Chinese banyan

A species of Ficus, widely used for bonsai specimens.
Common name : Chinese banyan
Scientific name : Ficus microcarpa
Family : Moraceae
Category : Indoor
Type of plant : Perennial
Ficus microcarpa - the curtain fig, or more traditionally the Chinese banyan - is a tree in the fig family Moraceae, native to China and tropical Asia. It is a tropical tree growing to about 12 meters (40 ft) tall in its natural habitat, with smooth light-gray bark and entire oblanceolate leaves about 2-2.5 inches (5–6 cm) long, commonly cultivated as an ornamental tree - one of the most common street trees in warm climates - and as a houseplant and bonsai.


Water needs
Granulométrie plants.granulometry_4
Frost-resistance Low
Zone USDA 11b
Height 10 - 100
pH 6.5 - 7.2

Identify my chinese banyan

Ficus are a genus in Moraceae the family including trees, shrubs or lianas. Ficus microcarpa is recognized by its small, evergreen, ovate, pointed leaves and aerial roots, which easily merge with the trunk. These tropical plants produce particular inflorescences and infructescences, the sycones or figs: Ficus in Latin, is the fig tree!

Plant my chinese banyan

Ficus microcarpa likes warm and rather dry atmospheres: it adapts rather well inside our houses and our apartments. It needs light during the winter, so place it near a window. If it is in bonsai shape, plant it in a pot barely larger than its current container. Bonsai aficionados usually mix equal amounts of pozzolana, potting soil, pumice stone and sifted akadama to remove the finer parts. These two last ones can possibly be replaced by chippings and litter for cat ... It will appreciate a draining soil, moderately rich, like potting soil for indoor plant. Avoid tanks with water reserve: the roots of ficus do not support to be constantly in the water.

Water my chinese banyan

As soon as the soil becomes dry on one centimeter, water so as to moisten all of it. During the growth period (spring, summer), watering should be regular - once or twice a week - but measured in order not to asphyxiate the roots of plants. In the fall, space the waterings gently, until winter.

Spray my chinese banyan

In dry weather, spray your ficus with soft water, clean the dust on the leaves: it will be all the more beautiful and you will protect it from red spiders - its main enemy!

Prune my chinese banyan

The maintenance pruning is to be done at least three times a year: Cut with suitable scissors all the branches that protrude from the silhouette. That's all ... A mandatory pruning to do each year between in March or in October, for the ficus you want to keep in bonsai. Use clean bonsai scissors. Start by removing the branches that grow along the trunk, to get transparency at the base of your ficus. You can leave the aerial roots, however, because they will give with the years a "mangrove" look to your bonsai. Make a selection among the branches to lighten your ficus a little, remove those which come back inside, and those which have died. Then comes the more delicate step: prune, 1 mm above the leaf, each branch so that only 2-3 leaves are left. Choose the last leaf that you keep according to its orientation. It must imperatively be oriented towards the outside of the plant, otherwise the branch which will be formed starting from the bud located at its base will come entangled.

Fertilize my chinese banyan

From spring to fall, regularly add bonsai fertilizer. Follow the instructions marked on the package, the dosage and rhythm depend on the one you use. You can also add slow release fertilizer pellets to the soil mix when planting or repotting. Stop all fertilizer treatments at the end of summer.

Repot my chinese banyan

At the end of the winter every 3 or 4 years, repot your ficus! You can also repot before, especially if the pot falls and tilts easily: this is the sign that your ficus is too cramped! Choose a pot size barely larger than the old one, composed of terracotta, with a drilled bottom. Sprinkle the original pot, add small stones or clay balls for drainage into the new pot, and add potting soil mixed with some garden soil. Fill until it reaches one third of the pot. NB Bonsai aficionados usually mix equal amounts of pozzolana, potting soil, pumice and sifted akadama to remove too thin parts. These two last ones can possibly be replaced by chippings and littered cat litter ... Unpot, unclamp the roots, position the mound on the potting soil, and fill. Tamp rather strongly, and water!

Propagate my chinese banyan

There isn't really a specific season to take a cutting from you ficus! Using sharp pruners, cut a section of healthy branch at a 45 degree angle, then remove the oldest leaves and keep only the four or five newest leaves at the tip. Finally, soak the cutting in a glass of water and leave it in a warm room. Change the water regularly. It will only take a few weeks before you see roots appearing at the cut end of the stem. When you're confident that there are enough healthy new roots, you may plant the cutting in a light substrate.

Check on my chinese banyan

The ficus are very sensitive to mealybugs, small brown insects often present in large numbers on the leaves. You can also see white felting on the back of the leaves. To fight against mealybugs, simply clean the affected leaves by passing a cotton swab above: the mealybugs will hang on it.

Put outside my chinese banyan

If you have the possibility, place your ficus outside, in semi shade.

Shelter my chinese banyan

Bring your ficus indoors in a room at a temperature of 18-22 ° C, which never goes down below 5 ° C for the whole winter. Place it near a window, in bright light, without direct sun, sheltered from cold drafts.

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