Willow Leaf Fig - Ficus neriifolia regularis (salicifolia)
General Information: Ficus salicifolia, also
known as ficus neriifolia regularis, willow leaf fig,
and narrow leaf fig, amongst others, is an evergreen
tropical species of fig which originated in Indonesia.
Its light to dark gray trunk thickens well and aerial
roots develop from the trunk and branches in humid shady
environments. The leaves are alternate, dark green,
simple, lanceolate, one to three inches long and only a
half inch to three quarters of an inch wide. New leaves
are bronze to pinkish in color and usually curl to the
right or to the left and straighten as they mature.
Flowering and fruiting is
Available from general purpose nurseries in South
Florida and from bonsai nurseries throughout the
country. It is easily propagated by cuttings of about
any size taken in the summer. Specimens with large
trunks can be potted into very shallow containers
because all of the roots can be removed. Shortly after
potting it will develop an
entirely new set of roots. Sudden changes in
light or temperature may shock the ficus into shedding
its leaves but new ones will develop shortly. During the
interim, avoid over watering. Ficus salicifolia has been
given many names over the years, however "Salicifolia"
is the one which seems most universally accepted at
present. But, by whatever name it is called, it is
excellent material for nearly any style of bonsai.
Lighting: The ficus will grow in deep shade
to full sun. For best results in reducing the leaf and
internode size, grow in full or nearly full sun.
Temperature: The tree is not cold hardy and
must be protected from frost and freezing weather.
Watering: Water regularly and never let the soil dry out
Feeding: Feed frequently, but lightly, with a
well balanced fertilizer year round.
Pruning and wiring: Pruning and wiring can be
done anytime and pinching must be constant throughout
the year to maintain its shape. It tends to exhibit
lateral branch dominance which means the side branches
have to be kept in check to avoid weakening the central
Repotting: Ficus salicifolia is best repotted
in the warm weather. Its roots grow so rapidly that it
may need repotting twice a year. It will grow in almost
any soil, but prefers a porous, well drained, and
slightly acid mixture.
Pests and diseases: It is subject to spider
mites, mealy bugs and various scale insects.