Fukien Tea tree round two

Last fall I ordered a little Fukien Tea tree stick in a pot off of Amazon.com to try to train as bonsai. Everyone in the bonsai world seems to acknowledge that it’s a hard tree to take care of, especially outside of its natural climate. Mine was doing all right for a while, even putting out several shoots of new growth, until I decided to repot. I removed too many roots I think and didn’t give it time to recover before trying to move it to another pot where I thought the roots would have a little more space to grow.

Yesterday I went to my local nursery for some pots and more Diamond Pro calcined clay. I was also looking for a Chinese Elm, but the few that they had did not look very appealing. They had several Fukien teas and I decided to try my hand at taking care of one again. Of course this one is much older and established than my little cutting in a pot. I think that even with the generic mallsai s-curve, this one has potential to look interesting.


The nursery had it potted in a mixture of turface, haydite, and pine bark fines. The ratio was way out of whack with much too many pine bark fines in the mix. It was probably convenient for the nursery, since it would mean they wouldn’t have to water as much. I pulled it out of the pot and trimmed the roots a bit. It was relatively pot bound with a couple feet of roots wrapped around the wall of the pot. I put it in a mixture of Diamond Pro, diatomaceous earth, lava rock, granite grit, and pine bark. There’s no science behind the specific mix, I was more of less just trying to get rid of excess aggregates left over from the previous soils I had experimented with. I think the tree will like this soil much more than the stuff from the the nursery. The Diamond Pro makes a top dressing as well.



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Charles Willis


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