Scientifically known as Ficus benghalensis, Banyan is the national tree of India. The name banyan comes from a Gujarati word banya which means a merchant. In the earlier days business was conducted under the shade of this tree perhaps that's how the name came to be.
Although common in India as an outdoor plant, it can be grown as a houseplant too.
Try not change their location once planted. The plant does not like sudden changes, if you need to move it then do it gradually.
Plant it where it will receive indirect sunlight for several hours in a day but make sure to shelter it from the hot afternoon rays. The plant prefers warm even temperatures throughout the year.
The flowers are negligent. The tree is mainly known for its foliage and large canopy. It does have small fruits which produce seeds.
Water when the soil starts to feel dry. While watering, make sure that it is enough to reach the end of the roots but also be careful that there is no water-logging. If it is growing indoors then spray the leaves too.
The leaves may turn yellow, dry up and drop if it is watered very irregularly. Prune the tree in early summer.
As a houseplant banyan prefers moderately moist but well-drained soil. Mix in agricultural pumice and organic matter while re-planting.
The tree can eventually grow up to a 100 feet. It spreads to a large area too especially with the aerial roots. But the size can be controlled by constantly replanting every two to three years.
Liquid fertilizers with a balanced nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium content will work best. Fertilize once in the beginning of summer and twice in winter. Fertilize every two weeks during the growing season.
It is fairly resistant to pests and diseases. However, the plant can get weak by lack of sufficient light and get infested with scale or mites. An insecticide should be used in such conditions but also make sure to improve the plant's living conditions.
The tree looks very grand and provides shade.
Different parts of the plant have various medicinal properties. Leaf buds can be used as an infusion to cure dysentery and chronic diarrhea. Aerial root of the tree can be used in keeping teeth and gum healthy. Latex from the bark of the tree can be used to treat skin conditions like bruises and sores.