Fukien tea tree bonsai – Carmona retusa- to grow easily


Fukien tea tree bonsai, can make your garden really awesome. This ever green tropical plant ( Botanical name: Carmona retusa ), is very common in the southern as well as the south-eastern parts of Asia.

Also the Fukien tea tree has got a number of medicinal properties. Therefore it is widely used in many parts of the world for the treatment of diseases. Especially for stomach ailments, skin diseases etc. Likewise, the herbal tea made with the leaves and fruits of Fukien tea tree, is very popular.

The Fukien tea tree bonsai with fruits

Usually the plant grows up to a height of about four to five metres. We can grow it as a shrub or tree in our garden, which is ideal for landscaping and hedging. We can also keep it in our balcony or indoors, because the plant can thrive in any sunny location.

Though the plant is originally from the Fukien ( Penjing ) province of China, it has become the favourite of bonsai lovers all over the world. The plant has got many characteristic features, that are the basic requirements of ideal bonsai trees. Given below are a few examples:

Features

Conspicuous trunk

fukin tea tree
The trunk of a mature Fukien tea tree bonsai

The greyish thick trunk, with lots of lumps as well as small cavities, makes the bonsai really amazing.

Moreover it is quite easier to train the plant, to any of the required bonsai styles. With timely  pruning, proper wiring etc. you can definitely make a wonderful bonsai with this plant.  

Attractive leaves

Small dark green shiny leaves with hair like structures on the surface, is another attractive feature of the plant. Usually, the size of the leaves remain as such, though the plant gets older.

Beautiful flowers of the Fukien tea tree bonsai

Star like white flowers.

The Fukien tea tree plants bloom throughout the year, with beautiful star like white flowers.

Mostly there will be two or three flowers in each bunch, that looks fantastic amidst the dark green shiny leaves.

Fruits in different colours

fukin tea tree fruits
Fruits of the Fukien tea tree bonsai

Another attraction, of the plant, is the small round fruits. On ripening, the colour of these fruits changes gradually, from green to orange and finally to red. 

How to grow a Fukien tea tree bonsai

The Fukien tea tree is one of the most suitable plants for making bonsai in tropical regions, preferably in India. The plant can adapt well, to the particular climatic conditions.
Also, it is one of the best plants for bonsai beginners.

Fukien tea tree is not really fast growing, like certain other tropical bonsai trees. But the plant responds favourably to the different stages of training. For this reason, we can use it for making bonsai, in any of the required styles.

Informal upright style
Informal upright style fukin tea tree

Let us see the simple tips for growing a Fukien tea tree bonsai

Propagation of the Fukien tea tree bonsai

We can use stem cuttings for the propagation, preferably those with a length of about six inches. Always remember to collect stem cuttings, from mature mother plants, that are not having any kind of diseases.

Using seeds, collected from well dried ripe fruits of the plant, is also fine. But it takes a much longer period for your bonsai, to reach the required growth.

You can also buy saplings, directly from nurseries or sellers. In addition to saplings, it is easy for you to buy the bonsai plants from Amazon.

Rooting the stem cuttings

 Saplings grown from stem cuttings
Saplings grown from stem cuttings Fukin tea tree

With the simple tips given below, you can easily grow your bonsai from stem cuttings.
For this, first make a medium by mixing together equal quantities of river sand, crushed bricks and garden soil. Then fill ¾ of an ordinary terracotta pot with this.
After that, plant the cutting in it, about three inches deep.
Keep the pot in shade, and water moderately on a regular basis. New leaves begin to sprout after two to three weeks.

Let the plant remain in the same pot, for a few more weeks.

Repotting the Fukien tea tree bonsai to training pot

After the plant starts branching out well, we can transfer it to a training pot. A shallow terracotta pot with sufficient holes for drainage, is good. First, cover the holes with a piece of wire mesh and fill the pot with the growing medium. You can prepare the medium by mixing ingredients in the following ratio:

River sand 30%
Crushed bricks25%
Mixture of compost, neem seed powder and bone meal20%
Coco peat15%
Garden soil 10%

Fill 3/4 of the pot with the above mixture. Then, take the rooted sapling out of the pot carefully, without causing any damage to the roots. After that, plant the sapling in the training pot.

Keep the pot in shade for a few days, and finally move it to bright indirect sunlight.

Pinching and pruning

Through pinching, you can remove the unnecessary buds of your plant. In addition, timely pruning is essential to remove all the extra branches. For this, you can use a sharp knife or cutting shears.

Wiring

Surely you can use soft and flexible aluminum or copper wires for this. But you should take extreme care while bending the branches, because it has the tendency to break easily.

Water the plant regularly, or at intervals as and when the top soil becomes dry, which you can check with your fingers.
Moreover, feed your bonsai with any diluted liquid fertiliser, preferably every four to six weeks. Because it is one of the most essential things required for a bonsai, in its growing stage.

Never forget to give proper caring to your plant, during the training period.

The Fukien tea tree bonsai plants
The Fukien tea tree bonsai plants

Repotting your Fukien tea tree bonsai

For the healthy growth, repot your bonsai every two or three years.
For this, take the plant out of the pot along with soil, and remove about 30% of the roots using a sharp knife or scissors. Then replant your bonsai in a fresh potting medium, prepared in the same combination as stated above.
For a few years of careful training, your plant will become a beautiful bonsai.

Fukien tea tree bonsai ( twin trunk ) in an original bonsai pot

Finally, transfer the plant to an original bonsai pot, that really gives an aesthetic look to your bonsai.
You can read from here, the simple steps for transferring your plant to the bonsai pot.