Ficus retusa care and details: Great to grow bonsai plant

Ficus retusa care and details: Great to grow bonsai plant
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Image Source: Cliff from Arlington, Virginia, USA / CC BY (Image Cropped)

Ficus retusa is a rapidly growing evergreen tree with a broad round head. The trees are commonly grown as a bonsai. They are one rare species that can be grown both indoors and outdoors. They are one of the easily maintained bonsai plants which are easy to groom and has an ability to withstand vigorous grooming.

Quick Details of Ficus retusa

Other Common NamesBanyan fig, Taiwan ficus ,  Cuban laurel, Chinese banyan, Malay banyan
Type Indoor/outdoor flowering plant
MaintenanceModerate/ high in case of bonsai
FloweringSpring (under certain climatic conditions).
LightBright indirect sunlight, can tolerate partial indirect light.
WaterWhen the soil is dry
TemperatureWarm humid conditions
SoilWell drained soil
FertilizerAny house plant or liquid fertilizer
HabitatChina, Asia, Australia
ToxicityNot toxic
Common DiseasesAphids
Scientific nameFicus retusa

Plant Name Buying Instructions

  • Buy a bushy plant.
  • Leaves should be shiny and spot free.
  • Buy a plant with thick stem, if you are buying for making bonsai.

Overview of Ficus retusa

The ficus retusa are evergreen shrubs or trees belonging to the family of Moraceae. The trunks are light grey in colour and can grow upto a height of 10 m. They are one of the most preferred bonsai plants because of their beautiful canopy. The leaves are ovate, shiny.

Full Grown Ficus retusa tree (Image Source: Alexandre Albore / CC0)

Usage and Advantage of Ficus retusa

  • Grown as an ornamental plant (bonsai)

General Care for Ficus retusa

Special Care:

Pruning, trimming and repotting plays an important role in maintaining a bonsai plant.


Repotting can be done in two years. Any normal potting mixture can be used. the roots can be trimmed and treated with fungicide before repotting the plants.


Regular pruning is required to maintain the shape of the plants. the branches can be pruned back to 2 leaves once they grow bigger.  The tree can be left to grow for 2 or 3 years to obtain a thick trunk. Once the tree is mature enough, the pruning and the trimming does not affect the plant health. The branches can be trimmed regularly throughout the year. A few branches can be left untouched to provide enough support for the growth of the plant. The thin young branches of the plant can be wired to maintain a good shape. The wires shouldn’t be tied tightly to avoid marks and cuts on the branches.

The Ficus trees have an ability to fuse different parts of the plant. This can be exploited to fuse the branches, roots and trunk to make it look more appealing. A bunch of young ficus can also be tied together to make them fuse together and form a single plant. Grafting can be done to cover wounds. The plants are tolerant to vigorous cutting, trimming, grafting and can be shaped and grown to one’s creativity.


The ficus retusa plants require indirect bright sunlight, warm climates and higher humidity to develop aerial roots, they can also survive lower humidity because of their thick leaves. During summers, the plant can be placed outdoors where there is ample amount of sunlight. Do not place the plants in shady regions. They cannot tolerate winters and should be shifted indoors where there is enough amount of sunlight during the day.


Any well drained soil mix can be used.


The Ficus can tolerate over watering and under watering. They should be watered regularly whenever the top soil seems to be dry. The leaves can also be misted to retain the humidity. During winters, the figs placed in warmers regions require more water or else they should be watered only enough to moisten the soil. Over misting can attract fungal diseases. Mist the leaves only when they get dry.

Sunlight and temperature:

The ficus retusa prefer full to partial indirect sunlight. They prefer warm and humid conditions for their growth. The aerial roots shoot up when they are grown in extreme humid conditions. They are not resistant to colder climates.


The ficus retusa plants should be fertilized once every week during summer and spring. Any liquid fertilizer can be added. Half the recommended amount is to be added to the plant. During winters, they can be fertilized ones in 2 or 4 weeks.

Pests and other problems in Ficus retusa

Under favorable conditions the plant is resistant to pests and diseases. But the plant can face problems due to excess watering or exposure to bright direct sunlight for a longer period of time. Excess watering can lead to falling off of leaves. The leaves can turn yellow when exposed to direct sunlight. They are also attacked by mealybugs and aphids. Spraying of pesticides, neem oil or soap solution can help in getting rid of pests.

Propagation of Ficus retusa

The ficus retusa can be propagated through stem cuttings and seeds.

stem cutting: A healthy 4-6 inch long stem cutting can be collected from the parent plant. it was dipped in a rooting hormone an later planted in to a well drained soil. cutting can be planted anytime in midsummer

Seeds: The seeds can be sown mid-summer or spring. fresh viable seeds can be selected and sown on the soil. It should be watered regularly and provided with ample amount of sunlight.

reema shaju

reema shaju

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