Bo-Tree, or Ficus religiosa Culture
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Paul Q.
Posted on: January 05, 2005

I’m interested in growing Ficus religiosa. Your scale for difficulty in growing from seed scores it as being moderately difficult. Can you give any advice as to soil type, temperatures, light levels and watering that leads to most success from seed?

This tree likes well-draining fertile soil, it should be kept at a minimum temperature of 15 to 18 degrees Celsius and it grows in sun to half shade. It is not fussy about pH. I recommend that you use Pro-Mix to germinate the seed, but sterilize the soil before use by wetting it with boiling water. Sow seed as soon as the soil has cooled to room temperature. Cover seed with twice their thickness with soil water, drain and cover with clean plastic and keep moist in a warm place until germination. Seeds should come up in 14 to 17 days.

Also, in your opinion, would they make for a good Bonsai plant or are the leaves too large, and long?

Apparently it is being done. Its leaves are fairly large, rounded in shape with a long elongated tip. I found this comment for turning it into a bonsai on the web:

"Needs much more light (2000 Lux) than the average Ficus. Prefers to be outside when temperatures are above 60F(15.5C), but needs protection from wind. The tree will lose leaves if it is too cold or has too little light. Wiring is best done from autumn to spring on lignified branches. Will form a thick, spreading nebari - spreading the roots radially when transplanting will encourage this. Leaf pruning may be used to encourage reduction in size. A vigorously growing plant can be defoliated twice a year. Cuttings are best taken in early spring, with bottom heat between 71-79F.( 21.7-27.2degrees Celsius)"

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