Fukien Tea Bonsai
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Carmona Microphylla also known as Fukien tea is a great material for bonsai. With naturally small leaves and even more beautiful small white flowers the tree is loved by bonsai lovers all around the world.
Fukien tea can be grown both as an indoor bonsai as well as an outdoor bonsai, but is mostly grown inside.
If you plan to keep your bonsai indoors, then place it on a window sill which receives good amount of sunlight for at least 5 to 6 hours a day. During the winter days, bring your Fukien tea out in the sun for some time, but protect it from frost and cold winds. Avoid over watering your Fukien tea bonsai, at the same time do not keep it too dry either. Over watering will lead to discoloration of the foliage and will also make it more susceptible to insect and fungal attack.
While the plant is in its growing season, use fertilizers at an interval of fifteen days. Apply fertilizers during the evening time after the plant has been watered. This is a good practice and can be followed with all your bonsai plants. Once the plant is in its dormant season do not use fertilizers so often. Once in a month should suffice for the winter days.
Since Fukien tea has very small leaves, it will not be too demanding on you for carrying out pruning activities. Start pruning new shoots once you find more than 10 leaves appearing.
Fukien tea is most suitable for broom and literati style, although you can grow it for any style you want. They grown predominantly in a vertical direction, hence you would need to keep the apex of the tree under control by carrying out constant pruning and nipping activities. It has stiff branches, hence always wire your Fukien tea just before the new growth hardens, this should ideally be during the late spring season. Take special care while wiring, as the stiffness of the branches makes them prone to breakage.
Repot your Fukien tea bonsai once every 2 to 3 years, during the start of the spring season. After repotting do not keep the bonsai under direct sunlight, and also reduce water, this will promote new growth. Cut back the root balls to 1/3 rd of their existing size before planting it again.
Choose a good quality free draining soil for your Fukien tea. For best results choose a soil mix with equal percentage of organic and inorganic materials. If you are planning to get you Fukien tea from an existing tree, then grafting or air layering would be a great way to do it. Alternatively you can also grow it directly from seeds.
With proper care and attention Fukien tea bonsai would be a great addition to any bonsai collection. With its beautiful small leaves, white flowers and red fruits, it is a great sight for the observers.
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