by Jerry Meislik
Bob Johnston, Vietnam, asks about a new fig that he recently purchased. He wonders about the new leaves on the plant that are quite reddish in color. The fig seems to be similar to Ficus benjamina in some ways and to Ficus microcarpa in other ways. He aks if this a unique species?
There are many figs in nature that show red or bronze coloration on new leaves. This color is most obvious in plants grown outside and in bright light conditions. It is more rarely seen in plants indoors or in low light.
The red leaves are not enough to classify this as to species but the general character of the plant and the leaves indicates that it could be benjamina, microcarpa or a hybrid of the two.
In any case having new leaves showing this red color adds to the interest of this bonsai.
I have some specimens of F.virens from Thailand that are showing some red coloration that takes weeks or months to go to green.
It would be great to find a specimen whose leaves remained red to add more color to our bonsai collections.