Ficus ginseng (Ficus microcarpa) is a popular houseplant or indoor tree, especially for bonsai beginners. Ficus ginseng plants have beautiful green oval-shaped leaves and thick trunks with a charismatic potbelly shape. In this article, we’ll explain how big and how fast a ficus ginseng tree typically grows indoors and the best conditions for optimal growth.
How Big Does a Ficus Ginseng Grow?
Ficus ginseng trees are indigenous to tropical regions in Southeast Asia, Australia, and parts of the Pacific. These trees thrive in warm, humid climates but can survive in colder temperatures.
In most suitable areas, ficus ginseng trees can grow up to 40 feet tall in the wild. However, the largest-known specimen grew over 100 feet tall, with a crown measuring approximately 250 feet wide. This ficus ginseng grows in the Menehune Botanical Gardens in Hawaii.
As indoor trees, ficus ginseng plants typically reach between 1 and 2 feet tall. If you’re growing them as bonsai trees, you can keep them reasonably compact.
How Long Does a Ficus Ginseng Take to Reach Full Size?
Ficus ginseng trees are slow growers that can last for decades if given the proper care. Some trees routinely reach around 100 years old. Some ficus ginseng bonsai specimens are known to be approximately 1000 years old.
Due to their slow growth rate, ficus ginseng plants can take approximately 15 years to reach their mature size. You can increase the size of the potbelly trunk by leaving the plant for a year or two before pruning.
Ideal Growing Conditions for Ficus Ginseng
Ficus ginseng plants are some of the easiest bonsai for beginners due to their low-maintenance needs. Even though ficus ginseng is native to tropical areas, it can thrive indoors.
Position ficus ginseng plants somewhere with bright, indirect light. Although these plants can tolerate full sun, direct afternoon sunlight can burn the leaves. Try and provide filtered light during the afternoon.
Ficus ginseng plants should be fine with average household temperature and humidity levels. You can even place ficus ginseng plants outside if summer temperatures exceed 60ºF (15.5ºC). These ficus plants do best in USDA Zones 9 to 11.
Ficus ginseng trees need moist soil during spring and summer, so water whenever the top inch of soil feels dry. Water less often during the winter. 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.
These ficus trees like moderate to high humidity of at least 50%. Although regular misting is recommended, it’s best to use a humidifier if you can. This allows you to maintain stable humidity levels.
Ficus ginseng plants need well-draining soils to help avoid overwatering. Use ready-made bonsai mixes or standard potting mixes with added perlite. Ficus ginseng trees should be repotted every other year. Fertilize using diluted liquid fertilizer every two weeks in spring and summer and once a month during the winter.
It’s also important to stay on top of common Ficus ginseng bugs, pests, and diseases.
Ficus ginseng trees are ideal if you want to start with bonsai and offer a host of uses and benefits and symbolic meaning. These low-maintenance indoor trees can grow up to 1 to 2 feet tall indoors. Ficus ginseng trees can take as long as 15 years to fully mature but can live for decades.
For more, see our in-depth guide on where to position ficus ginseng plants for optimal care.
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.