Houseplants that almost take care of themselves and have significant design value.
Ficus microcarpa in its potted form is often referred to as Ficus ‘Ginseng’ and is a popular houseplant known for ease in growing and unique shape. Ginseng is the Chinese word for roots and because of this plant’s unique roots, the name has been adopted. Interestingly, this tree can grow up to 20m in the wilds of China and Malaysia, but will remain compact by restricting the roots in a container. The size then depends on the size of the container. From its root forms, it is easy to see how it would thrive in humid tropical mangroves and swamps. Ficus ‘Ginseng’ makes a great gift for beginner bonsai enthusiasts due to its low-maintenance and forgiveness when practicing the art.
The right conditions
Use this guide to keep your plants healthy and lush:
• Position in a brightly lit area out of direct sunlight.
• Keep the plants well-watered but not waterlogged and make sure the plants drain well before placing them back in position.
• They like high humidity which can be increased with spritzing with water daily.
• Feed every 2 weeks in spring and autumn with a soluble plant food.
• Repot every couple of years into new potting soil into the original container if you would like your plant to remain small. Reduce the root ball with a clean pair of secateurs by a third and remove any damaged roots before repotting.
If you want to use this plant as a bonsai, it will need to be pruned on a regular basis. Take off any new shoots and shape it. Our bonsai articles will help you learn more about this vast subject. For general pruning, its best to do this in spring. Increase the number of branches by pinching off new shoots. Prune off any wayward or leggy stems and trim back outward growth to encourage new growth and create a bushier, more even-looking plant. Note that this plant produces latex, so it’s wise to use gloves when pruning.
Ficus ‘Ginseng’ are said to radiate positive energy and symbolise good luck and prosperity in China.
These plants are grown by LVG Plants and are available from retail outlets and garden centres.