Essential Facts about the Fukien Tea Bonsai
The Fukien Tea bonsai originates from Southern China, in the Fujien province. It is characterized with small dark green leaves that are covered with hairs. The tree also has a light brown bark that tends to crack as it matures. However, the most fascinating feature of this tree is its lovely small flowers that turn to tiny dark berries, although this is only typical with small-leaf varieties of the Fukien Tea.
The tree is not tolerant with temperate climates, so it must be grown indoors. Keep in mind, though, that the Fukien Tree can be quite a challenge to grow since it dislikes sudden changes in light and temperature. Nevertheless, those who prefer to take on the challenge of caring for this bonsai tree specie will realize that their efforts are worth it because of its striking beauty.
While the tree is best kept indoors, it still needs regular exposure to direct sunlight at least for an hour. According to bonsai specialists, the perfect time of the day to take the plant outdoors is in the morning or late afternoon since the rays of the sun are not too harsh unlike at noontime. In case you plan to leave the plant indoors, you should choose a spot beside the window that faces the south or west. If you place the plant in an area that is facing the north or east, then you will need to provide it with artificial light for at least 10 hours daily.
You need to make sure that the soil is kept a little moist to somewhat dry regularly. Soil that remains constantly wet will cause the plant’s roots to rot. On the other hand, soil that is too dry will result to dropping and shriveled leaves. In addition, prolonged dryness of soil will make the leaves turn black, limp and eventually fall off its branches. When this happens, you should keep the soil a bit moist to ensure the growth of replacement leaves.
You need to feed the Fukien Tea every other week beginning spring until autumn. When winter comes, you may reduce the feeding schedule to once a month. It is ideal that you use half-strength fertilizer for your plant to boost its growth, but make sure you do not overfeed it to prevent serious consequences to the plant. Moreover, weekly feeding can lead to success, as long as the fertilizer strength remains diluted.
Mealybugs are the common enemies of the Fukien Tea. These pests are white and fluffy in appearance, and they are commonly found on new branches at the base portion of the leaves. Aside from mealybugs, red spider mites may serve as a threat to the plant’s health. There are also root mealy bugs that target the plant’s roots, so it is difficult to see these insects unless you are repotting the tree. If you want to get rid of these pests, you may use insecticides to eliminate them completely. However, you need to follow package directions before using an insecticide to prevent any damages to your plant as you protect it from pesky insects.