Dwarf African Strangler Fig, Ficus natalesis Care Sheet

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Dwarf African Strangler Fig, Ficus natalesis Care Sheet

Ficus natalensis
Also known as the natal fig tree

Characteristics:
Epiphytic or terrestrial shrub or tree, if epiphytic sometimes becoming a strangler.  In favorable conditions can reach heights of 90 feet tall.  Long leathery spatula shaped leaves.

Temperature:
Grows well between 59 and 75 degrees.  However will tolerate hot summers in south Florida up to 95 degrees and above if properly watered.  We do not winter protect our plants at the nursery and they tolerate drops to 38 degrees with no ill effects.

Watering:
Moderate, more required in hot summers, can reduce watering in winter.  As with most ficus, natalensis is tolerant of being over or under watered making them ideal for beginners.

Feeding:
We use a 6 month time release fertilizer 18-6-8 with good results.

Pruning & Wiring:
Natalensis is suitable for most styles of bonsai.  It readily forms aerial roots so it works well for root over rock and other such styles.  Can be defoliated in the summer, this will cause some leaf size reduction.  We have defoliated up to two times in the summer with good results.  Wiring can be performed year round, and natalensis shoots for the most part are quite flexible.  Natalensis like other ficus tends to outgrow wiring very quickly.  Use one size heavier wire than is needed to reduce the risk of scaring branches if the wire is left on to long.

Repotting:
Repotting should be performed as needed and will be determined by the size of the pot.  We usually repot every one to two years.  Repotting can be performed from late February to late October here in south Florida.  Natalensis can be heavily root pruned, but remember to balance this with foliage pruning.

Pests:
They will occasionally get scale however not as prone as other species of ficus.  Very tolerant of pesticides, either foliar sprays or systemic.  If using a foliar spray try to use in the evening to avoid leaf drop.

Wigerts Mango Grove & Nursery
Erik Wigert

By | 2014-01-29T18:20:41+00:00 January 29th, 2014|Articles|Comments Off on Dwarf African Strangler Fig, Ficus natalesis Care Sheet

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