Apart from being a passion and a great hobby to keep you occupied, the art of bonsai is also perfect for those who enjoy looking at beautiful things. This is because a bonsai tree can become very majestic and just breath-taking to look at, especially if the tree received proper care right from the start. In that regard, the bonsai Ficus ginseng is probably the most rewarding bonsai plant.
There is no exact number of variants for this particular species; some say that there are 800, while some others believe there are up to 2,000 in total. Regardless of that, the ficus genus can be found in practically all the continents, as they are native to the tropical regions. Also known as figs, this species can come in the form of evergreen trees, shrubs or even climbing plants. Some may have beautiful flowers, while some others provide fruits instead. One thing that they share in common is the milky latex sap that they ooze when wounded or cut.
As part of the mulberry plant family, the fig is considered quite easy to care for, unless you are planning to pollinate its hidden flowers to spread its fruit. There is also a wide variety available to enthusiasts, as certain figs can grow into tall trees with a crown circumference of more than one thousand feet. One of the best features of the ginseng money ficus is the development of aerial roots. This root growth is an unlock-able feature that can only be attained through a very high level of humidity.
Although the ginseng money ficus is one of the most popular selections of the ficus genus, many experts agree that the ginseng is not an actual ficus variety. This can be seen in the way that the growers tend to expose unnaturally fat, water-storing roots with the top of the plant usually grafted in.
Generally the fig is an indoor plant which has very low resistance towards frost. Though it can be placed outside, during summer for instance, the temperature must never be lower than 15 degrees C or 59 degrees F. As a tropical plant, it needs as much sunlight as possible. This plant should not be placed under partial shade. Since it will spend most of its time indoors, it must have access to full sun.
Other than maintaining a constant temperature, it would be best to observe the level of humidity. Figs are known to endure low humidity, thanks to their thick and waxy leaves but being tropical plants, they always prefer high humidity environments. Developing aerial roots would require an extreme level of humidity which can be created artificially.
The ficus ginseng bonsai appreciates watering more than the standard bonsai plant. It needs to be watered generously even when the soil is only slightly dry. Most owners agree however that the best condition is achieved through soft water in room temperature. Figs will also survive the occasional over as well as under-watering. The warmer the climate or position of the fig, the more water that it would need. This is why some owners mist their trees everyday to maintain an optimum level of humidity. If you wish to do it too, make sure that you do not overdo it, as misting can invite fungal problems. Similarly, if the tree is in a cool position, it only needs to be slightly moist.
The ficus bonsai can take both liquid and pellet fertilizers. Most people prefer to use organic fertilizer pellets, though no real distinction exists between the two. The fertilizing frequency varies according to the time; feed it once a week or once every two weeks during the summer, and once every two to four weeks during winter. If it stops growing during the winter, so should its fertilizing.
Regularly pruning the bonsai ficus ginseng is essential in retaining the tree’s shape, much like other bonsai plants. With the fig however, leaf pruning can be more important than some other species. This is because the ficus bonsai usually grows large leaves. You should prune it down to two leaves after 6 to 8 gave grown. If you wish to thicken its trunk, then it would be wise to leave the tree to grow freely for one or two years. This way the tree would grow even more resilient and the strong cuts that may be necessary in certain steps would not affect the health of the tree. In fact, the old woods would be more eager to grow out new shoots. Just remember to always cover large wounds with cut paste.
Wiring would not be hard with the ficus bonsai, since most of its branches are quite flexible. The only problem is that the wires must be checked regularly as they easily cut into the bark. Make sure that the wire is not unnecessarily tight. If you need to wire some of its stronger branches, then it would be better to use guy-wires as they are more suitable to be left on the tree for a longer time.
One unique feature of the fig is its binding and fusing property. When pressure is applied to two or more trunk, branches or roots, they will fuse together and form a single structure. Most of the times, the result is very appealing. Owners usually tie younger plants together and let them fuse into one solid trunk.
Another additional note regarding this plant is its reception towards grafting techniques. One good example that people have taken advantage of is grafting aerial roots into a different position. Some owners have even used younger plants, aerial roots and shoots to graft large wounds of the tree, helping the wound heal faster.
Ficus bonsai is generally resistant against insect attacks, though the circumstances of time and location can still cause them. Most owners have observed that winter is often the cause of both pest and diseases. The fig is susceptible to dry air and combined with insufficient light, its leaves can become unhealthy and drop. This situation would in turn invite scales or spider mites, which cannot be rid of using mere insecticides.
If this happens to you, stick customary systemic insecticide sticks into the soil, and remove as suggested. If you prefer using sprays, it is best to get a specific miticide solution for the mites. The ficus bonsai would also find it hard to recover from the attack on its own, so make sure to improve the condition of the tree by setting up some plant lamps for 12 to 14 hours a day. Misting it with water frequently during this period would also help it recover significantly.
The best way of re-potting the fig is to do it during spring every two years. Replace the soil with a basic soil mixture. There is no fear of harming the tree as its roots tolerate root-pruning very well. Cuttings for propagation can also be planted relatively at any time of the year, though owners have reported that the highest rate of success is to achieve a mid-summer growth. If you wish to air-layer it, the best time is during spring or from April to May. The bonsai ficus ginseng has a generally high rate of successful growth, as some owners have grown them from seeds during spring and are very satisfied with the result.
Like most bonsai, this plant can also live long years, if it is cared for properly. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to tell the age of a ginseng bonsai without destroying it. Apart from cutting a trunk and counting its rings, there is no definite number to come up with. The most that one can do is to gauge by observing some details; the older a tree, the larger its base of trunk will be. Older trees also have a more impressive root structure. The branches too would be more defined in an older tree. If you absolutely must know, then you can get a core sample of your bonsai and have it scientifically aged through the use of an electron microscope. Make sure to grow a great tree first. Have fun and good luck.