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Houseplant portrait: Ficus 'Ginseng' (Ficus microcarpa)
Houseplant portrait: Ficus 'Ginseng' (Ficus microcarpa)

Video: Houseplant portrait: Ficus 'Ginseng' (Ficus microcarpa)

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Video: Уход за фикусом женьшеня 2023, February

Ficus 'Ginseng', actually Ficus microcarpa, is a very special houseplant. Over the years it has developed into a stately miniature tree and attracts everyone's attention with its bizarre "aerial roots". We have summarized here why and how you can successfully cultivate Ficus 'Ginseng'.

Ficus 'Ginseng', as the idiosyncratic houseplant is colloquially called, is botanically correct actually called Ficus microcarpa and is related to both the rubber tree and the birch fig ("Benjamini"). Other names for Ficus 'Ginseng' are bay fig or Chinese fig. The term Ficus 'Ginseng' has prevailed for the houseplant, which can be explained at first glance if you take a closer look at the plants.

Ficus 'Ginseng': half bonsai, half ginseng

In nature as well as as a houseplant, Ficus 'Ginseng' shows itself as a richly branched tree that forms one or - depending on the cut - several dark green leafy, pretty crowns. In contrast to the natural locations (Southeast Asia, India, Malaysia, Australia, Southern Europe), where it grows to a tree over 25 meters high, it “only” grows to a height of 1.5 to 2 meters.

What immediately catches the eye is the idiosyncratic strain of Ficus microcarpa. It is actually reminiscent of the well-known Asian ginseng root and shows curiously twisted roots at the base that grow above ground. It takes a good 15 years for this growth to develop, then the stem is grafted and cut by hand until the typical bonsai shape that we know from the houseplant develops. This lengthy procedure also explains the slightly higher purchase price of Ficus 'Ginseng'. Flowers are rare on pure houseplants, but this is not a big loss, as they are very inconspicuous and grow hidden between the leaves. It is a shame, however, that Ficus 'Ginseng' does not develop any fruit in the house: they are a real ornament, they are tiny, round and orange-red in color. What you should still know: Like all Ficus species, Ficus 'Ginseng' contains a rubbery, viscous milk juice that escapes when cut or injured. It is also toxic in all parts of the plant. So always wear gloves when you take care of the houseplant.

Where is Ficus' Ginseng best?

Ficus microcarpa ‘Ginseng’
Ficus microcarpa ‘Ginseng’

Held as a houseplant, the ficus needs a light spot.

Photo: floradania

As a houseplant, Ficus 'Ginseng' needs a bright place in the house. Although very hungry for light, it does not tolerate direct sun. He reacts to this with leaf burns. For lack of light with falling leaves. Most of the year, Ficus 'Ginseng' thrives at normal room temperature - but he doesn't like temperature fluctuations. Increased humidity is free, but not a requirement.

Summer freshness on the balcony or terrace

In summer, Ficus 'Ginseng' can go out on the balcony or terrace. Here, however, it must be protected from wind, rain and direct sunlight. As soon as summer draws to a close or the temperature difference between day and night becomes too great, the frost-sensitive (sub-) tropical plant has to go back into the house.

Which soil does Ficus 'Ginseng' need and how often does it have to be repotted?

Despite its extravagant appearance, Ficus 'Ginseng' can be planted in normal flower or houseplant soil. Younger plants are repotted annually, older plants every two to three years in spring or summer. Wait until the houseplant has completely rooted the pot.

Tips for watering and fertilizing

When it comes to watering, you first have to experiment: The root ball of Ficus 'Ginseng' should never dry out completely, but should always be slightly damp. Otherwise the leaves will fall. But they also fall if you water the houseplant too much - so be careful.

The growth phase of Ficus 'Ginseng' lasts from April to the end of August. Fertilize the houseplant for nutrient supply every two weeks with conventional, liquid flower fertilizer.

Cut ficus 'ginseng'

Ficus microcarpa ‘Ginseng’
Ficus microcarpa ‘Ginseng’

In order for the ficus to maintain its bosaiform, you must rigorously prune the plant every spring.

Photo: Flower Office Holland

Since Ficus 'Ginseng' was brought up in a tree shape for years before he came to your home, only minor cuts are usually required later. Simply remove branches and twigs that interfere with the overall picture. In order to stimulate the branching and to obtain a denser crown, it is also cut. If you want Ficus 'Ginseng' to maintain its bonsai size for as long as possible, it must be rigorously pruned each spring. However, the plant is considered to be well tolerated by pruning and then usually sprouts quickly again. Wilted leaves do not have to be cut, you can simply remove them by hand - or they fall off by themselves. Another note for experienced bonsai gardeners: Although Ficus 'Ginseng' was raised like a bonsai, unlike those of the bonsai, its roots are not cut!

Winter maintenance from Ficus 'Ginseng'

For wintering, it has proven useful to move Ficus 'Ginseng' to a somewhat cooler location. A staircase, a guest room or a rarely used study are ideal. Now the houseplant prefers temperatures between 15 and 18 degrees Celsius, but still has to be very bright. Otherwise there is a risk of worse leaf loss, which can sometimes even make entire parts of the crown bald. Watering is also carried out in winter, but significantly more economically.

Onlineshop Sense of Home
Onlineshop Sense of Home

Photo: iStock / serezniy

Propagate by sowing or cuttings

Seeds from Ficus microcarpa are difficult to obtain in our latitudes: garden centers usually do not have them in their range. If you succeed in getting seeds online or through exchange exchanges, for example, proceed as follows when sowing:

  • Sprinkle the fine seeds on the substrate and press them lightly.
  • Set up the growing pot at a constant warm 25 degrees Celsius.
  • Now patience is required: it takes about two to three weeks to germinate.
  • Separate the little plants and continue to take care of them as usual.
Ficus microcarpa ‘Ginseng’
Ficus microcarpa ‘Ginseng’

So that the fici get a typical bonsai shape, it is necessary to nurture and care for them from the start.

Photo: floradania

Propagation by cuttings is more common and much easier. They are cut and put in a pot. Under a film cover or in the mini greenhouse, new roots develop after two to three weeks in warm, humid temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius.

Attention: If you do not also nurture, care for, graft and educate the offspring for years, it differs significantly from the houseplant that you bought from retailers.

Check for houseplant pests

With suitable site conditions and optimal care, Ficus 'Ginseng' proves to be very robust and enduring. Diseases never actually occur. The common houseplant pests, however, do: Check your house tree regularly for spider mites, thrips or scale insects.

Ulrike Hanninger Redaktion

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