Introduction to the Carmona Bonsai
The Carmona Bonsai, or Fukien Tea, while originally from China, is also common in Australia, Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia. Carmona Bonsai have small, shiny, dark green leaves. On those leaves are tiny white dots on top and hairs underneath. Flowers that are small and white may appear all year round and may even produce small, yellow or red berries.
The Fukien tea tree’s scientific name is the Carmona Retusa.
Higher classification: Carmona
How to Care for Carmona Bonsai
Carmona Bonsai are indoor plants that can only be kept outside if the climate is very warm all year round. Lots of light is necessary for the plants survival. Keep the Bonsai right at window that gets the best light, typically the South facing window. The temperature that works best is around 68 degrees Fahrenheit, or 20 degrees Celsius. If it’s warm enough in your area, you may be able to place your plant outside during summer. During winter, you may face problems involving dry air. To get more humidity, you can place a tray of wet gravel underneath the plant’s pot. If you open the windows in the wintertime, be sure your Bonsai is not exposed to the cold or frosty air.
When watering your Fukien Tea, keep in mind it is crucial you don’t over -water but also don’t under-water the plant. This Bonsai does not respond well to droughts or to wet soil. Water the plant generously as the soil gets dry, being sure not to let excess water stand on the soil.
As this Bonsai’s roots are very sensitive, you should use a solid, organic fertilizer. Carefully measured liquid fertilizer may also be used, but only on damp soil. Fertilize the Carmona often from spring to autumn, but less during winter.
The Carmona Bonsai can be pruned easily and regular trimming is good for maximizing dense branch structure and tree growth. Young shoots are easier to trim because they are flexible and tender. Older, mature branches and twigs are brittle and hard, so you must be careful when bending these branches and you need to use the appropriate tools for such.
Younger shoots are also easier to wire because they are flexible and tender. Wiring your Bonsai is not a necessity and is not required, and should be done carefully. It is recommended not to wire your Bonsai for longer than three months consecutively as this will scar the tree’s trunk.
Popular Training Techniques
Once a new shoot, or branch, has 6 to 8 leaves, cut it back to 2 to 3 leaves. By starting early in the Bonsai’s life, it is quite easy to shape it without having to wire it. However, you could also wire the tree throughout the year but not wire the new shoots until they are strong enough. This way, you can style your bonsai in an upright style with a curved trunk that gets narrower at the top and branches shaped out and towards the back.
Repot your Carmona Bonsai every two years in the early spring. Do such with great care, though, as this plant does not take the loss of its roots very well. This process will be done easiest if you have the right soil with Akadama and Pumice in it. To learn more about the best bonsai soils, check out our bonsai soil page here, or you can see our recommendation for Carmona Bonsai soil here.
Propagation and cloning
Propagation of Fukien Bonsai can be done from seeds or cuttings. To plant from a seed, simply remove the outer coating of the fruit and plant in bonsai soil. One to four weeks later, seedlings will appear. Cuttings should be planted in spring or summer in the shade to allow for a healthy root system to grow.
Getting a Carmona
The Carmona Bonsai tree we recommend is Brussel’s Bonsai Live Fukien Tea Indoor Bonsai Tree. This is a 6 year old, 6″ to 10″ tall tree with a tray included. To check it out on Amazon.com, click here.
Pests and diseases
Some common pests that can hurt your Carmona Bonsai are whiteflies, spider mites, and scale. There are a few steps you can take if you see these pests. First, the short term solution, is to get an insecticide stick or spray and push it into the soil. However, for better, long term results, humidity and light should improve. Watering your Carmona with hard water can cause the leaves to get chlorosis. To treat this, use an iron fertilizer. Also, some rare fungal diseases may occur through wounds on the tree. Branches, or even the entire tree can be killed. Clean tools and cut-paste can be used to treat fresh wounds.
While it may take some work, taking care of a Carmona Bonsai tree can be a rewarding, beautiful experience. If your Carmona is indoors, be sure it always has enough light, and if it is outdoors in a warm climate, that the weather is warm enough all year round. Be sure to water your tree just right, not too much or too little, and fertilize however much it needs depending on the time of year. There are many different pruning and wiring techniques you can try to make your Bonsai as healthy (and beautiful!) as you’d like. Repot once every two years with great care and clone your Bonsai to grow more Bonsai. With proper care, pests and diseases are not something to worry about a lot, but there are solutions to many problems if one does occur. Enjoy your Carmona Bonsai!