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Bonsai ficus ginseng: because it is called so
Plant characterized by a broad and broad stem and large knotty aerial roots, the ficus ginseng bonsai recalls, at first glance, the ginseng roots that are used in herbal medicine. But it is simply an aesthetic similarity, since ficus ginseng (which is actually a ficus retusa cultivated with bonsai) and real ginseng have nothing to do with one another. Coming from the humid and semi-tropical areas of the Asian continent, especially from the fluvial forests, this tree is widespread in the bonsai variant, also because it does not require compliance with particular standards and is able to adapt without problems to the environment of an apartment. Its appearance, due to the knotty stem, seems ancient even when the plant is young. The most important challenge for the bonsai artist is to allow the development of small leaves, given that in nature they are very large. The bonsai ficus ginseng It is evergreen and does not have a vegetative rest: an aspect that must be taken into account when we dedicate ourselves to watering.
Temperature and humidity: ideal conditions
From the temperature point of view, it requires at most twenty degrees, both day and night: in short, the same situation that would live in its natural habitat, even if of course the dry air of an apartment (determined by the summer heat or by the radiators turned on in winter) cannot give rise to the humidity it would need. In fact, among the fireplaces, heating systems, pellet stoves and air conditioners, the air in the home is always dried up, which is a problem for a species born in the rainforests, characterized by high humidity, regular rainfall and often fog banks caused from condensation. An obvious signal that the bonsai ficus ginseng is suffering the lack of humidity is represented by the opacity that characterizes the foliage, and, in the worst cases, by the fact that the leaves begin to fall. It is important, moreover, to distinguish between environmental humidity and watering: these are two totally different aspects, also because the rains of the rainforests are certainly not similar to the Italian ones. Therefore, from a practical point of view, this plant must be watered with a certain regularity, provided one pays attention to stagnant water. A constantly soaked soil, in fact, threatens to suffocate the roots, which cannot breathe if they are always underwater. Consequently, all the land in which the plant is cultivated must be moistened, but the subsequent administration of water must be carried out only when the soil has completely dried. As is often the case with bonsai, and for plant species in general, less water is better than too much water.
Spray the leaves
Said, therefore, that the environmental humidity does not depend on the watering, it is clear that it can be obtained only through a constant vaporization of the leaves, which must be moistened with regularity using demineralized water, in order to prevent stains on the foliage. The bonsai ficus ginseng has rather small leaves (if the bonsai art is put into practice correctly): they must be stapled throughout the year, so as to prevent them from getting bigger over time, becoming similar to the leaves of the ficus benjamin. The favorite soil of the plant is well permeable and fresh, rather drained, and can be obtained by mixing universal soil and akadama in equal quantities. There is no need for particular minerals, also because the root system is naturally quite resistant: for the same reason, the repotting should be done at least every two years, pruning the roots and reducing its length by at least half. As mentioned, it is an evergreen species, which develops almost all year round, except for the hottest months. The fertilizer should therefore always be made available, but in July, August, December and January the doses will be halved.
What fertilizers to use and how to prune
On the other hand, the use of fertilizers that are too rich in nitrogen, which determine the growth of leaf size, must be absolutely avoided. As for pruning, ficus ginseng bonsai do not like drastic interventions: therefore it is necessary to prune only small branches. For beginners, on the market there are ficus already decks that do not require training pruning. In spring, however, it is necessary to proceed with the defoliation, in order to allow the development of small and numerous leaves. To prevent the tree from suffering this operation, a leaf must be maintained for each apex of the branches. As can be guessed, in conclusion, this bonsai, more and more widespread in Italian homes, has the advantage of not requiring special care or numerous interventions: watering, pruning and fertilizing are necessary but not frequent. In short, it is an ideal plant for a person approaching the art of bonsai for the first time.