Ficus microcarpa Bonsai are small bonsai that are easy to grow. They do not require any elaborate or complicated procedure for growth. Also known by other names like Malayan Banyan, Curtain Fig, Chinese Banyan, and Gajumaru, it is a tropical tree having a light gray bark. This bonsai is a member of Moracaea, the fig family and the Ficus genus.
The approximate height of the Ficus Microcarpa Bonsai is 16 to 40 inches (0.4 – 1.02 m). They are indoor plants requiring well drained soil mix and moderate regular watering. It has evergreen foliage and makes for a perfect small pot bonsai that can be placed in the living rooms. However, for a good and healthy growth, you must ensure that it is placed in a well lit space and it receives enough sunlight and water.
The dense foliage of the Ficus microcarpa Bonsai also makes it an apt choice for a shade tree. It is usually cultivated as an outdoor shade tree in various regions of Southeast Asia. The aerial roots of this plant give it a banyan like look and thus giving it the name of the Chinese Banyan. This plant also has medicinal benefits and has been used in traditional medicines in various countries including India, China, and Japan. Japanese use the dried leaves, bark and the aerial roots of this plant to treat pain and fever.
The Ficus microcarpa Bonsai has slightly rounded leaves and has many varieties. Variations occur in leaf sizes, thickness, leaf and bark color, etc. Some distinguishable varieties of the Ficus microcarpa Bonsai are listed below:
- Ficus microcarpa ‘Green Emerald’: This has small and pointed oval shaped leaves that are about 3 to 4 cms long. Due to its small and neat leaves, it is a well- suited bonsai plant.
- Ficus microcarpa ‘Moclame’: The leaves of this Ficus microcarpa is shaped like drops and have a rounded tip. The leaves grow closely and it makes for a mid-sized houseplant. It has a bushy leafball and grows around 1 – 2 feet tall.
- Ficus microcarpa ‘Green Island’: It has small and round leaves that are around an inch long.
- Ficus microcarpa ‘Tiger bark’: This plant has beautiful patterns on the bark and the aerial roots. However, these patters can fade away with time. It is a well- suited bonsai plant.
This article will further cover various topics ranging from the steps for growing Ficus microcarpa Bonsai, ideal environment, methods to care and more.
How Long Does it Take to Grow Ficus microcarpa Bonsai?
Ficus microcarpa Bonsai can be grown almost across the world as an indoor houseplant. It usually grows one to two feet in a year. If grown outside, it can also reach the height of four to six feet per year. Ficus microcarpa Bonsai can also fuse its trunks together and grow as a thick bonsai plant. If you wish to grow a thick bonsai in less time, you can wrap the inner stems together. By following this method, these inner stems will grow into a single thick trunk in 3 – 4 years.
It can grow all around the year, if it is placed in the right conditions. Some conditions that can help your Ficus microcarpa Bonsai grow well and make a healthy plant are listed below:
Sunlight is the best for Ficus microcarpa Bonsai. It grows well with a lot of light but direct sunlight during the hottest hours can be harmful too. It is a better idea to provide your Ficus microcarpa Bonsai with more indirect sunlight.
The ideal temperature for the growth of Ficus microcarpa Bonsai is above 60°F or 20°C. So it can be placed outdoors if the temperature is above 60°F. However, it must be ensured that temperatures are relatively constant at all times. The plant usually stays resilient to temperatures until 0°C also. However, it might start dropping leaves if the temperature falls further.
One tip that you must remember is that the ideal environment for your Ficus microcarpa Bonsai is a warm and moist location.
Ficus microcarpa Bonsai requires moderate watering. The best way to know if it is the time to water your bonsai is by placing a finger in the soil and seeing if it is still moist. If it feels moist, the plant does not have to be watered yet. The watering requirements depend on the atmosphere. It usually ranges from once every 3-4 days to even up to once 10 days.
The watering requirements is more in summers as compared to winters. The plant needs to be watered once a fortnight in winters. The ideal way to water during is by placing the water in a jug for a few hours and letting the temperature rise. The chlorine will be vented from the water and this method will also will prevent the plant from getting a thermal shock.
The best soil for planting Ficus microcarpa Bonsai is the indoor plant soil mix. You must drain the soil mix well to ensure that the bonsai grows well.
It is important to fertilize the Ficus microcarpa Bonsai every two weeks in summers and once a month during winters. While fertilizing, also keep a check on the growth of the bonsai and follow the same pattern for fertilizing if the growth is consistent.
How to Plant and Grow Ficus microcarpa Bonsai?
New Ficus microcarpa Bonsai can be grown from seed as well as by propagation. The best way to grow this bonsai is by taking cuttings in the mid of summer while the best time to plant seeds is spring. Air layering can be done during spring too. To plant a Ficus microcarpa Bonsai through propagation, all you need to do is place the branches or roots together and apply some pressure. This method is commonly known as approach grafting.
Pruning the Ficus microcarpa Bonsai:
Pruning is necessary if you want your bonsai to remain small and grow within the pot. In simple words, pruning is the act of checking on your bonsai and removing the extra twigs or the unwanted growth. This act helps in keeping your bonsai in the desired shape.
Ideally, you should try to prune two leaves once around 6-8 leaves have grown. This is also known as defoliation and will help in reducing the leaf size. You should prune your bonsai only if only leaves are growing. Do not prune the leaves if the newer production of leaves is less.
Another method is the wiring and bending of the thin branches. While using this technique, it is also necessary to keep a regular check on the branches to ensure that the wires are not cutting the branches.
Potting and Repotting:
Ficus microcarpa Bonsai are not made for a single pot so it is necessary to repot your bonsai every one to three years. You should repot your Ficus during the spring season with the basic bonsai soil mixture.
Repotting will also let the nutrients in the soil to be replenished. While repotting you can also check the health of the roots. You can also prune the roots while repotting your plant as Ficus microcarpa Bonsai is tolerant towards root pruning.
How to Care for your Ficus Microcarpa Bonsai
It is necessary to follow certain care tips to ensure that your Ficus microcarpa Bonsai is healthy. You must keep the plant away from frosty conditions and place it outside if the temperatures are above 60°F or 15°C. These plants prefer high humidity and will require extremely high humidity to grow the aerial roots also. They also do not like being moved again and again. So a great idea is to find a perfectly lit and luminous as well as moist spot for your Ficus microcarpa Bonsai and place it there.
Ensure that you repot your Ficus microcarpa Bonsai every one to three years and also fertilize them well. You must ensure safe and healthy environment for your plant for it to grow well. Prune the extra leaves and keep your Ficus microcarpa Bonsai groomed. Ficus microcarpa Bonsai are not very delicate and fragile so they won’t die if the right environment and moisture is provided to them.
Diseases and Pests
Usually, houseplant pests including spider mite and scale insects attack Ficus microcarpa Bonsai. To prevent your plant from these insects, you can treat them against the scale insects around three to four times between Fall and the beginning of Spring. The best way to get rid of spider mites is by keeping the plants and the atmosphere moist. To make the spider mites disappear, you can spray calcium free water on the leaves.
Ficus microcarpa Bonsai might drop leaves in unwanted environments. It can be caused due to lack of light or moisture in the environment. These plants are more susceptible to the disease and pest attacks in winters. However, leaf drop or pest attacks should not cause you to worry as it can be treated easily and your bonsai will become perfectly healthy in a few days.