The story of the Ficus Ginseng
The name Ficus is Latin for fig. The Ficus grows in (sub) tropical areas of Asia, Africa, South America and Australia. As well as the Ficus, there are a number of other economically interesting crops within this same family: the Mulberry (Morus = feeding plant for the silkworm), Cannabis sativa (fibre and oil plant), hop (Humulus lupulus = herb plant and flavouring for beer) and the rubber plant, Ficus elastica.
Ficus Ginseng production
The Ficus Ginseng is grown in China and Malaysia, Ginseng is Chinese for ‘root’. It takes years to develop the unique shape of the root, after which the small leaved Ficus is grafted onto the root. The plant is pruned with a lot of patience, which develops its bonsai shape. Dutch growers import the plants, complete their growing process and trade them.
What do you need to look out for when purchasing the Ficus Ginseng?
• Pot size and stem. Look out for the pot or saucer size and if the plant is well rooted in it. Also check the growth habit and shape of the stem and how many grafts have been attached.
• Size and age. Take a good look at the thickness, height/length of the plant and the age of the plants.
• Quality. It is also important to look at aspects of quality: the plants should be sufficiently hardened. Falling leaves can occur when there is a lack of light, especially in winter.
• Health. The Ficus Ginseng must be free of pests and diseases. Especially look out for scale insects.
Range of Ficus Ginseng
The Ficus Ginseng is unique in the Ficus range. The plant is recognised by its green leaves with a blunt leaf tip. This is in contrast to the Ficus benjaminia which has a long pointed tip. Therefore there are no different varieties to choose from but there is a choice in different plant shapes: from small mini plants to large trees, all recognisable by the green leaves growing on the roots. The plants are often sold as bonsai.
Care tips for consumers
The Ficus Ginseng likes a light position out of the full sun. The lighter the position, the more water it will need, so give it regular water and don’t let the root ball dry out. The plant can even stand outside for a while in the summer, as long as the temperature doesn’t drop below 12-15 degrees Celsius. Give it less water in the winter and not at all between 12-15 degrees Celsius. The consumer can remove yellow, brown or damaged leaves and can prune the plant in the darker months, to keep the Ficus in shape. The roots don’t need to be pruned.