, and needs a lot of humidity to be able to develop well. The stem is globular, irregular and leathery in nature (the common name indicates, in fact, its resemblance to the roots of ginseng), the leaves are oval, often lanceolate, fleshy, shiny and bright green on the upper side. Flowering is extremely rare, and is characterized by small flowers arranged in fleshy pyriform cavities, often mistaken for the real fruits of the plant. The latter are slightly larger than a cherry, pulpy and with a red or whitish waxy surface.

Grow ficus ginseng


Ficus ginseng lends itself very well to cultivation at home as a bonsai plant; all types of bonsai ficus on the market belong to the Ficus retusa species, and their adaptability allows the creation of refined forms that represent a real tradition in many countries of the world. The first thing to take into consideration for a correct growth of ficus ginseng is the temperature; in fact, it does not tolerate temperatures below 18-19 degrees and above 25, therefore it must be raised in a controlled environment away from artificial heat sources. The second factor to keep under control is the environmental humidity which must be high, since this species grows in the rainforests; to solve the problem, the ficus should be vaporized every day with demineralized water (a calcareous water would make the leaf surface opaque), taking care to moisten the leaves enough to recreate a slight patina of droplets. The soil must also be moist, regularly watering the ficus, while avoiding water stagnation.

Fertilization and pruning


Ficus ginseng, like almost all tropical plants, need well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. The fertilizer suitable for this plant must be specific for bonsai or exotic plants, but with very few percentages of nitrogen, since this element tends to make the leaves and branches grow too much. Every year it is good to decant our ficus, taking care to cut the longer roots, after which we will move on to the actual pruning. Ficus ginseng is subject to many diseases and infections caused by cuts, therefore the shears and scissors must be sterilized and used only and exclusively for this plant; at the beginning of autumn only the longer apical twigs with oblique cuts will be eliminated, and any dry leaves accumulated during the summer period.

The ficus ginseng: Measures and pathologies


To better retain the humidity at the base of the plant, it is useful to apply a generous layer of moss, which will contribute to a slower evaporation of the water, especially in winter, when the internal heating makes the rooms excessively dry for our ficus ginseng . The pathologies related to this plant are few, mainly due to poor or even excessive care. First of all, the radical rot, which occurs when the waterings are too abundant; the initial symptom of this pathology is represented by opaque leaves, with dull colors that quickly turn yellow, after which the branches bend downwards and the leaves fall to the ground. Cotton cochineal can also pose a danger to ficus ginseng,

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