Sometimes called a chinese fig or willow-leaf fig, ficus nerifolia is a sub-tropical tree that's popular for use in bonsai. Characterized by its long, narrow leaves (thus willow-leaf), it can handle medium to bright sunlight, but requires a gradual transition between levels to avoid burning or leaf drop.

Like most members of the ficus family, nerifolia will drop leaves if you so much as look at it sideways, and some will defoliate completely on a regular basis. This tendency towards frequent shedding makes it a less than ideal bonsai for beginners, as they tend to panic and think they've killed the tree. If a change has been made to its environment, expect a nerifolia to lose leaves, possibly all of them, as an adjustment reaction. Rest assured, they'll come back.

Unless you live in the tropics, this is definitely an indoor plant. You'll want to keep the temperature above 50F, and above 60F if possible. They can endure less than that for brief periods, but too long will kill them. The sap is very thin and milky, and will start to leak the instant you prune a limb. This isn't much of a problem for small limbs, but for anything larger than a couple millimeters in diameter you're going to want to seal it to prevent heavy bleeding. The most common styles for nerifolia bonsai are upright and windswept. Ficuses in generally tend towards exposed roots, so you'll see a lot of that and root-over-rock as well.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.