General Information:

The Fukien Tea is an evergreen tree named after the southeastern Chinese province of Fukien (Fuijan) where it originates. Fukien Teas are a very popular Bonsai variety with small dark-green shiny leaves that grow in dense clumps. It has a light brown bark that forms a cracked, fissured appearance that adds the look of age to the tree. The Fukien Tea produces small white flowers throughout the growing season. It can be grown outdoors in warm climates, but is quite popular as an indoor Bonsai.


Fukien Teas are primarily indoor trees but can be put outside during the summer. When inside, place your Fukien Tea in good light out of direct sunlight and/or direct afternoon summer sun. Fukien Teas need only one hour of full sun a day. Temperatures should be maintained between 59° - 77° F. Fukien Teas do not like temperatures below 60° but can handle dips into the 40s with no ill effects. Use a humidity tray to keep moisture levels up. If you’d like your Fukien Tea to go outside for the summer, make it a gradual transition and don’t let it get too cold (below 60° F). Protect it from direct afternoon sun – direct morning sun is great.


The more sunlight and warmth your Bonsai receives, the more often it will need water. More Bonsai die due to improper watering than any other cause. Check your Bonsai daily by sticking your finger into the soil. The Fukien, like the Ficus, likes the soil to become a bit dry between watering. Do not water the tree if the soil is damp or cool. Fukien Teas generally need to be watered every couple of days, but there is no set schedule. When the topsoil feels dry, water thoroughly and deeply. An old Bonsai watering trick is to place the entire pot in a sink of water an inch or two deep. Let the water absorb from the holes in the bottom of the pot. An inexpensive moisture meter takes the guesswork out of watering. We sell them.


Leaves want humidity to keep them green and healthy. Any time your tree is inside, the air is very dry. Mist often during the day. Frequent misting will discourage spider mites. Avoid putting your Bonsai near a draft or vent, which dries out the foliage. A humidity tray is a great way to increase humidity. These shallow trays filled with small stones have water in the bottom of the tray. Make sure the water does not reach the bottom of the Bonsai pot. As the water evaporates, it creates a moister environment.


Fertilizing a Bonsai is essential to its health because nutrients in the soil are washed away with each watering. Fertilizer is like vitamins and minerals for a plant. When new growth appears in the spring, it’s time to start feeding your Bonsai. Use an organic liquid fertilizer or a chemical fertilizer diluted to one half strength. In early spring use a fertilizer with higher phosphorus content. In late fall switch to a fertilizer with a higher potassium content and lower nitrogen content. Do NOT use Miracid. Most Bonsai should be fertilized once or twice per month during the growing season and once a month in the winter. Water your tree BEFORE fertilizing. DO NOT FERTILIZE A WEAK OR FRESHLY REPOTTED TREE! This will cause stress to the tree by burning the roots.


To keep a Bonsai miniature, it needs to be trimmed and pruned as new growth appears. Prune all new growth to 3 or 4 leaves per branch once 7 or 8 leaves have formed. Never remove all the new growth at one time. As long as the tree is healthy, you can perform a hard pruning at any time. Shape is determined by the overall look that you want to achieve. Sit at eye level with your Bonsai tree and use Bonsai trimming shears. Your cuts should be smooth or slightly concave so the wound will heal quickly. If the cut surface is brown, add pruning paint to the surface.


Fukien Teas have a very dense habit and can be pruned to shape without much need for wiring. If you do wire, do it in the spring and summer. Use the thinnest training wire that will hold the branch in the desired position. DO NOT WIRE A BONSAI JUST AFTER REPOTTING. Wind the training wire in the direction the branch is bent in order to keep the wire from loosening. Wrapping the wire too tightly will cause scarring. Wrap just tight enough to get the job done. Begin at the base of the Bonsai tree and slowly wrap the wire around the trunk to anchor. Continue along the branch you wish to train. Repeat the process as needed. Wire should not be left on over three months. To remove, cut the wire carefully from the branch. DO NOT UNWIND WIRES. This could cause the branch to break.


A Bonsai should be repotted periodically to supply the plant with fresh soil. When the roots can be seen growing out the sides of the Bonsai container…it’s time. For most Fukien Teas, this occurs every 2-3 years in early spring. Use a good, loose Bonsai soil mix. After repotting, water thoroughly. DO NOT FERTILIZE FOR 3-4 WEEKS.

Insects and Diseases:

Aphids LOVE Fukien Teas. These are teeny white/yellow insects that appear suddenly, spread quickly and leave sticky stuff everywhere. The best way to get rid of Aphids on a Fukien Tea is to knock them off with a strong spray of water - the kitchen sink vegatable sprayer in ideal. Cover the surface of the soil with a rag or paper towels to keep the soil and gravel from washing away and spray thoroughly, making sure you get the uderside of the leaves where these bastards live. Throw away the paper towel and repeat in a few days or a week if necessary. Insects such as aphids, spider mites, scale, and root aphids are common Bonsai pests. Fukien Teas are a special treat for red spider mites. However, Fukien are sensitive to insecticides. Use the weakest insecticide possible and at half the dilution rate when addressing a particular pest, or employ predator insects when possible. DO NOT SPRAY WHEN SOIL IS DRY.

Like the Ficus, the Fukien is prone to root rot if the soil remains wet too long. If you notice the color of the leaves turning yellow, the soil is getting too much water. Under watering will cause the leaves to drop.

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