Ficus Microcarpa is a tree species which may grow into 20+ meters tall trees. Alternative names are Ficus Retusa, Ginsen ficus, Chinese Banyan, Malayan Banyan, Tigerbark Fig, Indian Laurel, Curtain fig and many more. A wide range of foliar varieties exist (Such as the Grrn Islang fig), all of which are varieties of the same species: Ficus Microcarpa.
ficus microcarpa as commonly found
Position is as with most tropical species: Warm, light and moist. The species in nature grows out to be part of the upper canopy of forests and as such deals well with high-intensity light, and prefers as much light as possible. This tree can stand in full sun, once acclematized
Water and soil. All figs appreciate a balanced moisture regime at the roots. Allow the soil surface to dry slightly before watering again, but never let the soil dry out completely. This species is not demanding on the soil; Any soil mixture will do, as long as it does not stay wet for long. Fertilize using regular house-plant fertilizer at 50% of recommended strength, once a week during the growing season. Never fertilize when the plant is sick.
Recognizing. One recognizes this tree by the leaves, which are ovate to round, glossy on one side, and slightly leathery. Trunks are smooth. the tigerbark variety has small black spots on the bark. Many garden centre varieties of the f. microcarpa bonsai have thick swollen roots that stand above the ground. Because of the wide range of diffrerent varieties, species may have very small (3cm) of larger leaves (9cm). In many cases a larger leaved variety is used to grow a trunk. On the trunk smaller leaved varieties are then grafted.
Not to mix up with the ficus elastica, or rubber fig. This plant has leaves that grow up to 20cm long. The size of the leaves is therefor much longer. Also, the bark is not so smooth. Furthermore, ficus benjamina has simular leaves. Here the leaves are clearly pointier than for the microcarpa.
Noteworthy. All figs have the tendency to drop leaves when moved from one location to another. The difference in watering, air moisture and light intensity indicates to the tree a change of season, and they will drop their foliage in response. This is nothing to worry about. Within 2 weeks the plant shoudl start growing new foliage.