Skip to main content

Ginseng Ficus: The Perfect Bonsai Tree for the Beginner

I have a passion for flowers, trees, and plants and want to share my gardening knowledge and research with those who feel the same way.

Ficus microcarpa "retusa," or Ginseng Ficus

Ficus microcarpa "retusa," or Ginseng Ficus

What is Ginseng Ficus?

Ginseng ficus, also called Ficus microcarpa, Ficus retusa, and banyan fig, is not the medicinal ginseng plant but a type of fig. You will be pleasantly surprised to find that a Ginseng Ficus bonsai tree is not only great looking but extremely easy to care for.

Ginseng ficus is a low-maintenance bonsai that can be grown indoors or outdoors. Of course, if you live in an area where temperatures drop below 68 degrees, your little tree should be grown indoors. This type of bonsai can survive without direct sunlight, but you will have a much happier and healthier tree if you place it near a window or an area that receives a lot of sunlight.

This article will attempt to answer these questions as it relates to caring for this bonsai:

  • How much water to use?
  • How to prune?
  • How to repot?

How Much Water to Use?

This particular tree does not need much attention water-wise. You will only need to water it once or twice a week at most. If you over-water it occasionally, this bonsai will adjust; if you forget to water it on occasion, it will not get mad at you and shrivel up. You will know if you are not giving it enough water because the dark green leaves will start to turn yellow. The best way to keep your Ginseng Ficus moist and happy is to mist it with a spray bottle every day.

How to Prune?

A healthy Ginseng ficus will grow many leaves. Some leaves may fall off naturally due to changes in the weather, the amount of light, or the watering schedule. Most Ginseng ficus bonsais will adjust to their new environment within one or two weeks.

The basic rule of thumb is that for every six leaves that grow in, three leaves should be removed. This rule will depend on your personal preference as well as your bonsai's individual size and shape.

How to Repot?

Your Ginseng ficus bonsai is a slow grower and should only need to be repotted every one to three years depending on the speed of its growth. Repotting should always take place right after the colder season and the beginning of the spring season.

The Gift That Keeps Growing

If you are interested in bonsai, these cute and hearty little Ginseng ficus trees can spruce up any room or office. They are very easy to care for and a relatively inexpensive way to learn the bonsai practice.

A bonsai can never be a finished work of art, because it will always be a living piece of nature, continuing to live and grow.

The object is not to make the tree look like a bonsai, but to make the bonsai look like a tree.

— John Naka, American Bonsai Master

More Ginseng Ficus Bonsai Information and Tips

Experts Talk About Shaping the Ginseng Ficus

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Garden Goddess


ratnaacharya on March 17, 2015:

I appreciate d knowledge shared by everyone.i cud know whether my. Bonsai ginseng is still sleeping or dead as not asingle new leaf appeared till mid march.i fear overwatering .some roots n thick stem seems to be waterlogged.i have repotted but dont know how often to water it at this stage of recovering.can anyone help plz.

Garden Goddess (author) from Garden Of Eden on February 16, 2011:

Thank you elayne001, I really appreciate your comment and your visit. I hope that you will get to experience the joy in having a bonsai tree soon. They really are fun to grow. Thank you for your visit.

Elayne from Rocky Mountains on February 15, 2011:

You did a great job with this hub. Congrats on the nomination. I love bonsai trees and hope someday to have one.

Garden Goddess (author) from Garden Of Eden on February 14, 2011:

Hello Denise,

Thank you for your visit and your very kind comment. I had a lot of fun writing this one. I am looking forward to having fun writing more in the future. Thank you for your congrats. I am grateful to be nominated and humbled by your hospitality.

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on February 13, 2011:

Very cool hub. Nicely written. Welcome to hubpages. congratulations on your nomination.

Garden Goddess (author) from Garden Of Eden on February 12, 2011:

Hello Ripplemaker,

Thank you for your visit and your kindness in forwarding my information to your friend. I adore bonsai's and love sharing the information.

Thank you for your congratulations, I am still happily surprised and blushing.

I appreciate your visit and sweet comments. =)

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on February 12, 2011:

I will forward your hub to my best friend who has been looking for info on how to take care of bonsais!

Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination :) Please read and vote! Best of luck!

Garden Goddess (author) from Garden Of Eden on February 11, 2011:

Hi Janet,

Thank you my dear friend for taking the time to visit and as always for your encouraging words. You are the best!

Garden Goddess (author) from Garden Of Eden on February 11, 2011:

Hello Cheapsk8chick,

Thank you for your visit and very kind comment, can you see me blushing like a red rose? Thank you for your vote and encouragement.

janet shimniok on February 11, 2011:

awesome great work

cheapsk8chick on February 11, 2011:

Really neat hub! Well written and very informative. Vote up & awesome!

Garden Goddess (author) from Garden Of Eden on February 05, 2011:

Hi Patty Inglish,

Thank you for your visit and your very nice comment. I am grateful and humbled by your compliment.

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on February 05, 2011:

I really like the style, layout, and content of this Hub. Rated Up and others.

Garden Goddess (author) from Garden Of Eden on January 28, 2011:

Thank you for your support More Than Words, it is much appreciated. :)

Pamela Bogwald from Oak Ridge, NJ on January 28, 2011:

Yes, nice. Like the appearance of the Bonsai

Garden Goddess (author) from Garden Of Eden on January 28, 2011:

Hi More Than Words,

I think it is a beautiful way of describing dormancy in its simplest form.

Pamela Bogwald from Oak Ridge, NJ on January 27, 2011:

I have a friend that bought a book, Bonsai Techniques II, signed in 1982 by John Yoshio Naka. He wrote in the book: "Last leaf has fallen, tree will slumber, I will dream, spring is tomorrow" What do you think of those words?

Pamela Bogwald from Oak Ridge, NJ on January 27, 2011:

Baja is the right spelling.

Garden Goddess (author) from Garden Of Eden on January 27, 2011:

Hello More Than Words,

Thank you for stopping by and the wonderful insights. The Ginseng Ficus goes dormant in the winter time also. I did not know and think it is fascinating about the Ba Ha desert plants. I will have to do some research on these plants. That's why I love plants, flowers, and trees because there is always something new and wonderful to learn. Thank you for your wonderful knowledge and your kind comment.

Pamela Bogwald from Oak Ridge, NJ on January 27, 2011:

A house is an alien environment for some bonsais. Junipers can't take the house. Some plants from the Ba ha desert in Mexico are very tolerant in the house. They go dormant in the winter time and break growth in spring. There are certain kinds that can tolerate five years without water in their own environment. They thrive on neglect, hardly no watering needed. Nice hub, love it. I'll have to get my book out to get the names straight.

Garden Goddess (author) from Garden Of Eden on January 24, 2011:

Thank you for your visit and wonderful comment. I really enjoy the indoor bonsai's for the same reasons you mention. Thanks again for stopping in. :)

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on January 24, 2011:

I love bonsai but have had no success with the few that I have tried - going away, the plant sitter forgot to water one, etc. But keeping a bonsai indoors is wonderful. You keep your eye on it and it won't need to be watered every day like an outdoor bonsai. Great hub!