Ficus microcarpa ginsengFicus microcarpa with fantastic roots and compact green crown is offered in retail trade under various names: Ficus microcarpa ginseng, Ficus ginseng, Ficus microcarpa bonsai or Ficus retusa.
Ficus microcarpa and Ficus retusa are very similar and considered as synonyms even in some botanical sources.
"Ficus microcarpa" bonsai resembles the plant, formed in the style of bonsai.
"Ficus ginseng" because of the similarity of ficus and ginseng roots.
Ficus microcarpa ginseng productionFicus microcarpa ginseng is grown in industrial scale mainly in China. Its exotic effect is achieved by several stages.
1. The plant is grown from cuttings or seeds in traditional way with the proportionate development of foliage and root system, the last is wholly in the ground. A thick and large root is a natural characteristic of the species. It fixes the plant in the soil, absorbs water and minerals, accumulates nutrients and synthesizes biologically active elements. Favourable conditions (temperature, light, humidity), fertilizers, hormones, modern preparations against pests and infections speed up greatly the growth of roots. The time of this stage depends on the size of roots.
2. Ficus is dug up carefully for the prevention of any damage.
3. The trunk with branches and leaves is cuted off above the root's neck with a small "stump".
4. Big roots are cleaned from the soil (small fibrous and thread-like roots are removed), washed and sorted by weight. Some producers offer ficus for sale in such a form. Flower-farms can buy roots weighing from 5 grams to 7 or more kilograms for the subsequent growing.
5. Each root is poted so as its top part is above the soil. Light skin of root becomes rough and dark gradually and looks like a bark.
6. The next stage is the use of agrochemical stimulants. It makes more active the germination of adventitious buds on the "stump" for new foliage. Sometimes a grafting is also used on massive roots for the forming of brunchy or many-level crown.
Ficus ginseng careGeneral rules of ficus care and Ficusweb's advices for Ficus microcarpa are well for Ficus ginseng too.
Before sale plants can be sprayed by inhibitors to maintain compact form. After a while, when the action of inhibitor is ended, branches become long and leaves - large in size. Ficus loses its original proportions and pseudobonsai form. If nutrients are not enough, overdeveloped crown makes extensive use of root's reserves. As a result, the root is wrinkled and reduced. It is necessary to prune and shape the plant from time to time.
Ficus ginseng is used sometimes as a "blank" for the "real" bonsai. To do it, cut a half of its underground roots, put the plant into a low pot with a special soil and remove unnecessary branches. Then use the technology of growing miniature trees.
© photos by Zhangpu Shunxin Banyan bonsai field and Yuping (Zhangzhou) Horticulture Co. (China).