What is a Fukien tea tree? You don’t hear about this little tree unless you’re into bonsai. The Fukien tea tree (Carmona retusa or Ehretia microphylla) is a tropical evergreen shrub that is a popular choice as a bonsai. While Fukien tea tree pruning is a challenge, the tree also makes a fun houseplant.
For more information about Fukien tea tree bonsais, including Fukien tea tree care, read on. We’ll also tell you how to grow a Fukien tea tree as a houseplant.
What is a Fukien Tea Tree?
This small evergreen comes from the Fukien province in the Chinese tropics. It is partial to warm winters, which means that it is happy as a houseplant in non-tropical areas. However, Fukien tea tree care is easy to get wrong, so this tree won’t do for those who tend to forget watering or plant care.
One look at the tree may be enough to convince you to give it a try. It offers small, shiny forest green leaves with tiny white freckles on them. They are set off nicely with the delicate snowy flowers that can blossom most of the year and develop into yellow berries. The trunk of this little plant is a rich mahogany color.
How to Grow a Fukien Tea Tree
This little tree can only be grown outdoors in very warm areas. It prefers a temperature of between 50- and 75-degrees F. (10-24 C.) year round, which is one reason it works well as a houseplant. On the other hand, the Fukien tea tree needs lots of sun and humidity.
Its soil should be kept consistently moist but never wet. Don’t ever allow the root ball to dry out completely.
Don’t place the Fukien tea tree in a window with direct midday sunlight. It will dry out too easily. Place it in a bright window instead. In regions with warm summers, the tree will do well outside as long as you protect it from scorching.
Fukien Tea Tree Bonsai
The Fukien tea tree is very popular for bonsai. It is small to begin with and readily develops an attractive and thick knotted trunk. Other good attributes for bonsai are the fact that it is evergreen, regularly in flower, and has naturally small leaves.
However, it isn’t one of the easiest trees to sculpt into a bonsai. Fukien tea tree pruning is considered a delicate matter that should only be undertaken by someone with bonsai expertise and experience. It is well worth the trouble, though, as it can grow into a beautiful and graceful bonsai, which makes a perfect gift for those having that special bonsai pruning touch.