When it comes to houseplants, few can rival the Ficus ginseng in unusual looks. This plant has a large, rounded root that rises up from the soil when it is raised in areas with enough humidity. The roots and trunks can even be shaped over the years to create an artistic form. While the Ficus Ginseng is one of the easiest Ficus plants to raise indoors, it still needs plenty of light to put out new leaves and look its best.

Ficus Ginseng Light Requirements – The Essentials

Look for a South or West-facing window to ensure your Ficus Ginseng gets enough sunlight on a daily basis. These plants don’t need a lot of direct sunlight, but they do need plenty of indirect and very bright light to grow well. If you move a Ficus Ginseng from a darker area to a brighter one, do it in stages to avoid shock.

Light and Plant Growth

Light and Plant Growth

Most plants, including the Ficus Ginseng, rely on a process known as photosynthesis to produce the sugars they need as a food source. These plants can’t absorb anything that would give them energy from the soil or water, only nutrients they need for strong growth. 

Fertilizer is commonly referred to as “feeding” the plant, but it’s actually light that does all the feeding through the photosynthesis process. Without enough light, a plant will lose energy and struggle to continue to grow. 

Yet too much light is also a problem. When plants are used to a lower level of light due to adaptations for shady areas, they can suffer from sunburn on the leaves much in the same way your skin reacts to a day at the beach.

Light for houseplants is generally described as one of the following categories:

  • Bright direct light, also known as full sun when outdoors. This generally requires either close placement to a South-facing window or a dedicated plant light.
  • Bright indirect light, also known as partial sun. Placing a plant within two to three feet of a window should provide this amount of light, or the use of a plant light.
  • Mixed light, also known as partial shade. No direct sunlight is needed for this level, only relatively bright light for a few hours a day. It can also be called filtered light.
  • Low light, or shade. The lowest amount of light a plant can need, which may be supplied solely through normal indoor lighting or a nearby window with an East or North facing orientation.

Typical Light Conditions Ficus Ginseng Receive in Their Native Habitats

Typical Light Conditions Ficus Ginseng Receive in Their Native Habitats

While the Ficus Ginseng may stay under 24 inches tall when grown as a houseplant, they’re much larger in its native habitat. The 40-foot tall trees tend to form the canopy where they grow, providing the plant with plenty of direct sun. 

Smaller plants grow up through the undergrowth to reach the canopy, so they can handle lower levels of light for short periods. 

However, a mature plant that isn’t actively trying to get taller should get plenty of light, or you’ll see your houseplant getting spindly and flopping over. 

Ficus plants tend to be smaller trees in their native habitats, but they also often grow where there is little competition from any taller species. This means they prefer brighter light levels rather than dimmer areas.

Signs Your Ficus Ginseng Is Receiving Too Much Light

While the Ficus Ginseng prefers bright light levels and some direct sun each day, it doesn’t need a lot of sun baking its leaves throughout the day. 

Moving this plant from a dark room to a bright one can also shock it and cause leaves to turn yellow or even white. Browning along the tips is another sign of excessive light levels if you are sure the soil isn’t dry. For more, see our in-depth guide on where to position ficus ginseng plants for optimal care.

Wilting and drooping leaves can indicate severe stress from light, but it’s more commonly a problem with watering issues instead. The sunburned leaves won’t recover, so it’s fine to remove them after moving the plant out of the direct sun. 

The root of this plant is rarely affected by this kind of damage, but it may go a little darker on the surfaces exposed to the sun without much effect.

Signs Your Ficus Ginseng Isn’t Receiving Enough Light

Signs Your Ficus Ginseng Isn’t Receiving Enough Light

It’s far more common for a Ficus Ginseng plant to receive too little light rather than too much. 

While most types of Ficus plants are sensitive to sudden light level changes, they’re known for preferring more light rather than less. As long as you slowly introduce the plant to brighter light a few hours at a time, you shouldn’t see any issues. 

A lack of light will cause the leaves to lose color and then their glossy sheen. You won’t see much new growth either since the plant needs plenty of light to have the energy for building leaves. 

If you leave the Ficus in dark conditions for long enough, the plant may get a patchy or uneven look due to leaf loss without replacements. The plant will also eventually become leggy, with new growth that does appear stretching out to find light and likely flopping over under its own weight. 

The root mass may even lose some of its color and go a little soft once light levels have been low for weeks or months.

In addition, it’s prudent to keep an eye on common Ficsus ginseng pests, bugs, and diseases

The Best Light Exposure for Ficus Ginseng Indoors

The Best Light Exposure for Ficus Ginseng Indoors

The Ficus Ginseng needs six or more hours of bright light per day. In many parts of the country, days are too short to supply this in the winter. 

The plant can handle going somewhat dormant in the winter if there isn’t enough light, but they will need long days with plenty of bright light in the summer to compensate. 

A South or West-facing exposure is the best type of window to use for supplying light to this plant since it needs brightness. 

North and East-facing windows tend to be too indirect for this plant. You may need to supplement the light with a powerful plant light no matter what exposure you have if there are large shade trees around your home. 

Rotating the Ficus Ginseng once a month will keep growth even and prevent any leaning. While the plant goes partially dormant in the winter, there’s no need to move it to an area with lower light. 

In fact, move it to a brighter area if possible in the winter since natural light levels tend to drop. A good supply of bright light over the winter helps prevent seasonal leaf drop and unnecessary stress on the plant.

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.


Ficus Ginseng Light Requirements FAQS:

Can Ficus ginseng live in low light? 

The Ficus Ginseng can handle low light levels for a few weeks at a time without much effect. However, bright light is needed for good growth and health.

Can Ficus ginseng take full sun? 

The Ficus Ginseng can take at least a few hours of direct sun a day and wants indirect bright light for the rest of the 12 to 18 hours of light per day.

What kind of light does Ficus ginseng need? 

This plant prefers bright light, but only some of the day’s light should be direct. Make sure not to move a Ficus Ginseng from the dark into bright light without a gradual exposure process since this species is sensitive to that kind of transition.

Will Ficus ginseng live happily indoors? 

Despite being a full-sized tree in its natural habitat, the Ficus Ginseng can happily stay tiny and live indoors as long as you give it enough light and moisture.

How do you know if your Ficus ginseng is getting enough light? 

The Ficus Ginseng will look squat, wide, and well-covered with leaves when it’s getting enough light. Tall, stretched-out, and pale growth is common when light levels are insufficient.


Ficus Ginseng Light Requirements – Wrapping Up

Give your symbolic Ficus Ginseng plenty of light and watch it grow with vigor for years to come. The dark green leaves should have a good gloss on them as long as they get enough sunlight and regular watering. Keep an eye on the depth of the color, and consider increasing the light exposure a little if you think the green is fading a bit. For more, see our in-depth Ficus ginseng care guide.


Editorial Director | Full Bio | + posts

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

Author

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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