This species, originating from Asia, is not the easiest to look after but it can oddly make a perfect bonsai tree for beginners! In this guide I have pieced together all the information you’re going to need to successfully keep a Fukien Tea bonsai tree thriving all year round!
The Fukien tea species thrives living indoors in a hot, humid and well lit climate, whether this be in a conservatory or just on the side of the window. It can make sure a stunning bonsai as it is so easy to shape the foliage into a really aesthetic ball shape, as seen by many bonsai of this species. In high levels of humidity, usually hard to reproduce for beginners, it can produce lovely white flowers.
1. Watering Your Fukien Tea Bonsai
The watering routine for the Fukien Tea is extremely simple, making it the perfect tree to add to any bonsai collection. During the summer months, you’ll want to keep this tree very well watered for the best growing conditions and the best chance of improving flowering. If you’re interested in knowing exactly when and how to water your bonsai
, I published an article you might find useful!
As a general rule, push your finger about an inch or so into the top soil of the bonsai pot to feel for moisture. If the soil is moist but not really wet, this is the perfect time to water your tree. Pour water over the soil, preferably rain water but tap water will still get good results. Keep watering until water is running nicely out of the drainage holes, wait a minute or two then repeat the process once more.
The frequency of when to water will change year round but it should be significantly less in the winter months, than in the summer. Checking your bonsai soil regularly and listening to the tree more is the perfect way to ensure the optimum growing conditions are met.
I learned a helpful tip from this Bonsai basics book on Amazon
, which I would highly recommend! It’s to occasionally, during the spring and summer, put your bonsai pot submerged into a bowl of water every so often, as this is said to get the best growth out of the tree and ensure it’s well watered.
2. Growing Conditions & Sunlight
The Fukien Tea (Carmona), are primarily indoor bonsai trees and will grow best in a warm, sunny climate. They respond extremely well to warmth and a LOT of sunlight, as much as possible! They can actually be a bit of a nightmare to look after in the respect that they really don’t thrive in shaded or darker conditions, making it hard to cultivate effectively in some countries around the world.
Should you want to, this species can live outdoors during the hottest months of summer but make sure you are regularly watering and misting the foliage as this will dry out the soil very fast. As the days start cooling down, bring the Fukien tea back indoors and position it where it can get a high amount of sunlight and warmth. It’s important not to keep moving this tree around though as it doesn’t respond too well to having to adjust to differing climates and conditions.
3. Pruning Your Fukien Tea Bonsai
This species tends to grow foliage very tightly, leading to the inside leaves not being able to get enough sunlight – commonly causing them to turn soft and yellow. For optimum growth and health for the tree, prune the branches all year round when you feel necessary, in order to allow oxygen and sunlight to the most inside, hidden leaves.
Although the fact this tree tends to grow quite compact can be annoying and require relatively regular pruning, it can provide a very nice ‘ball shaped’ tree. As needed, pinch buds and leaves that are ruining the aesthetics of your tree, to bring it back to the desired look. The Fukien Tree species of bonsai can tolerate this extremely well and it’s very unlikely to see any sort of negative response from just a routine pruning. For more information about this, feel free to have a look at my guide explaining exactly how to prune a bonsai tree, step by step.
Luckily repotting this species is very simple and can easily be done successfully by a bonsai owner with any level of experience. Typically this needs to be undertaken about every two to three years as the Fukien Tea tree isn’t the fastest grower. The best time of year to repot this bonsai will be during the spring months. Ensure that you use a bonsai soil mix that contains some organic material like this one on amazon, for the best results!
For the next one to two weeks after repotting your Fukien bonsai tree, you’ll need to keep constantly checking on the soils moisture levels as over-watering at this point could be detrimental to the newly trimmed root mass. By limiting, but not starving the tree of watering, the trimmed roots are going to be forced to start searching for more water, causing healthy grow and rooting the tree firmly into the soil.
Compared to a lot of indoor bonsai, the feeding requirements for the Fukien Tea Bonsai are extremely simple but definitely shouldn’t be overlooked. During spring and summer when the tree is growing nicely, you’ll need to provide it a feed low in nitrogen every few weeks. This feed should be stopped during the winter as the tree won’t be growing and producing new buds.
Quick Tips For Caring For A Fukien Tea Bonsai
Watering – Keep this bonsai tree well watered all through the growing season, and just moist in winter. Spray flowers occasionally too.
Growing Conditions – Grow this species indoors with as much sunlight as you can, with a nice level of high heat and humidity alongside for the best growth and flowering.
Pruning – Prune all year round as you see fit, the tree will respond very well.
Repotting – Repot every two or three years, in the spring time, using a soil mixture with organic components.
Fertilizing – During growing periods use a lower nitrogen content feed, then no feed at all during colder months where no growth is taking place.