Ficus religiosa
Common Name: sacred bo tree 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Moraceae
Native Range: India, Sri Lanka
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 60.00 to 100.00 feet
Spread: 60.00 to 100.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Green
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-12 where it grows well in average, moist, well-drained soils in full sun. As a container plant, it is best grown in a soil-based potting mix. Site indoors in bright indirect light or in part shade with protection from afternoon sun. Water regularly during the growing season. Avoid overwatering. Reduce watering from fall to late winter.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ficus religiosa, commonly called bo tree, Bodhi tree, peepul and sacred fig, is native to Southeast Asia, southwest China, India and the Himalayan foothills. It is a large broadleaf evergreen tree with wide-spreading branching that grows to 60-100’ tall. Over time, the trunk may grow to as much as 9' in diameter. In native monsoon climates, this tree is semi-deciduous to deciduous. It is epiphytic. Tree seed (often deposited by birds) may germinate in upper tree crevices, producing dangling, non-parasitic, aerial roots that grow to the ground, root in the soil and produce trunks. Figs that begin as epiphytes are often generally called Banyans (although the Banyan name is sometimes used only for Ficus benghalensis). Bo tree develops an attractive pale gray bark. Ovate-rounded, glossy, dark green leaves (to 7" long) are cordate with distinctive, extremely narrow, elongated tips. In its native habitat, the fruits of this tree (globular figs to 1/2” diameter) appear solitary or in pairs, emerging green but ripening to purple. Bo tree is sacred to followers of Buddhism and Hinduism because Guatama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, reportedly sat under such a tree (known as the Bodhi tree) when he received enlightenment (bodhi). The oldest plant in the world of known planting date is the Ficus religiosa tree called Sri Maha Bodhi which was planted at the temple at Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, in 288 B. C. Today the bo tree is revered as a symbol for prosperity, happiness, good fortune and long life.

Genus name comes from the Latin name for Ficus carica the edible fig.

Specific epithet means sacred or with religious connections.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

This tree is sometimes grown in frost-free areas as an ornamental shade tree. It may be grown in the St. Louis area as a container plant. Bonsai.