This past Chinese new year, we introduced the Ginseng Ficus in a cute round glass container to our product line. The Ginseng ficus tree, also known as the Ficus retusa or Ficus microcarpa, have a distinctive bulbous root that resemble ginseng (Hint the name ;)). These trees have also been called Cuban laurels or Indian laurel figs.

Given its tropical origins, the FIcus retusa enjoys warm, direct sunlight, but can grow in full sun to partial shade.  Because of its bonsai nature, this ginseng ficus can still grow in low-light levels. Remember to avoid placing the plant in areas where it is close to the henter vents or drafty windows.

Bonsai Ginseng Ficus plant maintenance

Due to the bonsai nature of the ficus tree, pruning will be required as it grows.  It is said to prune at both ends (the roots and the leaves). Pruning the leaves will help maintain the shape and structure of the tree.  Should you repot the Ginseng Ficus,  pruning at the roots will need to be done as well. The Ginseng Ficus tree may get spider mites or gnats, but it will not affect the actual health of the plant.  If you notice these pesky bugs, just spray with a mixture of soapy water twice a day for 2 weeks.

Watering your Ginseng Ficus

To water a Ginseng ficus tree, the soil should be dry between each watering period.  Water every  2 – 3 weeks in the Spring and Summer months, and then space out your watering in the Fall and Winter months. This plant can survive drought light conditions, as it does store and soak up water through its roots – so it is better to under water than overwater. Grab a 1/3 of a cup of water, and pour slowly at the base of the plant.  Pour slowly to ensure you don’t overwater.  Sometimes the soil may need less than 1/3 of a cup.  The water shouldn’t “pooled” at the bottom of the glass and should soak up reasonably quickly. Signs of overwatering? The tree will develop root rot.

A FOOLPROOF WAY TO WATER YOUR GINSENG FICUS – Use the Smart Stick Method! Simply insert the Horty Girl Smart Stick found with every plant, into the base of the plant and pull out the stake.  Feel/Notice if it feels wet, moist or dry and water accordingly.  In this case, if the soil comes out dry – its time to water.  If it comes out wet, you should check back in a week or so.