Ann1e
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Fulkien Tree Question

My little tree seems to be putting out new shoots and seems healthy. But the one thing I noticed on this 15 year old tree (I was told this age when I bought it) is that the leaves are getting much larger. When I bought it, the leaves were very small and now they are bigger. Is this normal? I have done nothing to it except water it about every 4 days and have occasionally used a grow light which is for the orchids but does get on the bonsai as well. The tree is in the west window, which is shaded by trees but it does get good light. I have seen a rare flower on it. How large are the leaves supposed to be? Some are 3/4 to an inch in length and they used to be about 1/4 inch.
Ann1e from Connecticut

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bonsaiboy
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This is probably normal. When plants are exposed to low levels of light, they tend to increase the size of there leafs. Also, it could be getting to much fertilizer. How often do you fertilize?
הדמיון הוא יותר חשוב מאשר ידע

alexinoklahoma
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Re: Fulkien Tree Question

Ann1e wrote: The tree is in the west window, which is shaded by trees but it does get good light.
Kind of an oxymoron statement there, IMO. Is it possible that tree is getting less light now (on average) than it was over last few years+? Are the outside trees shading that window more nowadays than when you got the Fukien? Possibly its at low-end of acceptable where lighting is concerned??

Also, have you repotted into a bigger less-restraining pot lately? Going to a bigger pot can allow more 'free' growth (and larger leaves while doing so as a result)...

Just guessing...
Alex

Ann1e
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Bonsai Folkien Tree question

I have not fertilized the tree or done anything at all to it except to set it in the window on a little stool and water it every 4 days or so. I was told when I bought it a month or so ago, that I should not let it get dry and should not fertilize it and should not repot it for a couple of years. I bought it at the Big E fair. I was told that it should not get any sun......just light. This tree gets afternoon sun for a little while and once the trees outside lose their leaves, it will get more light. The grow light comes from the side and not the top.. it flourescent and is mounted on the edge of a bookcase shelf. It did not occur to me that the leaves were getting larger from lack of light. I am brand new to bonsai.

I have a blue spruce bonsai outdoors that is having problems with squirrels digging in the dirt and displacing the moss... but that's another problem.
Ann1e from Connecticut

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Gnome
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Ann1e,

Light levels can be difficult to quantify without specialized equipment. What appears to be bright to your eye may not be sufficient. If you have not already seen these links you should check them out. Opinions vary on how much light this species requires/tolerates. The third link in particular implies that they can do well with more light.

I also wonder about the advice about not fertilizing. Beginners sometimes over-fertilize so perhaps the vendor was concerned about that but to say 'not to fertilize' is not correct either.

https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Carmona.html
https://www.bonsaihunk.us/info/FukienTea.html
https://www.bonsai-bci.com/species/fukien.html

Norm

Ann1e
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Bonsai Folkien Tree question

I was under the impression that the seller of the tea tree had put in fertilizer .....possibly the pellet type as he was insistent that it not be fertilized for at least a year. I just found a link to the seller which is fuyangfang@yahoo.com on a sheet that came with the bonsai. For all I know, he may be a member of this site. I took the tree off the little stool to see if it gets more light on the shelf rather than on the stool. I do mist the leaves at once daily. I live in CT so I have to keep it away from the radiators during the late Fall and Winter. It is green and putting out shoots so it seems healthy. I took some pictures and later I'll try to put them on the site so you can see it. I have a south window over the kitchen sink but I was afraid that it would be too close to the window during the winter.
Ann1e from Connecticut

kdodds
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Besides the fertilizer and low light, this may be a perfectly normal maturation for the Fukien Tea. I've yet to see a mature one with ¼" leaves, with leave closer to 1" being pretty normal. Mine, which is only a starter, really, has never had leaves as small as you're saying yours was. Are ALL of the leaves getting larger, or just the new ones?

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Gnome
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Ann1e,
I was under the impression that the seller of the tea tree had put in fertilizer .....possibly the pellet type as he was insistent that it not be fertilized for at least a year.
OK, that explains it. I just did not want you to think that somehow this tree did not require fertilization.

Norm

Ann1e
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Folkien tea tree

When I bought this folkien tea tree, it was covered with tiny leaves about 1/4 inch in size. Some of them dropped off as it was getting used to my house and then the leaves... all of them began to get larger. I am assuming that this tree came from a greenhouse and so received a lot of light. My west window is well lighted but not like a greenhouse would be. It has put out several long shoots that I have not cut back because I wanted to leave the tree alone for a little while. The leaves are shiny green and seem healthy. I have few South windows but have one that is shaded by a stained glass window and am wondering if the light there would be better. I have an east window in the kitchen but there is a radiator underneath it. In early morning and after dark ...while I am still up, I turn on the flourescent light but do not leave it on all night. I guess my answer is that large leaves on this tree are normal.
Ann1e from Connecticut

kdodds
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Mine is in a south facing greenhouse window, open to the top, east, and west as well. Even here, the full grown leaves are, as yours are, about 3/4".

BEEMERW
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My Fukien is only a few yesrs old and the new leaves are small, but they grow to be sometimes a good half an inch long. Real hearty. I have to ask, what do these flowers look like? Barbara
BARBARA MARTIN

Ann1e
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Folkien tea tree

I now have a new question. All along, this little tree has been dropping leaves... some that are older but also some that are newer and green. I noticed a few of them are folded and some have little bumps on them........not really that noticable. The little bumps are part of the leaf and not an addition by some sort of bug. I do not see anything "eating" the leaves and nothing flying around the tree or any white mold like stuff on the tree. I am not sure what if anything I should do or what type of spray I might use. The tree still has many leaves but is it normal to lose leaves every day? By the way, the light is now better..now that the leaves outside have fallen. The tree looks healthy but I'm not sure if it is ok. Ann
Ann1e from Connecticut

BEEMERW
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I have a leaf in front of me. the whitish "bumps" are nothing to worry about. The Fukien tea has hairlike structures on the leaf. if you pull off a leaf and look at it. The back is smooth. the front , when touching forward has an odd bumpy feeling. now go backwards lightly...and you can feel the hairs. Now the yellow leaves can be too little or too much water. Fukiens hold water...so you should water it inside every week to week and a half. The best way to check if it is dry is not from just the top. check in the soil. feel the top, if that is wet, do not touch. If it is dry, Dig a little by the tree to see if it is dry deeper. If it is not very moist, you will know, water. Now what color are your flowers? Barb
BARBARA MARTIN

Ann1e
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Folkien tea tree

I have been watering the tree about twice a week because I was told not to let it dry out and to keep it moist. Now that the heat is on, the air is drier. Its funny about the flowers....they never seem to open. A few that did, were white or pale yellow. Now I have lots of buds but they don't open, they seem to dry out and fall off before opening. I have only seen one or two that opened when I first bought the plant. I have also misted the tree at least once a day, sometimes twice. I have it on a revolving tray with another bonsai (a money tree)and a couple of orchids, so I change its position by turning the tray. Ann
Ann1e from Connecticut

kdodds
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Are the dropping leaves towards the inside of the tree or under the canopy? I've noticed that Fukien tea trees are pretty fastidious about shedding leaves that are not useful. On the flowers, I've had that too, especially with immature trees. But, with older trees I've noticed that lack of light and/or dryness will cause flowers to wither without ever having opened. Mine is in a southward greenhouse window that also opens to the east and west (and above), and is currently flowering quite a bit and producing berries.

Ann1e
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Folkien tea tree

When I get up in the morning I see leaves that have dropped. Also when I mist the tree, leaves drop......mostly from the inside of the tree. They are not yellow, and they seem quite healthy. And yet the tree is quite full of leaves. I think this tree is about 15 years old.....or so I was told. I was also told to keep it out of the sun but your greenhouse window sounds like your tree gets lots of sun. My tree is in a West window and I wonder if I should move it to a south window over my kitchen sink. I have one brighter west window but it has a radiator under it and now the heat is on. And I like to keep it where I can look at it. In the evening and in the early morning I also use a plant light near it.

The money tree is also on the same tray and I am now noticing that the leaf edges are turning dry and brown. So not enough moisture may be a problem for both. Ann
Ann1e from Connecticut

kdodds
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Could be moisture. I would not worry too much about a Fukien tea tree shedding its inner leaves. If they're not getting enough light to photosynthesize, they're just extraneous decoration. Life has a way of (mostly only) supporting those parts of an organism that serve a functional purpose to offset the part's energy consumption. IOW, Fukien tea trees, IME, are pretty good about shedding leaves that are not required, not photosynthesizing or respiring in accordance with their energy consumption.

Ann1e
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Folkien Tee Tree - new problem

I am noticing that the tea tree and the money tree may be infected with something. I am seeing chewed edges of the leaves on the tea tree and holes and brown edges on the money tree. I don't see any other symptoms. I don't see any type of flying "bugs" on them I would like to know how I should treat them and/or what type of spray I could use on them. I have been misting them at least once daily now that the heat is on thinking that maybe they were just suffering from dry air. Ann Snow
Ann1e from Connecticut

kdodds
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Chewed edges would suggest a predator of some sort, usually caterpillars or worms. Have you checked the undersides of the leaves?

Ann1e
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Folkien Tee Tree - new problem

I have checked the undersides of the leaves and don't see anything. I do notice that some leaves are folded but when I open them, I don't see anything. The only other clue is that some leaves hang by a "thread" before falling off. The entire tea tree, taken as a whole, looks pretty healthy. I am thinking that maybe it is spider mites or something.

The money tree was in a bonsai container on my patio table - that had been outside with bonsai dirt in it but no plant.......before I brought it in and planted the money tree in it. It may be that whatever is eating the money tree is also eating the tea tree. I don't think it is worms as the dirt is not disturbed and I don't think its mold as I don't see any white spots in the dirt. I don't see anything like a worm or anything that would chew the leaves.

I was thinking about going to a garden store for a spray to see what happens but I don't know what spray would be ok for these little plants.
Ann1e from Connecticut

kdodds
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You might want to try the "dish detergent" insecticide first. I believe this also work on spider mites. The problem with many commercial insecticides is that they're real rough on bonsai. Even the "plant safde", "garden safe" plant insecticides can effect some trees adversely. For instance, one brand I used turned my Grewia's leaves paper-thin and semi-transparent before they slowly turned yellow and fell off. The tree lived, but it might not have just as easily. I've lost Sageretias and Ehretias (Fukien Tea) to such insecticides, and others as well.

Ann1e
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Bonsai Folkien Tree question

I am not sure what you mean by a "dish detergent" insecticide. I have added a few drops of dish detergent in the water that I use to mist my plants. A friend suggested a horticultural oil ........whatever that is. I am new to bonsai and just don't want to do the wrong thing and kill them.
Ann1e from Connecticut

kdodds
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Neem Oil is probably the oil you're talking about. If the dish detergent method hasn't worked, that would be the next thing I'd try.

Ann1e
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Bonsai Folkien Tree question

I just went out and bought some oil spray and sprayed the two bonsais with it. There were several folded leaves and some flowers just hanging by a "thread" which fell off. Hopefully this will work. Thank you.
Ann1e from Connecticut

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applestar
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One pest that is often missed is scale insects. They camo themselves as little brown bumps that really look like they're part of the plant anatomy, especially on woody plants. They "glue" themselves on with waxy material so that they don't easily come off either, sometimes even scraped with edge of your nail.
They suck so much juice that new leaves yellow, curl, dry up and die. :mad:

I once lost a culinary bay plant because I didn't realize they had scale until it was COVERED with it -- they were pretending to be brown bumps on woody parts and green bumps on younger growth. :roll: The young green nymphs are actually mobile, then they settle and glue themselves down.

Usual method of eradication is rubbing alcohol on cotton swabs.

Ann1e
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Folkien Tee Tree - still trying

About 2 weeks ago I sprayed the two bonsai plants with horticultural oil. Tea tree is still dropping leaves. I had been watering it in the sink with the sink spray..very lightly... but stopped because it dropped so many leaves that way. But watering it with a small watering can made it lose dirt over the sides. Finally the nursery gave me a little moss to put just on the edges of the planter so that the dirt wouldn't wash away. The spray may have hurt the plant as some leaves have turned brown on the edges. I used All Seasons Horticultural plant oil. Now I am just hoping that it will be ok and I have it on a rotating tray because if I move it leaves fall off. Will the moss help or hurt it?
Ann1e from Connecticut

kdodds
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IME, Fukien tea tolerate pesticides and anything that might "smother" their leaves pretty poorly. However, they usually do come through it, maybe a little more "bald", but they do come through. The best thing to do is what you have been doing, watering the leaves. Couple of tips, though. First, most people use a watering can with the spray holes facing down. This is the wrong way to use it for bonsai as you've found that it has a tendency to push away the soil. If you're doing it this way, turn the spray end up. This will allow for a much more gentle spray. Second, no matter how soft your water is, it's going to have some "pollutants". Nothing dilutes more quickly or better than, pure water. So, you might want to either use distilled water or RO water for the "leaf washing". I would not worry about it "stripping minerals" from the soil at this point since you'll only do it a few times and you likely already have a good deal of mineral buildup from using tap water anyway.

Ann1e
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Folkien Tee Tree - still trying

Thanks for the tips. I had been using filtered water from the faucet but I think I'll get some distilled water. Plant is holding its own so far......... but is not putting out shoots or flowers.
Ann1e from Connecticut

kdodds
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It's not unusual for indoor trees to go into semi-dormant periods in the winter where growth is slow to nonexistent.

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