The Green Island Ficus – Ficus microcarpa, [FY-kus my-kro-KAR-puh] is a slow-growing plant that belongs to the fig family Moraceae.
The Ficus microcarpa, also known as the ‘Ficus Nana plant’ with its glossy leaves, is different and known for its smaller size and more ‘friendly’ root system.
I remember first being introduced to this Ficus in South Florida during the plant craze of the late 1970s. In 2001, the Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association (FNGLA) recognized the Green Island Ficus as the ‘Plant of the Year.’
In this article, In this article, we’ll dive deep into everything to know about green island ficus care.
- Green Island Ficus Plant Care
- How to Propagate Ficus Microcarpa ‘Green Island’
- Ficus Microcarpa Pests or Disease Problems
- Suggested Uses For The Ficus Island Microcarpa
Green Island Ficus Plant Care
With a quick glance at this Ficus variety with glossy, deep green leaves, one could mistake the plant for a jade plant at home in a tropical garden.
Ficus Green Island Size and Growth
In its native regions, Ficus microcarpa green island can reach over 20′ feet tall with a massive canopy.
The selected varieties commonly sold and cultivated in North America are a little smaller, reaching 8′ feet tall if left unattended.
The green island Ficus plant is typically grown as a ficus bush, a low hedge, or as a ground cover. The shape is managed by pruning to keep the Ficus at the desired height.
Some people keep it trimmed from an early age to maintain it as a small Ficus nana bonsai tree.
The Ficus microcarpa features dense green foliage with small, rounded leaves. The glossy foliage is often used to help complement surrounding plants with a tropical garden feel.
As a shrub, the Ficus green island is a slow grower, which makes it easy to manage. However, the root system tends to spread quickly, which is why it shouldn’t be planted close to other vegetation or structures.
Flowering and Fragrance
The ficus microcarpa ‘green island’ plant rarely flowers. It’s grown for its dense, deep green glossy leaves, offering shade or helping to establish a perimeter.
Light and Temperature
One of the notable ficus microcarpa benefits is that it is relatively easy to grow in warm, humid regions like South Florida. However, it requires a little more patience in cooler areas.
The ficus is a tropical plant and thrives in warm, humid locations. It’s recommended for USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11.
In areas with dry or cool weather, the Ficus green island should be grown indoors or moved indoors in the fall.
Outdoors, this plant should receive full sun to partial shade but can grow well in bright light.
Ficus microcarpa plant can handle full sun and is recommended in regions with high humidity levels, while part shade is preferred for drier areas, helping the soil retain more moisture.
When placed indoors, ensure the ficus green island bonsai gets plenty of light throughout the day.
Consider setting it on an enclosed porch, as the large glass windows often help trap in more humidity compared to the rest of the house.
Green Island Plant: Watering and Feeding
This Ficus variety is a low maintenance shrub that doesn’t require frequent watering except when young.
Until mature, water two to three times per week throughout the warmer months. Fertilizer isn’t needed.
After the plant matures, it only needs infrequent watering, about once every one or two weeks.
Give it a deep, thorough watering, saturating the soil without completely drowning the plant. Ficus nana is more drought-tolerant than other Ficus varieties.
Soil and Transplanting
Use ordinary houseplant soil with good drainage. The island Ficus is low maintenance and an easy plant to grow. It tends to take root in almost any condition unless the air is too dry or cool.
If the plant is grown in a container throughout the year, transplant it every two years to freshen the soil or if it outgrows its home.
Transplant ficus microcarpa ‘green island’ in the early spring before active growth starts.
Green Island Ficus Bonsai
Maintenance and Grooming
Caring for a Ficus Microcarpa bonsai requires attention to detail and proper techniques for shaping and styling.
When planted in large containers and planters, the green ficus plant becomes an attractive bush when pruned for shape.
Grooming is the main maintenance task, and dead branches should be removed to encourage denser growth.
Always use sharp pruning tools and trim throughout the year as needed.
TIP: Remove dead branches to encourage denser growth.
But remember to wear gloves because parts of the ficus esmeralda plant, especially the milky sap, contain toxins that can cause skin irritation.
How to Propagate Ficus Microcarpa ‘Green Island’
The ficus microcarpa propagation is possible with root cuttings, which spread quickly, often reaching several feet so they can be divided and separated to spread the plant or grow new plants.
The roots can be divided and separated to spread the plant or grow new plants.
Take a cutting from a younger plant, dip it in root hormone, and plant it in its own four-inch starter container.
Don’t cover it with plastic. Simply set it near a window and keep it watered.
Within a few weeks, the cutting should take root, becoming its own new plant.
Ficus esmeralda can then be transplanted to the ground or kept in the container as a small bonsai.
Ficus Microcarpa Pests or Disease Problems
Microcarpa is easy to care for, with no major pests or disease problems to worry about.
However, mealybugs and scale insect pests do set up residence on the underside of leaves and along leaf axils.
Inspect plants for pests and apply Neem oil for control.
Suggested Uses For The Ficus Island Microcarpa
Island Ficus is best grown as a low hedge in the landscape, a foundation shrub, or a small Ficus bonsai plant.
You can create a beautiful green island ficus hedge by planting multiple plants together.
The green island fig bonsai grows easily indoors or outdoors as a small houseplant. When planted in large containers and planters, it makes an attractive bush when pruned for shape.
When grown from cuttings, it’s easy to keep trimmed as a small bonsai tree.
Other ficus nana plant benefits include acting as a natural humidifier, releasing moisture into the air, and improving the overall humidity level in the room.
Your Ficus Island Microcarpa will also look beautiful for decks, a patio, a fence, and canopies around the porch.