Tiger Bark or Ginseng Ficus... Or?

joeturbo26December 21, 2013

Hello everyone!

Found this one at a Asian plant store in China Town, NYC for 10 bucks, I like it a lot. Thinking about an eventual root over rock.

Curious, would you consider it a tiger bark, ginseng, or another type of ficus?

Thank you!

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I don't think it's a tiger bark, more likely just a regular supermarket benjamina that someone bothered with, but there are hundreds of types so I wouldn't get too fussed about the name... looks like you have some fun ahead of you!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 2:35PM
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Thanks moochinka! I have bad news though!

I noticed a whole bunch of ants around where I was keeping the ficus, upon closer inspection I noticed them going below the soil. I loosened the tree from the pot and couldn't believe what I saw. AN INFESTATION of ants. HUNDREDS!

So I quickly removed all the soil and had the tree bare root. I contemplated, just repot, or attempt to start a root over rock, which had been my ultimate goal. Stupidly (I guess) I decided to put it on a rock and plant it in a slightly larger pot. Within days that infamous ficus leaf drop began! The plant isn't looking too happy or healthy now.

Not sure if this is to be expected with the RoR transformation, if maybe December (which I know isn't the ideal time) to repot and attempt RoR, or if even maybe just a coincidence from the infestation.

Do you think I'm going to lose the ficus? Any suggestions to help it spring back? I'm not too ficus knowledgeable other than every one I've ever attempted years ago seemed to just drop leaves (which I had given up before trying to rehab them)

Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 3:05PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

December re-potting is hard on a plant.

How did you re-pot it root over rock? Are all the roots covered with potting mix? Post a pic so we can see what's up.


    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 6:44PM
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Josh, of course I can take some pics.

I knew December potting nonetheless root over rocking was going to be tramatic. Thought I'd give it a shot since with the ant infestestation I really had no choice. Basically I figured I'd be screwed either way lol.

Yes, I attached a small rock that lodged very very nicely into the roots, then used a chopstick to ensure all the crevices were filled. From the photos you'll see there is actually a higher soil line now than it's previous pot.

I'm pretty sure I'll lose the tree... Maybe you guys with more ficus experience know a resuscitation trick? Lol.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 8:06PM
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Don't be so sure it has died. Ficus Benjamina loses it leaves for any stress related reasons.

1. Don't over water but don't let the soil dry out completely.
2. Keep it warm.
3. Keep it near a source of good indirect light.
4. Houses in the winter have low humidity. Keep a humidity tray with water/gravel under it but don't let the drain hole sit sit in the water.
5. Don't fertilize until new leaves appear (give it some time).
6. Pray to the Bonsai Gaia. It may rise from the dead and live again.
How tall is the tree? What is your plan for the height of your tree?
JMHO Aloha

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 9:26AM
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BTW, next time you have an ant problem with any plant, sink the whole pot into slightly soapy water for 10-15 mins and then allow to dry somewhat (day or two), and then repot.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 4:10PM
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Moochinka, should I un pot it and soak it now? ...... I'm kidding lol.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 4:19PM
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I think the ficus may be bouncing back!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 9:22AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Let it re-leaf as much as possible before doing any pruning.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 12:03AM
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Yeah with the leaf drop you had I'd say some sort of Benjamina.

Looks like you have witnessed the resilience of these rubber trees but I love messing with co worker who I have given cuttings from mine to. The look on their face when after they ask me to help prune theirs I grab my shears and cut every leaf off and reduce the branches by 60-70 %! Then I tell them to put it in a sunny window sill and keep moist. They always think I killed their plants!!! Sure as the sunrise though, about a week or two later when they start budding up again you can see the fright disappear from their faces!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 12:49AM
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