Ficus Religiosa Bonsai – the Sacred Fig or Peepal

Ficus Religiosa Bonsai come from Ficus Religiosa trees native to Indian continents and Southwest China. More commonly known in other countries as a “sacred fig”, Ficus Religiosa is actually a variety of fig trees that belong to the Mulberry Family. The tree grows as high as 30 meters and its trunk can have girths of up to 3 meters. The sacred tree has been baptized with several names like Pipal, Peepal, Bodhi tree and Ashwattha tree depending on the country where it is located.


The Peepal tree has been dubbed as a “sacred tree” due to various accounts in history where it was worshipped in the Indus Valley Civilization in the year 3000 – 1700 BC. It is also considered to be sacred by Hindus and Buddhist basing it from the statement of Krishna saying “I am the Peepal tree among the trees”. They also believe that Krishna died under this tree. Even Gautama Buddha is believed to have attained his enlightenment under this sacred tree.

Distinct Features

Sacred trees are usually fast growing and deciduous. Its heart-shaped leaves usually fall off during the months of March and April and grows back months after. These trees do not grow very tall. Instead its branches spread elegantly side wards resembling a crown. The purple fruits of Peepal Trees are enclosed in figs and ripens right after it has shed off its foliage. Their barks are usually in any shades of gray that peels off as the tree ages. Compared to other trees of the same species, Sacred Trees relatively have longer life.

Medicinal Use

Aside from being “sacred”, Peepal trees are known for their medicinal use. The juice extracted from leaves partially exposed to open flame is used as eardrops. The bark of the tree is used to treat inflammation and wounds while the roots are effective treatment for gout and gum diseases. Even the fruits are used to cure asthma, constipation, heart diseases and urinary diseases.


Some varieties of Ficus Religiosa include Artocarpus heterophyllus more commonly known as jackfruit, Artocarpus incissus and Artocarpus nobilis or the Ceylon breadfruit which is endemic to South Western regions of Sri Lanka.

Growing Requisites

The method of growing a Ficus Religiosa bonsai tree is pretty much the same as other species. They do not require much attentions as they are not as delicate as other plants. Preserving the health of these plants is done by satisfying these simple requisites:

  • Water – Ficus religiosa bonsai likes just enough water content in the soil. It is important to monitor the moisture content and just add water whenever necessary. There are available inexpensive moisture reader that will help you monitor the water content on the soil.
  • Sunlight – Peepal trees usually need sufficient amount of sunshine. It would be perfect to place these bonsai in the patio or in the porch. Be sure not to overexpose them in sunlight as they may deteriorate and die.
  • Fertilization – bi-weekly fertilization of the sacred fig bonsai is the most ideal frequency to supplement lacking nutrients during hot seasons. Depending on the dose of fertilizers, frequency may be increased to weekly. Local organic fertilizers is best for these kind of bonsai as artificial or chemical types may do harm to the plant.
  • Pruning – in order to control the growth of Peepal bonsai, there is a need to prune it back to 2 leaves after 6-8 leaves shows up. If thicker trunk is preferred, Peepals can be left growing for two years and bolder cuts will follow.
  • Wiring – contouring the shape of the plant is pretty much easy as its branches are flexible. Extreme caution must be taken when wiring hard trunks as they can easily cut into the bark.