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Ficus Religiosa Bonsai

How to Grow and Care for Ficus Religiosa Bonsai (Bodhi Tree Bonsai)

Do you know, ficus religiosa, also known as peepal tree, is the state tree of Haryana and Odisha.

It is the tree under which Gautama Buddha is believed to have gained enlightenment.

In this article, we will take you through the growing and ficus religiosa bonsai care.

Ficus Religiosa Bonsai Specifications

Common NamesBodhi tree, Sacred Fig, Peepal tree
Life FormShrub, tree
OriginIndia, Southwest China, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand
TypeOutdoor Plant
FloweringSpring (in natural habitat)
LightBright sunlight, though can thrive in partial indirect light
WaterWhen the soil is dry
TemperatureWarm, humid conditions
SoilWell-drained soil
FertilizerAny Liquid Fertilizer
HabitatIndia
ToxicityNo
The SizeIndoors, most often up to 1 m.
LifespanPerennial
MaintenanceLow-Moderate
Common DiseasesResistant to diseases

If you’re looking to add a touch of nature to your indoor space, an indoor bonsai tree is a great choice. Many online and local retailers offer a variety of indoor bonsai trees for sale, from classic options like the Ficus to more exotic varieties like the Hawaiian Umbrella bonsai. Make sure to research the specific needs of your chosen tree to ensure it thrives in your home. 

Bodhi trees are native to India and southwest China, and they belong to the Moraceae family. 

The leaves of bodhi tree bonsai are cordate in shape and have a drip tip. They tend to produce purple figs when fully mature. The plants can live for up to 1500-3000 years or longer. They are fast-growing plants that, in addition to height, spread out in width, extending their canopy.

This semi-evergreen, deciduous species, known locally as the Peepal tree, is historically and religiously significant.

In three major religions that emerged on the Indian subcontinent, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, the Ficus religiosa is of religious significance. The species is sacred to Hindu and Jain ascetics, who regularly meditate under it. 

Usage and Advantages of Ficus Religiosa Bonsai

  • Bonsai from the Bodhi Tree develop quickly and last a long time.
  • They are cultivated for their fruit.
  • Their seeds are used to make sacred beads.
  • Ficus Religiosa is used for treating wounds, ulcers, cholesterol, diabetes, and asthma.
  • It also soothes stomach aches and cracked heels.
  • It is used to cure skin diseases, blood purification, diarrhea, constipation, and many more.

Propagation of Bodhi Tree 

Bodhi tree bonsai can be propagated through three ways:

  1. Stem cutting, 
  2. seeds, 
  3. and marcotting

Stem Cutting

Cutting propagation is the best option for Ficus Religiosa bonsai trees. If you have an existing tree, not only the cuttings will be free but it will also boost the mother plant’s growth. The best time to take cuttings is summer and spring. 

  • Choose a healthy softwood stem for the cuttings for the best results. Take some cuttings that are a few inches long. 
  • Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting but leave at least five leaves.
  • Dip the cuttings in growth hormone for a few seconds and plant them in a container filled with bonsai soil mix. 
  • Place the container near a window where it will stay warm and get indirect bright sunlight. Mist the cuttings every day and never let the soil dry out.
  • A few weeks later tug the cutting gently, if you feel any resistance meaning the roots have been established and are ready to transplant into proper bonsai pots. 

Seeds 

Although propagating ficus religiosa bonsai from seed is simple, seed availability might be a concern. Bonsai trees rarely produce fruit. The newly grown bonsai does not really possess the same characteristics as the mother plant. To increase the success rate, plant multiple seeds. 

  • Start three months prior to the expected winter. 
  • Choose at least 25 healthy seeds for the process.
  • Take a tree and fill it with a moist bonsai potting mix. scatter the seeds evenly and use another thin layer of the same soil to cover them.
  • Use a plastic bag to cover the tray and to keep the moisture for a longer period of time. Check from time to time to not let the soil dry out.
  • The ideal germination temperature for bodhi tree bonsai is 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If you fail to provide it you can use a heat mat.  Place it in a location with indirect sunshine and water it regularly until seedlings emerge.
  • Remove the plastic only when the seedlings start to sprout. Place it in a brightly lit area. 
  • When the seedlings are about 3 inches, they can be moved to their final pot. 

Marcotting

  1. You should choose a healthy stem for marcotting and remove the top 1 cm of the stem’s skin. Pick a branch that is not too large and old or too young. Mature branches might not be capable of developing roots vigorously and, when rooted, may be too big to be able to endure on the fine and small root system. Delicate young stems may not be capable of healing from the bruising during the marcotting method and may be more susceptible to snapping while healing and rooting. 
  1. Organize the branch by pulling ‘extra’ leaves and shoots around the area for marcotting. Then peel the bark cleanly and neatly. 
  1. Prep rooting hormone which is normally available in two states – as a gel or powder. The gel is generally easier to use as it would last on the scratch more easily.
  1. Apply the rooting hormone to the wounds closer to the sprout tip.
  1. Choose a medium to be enveloped around the marcotting section. A range of media can be utilized for rooting the branch. Typically used media are garden soil, potting mix, and peat moss. It is best to use a clear plastic sheet to keep the medium in place.
  1. Check the section regularly for any injury, drying, or progress in rooting. If the medium dries out, water it using a syringe.
  1. When sufficient roots have developed around the medium, the branch can be pruned from the mother plant.
  2. Place the rooted branch in a container.

Ficus Religiosa Bonsai Care Guide

Soil

Ficus Religiosa thrives in soil that is loose, rich and drains well. The bodhi tree bonsai will not thrive if the soil is overly compacted since its roots require enough air. To make a lighter potting mix, add extra sand and organic matter to the regular potting mix.

Ficus Religiosa is a hardy plant that can withstand even the worst conditions.

Note for Ficus Religiosa Bonsai Care: Because they generate a large root system, bodhi tree bonsai should adequately aerate the soil; heavy soil can inhibit the root system from spreading.

Watering

Bodhi tree bonsai are not heavy drinkers and require only a tiny amount of water. These ficus religiosa plants can withstand extended periods of drought. Only water the ficus religiosa plant when the soil is completely dry. Ensure that any extra water does not sit in the soil and instead drains via the drainage hole.

The bodhi tree bonsai is quite exceptional for surviving in hot and arid environments. These plants are commonly found sprouting from tree trunks and fissures that appear devoid of moisture.

You should water the bodhi tree bonsai after checking. Insert the finger into the container, and the dirt is dry to the bottom. The plant is ready to be watered. Water the ficus religiosa thoroughly until the water drains through the drainage hole. They prefer damp environments. You can set the pot on a watered pebble tray. Water evaporation from this will aid in moisture retention.

Note for Ficus Religiosa Bonsai Care:

  • In the summer, moderate watering withstanding warm water (1-2 times per week) is recommended. Let the soil completely dry before the next watering. 
  • You should lessen the watering to once every 7-10 days in the winter. Over moistening should be avoided, especially in the winter.

Light and Temperature

The Bodhi tree bonsai prefers direct sunlight, but it can also thrive in partial shade. If you’re planting a tree outside, make sure it’s in an open area that gets plenty of direct sunlight throughout the day. If you’re growing it indoors, make sure it gets plenty of light by placing it next to a window.

Ficus religiosa bonsai care includes placing them in low-light and shaded places in the early stages. However, for the plant to grow into a large tree, it must be exposed to sunshine.

However, even if the bodhi tree bonsai is not exposed to direct sunshine, it can thrive in brilliant tree indirect light or shade. If you decide to bring the bodhi tree bonsai indoors, place it near a window or beneath a grow light.

Note for Ficus Religiosa bonsai care:

  • When exposed to bright sunshine or shade, they do not show many physical changes. 
  • They are tropical plants that cannot withstand chilly temperatures. 
  • The aerial roots form when the weather is hot and humid, mainly during the rainy season. You should give the plant the best possible conditions to establish aerial roots.

Temperature

The Ficus religiosa, like all tropical Ficus species, thrives in hot weather. Temperatures of 64,4-73,4 °F are ideal for growing. If the temperature drops below 60 degrees, the bodhi tree bonsai will stop growing. If winter temperatures drop below freezing, you should move it inside.

Ficus religiosa bonsai tree goes into dormancy during the winter and does not thrive. They tend to lose a lot of their old foliage as the winter progresses, and some trees might lose up to half of their leaves.

As soon as the winter is through, new growth begins. Throughout the spring and summer, the Bodhi tree grows rapidly. As soon as the weather warms up, your plant will begin to produce new leaves daily.

Fertilization

It is not necessary to fertilize the bodhi tree bonsai. Ficus is a hardy plant that may thrive on its own. However, using liquid or organic fertilizer during the growing season can help it grow faster.

Note for Ficus religiosa bonsai care:

  • Throughout the growing season, which is spring and summer, ficus plants can be fertilized once a week and once a month during the winter. 
  • You should give your bonsai a balanced fertilizer. A 3:2:1 blend of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus is ideal for plant growth. A nitrogen-rich fertilizer is also effective.

Pests and other problems of Bodhi tree

  • Almost all pests and pathogens are resistant to bodhi trees.
  • There aren’t many factors that can make life challenging for the bodhi tree bonsai, other than over-watering and extreme cold.
  • Even though the tree enjoys heat and direct sunlight, you may notice a leaf or two that has dried up and curled up at the edges. It isn’t a cause for concern.
  • It is affected by mealybug and aphids, scutes, and thrips. 
  • If the new shoots are too thin or the leaves are tiny, it can be due to a lack of light or nutrition. Ficus religiosa bonsai care is a must.
  • Leaves may fall due to excessive watering or the cold (at temperatures below + 60,8 ° F).

Conclusion

The bodhi tree bonsai is a low-maintenance plant that is ideal for new plant parents. Ficus religiosa bonsai care is relatively easy as compared to other bonsai plants. It will forgive you and give you many chances.

It can be grown both indoors and outdoors. The beautiful patterns on the leaves and their unique appearance will give your area a spiritual feel. Get your bonsai to enlighten your home!

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