Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bo Tree, Sacred Fig, Bodhi Tree, Pipal, Peepul, Bo-Tree Fig
Ficus religiosa

Family: Moraceae (mor-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ficus (FY-kus) (Info)
Species: religiosa (re-lij-ee-OH-suh) (Info)

Synonym:Urostigma religiosum

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

16 members have or want this plant for trade.

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over 40 ft. (12 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
By simple layering

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By palmbob
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By Monocromatico
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There are a total of 29 photos.
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8 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive mommystuff On Feb 4, 2014, mommystuff from Sarasota, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I planted this tree from a small specimen in a one gallon pot about a year and a half ago and it is now over 20' tall. It is crazy! It is obviously thriving where it is, but I am wondering if I can cut the top off so that I can keep it smaller. I had no idea it would grow so large, so fast. Any experience with "topping off" this tree?

Positive na76 On Mar 27, 2012, na76 from Winter Park, FL wrote:

I've had success with getting about 20 bodhi seeds to sprout in summer of 2011, all seedlings are still alive and about 5-6" tall. Also have successfully taken cuttings from a large tree at Marie Selby in Sarasota. I've also purchased plants online, roughly 6, and only 1 is having difficulty with yellowing leaves. All are being grown for bonsai.

In Florida, full size trees can be found at Disney World Animal Kingdom, in 'Asia', and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota. A beautiful bodhi bonsai can be found at the James J. Smith Bonsai Garden at Heathcote Botanical Gardens in Fort Pierce.

Overall, the cultural and historical significance of the ficus religiosa/bodhi is more interesting than the tree in its younger form. When grown in-ground, full size, the tree takes on a magical form, especially when back lit by the sun and/or in windy weather.

Positive laughingwillow On Jul 2, 2011, laughingwillow from Englewood, FL wrote:

Gorgeous leaves and transcendent sound from the leaves rustling. I got lucky and propagated my very young Bodhi from a small branch cutting. Have never had luck with those tiny seeds.
Mother is planted in the ground near a pond, keeping the baby potted since hardiness borderline here (9b/10).
Sarasota's Selby Gardens has a great specimen by the bay. Otherwise a hard tree to find here in FL.

Positive Omoloya On Mar 21, 2011, Omoloya from Hamilton Township, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

Hello, All.
I feel like I've won the lottery: one of my ficus religiosa seeds has sprouted! It's tiny (just growing its third leaf after 6 weeks), but it looks good. Is it time to fertilize yet?

Additionally, this tree is known as "alamo" among Lukumi Yoruba people. Something about the energy of this tree is sacred, period.

July 11, 2011
The abovementioned seedling died when I tried to transplant it. In fact, I'm not sure if it was actually a F. religiosa seedling to begin with.

I received the seeds from a German purveyor through Ebay in a tiny little "ziploc" bag in the winter. Once I germinated "the impostor," I set the remaining seeds in the receptacle with their titular deity (Orisa), where they stayed for several months. When "the impostor" died, I tried again with different soil, in a different, 3" pot, singing a few songs for the Orisa of the plant.

I have subsequently germinated 3 F. religiosa seedlings (in one pot) and they look nothing like what I had before. Two of the new seedlings are rather small, but the third one, with lush, heart shaped leaves, is obviously a F. religiosa.

While I do believe that my singing and allowing the seeds to sit with the Orisa helped them germinate, I also believe that Alamo seeds have a dormancy period, which may have been overcome by sitting the seeds in a dark, "climate-controlled" environment for several months.

Finally, because these are going to be indoor trees, I would like to know about training the seedlings into bonsai. Palmbob, please respond!

Positive Suzecav On Jul 18, 2010, Suzecav from Hyde Park, NY wrote:

It is important (if you are Buddhist) to get this plant from a good dealer as a seedling, as if it gets scale, we cannot kill the scale. I have found a remedy for preventing the scale, though it caused a drastic unhappy period for my trees. A product called "Brand X" which is actually a polish for leaves, if sprayed on the leaves and stems is so slippery that the scale cannot attach. End of scale problems, though I curbed the two that had that problem immediately rather than infect other plants in my house or killing the bugs. A very good, reliable dealer from whom to buy seedlings (and it will take a while as he will only send them when they are in the best condition to be sent and when the weather is right is from :
Perry Nguyen
(514) 747-7618, (514) 268-2323Perry Nguyen
(514) 747-7618, (514) 268-2323

He has many interesting and healthy specimens and while I have had to wait for them, they have always proven to be well worth the wait!

He also has some interesting items (a new hand seeder, a new fertilizer) which he often sends as samples. I got a goodly amount of the new yearly fertilizer with my last two Bodhi seedlings but have not yet tried it as I am now asking if it would be useful on outdoor shrubs that are not throwing blooms of goodly size.

Both my earlier shipment of two Bodhi trees (now almost five feet tall) and my later shipment (now about three feet tall) are thriving. These are meant as gifts except for one which I will keep.

Positive DavidChiou On Nov 24, 2007, DavidChiou from Taipei
Taiwan wrote:

There are three ways to reproduce this tree:
Layering (recommended)

Make sure you have high temperature and humidity when reproducing it.

Also, cuttings from the Bodhi Tree that Bodhi achieved enlightened is still on earth. i.e. they have same DNA. The oldest one in Sri Lanka is the oldest alive tree recorded in human history.

Positive BayAreaTropics On Sep 23, 2006, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

A struggling one gallon plant i bought this spring is now a beautiful dense crown of leaves. A warmer than average summer has been good for it..and i can tell if it was in ground it would be a small tree or large shrub in the bay areas cool (relative) climate. Full sun and sunlight warming the soil,along with much water and some fertilizer are all thats needed. It does flutter in the breeze-a nice change from the usual stiff Ficus species.

Neutral Gustichock On Mar 13, 2006, Gustichock from Tandil
Argentina (Zone 10b) wrote:

I been longing to propagate this plant but still have no good results! I've tried cuttings since I believe we don't have the little fly or wasp that is involved in its fertilization to use its seeds.
Can anybody give me a good hint about how to make this beautiful ficus get spreaded in my city?

Neutral tcfromky On Oct 16, 2004, tcfromky from Mercer, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

In nature, the tree grows to 100 feet. Grown in pot, it can be pruned to any desired size. Leaves are heart-shaped with long, threadlike tips. As the tree grows, the soil around its base can gradually be removed to expose the top part of the root system.

Positive Monocromatico On Aug 13, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This is a sacred tree for budhists: it's said that Budha reached the illumination while meditating under a tree like this.

Despite religious purposes, this tree is a popular species used in many landscaping projects. This is a fig tree with a vigorous sculptural trunk. In oposition to other fig trees, this species have less superficial roots, meaning that it can be planted near pavements, as long as it has room for the trunk's diameter.

The leaves are triangular, with a long, caudate tip, green color with light veins. The tree usually throws away older leaves as it grows new ones, so they are constantly falling on the ground. I don't have information about the figs, but birds like them.

Likes warm temperatures, a regular watering. I've seen it planted in many kinds of soils, but it seems to preffer the acidic ones with an adiction of organic matter.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona
Bonsall, California
Hayward, California
Long Beach, California
Temecula, California
Upland, California
Boca Raton, Florida
Englewood, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Miami, Florida
Mulberry, Florida
Naples, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Saint Francisville, Louisiana
Trenton, New Jersey (2 reports)
Los Fresnos, Texas

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