How to Care for a Fukien Tea Bonsai
The Fukien tea is a popular bonsai tree that is a member of the Borage family. With dark shiny leaves and white delicate flowers this versatile bonsai blends well in most settings whether they are placed indoors or outside in warm weather. The tree is named after the Fukien province in China where it originates. The most important aspects of care to focus on are proper watering and adequate pest control for this variety.
Keep the Fukien tea tree indoors if it is cooler than 60 degrees F outside.
Set your Fukien Tea in partial light indoors, preferably in a windowsill that has a west or northwest exposure. Move the tree into direct sunlight for one hour each morning.
Move the tree outside during the summer when the temperature is above 60 degrees F, keep the tree in direct morning light and partial light after noon.
Spray a light mist of water onto the leaves of the tree once every three hours during the day except during the winter. Reduce misting to once every six hours throughout the winter months. Keep the tree away from drafts and vents.
Fill a shallow bowl or tray with small pebbles and water in the bottom of the tray. Set the tray next to the tree.
Probe the soil around the base of the tree every day by sticking a finger into the soil. If the soil is damp or cool wait to water it until it becomes dry or warm.
Fertilize the bonsai when you notice the development of new growth in the spring. Dilute the fertilizer to half strength and apply it to the soil twice a month, and once a month during the winter.
Prune new shoots after seven leaves have grown. Make smooth concave cuts with bonsai trimming shears as you prune. Coat cuts with pruning paint if they look dark brown. Reduce misting or watering to a winter schedule for a week.
Repot the tree every other March with a basic bonsai soil mix. Water the tree thoroughly and avoid fertilizing for a month.
Spray aphids off of your tree with a strong stream of water, look under the leaves for hiding aphids. Before you spray, cover the soil at the base of the tree with paper towels. When you have finished discard the towels. If you must use pesticides, select the weakest insecticide available and dilute it to half strength.
- Select fertilizers with high phosphorus contents in spring. In the fall use fertilizers with high potassium content and low nitrogen content. Predator insects are preferable over the use of pesticides.
- Water your tree prior to fertilizing and never fertilize weak or recently potted tree. Do not use Miracid fertilizer and avoid using pesticides on dry soil.
- Plant mister
- Shallow tray
- Small pebbles
- Organic liquid fertilizer
- Bonsai trimming shears
- Pruning paint
- Bonsai soil mix
- Assorted pots
- Paper towels
- Weak pesticides or predator insects