Ficus Retusa

Scientific Name: Ficus Retusa, Ficus Ginseng

Common Name: Banyan Tree, Ficus Bonsai

Ficus Retusa care is relatively easy, albeit a Bonsai plant. Set on top of an office desk or a table where it will receive bright light is the best placement for Ficus Retusa Bonsai.

To give this Ficus Bonsai plant the best care, it requires a specific Bonsai soil, water only when the soil has dried out, provide it with bright indirect sunlight, and environments that include higher humidity levels with average temperatures. They also like to be outside during the warmer months.

Quick Care Overview

Common NameBanyan Tree, Ficus Bonsai
Scientific NameFicus Retusa, Ficus Ginseng
FamilyMoraceae
OriginMalay Archipelago
Growth RateSlow
IdentificationBonsai tree with long leaves and a gray trunk
HeightUp to 24 inches tall
SoilBonsai specific soil
WaterOnly water when the soil is dry
Temperature60-80F
SunlightBright indirect light
Toxic to Cats & DogsYes
Toxic to HumansYes
PestsMealybugs, spider mites, scale
DiseasesBacterial leaf spot, anthracnose, root rot

Below we will dive deep into this Ficus Retusa care guide.

Ficus Retusa Care

Ficus Retusa History

Ficus Retusa, also called the Banyan Tree, is a large, broad-headed, evergreen tree that is popularly used in streetscapes and as a Bonsai for indoor cultivation. Native to the Malay Archipelago region, this tree may grow up to 33′ tall in its natural environment and produces small fig-like fruit. Ficus Retusa is a part of the mulberry family. These trees are long-living and may live to be over 100 years old. For gardeners looking to take on the challenge of caring for a bonsai, Ficus Retusa will be the perfect bonsai to begin with!

Ficus Retusa Identification

Ficus Retusa is a popular bonsai tree with glabrous, long leaves and a reddish-grey bark dotted with flecks called lenticels. With growth, this tree may produce string-like aerial roots from its branches. 

Ficus Retusa Growth Facts

Ficus Retusa is one of the most popular trees to bonsai by intentionally stunting and training its growth. Unlike other figs, this bonsai may tolerate lower levels of light. 

How Big Does a Ficus Retusa Get?

When grown as a bonsai, this little tree will stay small and although very old, will often be smaller than 24”.

How to Care for Ficus Retusa Bonsai

Ficus Retusa Care

Best Ficus Retusa care requires some time outdoors during warm weather as this plant utilizes its lenticels for gaseous exchange through its bark.

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Ficus Retusa Soil

Ficus Retusa, when grown as a bonsai, it should have a soil mix indicated for bonsais rich in organic matter. This soil should be replaced every two years or so when repotting. Ensure that your soil is well-draining and that your container has drainage holes. 

Ficus Retusa Fertilizer

When container-grown indoors, you should fertilize your bonsai twice a year using either slow-release fertilizer pellets in spring and autumn or a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly during the growing season. Fertilizer will ensure that this plant is receiving a good supply of nutrients to thrive and grow well. Do not fertilize this plant in winter. 

Ficus Retusa Watering

Bonsai Ficus Retusa, when grown indoors, does not need to be watered frequently and should only be rewatered when the soil is dry. Take care not to overwater your tree, as overwatering will lead to leaf drop. This plant enjoys being misted with a mist sprayer regularly but be sure to not provide this plant with excess water. 

Ficus Retusa Light Requirements

Ficus Retusa likes to have a lot of light and especially bright, indirect light. However, your plant should not be kept in intense direct sunlight, which may cause damage. Unlike other figs, this tree will tolerate lower levels of sunlight, but lots of indirect light is preferable. 

Ficus Retusa Temperature & Humidity

Ficus Retusa likes to be grown in warm conditions above 60 degrees Fahrenheit and will not tolerate cold or frosty conditions. It likes to be kept in consistently warm temperatures and should not be placed near heaters, AC units, drafts, or cold windows. Figs may endure low humidity due to their thicky, waxy leaves but like to be kept in high humidity environments to thrive. Therefore, a pebble tray or humidifier will aid in maintaining the happiness and health of this plant. This plant enjoys being misted frequently.

Repotting Ficus Retusa

Your Ficus tree should be repotted during the spring every other year, using a Bonsai soil mixture. When repotting, roots may be pruned using sterilized shears to maintain their size.  

Ficus Retusa Maintenance & Pruning

As a Bonsai, this Ficus tree will need very little trimming, as the leaves will already be very small and this tree is slow-growing. Aerial roots may be pruned as needed. However, to keep your bonsai looking at its aesthetic best, you should remove any dead or discolored branches as needed using sharp shears. To maintain its compact shape, in spring, you may remove the top 1/3 of the tree to maintain a symmetrical compact shape. When repotting, roots may be trimmed to keep the bonsai tree in its original container. 

Caring for Ficus Retusa Bonsai

Ficus Retusa Propagation

Like many Ficus varieties, Ficus Retusa may be easily propagated through cuttings. Simply take several hardwood cuttings from old wood during the beginning of summer and place them into a pot with fresh potting mix and keep moist, warm, and in indirect light. Plastic bags or bottles with the bottom cut off may be placed over cuttings to trap in moisture and make a greenhouse effect to encourage rooting. 

Ficus Retusa Toxicity

Coming from the Moraceae family, Ficus Retusa is a toxic plant and should never be ingested by animals or humans. Wash hands after handling this plant.

Toxicity to Humans

Ficus Retusa is classified as poisonous to humans. Ingestion may cause nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, and other medical issues, and should be avoided. The sap of this plant may also cause dermal irritation. 

Toxicity to Cats & Dogs

Ficus Retusa is considered poisonous to animals and should never be consumed. If you believe your pet has consumed any portion of this plant. Contact your veterinarian or animal poison control immediately. 

Ficus Retusa Problems

Ficus Retusa Leaves Turning Yellow

Foliage of your Ficus Retusa may turn yellow due to overwatering or due to environmental stress such as being frequently moved or large fluctuations of temperature. 

Ficus Retusa Leaves Turning Brown

Leaves of Ficus Retusa may turn brown due to either overwatering or underwatering. The best way to avoid brown leaves on Bonsai trees are to know your plant and establish a watering schedule that will help them to thrive.

Ficus Retusa Diseases

Ficus Retusa is quite resistant to most plant diseases. However, it may be affected by leaf spot, anthracnose, and some other bacterial and fungal disease such as root rot. Ensure that you are not overwatering your tree. Upon identifying plant disease, isolate your plant, and treat it with a fungicide ensuring that you follow all label instructions. 

Ficus Retusa Pests

Ficus Retusa may be affected by mealybugs, spider mites, or scale, although most fig species are quite resistant to pests. It is important to note that dry air and lack of sunlight will weaken your Bonsai Ficus and make it more susceptible to attack from pests. An insecticide or miticide will get rid of pests. 

FAQ

How Much Sun Does a Ficus Retusa Need?

Indirect light is preferred by the Ficus Retusa but be sure the light it receives is bright.

How Long Do Ficus Bonsai Trees Live?

Ficus Retusa can live to be 50-100 years old with the oldest Bonsai living to be over 1000 years old.

Can A Bonsai Live Outside?

While Ficus Bonsai trees can live inside, they are actually meant to live outside and experience the seasons, as would any other tree.

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