Ficus Microcarpa (Ficus macrocarpa), also known as Indian laurel, Malayan banyan, or Chinese banyan, belongs to the family Moraceae and is native to northern Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, New Caledonia, the Ryukyu Islands, the Malay Archipelago, India, Philippines, Japan, and Southeast China.
It is an evergreen, broad-headed, rounded, and rapidly growing tree or shrub that reaches about 15 cm or even more in diameter. It also has support for the hugely spreading canopy.
The somewhat weeping, large branches densely decorate the leathery, dark green, glossy leaves. Growers can expect new growth all year long as chartreuse to light rose color, providing Ficus Microcarpa a stunningly two-toned effect.
How to Identify Ficus Microcarpa
Ficus Microcarpa has smooth, elliptic shiny, deep green, 8 cm long leaves on erect, short much-branching stems. The plant can also bear little exceptional fruit occasionally. Growers often train Ficus Microcarpa into specific shapes like pyramids and standards since they can withstand plenty of nipping out of shoots.
The plant’s root system enables Ficus Microcarpa to survive in harsh settings without water and food for long by swelling and storing nutrients and water. As such, it makes for a perfect indoor plant. The older the plant gets, the more the swell. That is why you can grow the plant into outstanding Bonsai with some training.
As a house plant favorite, Ficus Microcarpa can add character to your plant collection with its cute green and perfectly rounded leaves.
The plant is not difficult to grow and is quite tolerant of indoor spaces, even though it requires sunlight. You can shape or bend the plant efficiently and if you are ready, let’s see how you can experiment with Ficus Microcarpa!
How to Grow Ficus Microcarpa from Seed
Here is a fair warning before we continue; you need plenty of patience because growing Ficus Micricarpa from seed can be a prolonged process. We recommend this process if you are determined to control every stage of the planting process or you can’t access a specific plant type.
However, you can grow the plant from suitably sized plants. Even with that, only a few kinds of Ficus Microcarpa types are available as cuttings or plants. With that, growers like you can be forced to propagate specific rare species from seed.
Growing from Seed Challenge
Growing Ficus Microcarpa from seed to a plant big enough to start its bonsai training can take years. We recommend starting with cuttings or plants if your preferred species are available, as you will have a much faster growing process to form a bonsai.
Seedlings can be of inferior or weaker quality compared to well-known clones like Green Island Fig or Tigerbark Fig, which are proven to have superior clones for bonsai use.
There are differences between every seed-grown plant and its parent trees. Thus, your plant may have poor qualities and not have an excellent quality transfer to the new plant. When growing plants from seed, expect a crapshoot experience since you can be curious whether the seedling is worthwhile.
Growing from Seed Techniques
Ficus Microcarpa seeds can be pretty delicate or even more refined than small grains of sand. You will soak these seeds in a small cup of water for about two days. Eliminate any floating materials as the seed on the bottom are those to use. Next, apply the seed on a bonsai soil of inorganic soil or finely chopped and moistened sphagnum moss.
Ensure to use a regular bonsai soil appropriate for plants underneath the moss. Use it as an inorganic soil mix, and it will keep the moss and soil moist until germination happens. You can also water your plant when the soil gets slightly dry. Ensure also to keep seeds warm.
Using fiberglass growing plug soil is another technique that works well for some growers. To keep the plugs, you will scatter the seed on the plug surface and prepare a dish with about ¼-inches of water. Keep the plugs in a warm place and the water at this level.
Another technique some planters use involves using a moistened filter paper and petri dish. First, they will put the seed on the paper until sprouting happens. The next step is to transfer the hardly spewed seedlings to average soil.
The plant can sprout in about two weeks or three months. The seedlings are delicate and small, and you must not move them until you notice that the plant is around four to five inches tall and the fourth or fifth leaf has hardened off.
You can then pot your Ficus Microcarpa of bonsai soil. Many growers will put two to three into a plastic cup with good bonsai soil and drain holes.
How to Propagate Ficus Microcarpa
Among any technique of propagating Ficus Microcarpa, the highest surviving rate is the cutting propagation. The correct cutting survival rate is between 90 to 95 percent. The cutting timing is the most crucial thing, depending on the specific area anyone chooses to plant Ficus Microcarpa. Generally, early spring is the best time for northern growers and March for those in the south.
Growers typically select Ficus Microcarpa’s most vigorous shoots of more than one year as cuttings. Cut about 15 to 20 cm long branch bud after cleaning all the lower leaves, leaving about two inches of a leaf. Put the cuttings into the sand and wait as your plant roots and survives gradually. Ensure that the temperature must be between 25 degrees and 30 degrees C.
When it comes to transplanting into the basin, ensure to follow this step. You can keep your plant in the soil since it has spayed, taken root, and grown alive. You will notice that plants at this stage can’t get much water or light and are weak.
You can divide the roots and separate them to grow new plants or spread the plant. First, ensure to dip a cutting from a younger plant into root hormone. Then, plant it in the starter container of about four inches. Also, ensure that the plastic is open; water the plant as you place it close to a window.
Your cuttings should root within a few weeks to become a new plant. From there, you can transplant it to the ground or keep it in the container as a small bonsai.
Ficus Microcarpa Growing Conditions
Ficus genus has several types, and some growers favor a few of them as houseplants. Therefore, you need to decide if you plan to grow a tree-type or a trailing Ficus. You will have attractive trailing varieties in your hanging pots with drooping, long branches, and small leaves. The tree varieties will thrive well indoors as small shrubs.
Ficus Microcarpa is typically easy to grow and famous for dropping its leaves. The plant doesn’t like to be bothered, loves to stay put without moving it. Essentially, the plant may lose its leaves even with a minor or simple act of moving it a few feet or from one corner of your room to another, for that matter.
Ideally, let your Ficus Microcarpa enjoy a permanent space in the house, a spot with bright to moderate light. Water your plant when the soil is getting dry and mist it every day. Use a damp rag to wipe away the dust from the leaves at least once a month.
Ficus Microcarpa is like any other tropical plant that prefers to be potbound. Therefore, repot the plant when its root occupies more than the pot space’s three-fourths. Perform the repotting in spring, stepping into not more than two inches container larger than the previous pot.
You can expect leaf drops from poorly insulated doors and windows or draft and overwater from cooling and heating vents. A natural gas leak can also cause the leaves to drop. As such, your plant is like a coal mine canary. Therefore, you may need to contact your gas company if you smell gas and the plant sheds its leaves.
Ultimately, Ficus Microcarpa enjoys time outdoors from late spring to early fall as it makes a fine houseplant. Unfortunately, it can lose its leaves. However, these leaves can grow back quickly.
How to Plant Ficus Microcarpa
Ficus Microcarpa grows in subtropical, tropical, and humid environments as a warm-weather plant. The plant thrives ideally in US Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. Planting it requires some of these steps:
- You will know it is time to repot your plant when you notice visible roots across the pot’s drainage hole. You can repot it every two years. Repot your plant in spring during the evening. Prepare a well-draining houseplant potting soil to plant your Ficus Microcarpa. Allow the soil to be thoroughly wet when you water your newly planted Ficus Microcarpa. Let it enjoy sufficient water every two days for the first two weeks until you have established roots.
- You can also wet the plant when the soil top feels dry and avoid getting the soil dry completely. The plant will thrive well with regular watering. While you need to allow the soil to drain completely, water the plant until entirely soaked.
- Plant your Ficus Microcarpa on a patio or porch where the plant can get direct shaded afternoon or morning light. Direct or indirect sunlight is perfect for the plant. However, long periods of strong light, like the afternoon summer sun, can burn the plant.
- Use a balanced fertilizer for your Ficus Microcarpa every two weeks in the growing season. Ensure to dilute the fertilizer to half strength if you intend to use chemical fertilizer. Dissolve 20-20-20 chemical fertilizer in half a teaspoon in one gallon of water. Sprinkle it on the plant’s soil.
- Put your Ficus Microcarpa on pebbles near a humidifier or a water tray when you notice low humidity. The plant can thrive well in dry environments when you water it regularly. However, high humidity will protect the plant better.
- Bring your plant indoors when you have 60 degrees F temperatures. When temperatures drop below that point, the plant’s leaves can fall, which can ruin its appearance.
Ficus Microcarpa Potting & Soil
Place your Ficus Microcarpa close to a sunny window and water it regularly to keep it healthy. Direct sunlight may not work well for it.
Changes in humidity, moisture, and temperature levels can cause the plant to show protest signs. If you stress the plant, it can be susceptible to dropping its leaves. Therefore, keep the environment stable to avoid this issue.
You may want to repot your Ficus Microcarpa if it does not appear to appear dried out, has diseased roots, has insects, has gotten too big, or seems to be growing. Ficus Microcarpa experienced growth spurts two or three years, typically in the spring. As a grower, you will see when your plant has outgrown the pot.
How and When to Repot
Ficus Microcarpa can surrender to diseases and insects like fig wax scale, mealybugs, and whiteflies. As such, your plant requires repotting to address these problems. These insects can be on your plant or in the soil. Essentially, they could have been in the soil when you bought the plant.
Your Ficus Microcarpa may only want you to relocate it if it is healthy and otherwise drops leaves. Give the plant some time as you move it to another spot before repotting. Many growers fertilize using coffee grounds. However, it has nitrogen, which tends to be acidic. As such, avoid the use of coffee grounds for your plant.
Buy well-draining, high-quality soil from your favorite home improvement store or gardening center. Acidic soil is suitable for roses and azaleas. As such, avoid such soil. Instead, go for soil-based mixes. You can also use slow-release pellet fertilizer every few months to aid in growth.
Also, examine the old pot first when selecting a new pot for your plant. Next is to get a one- or two-inches wider drainage pot. We recommend not to use too large a pot since the roots can begin to rot when they absorb too much water.
Ficus Microcarpa Water Requirements
Plant your Ficus Microcarpa in about two to three inches pots larger than the grower’s pot from the nursery for the best success chance. Ensure that the pot has drainage because many pots are closed at the bottom even though they appear pretty.
When this happens, regulating the watering can become hard since you won’t know the amount of water at the bottom of the container. Ensure to water your Ficus Microcarpa when you notice that the top two or three inches of the soil dry out using your finger’s first two knuckles to measure it.
Your plant will need more water when it is large. For example, Ficus Microcarpa will need about one to one and a half liters of water a week during the summer when it is in a 12-inch container. Essentially, try to implement a watering schedule.
Keep trying! Many Ficus Microcarpa tends to be more selective than others. Some plants can tolerate watering between drying if you ensure the soil does not dry out entirely around the root ball within the planter. The best way is to let the soil surface start drying out.
However, don’t let it dry out more than an inch deep. You will know it is time to water if you stick one inch of your finger into the soil, and it feels dry. It is helpful to know that Ficus Microcarpa does not tolerate soil dryness. Therefore, water your plant when the soil surface is still moist and when it begins to dry out when you stick your finger into it.
Water the plant with the soil evenly moist during the planter. Ensure that the bottom of the planter has sufficient water where it has its roots.
You will notice dripping water underneath the planter’s drainage holes when you water your plant from the top. Pour away the water in the drip platter beneath the planter within five to ten minutes of watering. With that, you can avert disease-causing bacteria’s growth within the holding water.
Slightly warm or room-temperature tap water is best suited to use when watering your Ficus Microcarpa. However, you can shock the roots and damage them if you use hot or cold water. Instead, mix a liquid fertilizer with the same amount of water to fertilize the plant.
The plant’s roots will be able to access the fertilizer nutrients through the help of the water and thus, prevent any damage from fertilizer burn.
Ficus Microcarpa Light Requirements
Your Ficus Microcarpa requires bright light. The plant doesn’t like direct sunlight, even though it appreciates being taken outdoors during the summer. The plant will have leaf loss as natural light can also scald the leaves. Keep the plant away from drafts during the summer and never allow it to be in a room below 55 to 60 degrees F.
When planted indoors, Ficus Microcarpa prefers indirect, bright light. The tropical plant likes it warm, with 85 degrees during the day and 65 degrees at night. The plant can thrive well in partial shade to full sun if you live in Zone 10.
Best Ficus Microcarpa Fertilizers
Ficus Microcarpa can benefit from consistent fertilizer doses even though it is a low-maintenance tree. The ideal level is a 10-10-10 ratio of light amounts of a complete fertilizer every month while it actively produces new tissues.
You can also get the best annual feeding schedule for your Ficus Microcarpa through careful attention to light levels, growth rate, and the tree’s seasonal development.
Fertilize your plant during its active growth stage in early fall, summer, and spring. You can feed your plant through the winter and fall if they receive artificial light or bright sun year-round or if you grow them outdoors in warm climates. Ensure to fertilize it at intervals of four to six weeks.
Apply a balanced, fast- or slow-release fertilizer with a 10-190-10 guaranteed analysis or similar ratio. Adhere to the dosing direction on the label. However, use only 50 percent of the fertilizer to prevent excess mineral salts or excess buildup in the soil.
Feed by casting your fertilizer around the tree’s root zone evenly. This space is the canopy’s drip line and a few inches from the trunk. Never attempt to dig the fertilizer into the soil, as it can cause shallow roots for your plant.
Best Ficus Microcarpa Companion Plantings
Ficus Microcarpa is a warm-weather-loving plant that can thrive well when under the right conditions and around the right plants.
For example, you can try to grow your plant close to a southern facing wall to get more warmth if you live in a region where the winters drop below freezing for many weeks. Help your Ficus Microcarpa grow well and use a mixture of perennials and annuals to set off the plant.
Strawberries can grow well under a Ficus Microcarpa tree in the topsoil since they require little height. In addition, the soil can have enough moisture through the extra mulch you use around the strawberry plants. In return, your Ficus Microcarpa benefits from this.
You also don’t need to worry about digging up the soil every year to disturb the Ficus Microcarpa’s roots because strawberry plants are perennial.
Strawberry plants require about ten or more hours of sunlight each day to produce fruit.
This plant thrives well in sandy, deep, well-drained loam soil rich in organic matter.
Strawberries will grow well when watered regularly, particularly in the fruit-bearing season when these plants require one to two inches of water every day.
- Fewer disease problems
- Larger berries
- Higher yields
- Fun and easy to grow
- Unreliable when propagated from seed
Rhododendrons’ shallow roots will not compete with your Ficus Microcarpa’s roots since they grow deeper in the soil. Full sunlight or partial shade is perfect for rhododendron plants to grow. As such, allow it to grow on Ficus Microcarpa’s north side so it won’t shade the plant.
Ficus Microcarpa’s green leaves will provide a stunning backdrop against the rhododendron’s bright flowers in the summer.
Avoid mildew problems and increase flowers by planting in full sun.
Rhododendron plants prefer acidic soil and will perform best with acidic soil.
Water your rhododendron plants twice a week during the first growing season since they are shallow-rooted plants.
- Used as herb
- Perfect for digestive
- Effective for nutrients like alkaloids or amyrin
- Poisonous leaves
- Toxicity due to high dosage
Rue plants grow well close to Ficus Microcarpa with their bright yellow flowers. The plant is ideal for filling the space around the tree base as it grows about 12 inches high. In addition, rue can repel various insects such as Japanese beetles and flies, which can be helpful when your tree is fruiting.
Rue flowers can tolerate partial shade but grow well in full sun. Therefore, the rue will produce fewer flowers in the shade.
Rue flowers thrive well in dry, rocky soil where other plants struggle to survive and in well-drained soil.
Rue flowers need deep water every three weeks.
- You can use rue for painful conditions like muscle spasms, cramps, arthritis, and headache
- Perfect for nervous system issues like multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and nervousness
- It can be unsafe when using the fresh oil and leaves
- It can be dangerous when using the dried leaves in abundance
- It can cause severe issues like kidney damage, liver damage, vomiting, and more
Ficus Microcarpa Diseases and Common Problems
Many growers experience one issue or the other when growing plants. Unfortunately, many of these people tend to be more worried than they need to be. Regarding planting Ficus Microcarpa, growers experience some problems, which we will discuss below.
Sucking pests cause this condition, typically scale and mealybugs. Scales resemble black spots or bumpy white on the body or stems of the tree, while mealybugs are like tiny cotton clusters.
You can treat the problem with a soapy solution of one pint of water and one tablespoon of soap, horticultural oil, and Schultz’s Fungicide 3. However, your Ficus Microcarpa can die if you leave it untreated.
You will notice rusty-looking spots on leaves and stems with this issue, making the plant ooze from these places. Eliminate the diseased leaves. Solve the problem by practicing perfect sanitation. You can help your plant ward off any fungus attack by providing proper fertilizer, water, and good light and disposing of or picking all diseased plant parts.
Leaf Spot Fungus
Many experts refer to these problems as Cercospora spp. This issue resembles the tree’s leaves with tiny black dots, leading to them falling off as they turn yellow.
Discard the diseased leaves and use Benlate to spray the leaves. Be careful not to mist the leaves. Instead, use copper-based fungicides or sulfur sprays every week immediately you notice any disease to prevent its spread. These organic fungicides will prevent spores’ germination without killing the leaf spot.
Ficus Microcarpa Treatments and Maintenance
Ficus Microcarpa will need regular pruning as it grows because of its bonsai nature. We recommend pruning at both ends, including the leaves and roots. You can maintain your plant’s structure and shape by pruning the leaves. It is also critical to prune at the roots also if you repot your Ficus Microcarpa.
The plant can have gnats and spider mites, but that will not tamper with its health. Spray with a soapy water mixture two times a day for two weeks when you notice these pesky bugs.
Where to Buy Ficus Microcarpa Seeds Online
You can start planting your Ficus Microcarpa seeds by getting them from:
Where to Buy Mature Ficus Microcarpa Online
Contact some of these outlets for your mature Ficus Microcarpa:
Question: Does Ficus Microcarpa need sunlight?
Answer: Ficus Microcarpa prefers a lot of light. However, the hottest hours’ direct sunlight is not ideal. The best light is indirect light.
Question: What is the Common Name of Ficus Microcarpa?
Answer: The common name of Ficus Microcarpa is the Indian laurel tree.
Question: Is Ficus Microcarpa toxic?
Answer: Ficus Microcarpa can be toxic to dogs even though it is a popular houseplant. The sap on the plant’s leaves can be pretty irritating to dogs when ingested or on the skin.