Ficus: language of ficus flowers and plants



In the Buddhist tradition, the Ficus medica is considered the cosmic tree also known Bo. It is said that Siddhartha Gaitama, the future Buddha, arrived in a sacred wood where the Ficus religious was found. After making the ritual offerings he said, “May my body dry up on this seat and my skin, my bones, my flesh dissolve. Until I have reached the Awakening, so long, so difficult to obtain, I will not move from here ». And it is said that after a week of meditation he had the illumination of the supreme truth, in fact it is also called theTree of illumination.

Today, in eastern countries, there is a tree of Ficus religiousand it is considered a sacred tree.

although ficus give the impression of being delicate plants, in nature they are vigorous trees, and even if grown in pots, they tend to recover even when they are treated really badly.

First of all, look in the house for a suitable place for your ficus, well lit, but not subject to sudden changes in temperature, away from drafts and direct heat sources and from the sun's rays that can burn it. In nature these plants live in direct sun, but your ficus has lived a few years of its life in a greenhouse, where it has never seen the sun in the face so if you really want to try to grow it in the sun, you will have to do it by exposing it to the sun's rays gradually. , and the plant doesn't necessarily like it.

When you have found the right place for your ficus, prune it, removing all the dry and damaged twigs, and the dead leaves in this way you will stimulate the plant to produce new shoots.

Finally you will have to get used to watering your ficus regularly, always checking that the soil is able to dry completely between two waterings. The best way to understand if the substrate is dry is to dip the fingers of one hand in it: if we feel it is fresh and humid, we postpone watering for at least 24 hours if it is dry we water abundantly.

In any case, avoid leaving water in the saucer for a long time if after watering you notice that the saucer remains full of water, lift it and empty it.

From March to September, also provide your plant with a good green plant fertilizer, mixed with watering water, every 12-15 days.

Since now your ficus is sick, in the nursery or at the garden center you can find excellent products to use in these emergency cases, these are fertilizers to be used only once, which help the plant to reactivate its vegetative cycle, to be used in cases like yours, with plants suffering from incorrect cultivation treatments.

Do not worry too much if the plant for at least another two or three weeks will continue to seem suffering, because the recovery after such stress is never sudden, assume that your plant is in a recovery period, like a human being convalescing after a surgical operation in a couple of months your plant will be beautiful and luxuriant again.

I warn you immediately that, despite the ficus are vigorous plants, it is not certain that your plant will recover at 100% if it continues to deteriorate, do not get too angry. In extreme cases, it tops the stem, and hopes that such a drastic treatment will be followed by a luxuriant recovery, due to the total absence of leaves.

Ficus elastica

In nature, the ficus elastica is a large tree, which reaches 25-30 meters and develops in the tropical forests of Asia in pots, has an erect habit, scarcely branched, and reaches 200-300 meters.

Bengiamino - Ficus Benjamina

Ficus benjamina belongs to the Moraceae family and is native to Southeast Asia and Oceania. A tree that can reach 30 meters in height where it is endemic (or in areas with cli.

Ficus deltoidea

It is a shrub or small evergreen tree, native to central-southern Asia in nature the adult specimens remain close to 2 m in height. They have thin and branching stems.

Ficus australe - Ficus rubiginosa

Evergreen tree native to Australia and New Zealand, the ficus australe or ficus rubiginosa can reach 8-10 meters in height in nature, but in container it keeps within 2-3.

Meaning of flowers: the Ficus

Today we will immerse ourselves completely in the history and legend that for centuries has governed the meaning of trees of the ficus family. From FIG of which we normally eat the fruits, up to the most unknown ornamental plant of oriental origin. In fact, tradition closely links the plants belonging to this family, making them sacred trees for many populations.

Their use, their having assumed importance over time is closely related to their species. Let's take Ficus elastica for example. In some countries, thanks to a very deep knowledge of plants and chemistry, from latex extracted from the tree, the populations obtain excellent quality plastic. There plant produces this latex, irritating to the eyes and skin, to defend itself: the human being has transformed it into a source of economic and social wealth.

Usually, however, the ficus and its various species are used (especially in the East, to embellish temples and pay homage to the deities. Do you want to know which is thehabitat ideal for these plants? Think of our Sicily: several specimens of ficus live and develop in an indigenous way. Plants that can reach up to 30 meters in height. Its meaning is closely related to the sacred use that has always been made of its leaves and branches: a symbol of complete truth and life, the ficus has always expressed a language of hope.

Linked to Priapus, in classical Greece, the ficus also expressed a meaning of fertility. In those centuries, the ficus was used in every area, starting from medicine, up to the kitchen: the latex of the fig was also often used to make cheese curds. In the Old Testament it was used in the scriptures as a symbol of abundance. Its meaning has therefore always been linked to positive and auspicious concepts for man, in every succession of traditions.

Ficus Lyrata plant

Plant height approximately 100cm.

Height of the resin riser only 80cm.

Plant height approximately 100cm.

Height of the resin riser only 80cm.

Plant height approximately 100cm. n

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Plant height approximately 100cm. n

Plant height approximately 100cm.

Height of the resin riser only 80cm.


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The Ficus (3rd Part)


Ficus hispida with small fruits (syconia)
Historical collection of the Agricultural Technical Institute of Florence (Photo Paolo Pecchioli)

I have previously and briefly described the distinctive characteristics and dimensions that are achieved in the places of origin, and also in some areas of Italy, by some Ficus that are very common in our apartments.
Some of the characteristics that the Ficus develop in their places of origin can also be admired in the apartment, simply by resorting to some tricks learned from oriental masters. The effect that will be achieved is twofold, in fact on the one hand we will obtain, in our homes, the tree as it appears in nature, as close as possible to reality, on the other hand this operation will greatly improve the aesthetic appearance of the plant, not limiting it only to reviving a bare or unadorned corner of the house.
In a vase, inside an apartment, in our latitudes, the characteristics of plants remain unchanged and always manifest themselves, even if on a smaller scale, such as height, which is enormously lower, like the size of the leaves, lower they too, like the aerial roots, which can also develop in pots, descending from the foliage and sinking into the ground, crossing with those coming from the trunk and forming an inextricable tangle. Let us dwell on the roots and their aesthetic potential. In their places of origin, the aerial roots serve a dual purpose: to support the foliage and contribute to the water supply of the plant. These large aerial roots are typical of large trees. In an environment very different from the original one and also very small, the roots no longer have the function of supporting the crown, which remains very limited, but also, when they manage to develop significantly, they contribute to the water supply of the plant. . The "inextricable tangle" formed by these roots has an undeniable aesthetic effect that should be favored in the apartment because, as already mentioned, it increases the beauty of the plant. This natural feature, in the home environment, can be favored by resorting to some tricks learned from bonsai experts. In fact, to favor the normal emission of roots from the trunk and from large branches, we simply have to cover these parts with sphagnum or moss, which will always be kept moist by wetting it several times a day. This emission can normally occur when we manage to cultivate the plant in a hot and very humid environment, especially in the part of the stem and branches closest to the ground. The Ficus benjamina, but above all the Ficus neriifolia, are two species that easily emit aerial roots, even without particular attention.
In the apartment there may be a problem that aesthetically damages the Ficus. Even in a domestic environment, the necessary brightness must be ensured, and placing the Ficus near a window or a French door is often sufficient to guarantee the life and development of the plant. But the lighting, even placing the Ficus near a window, will always be partial. In fact, we have noticed that the Ficus is often placed in a corner of the apartment. In this position, part of the canopy faces the wall, while only the other half receives the light necessary for photosynthesis. The consequence of this poor lighting on half of the canopy, if continued for a long time, will lead to the fall of the leaves and the death of the twigs placed close to the wall. The other half of the foliage, the one that receives the light, will continue to vegetate and will tend to develop towards the origin of the light source (window, glass door, etc.). This phenomenon by which plants vegetate and tend towards a light source is called phototropism. Within a few years, the plant will look like this: part of the canopy will now be dead, while the other half will have developed abnormally. In fact, in this half the plant will have continued to develop and grow even in height but its foliage will be crooked because it is bent towards the light. The plant will no longer have its natural harmony and the spectacle it will offer will be aesthetically bad. It is extremely easy to remedy this problem. If the plant has already manifested its discomfort by starting to lose a few leaves, it is good to intervene immediately by rotating the pot 180 ° a couple of times a week. The plant will not lose its balance because it will continue to develop all its foliage homogeneously, in fact the light coming from the window will be received by all the leaves. If, on the other hand, our intervention now comes when the foliage of the plant is irremediably compromised, the simplest solution is to remove, in addition to the dry parts, also that part of the crown that has developed in an excessive and disharmonious way. The intervention can also consist of very heavy pruning. Then, when the Ficus begins to vegetate again, it must also be rotated 180 ° until the foliage has regained a balanced and natural appearance. The 180 ° rotation of the plants is a commonly adopted practice for all those plants that, especially in the apartment, receive the light only from one direction. This type of care does not allow to obtain a bonsai, the realization of which is much more complex, but more simply allows to give the Ficus, in addition to all the attention it needs, that natural balance and that aspect adhering to reality, which gives it the dignity of tree and plant protagonist in our home.

Ficus lyrata leaves
Historical collection of the Agricultural Technical Institute of Florence (Photo Paolo Pecchioli)

If we have grown the Ficus plant respecting all the requirements required by the plant itself, such as temperature, substrate, brightness, humidity, etc., to live and develop, we will have a very luxuriant plant within a few years that will occupy a growing space. Then a pruning will be necessary, the residues of which can be used for multiplication. It is preferable to prune the plant in spring, at the vegetative restart, although it is possible to do it throughout the year. Obviously, pruning has the purpose of containing, within certain limits, the development of the crown when it takes the form of eliminating young shoots, we talk about topping. The topping forces the plant to thicken the crown, and, therefore, allows us to obtain bushy and more compact plants, especially if it is practiced on young plants. On the other hand, the topping of herbaceous shoots on very developed and adult plants will not allow us to obtain particularly dense plants. The removal of lignified branches will stimulate branching and therefore thicken the vegetation. The pruning of the largest branches will be performed in winter, also because in that period the latex is less abundant, and what comes out will have to be blocked with healing paste.
Parallel to the growth of the foliage, the roots grow, and the plant may need to be repotted in a larger pot, because the previous one has become insufficient or it may happen that, although the plant is already in a pot of large dimensions, a reduction of the root system is necessary. In the first case, it is sufficient to get a larger pot, find the right soil for the Ficus, and proceed with repotting, paying particular attention to drainage. This repotting can be done in any season. In the second case, however, we must remove the roots it is preferable to carry out this operation at the end of winter or in spring. In fact, in March-April the temperature is not yet high and, given that we will have to remove a certain amount of roots, it is preferable to proceed in that period because the water requirement of the Ficus plant is rather limited. In this way, the Ficus will not suffer excessively from the reduction of the root system, as would happen if this operation were carried out in the middle of summer, manifesting itself with evident wilting. Before cutting the roots, it is necessary to free them from the soil and always use sharp scissors in order to make a clean cut. The amount of root system that can be removed can be up to half. In fact, the roots of the Ficus grow back in a short time and with ease, so the plant will overcome this moment quite easily. It is not possible to establish a fixed time interval between one root cut and the next, because it also depends on the general health conditions of the plant. If the plant is in excellent health, some signs that warn us of the need to cut the roots can be the exit of the roots from the drainage hole, or the bread of earth raised above the edge of the pot, because it is pushed up by the roots. It is possible, however, to remember a general rule: when the Ficus is young, repotting can be done even every two to three years because its development is rapid, when the plant is many years old, the growth is slower and we can reduce the root system even after more than seven years. After placing the plant in the pot and pouring the new soil, it is necessary to firmly press the soil around the remaining roots and water immediately afterwards. In the following period we will pay some more attention to the repotted plant to which we cut the roots in order to monitor the vegetative restart day after day and to never miss, as always, all the optimal conditions of life.

Ficus rubiginosa variegated variety
Historical collection of the Agricultural Technical Institute of Florence (Photo Paolo Pecchioli)

Bibliographical references
- AA.VV. "THE GREAT BOOK OF FLOWERS AND PLANTS" Selection from Reader's Digest - Milan 1978
- A. Laghi, G.P. Gnone "PROTECTED CROPS - Cultivation systems and methods" CISIA 1975
- E. Susini "MY FLOWERS AND MY GARDEN" Edagricole 1987
- Luciano Giugnolini - Maria Teresa Temistocchi - Paolo Ricci Barbini - Maria Pizzirani
Taken from "BonsaItalia - art and nature" n ° 37 January-February 2004
- E. Banfi, F. Consolino “ALBERI” De Agostini Geographic Institute
- The Royal Horticultural Society "THE GARDENING dictionary of ornamental plants" UTET-GARZANTI

Paolo Pecchioli, Agrotecnico, is in possession of the qualification diploma as a vegetable grower. He currently holds the position of Technical Assistant at the Agricultural Technical Institute of Florence.

Large-leaved ficus

The large-leaved ficus it is probably the most famous among the indoor plants, which, with its large leaves, helps to improve the air inside our apartments, converting carbon dioxide CO2 into oxygen, also absorbing particulates, storing them in the roots , where they are broken down and expelled. In addition, the green leaves improve the humidity of the house by gradually releasing it. This makes the ficus a perfect plant to usher in the indoor season.


Ficus is the Latin name of the fig. THE large-leaved ficus it is a member of the mulberry family, and grows in sub-tropical regions, mainly Asia and Africa, but also Aud America and Australia.

What to look for when buying a broadleaf ficus

  • The large-leaved ficus it is offered in various forms: branched, unbranched, single trunk, intertwined trunk, or "corkscrew".
  • The bush shape involves several specimens.
  • The price can be determined by the number of heads per trunk, or trunks per pot, by the type of pruning or by the presence of aerial roots.
  • Regardless of the type of ficus, always check that the roots are well rooted and sufficiently hardened.
  • Always check that it is insect free.

Ficus: assortment

Ficus Lyrata: it is available with its characteristic bush shape and has shiny leaves that resemble a violin. The large and captivating veins give particular consistency to the leaves.

Ficus elastica: has smooth and green leaves with thin veins that are marked like a feather can reach the length of 25cm. It grows straight and therefore does not take up much space despite the large leaves.

Ficus binnendijkii: the two varieties “Alli” and “Amstel King” have mainly long leaves which are not wide, but hang in a decorative way.

Ficus Cyathistipula: has dark green leaves and can produce figs even when young. It tends to become a well-covered and strongly branched giant that rises upwards along a pole assuming a vertical position.

Tips for customers

  • Place in partial shade or in a bright spot, but not in full direct light.
  • It is preferable not to move it frequently, because adapting requires considerable energy expenditure.
  • If it tends to twist, turn it 90 ° every day.
  • Fertilize every two weeks.
  • Exposing it to summer rain for a limited period of time will improve the health of the ficus.
  • It should be transplanted once a year in a larger pot using fresh soil, it will help the plant grow in excellent conditions.

Suggestions for exposure

The ficus goes well with light backgrounds that draw attention to the large leaves. Controlling the light so that it can fall in place will illuminate the plant like a spotlight highlighting its brilliance and characteristics. Aesthetically, he loves the domestic setting and close-ups.

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