Carmona Bonsai Care guidelines
The Fukien Tea is traditionally an indoor Bonsai, but it can be kept outside in very warm climates. It requires a lot of natural light so it should be placed right next to a window where it gets the best light. It thrives in temperatures around 70 °F (20 °C) so be sure not to allow the temperature to drop much lower. If the climate permits, you can place your Carmona outside during the summer months as long as the nights are warm enough. Winter months can be a bit more tricky. There are limited hours of daylight and heating systems produce dry air which does affect the tree. To account for winter conditions you can use a plant lamp for light. To regulate humidity fill a large tray with wet gravel or foamed clay and place it under the pot. If you open the windows during the winter months, make sure the Fukien Tea is not exposed to cold or frosty air.
It is critical to keep the Fukien tea tree moist, but be careful not to overwater because a constant wet soil can also harm it. Ignore labels stating your Carmona needs watering every day, you need to water on observation. Water your tree generously as soon as the soil surface gets dry, but it must not be left in excess water. Continue reading about watering Bonsai trees.
WateringFree lecture from the Beginners Course
Solid organic fertilizer works well for the Fukien Tea Bonsai due to its sensitive roots. Liquid fertilizers can also be used in carefully measured dosage and only on moist soil. Feed the tree well from spring to autumn, following the directions for use, and less often during winter.
The Fukien tea tree handles pruning very well, and regular trimming will make the tree grow dense branch structures. Young shoots are tender and flexible so they are easy to trim or wire. Mature twigs and branches are hard and brittle, so use appropriate tools for pruning and be gentle when you want to wire and bend them. Continue reading about pruning Bonsai trees.
Repot the Fukien Tea tree every two years early in the springtime. Because of its sensitive root system, root pruning must be done with care. Be sure, to use a soil mixture that both drains well and retains moisture because the Fukien Tea tree is sensitive to drought and excess wetness. Use a mixture of Akadama with a little humus and pumice. Continue reading about repotting Bonsai trees.
Use seeds or cuttings in summer.
Under inadequate conditions, the Carmona Bonsai can suffer from spider mites, scale, and whiteflies. Using insecticide sticks or insecticide sprays helps, but for long-term success, it's important to provide plenty of natural light and the right amount of humidity. Watering with hard water can cause the leaves to show signs of chlorosis. Treat chlorosis with iron fertilizer. In rare cases, fungal diseases can enter through fresh wounds. They can kill single branches and even the whole tree. Make sure to use clean tools and treat all fresh wounds with cut-paste. For more detailed information on these techniques, check out our Bonsai tree care section.
Carmona bonsai tree
Leaves of the Carmona
Fukien tea bonsai
Large Fukien tea bonsai (Carmona)
Young carmona bonsai
General information about the Carmona Bonsai tree
The Fukien Tea (Carmona microphylla) is the only species of the genus Carmona and belongs to the Boraginaceae plant family. The subtropical evergreen shrub is native to parts of Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Australia, but its popular name comes from its place of origin, Fukien or Fujian, China.
In nature the Fukien tea can become up to 3 m tall and develops a greyish-beige fissured bark. The small leathery dark green leaves have little white hairs on their glossy surface and the tip is notched or dented. Flowers can appear all year round. They are star-shaped, white and small and grow in clusters of two to six on short stems. The fruit are round and turn red when they ripen. They have a diameter of 4 to 6 mm and contain a stone core with up to four seeds.
In China, Fukien Tea bonsai trees are very popular for Penjing and in western countries, it is often an indoor bonsai tree. If you need help identifying your tree, take a look at our Bonsai tree identification guide.