Ficus Religiosa / Bodhi Tree Bonsai: Easy to care and grow
Image by Saroja Raghu
Bodhi tree are famous as ornamental bonsai plants. Bodhi Tree Bonsai not only look beautiful but are also easy to groom and train. They grow fast and can survive in harsh conditions to an extent. The maintenance is low and they do not require much care when compared to most bonsai plants.
Quick Details of Bodhi Tree
|Other Common Names||Bodhi Tree, Sacred Fig, Peepal Tree, Ashwattha Tree|
|Maintenance||Moderate/ high in case of bonsai|
|Flowering||Spring (in natural habitat)|
|Light||Bright direct sunlight can tolerate partial indirect light|
|Water||When the soil is dry|
|Temperature||Warm humid conditions|
|Soil||Well drained soil|
|Fertilizer||Any liquid fertilizer|
|Common Diseases||Resistant to diseases|
|Scientific name||Ficus Religiosa|
Overview of Bodhi Tree
Bodhi trees belong to the Moraceae family and are native to India and southwest china. They are semi-evergreen trees that can grow up to a height of 38m when grown in their natural habitat. The leaves are green and cordate-shaped with a drip tip. They bear figs that turn purple after ripening. The plants have a lifespan of up to 1500-3000 years and more. They are fast growers and more than attaining height, the plants spread in width extending their canopy.
Image by truthseeker08 from Pixabay
The tree is considered sacred in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment sitting under the bodhi tree. The barks peel off as the age of the tree. The figs ripen usually after defoliation of the tree.
Usage and Advantage of Bodhi Tree
- Grown as a bonsai. Bodhi Tree Bonsai are fast growing and have a long life.
- Used in traditional medicine to treat inflammation, various diseases, sexual disorders, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, asthma, etc.
- They are grown for its fruit.
- Sacred beads are made from their seeds.
General Care for Bodhi Tree Bonsai
Pruning, Trimming, and Training:
A shallow pot is used to grow Bodhi Tree Bonsai. Under potting and constant pruning, proper care and training are the keys to growing a healthy bonsai plant.
While growing a Bodhi Tree Bonsai, care should be taken to prune the plants regularly and at the right time. Pruning and training the plants are important to grow a healthy and good-looking bonsai plant.
The pruning can be done regularly to remove the overgrown branches and to shape the plants. The unwanted branches can be removed to shape the plants according to one’s needs. The tips of the branches can be regularly pinched off. While pruning, a few leaves should be left on the branches. Removal of all the leaves from the pruned branches can affect the health of the plant. The whole focus can be defoliated to promote new foliage growth. This should be done only for healthy bonsai.
The branches can be wired using aluminium or copper wires. The wired branches can be bent to shape the branches. The wires should not be wound very tightly. This can cause marks or cuts on the branches when they grow. Wire the branches when they are ½ inch thick.
The Bodhi Tree Bonsai can be re-potted once the trunk grows 1 inch thick. They are uprooted and the roots can be trimmed to ¼ its height and later potted into a new potting mixture. They are regularly watered and kept in shade or partial sunlight for 2 weeks and fed with an NPK fertilizer every 2 weeks. Re-potting can be done during mid-summer or spring. Re-potting basically involves the changing of soil and trimming the roots of the plants.
Placing the Bodhi Tree Bonsai in the correct spot:
The focus should be placed in spots with direct sunlight or filtered sunlight. During summers or springs, they can be placed outdoors. Adjust the position by examining the leaves of the plants. If the leaves turn yellow it is an indication of stress. The bonsai can be shifted to shade or sun accordingly.
During winters, they can be taken indoors where there is an ample amount of light and protection from cold.
They do not prefer to be moved often. Hence a proper spot should be selected and the bonsai should be left undisturbed. They tend to drop leaves in case of a change in weather.
Any well-drained potting soil can be used. The soil should be well aerated as they produce an extensive root system, heavy soil can prevent the spread of the root
Ficus prefers moist conditions but should not be overwatered. Water the plant when the soil is bone dry. If the soil is dry till the bottom when the finger is stuck into the pot the plant is ready to be watered. Deep water them till the water drains out through the drainage hole. They prefer moisture. The pot can be placed on a pebble tray with water. The evaporation of water from this will help maintain moisture.
Light and temperature:
Bodhi trees prefer indirect bright sunlight. It can also adjust to partial indirect light and shade. They do not show many physical changes when exposed to bright sunlight or shade. They are tropical plants and cannot tolerate cold conditions. The plants prefer warm and humid conditions. The aerial roots develop when the temperatures are warm and humid or mostly during the rainy season. To grow aerial roots, the plant should be provided with the optimum conditions.
The ficus plants can be fed with fertilizer ones in a week during the growing period i.e., spring and summer, and once a month during winter. The plants require a balanced fertilizer. A mixture of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus in the ratio of 3:2:1 can be given as these nutrients are essential for the growth of the plant. A nitrogen-rich fertilizer also works well.
Pests and other problems for Bodhi Tree
The bodhi trees are resistant to almost all pests and pathogens.
Propagation of Bodhi Tree
The propagation of the can is done through stem cutting, seeds, and marcotting.
Stem cutting: The stem can be cut off from the parent plant. The leaves at the bottom are removed leaving 2-3 leaves at the top. The cutting is dipped in rooting hormone and planted in moist soil. It is watered regularly and placed in a place with an ample amount of sunlight.
Seeds: The propagation through seeds is easy but the availability of seeds can be a problem. The bonsai plants very rarely bear fruits. The seeds can be sown in the soil, left in a place with indirect sunlight, and watered regularly till the seedlings appear. They can be shifted to a much brighter spot once the seedlings appear.
Marcotting: A healthy stem is selected for marcotting and 1 cm height skin is removed from the stem. Moist mud is placed around the cut and covered completely with a plastic cover. This helps in retaining moisture. This is watered daily. The stem can be cut and planted separately once the root develops from the cut.
Bodhi tree bonsai is very easy to care. We need to properly water the plant and not let the soil completely dry in any of the weather conditions. Bodhi Tree is a fast-growing tree and very apt for Bonsai making. Have well drainage soil and provide full sunlight to the Bodhi tree plant.
Yes, you can make a beautiful Bonsai of a Bodhi Tree. The Bodhi tree belongs to the Ficus family and this family is best suited for Bonsai making. The Bodhi tree is a very hardy tree and grows very fast. The above properties make Bodhi Tree a preferred choice for Bonsai making.
Bodhi Tree Bonsai requires full sunlight but if not underwater too much sunlight will damage the plant foliage and harm your plant. Make sure your water is as per the requirement of the plant.
Bodhi Tree Bonsai can be kept indoors but it will require bright indirect sunlight. Make sure you are keeping the plant in at least once or twice a week in full sunlight.
You can grow Bodhi Tree Bonsi indoors but allow bright indirect sunlight and also provide full sunlight to the plant once or twice a week.
Bodhi trees can grow up to a height of 40 meters.
Bodhi tree or Bodhi Tree Bonsai requires a good amount of water. Soil should never go completely dry otherwise plant will lose the leaves. Water it thoroughly whenever you water the plant. Water the plant as per the season and weather conditions.
Bodhi tree plant growth rate decreases during winters. The plant will stop growing if the temperature drops below 15 degrees centigrade and at this point, we can keep the plant in shade and we need to save the plant from the too-cold harsh weather conditions.
Bodhi Tree bonsai required adequate watering. We should use good drainage soil and regularly water it. Do not overwater the plant and do not make the soil soggy. If the soil is properly drainage it can sustain watering but underwater will kill the plant.
Bodhi Tree bonsai can not go too long without water. It needs regular watering. Soil should not go completely dry.