ficus microcarpa – chinese banyan, green island fig

the chinese banyan (ficus microcarpa) has a lot of names, sometimes it’s called malayan banyan, indian laurel or green island fig. here in germany it’s very popular under the name ficus ginseng. the not so easy to grow housplant is sometimes sold as indoor bonsai.


the chinese banyan does fine from bright (without afternoon sun) to light shade. i have two, one placed on a northern window and the other on the south side gets some evening sun. during summer it can be placed in light shade in the garden or on the balcony.

ficus microcarpa needs a medium humidity and likes if sprayed over with water sometimes. this also keeps the leaves free from dust.

it can be grown in a standard potting soil which can be mixed with some sand (3:1).

keep the soil moist but not wet and avoid overwatering. remove water running out of the pot’s hole after a few minutes. let it dry at the surface between the waterings. but it should not dry out completely.

a water soluble fertilizer can be given monthly (half concentrated) and every six to eight weeks if placed at room temperature during fall/winter.

the green island fig needs a winter minimum of 15 °c (59 °f).

to keep the bonsai in shape it should cutted back. if ficus microcarpa is placed at room temperarture this could be done throughout the year. otherwise it can be done in spring.


propagation can be done by seeds or cuttings.