Ficus ginseng plants are tropical indoor trees prized for their beautiful waxy green leaves and distinctive pot-bellied trunks. They are also low-maintenance and easy to train, making them one of the best bonsai trees for beginners. Ficus ginseng plants also have other benefits, including being able to purify the air in our homes. In this article, we’ll explore 12 interesting uses and benefits of Ficus ginseng plants backed by leading research studies from around the world.
About Ficus Ginseng Plants
Ficus ginseng plants (Ficus microcarpa) are one of the 850 species within the Ficus genus. Like other Ficus trees, Ficus ginseng plants belong to the mulberry family (Moraceae). Ficus microcarpa trees are frequently confused with Ficus retusa.
Ficus ginseng trees are native to tropical regions of Southeastern Asia, Australia, and islands in the West Pacific. They inhabit warm, humid environments such as rainforests and swamps. However, these hardy trees can also survive in colder temperatures as low as 32ºF (0ºC).
Outdoors, Ficus ginseng trees grow to an average height of approximately 40 feet, showcasing attractive green oval-shaped leaves and smooth gray pot-bellied trunks. In highly humid areas, these trees can also produce aerial roots.
12 Uses and Benefits of Ficus Ginseng Plants
1. Ficus Ginseng Plants Are Great for Bonsai
Ficus ginseng plants are popular bonsai trees and with good reason. These indoor trees are easy to manage and maintain, making them perfect for anyone getting started with bonsai. Ficus ginseng trees can grow between 1 and 2 feet tall indoors.
Use a gritty soil mix or pre-made bonsai mix as your growing medium. If you want that unique pot-bellied trunk to grow, refrain from pruning for 1 or 2 years. Then you can prune, train, and wire it as desired.
2. Ficus Ginseng Plants Can Help Purify the Air
Ficus ginseng plants can also help purify the air within our homes. Since NASA’s Clean Air Study, we’ve known that houseplants have positive effects on air quality.
Ficus ginseng plants absorb harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) like benzene and formaldehyde from the surrounding air. These are produced by various household products such as adhesives, carpets, cleaning products, and paints.
What’s more, VOCs can pose numerous health risks, including a higher risk of certain cancers. VOCs can also trigger allergic reactions and symptoms in people who suffer from conditions like asthma.
3. Ficus Ginseng Plants May Improve Our Sleep
Having Ficus ginseng plants in your bedroom could also improve the quality of your sleep. According to a Chinese study, houseplants had a positive impact on the sleep patterns of astronauts. The participants slept better and could better regulate their central nervous systems when they saw or smelled plants.
Ficus ginseng plants can also help us sleep better by purifying the air in our bedrooms. These plants can help remove VOCs while we sleep. This can also reduce the symptoms of allergies such as asthma.
4. Ficus Ginseng Plants Can Help Reduce Stress and Anxiety
If you regularly feel stressed or anxious, having Ficus ginseng plants in your home could help. Various studies have shown that being around plants can lower our stress levels.
A Korean study evaluated the stress responses of two groups of 12 young men. Participants were monitored while working on a computer and again when repotting a houseplant. The results showed that participants were happier and less stressed when repotting the plant.
5. Ficus Ginseng Plants May Boost Productivity and Memory
Ficus ginseng plants could also boost your productivity and memory retention, especially if you work from home. According to a University of Michigan study, even just looking at images of plants can boost memory retention by up to 20%.
A joint UK-Netherlands study investigated the impact of indoor plants on office productivity. The data showed that productivity increased by 15% when plants were present in the office. The workers participating in the study also said that they felt less stressed and happier at work.
6. Ficus Ginseng Plants Can Live for a Long Time
Many bonsai trees, including Ficus ginseng specimens, can live for a long time. When given the appropriate care, Ficus ginseng plants can live for approximately 50 to 100 years. However, the oldest known Ficus ginseng tree is around 1000 years old.
With such a long lifespan, you’ll have plenty of time to reap the benefits of owning a Ficus ginseng plant. Maintaining sound care practices can protect your Ficus ginseng against pests and diseases that could shorten its lifespan.
7. Ficus Ginseng Plants May Reduce the Impact of Allergies
The Ficus ginseng’s ability to purify the air is good for most people. However, it’s even more helpful for anyone with allergies like asthma. VOCs in the air can aggravate asthma symptoms and even trigger asthma attacks.
By helping to remove VOCs from the air, Ficus ginseng plants could reduce allergy symptoms. This also applies to strong odors, which can also induce asthma symptoms. Ficus ginseng trees usually don’t flower indoors, which is good news for anyone who suffers from hay fever.
8. Ficus Ginseng Plants Can Be Good for Feng Shui
Ficus plants are some of the best feng shui plants for your home. As living plants, Ficus ginseng plants can absorb negative energy or qi and produce positive energy. Place Ficus ginseng trees in sharp corners or empty spaces to maximize these effects.
Like other Ficus species, Ficus ginseng is linked to the Wood element, which is associated with growth, prosperity, and renewal. The Wood element is strongest in the eastern or southeastern areas of the Bagua map, which govern family and prosperity.
9. Ficus Ginseng Plants Are Low-Maintenance
Ficus ginseng plants make excellent indoor trees thanks to their low-maintenance care requirements. The biggest concern when growing Ficus ginseng plants is providing enough water. These trees need slightly moist soil, so water your ficus ginseng whenever the top inch of soil feels dry.
Ficus ginseng trees also need warm, stable temperatures between 60 and 75ºF for most of the year. In the winter, Ficus ginseng plants can tolerate temperatures as low as 54ºF. Ficus ginseng trees also need moderate to high humidity levels of at least 50%, which you can achieve using humidifiers.
These plants are considered toxic to humans and pets, so it’s prudent to wear gloves when undertaking any form of ficus ginseng plant care.
10. Ficus Ginseng Plants Can Grow in Various Lighting Conditions
Ficus ginseng plants are easy to position in your home because they can handle various lighting conditions. They do best with approximately 8 hours of bright, indirect sunlight every day. East or southeast-facing windows provide the correct amount of light.
Although Ficus ginseng plants can tolerate filtered light or partial shade, they will struggle in full shade. Ficus ginseng plants should be protected from bright, direct light, especially in summer. Too much direct sunlight can burn their leaves and lower the surrounding humidity.
11. Ficus Ginseng Plants May Provide Natural Soundproofing
Indoor trees like Ficus ginseng plants can also provide a natural form of soundproofing. Plants can absorb or deflect sound waves using their leaves and trunks, slightly reducing ambient noise. And thanks to their pot-bellied trunks, Ficus ginseng plants are ideal for this.
A study conducted by a Korean team found that plants perform better than paper-based soundproofing methods. The larger a plant is, the more sound waves it can soak up or deflect. Houseplants can also absorb some sound waves through their soil and pots.
12. Ficus Ginseng Plants Can Increase Household Humidity Levels
Like houseplants, humans need a certain amount of humidity to stay healthy. According to Australia’s National Asthma Council, humans require average household humidity levels between 30 and 50%. Ficus ginseng plants need minimum humidity levels of 50%.
If the humidity in your home is low, having houseplants like Ficus ginseng trees can increase ambient humidity. Using humidifiers to increase humidity for your Ficus ginseng can provide an extra boost to household humidity. Ficus ginseng plants also increase humidity when excess water evaporates from their leaves.
Ficus ginseng trees are fantastic ornamental houseplants thanks to their amusing pot-bellied trunks. However, these tropical plants also provide several other amazing benefits. Ficus ginseng trees can help purify the air, reduce stress, improve our sleep, and boost productivity. Ficus ginseng plants also make great bonsai trees for beginners. They can even reduce the symptoms of allergies like asthma.
For more, see our in-depth guide on where to position ficus ginseng plants for optimal care.
Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.