Apartment plants

Ficus microcarpa ginseng


GeneralitŠ°


Ficus ginseng is a variety of ficus microcarpa, of fairly small size. The species f. microcarpa is a tree, which reaches a height of 20-25 m, originating from Asia and Australia; F. ginseng is instead a shrub of medium size, which can reach 100-130 cm in height, evergreen. The foliage is glossy, oval, coriaceous, of a bright dark green color; the bark is light in color; in nature these plants produce small purple or black figs, which develop along the branches. The main characteristic of the ficus ginseng are the roots: they have aerial development and reach large dimensions, giving the base of the trunk a characteristic shape; the large aerial roots are reminiscent of large robust tubers. This species of ficus has fairly small foliage, this characteristic, combined with the total size of the plant and its large aerial roots, has made ficus ginseng very popular also as bonsai.

Ficus microcarpa


The ficus microcarpa It is a plant that is very commonly found on the market; it is almost always sold in the form of a bonsai. However, it must be pointed out that this is actually a houseplant that can easily be kept small. The minute size of the leaves helps make it look like a miniature tree.
It can actually be considered and treated in all respects as a houseplant. Cultivation is widespread all over the world and is commonly kept especially in containers. In areas with mild winters it can always be left outside. Where winters are rather harsh (as in central-northern Italy) it must be withdrawn.
This tree is ideal to be kept even in the apartment because it tolerates a wide range of different conditions. It has a very resistant root system, it grows slowly and remains small. Its aerial roots are extremely particular and decorative. Ficus ginseng is native to Southeast Asia and its aerale extends from India to Borneo. In nature it can reach 15 meters in height. The fruits it produces, dark red in color, become food for wild animals that contribute to the spread of seeds.































The plant in short

exposure

sowing
irrigation topping
repotting Half home
substrate Rich, but very well drained. Even inorganic
fertilization Liquid, every week from spring to autumn
temperature Not below 12 ° C
Pests and diseases Cochineals, root rot

Treatment



Exposure: it prefers well-lit positions, but it is good to avoid the excess of direct sunlight; above all we recommend a gradual exposure to the direct sun, and to avoid an excessive insolation during the hot season. This ficus can withstand temperatures close to zero, even if there is better development growing the plant with minimum temperatures not less than 10 ° C. So from March to October it can be exposed outdoors, in a partially shaded place, while during the cold months it is cultivated as a houseplant, or in a temperate greenhouse.
Watering: from March to April, until the end of summer, it is watered abundantly, always waiting for the soil to be dry between one watering and another, and avoiding leaving water in the saucer; with the arrival of autumn the watering is thinned, periodically moistening the soil, without forgetting to vaporize the foliage often. In the vegetative period, provide fertilizer for green plants, every 15-20 days, mixed with the water of the watering.

Playback


Soil: use a good mixture rich in humus, very well drained; universal soil can be used, mixed with a small amount of sand and mature manure. In general, containers that are not too large are chosen, in order to bring out the size of the aerial roots.
Multiplication: usually by seed, in spring, or by cuttings, during the summer months.
Pests and diseases: they suffer from the attack of the cochineal, especially in a very dry climate. Excessive watering, or a poorly draining soil, can favor the onset of rot.

Light


As with all indoor plants, lighting must be intense, but not direct. It is therefore ideal to place it in a room with large, possibly screened windows, especially from May to September, with light-colored curtains.
If these conditions are not available, we can place the sapling in a less well-lit room. The only consequence will be less vigorous growth.
If we have a garden or a terrace we can decide to move it when the minimum temperatures do not fall below 12 ° C. The position must always be bright, but the direct sun on the leaves must be avoided since it could cause burns.

Irrigation



Like all ficus, it appreciates a moist and fresh substrate. In small vessels, however, too frequent irrigation can cause root rot to occur. It is therefore good to wait for the substrate to be rather dry before distributing water again.
It has no special requirements in terms of pH and water purity. The tap can be fine. If it turns out to be too hard we can replace it with the one for irons or collect rainwater periodically. On the other hand, environmental humidity is very important for the general well-being of the plant and its vigorous growth. Especially during the hot periods it is good to vaporize the leaves and the aerial roots often or to place near the containers full of water so that this, by evaporating, makes the environment more comfortable.

Ground


The ideal soil should be well drained. Soils go very well for succulent plants or even for citrus fruits. Alternatively we can buy a generic product and add plenty of sand. The important thing is that the water is not kept for long. The ideal substrate must dry quickly. Some grow this plant even totally in perlite or in the bark (like that for orchids). Clearly, a thick and efficient drainage layer must be provided at the bottom of the vessel.

Composting


All fertilizers for green apartment plants are fine. During the growing season one must proceed once a week with the distribution of the product. We avoid this practice instead during the winter and in the case of sick or weakened plants.

Pests and diseases



These are generally very resistant plants and are rarely attacked by pests.
In the apartment one of the most common problems is the cottony or scallop scale. If there are only a few specimens we can pass alcohol on them and then remove them.
Otherwise it will be necessary to intervene with white oil possibly activated by a systemic insecticide. It can also happen the presence of thrips that must be fought with specific insecticides.

Temperatures


Let us remember that the plant begins to suffer when it falls below 12 ° C. In that case it is better to withdraw it and put it in a rather cool room for the whole winter season.

Ficus microcarpa ginseng: Repotting



Ficus ginseng will need to be repotted every two or three years. Proceed to the beginning of spring and try to change the soil as much as possible, cleaning and also trimming the roots. During the first two weeks after the operation it will be necessary to lightly irrigate without moving the substrate and keep the plant in partial shade.
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