shilkman
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Another Fukien Tea tree failure!?

I have a Fukien Tea tree which sits in its own humidity tray at about 60degF and under a daylight fluorescent lamp for about 10 hours each day. After I got it the leaves started to droop and dried up despite daily spraying and some started to drop. I put a polythene bag over it and the leaves perked up and I got some small but new growth including flowers on it, but when I removed the bag for a few days it wilted again and lost leaves. Now I have tried to let it grow without the bag but leaf drop has continued and now I have only a couple of very small but new leaves and one new flower. I have repotted it in case the soil was the culprit but the soil it was in looked okay on reflection. Now it sits there with no foliage but clearly still alive as the wood is still green underneath. What will happen next!??


Regards

kdodds
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Well, unless conditions change that do NOT promote the failure of the tree, it's a fair bet that the tree will continue to fail. What is the ambient humidity? Much under 50% and you're going to have a very hard time keeping Fukien Teas, Sweet Plums, Serissas, and Elms, the big four in failure indoors.

shilkman
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[quote="kdodds"]Well, unless conditions change that do NOT promote the failure of the tree, it's a fair bet that the tree will continue to fail. What is the ambient humidity? Much under 50% and you're going to have a very hard time keeping Fukien Teas, Sweet Plums, Serissas, and Elms, the big four in failure indoors.[/quote]

I thought the Fukien WAS an indoor tree! Anyway the RH at the tree is 65% most of the time.

kdodds
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I'm not talking about "relative" or "at the tree", I'm talking about actual ambient humidity as measured by an hygrometer within 1 meter of the tree. THAT needs to be around 50% consistently, not when the hygrometer is set on or near the pot or tray. As well, Carmona/Ehretia needs a fair amount of light, so unless it's in a southern window, that may be an issue. Fukien Tea maybe be an "indoor" tree in northern climates, but it is one of those species LEAST suited to being kept indoors.

shilkman
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Well the only thing I have to measure humidity with is a hygrometer which measure RH. This measures the room RH as 50% on average but in the vicinity of the humidity tray / tree its usually round about 60%. It sounds like the tree will only survive in the polythene bag conditions I created for it which will no doubt push the RH well up as well as the ambient temperature and thus its hopeless in a typical UK house environment. Although the garden centres that sell them seem to make them survive okay before they sell them. I had one before and put it on a south facing windowsill indoors but it got a lot of constant sun in the summer which dried out the leaves and it suffered a demise too. So sounds like I should give up on this family of tree?

Regards

kdodds
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Not necessarily "give up" completely, but I'd definitely consider getting some more experience under my belt with easier trees.

FWIW, a household humidty of 50% is truly unnaturally high. Most households are barely 30% (summer) and can be even worse in winter. I find it hard to imagine your household is maintained at 50% and suspect your hygrometer may be wrong.

Garden centers, nureseries, etc., don't have problems keeping these trees because they're kept (properly anyway) in greenhouses or similar locations with automatic or frequent manual misting and watering.

Barring humidity being a problem, the next culprit would be lack of light.

I wish I could give you an easy recipe for Fukien care, or for saving ailing/failing Fukiens. But, I can't, and I don't know anyone who can, really, as these really are finicky trees. I've one know that I obtained not too long ago. It seems to be doing quite well where it is, but I haven't done anything to or with it yet either. I can tell you that it gets a night time temp drop of around 10ºF, has a pretty stable humidity around 50% or slightly higher (house is whole-house controlled at 40%), and sits in a south/east/west facing greenhouse window.

If not Fukien, then what? Well, Portulacaria afra and Ficus are great choices for first trees, though I'd stay clear of "Ginseng" Ficus.

linlaoboo
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That's what I did after killing a couple of my own. The last one was kept alive for was 2 years and it had its share of struggles in the winter with the heat on at all times.

I wonder if I have a faulty meter, it's one of those digital ones and these days it's averaging 50 to 70% RH.
shilkman wrote:Well the only thing I have to measure humidity with is a hygrometer which measure RH. This measures the room RH as 50% on average but in the vicinity of the humidity tray / tree its usually round about 60%. It sounds like the tree will only survive in the polythene bag conditions I created for it which will no doubt push the RH well up as well as the ambient temperature and thus its hopeless in a typical UK house environment. Although the garden centres that sell them seem to make them survive okay before they sell them. I had one before and put it on a south facing windowsill indoors but it got a lot of constant sun in the summer which dried out the leaves and it suffered a demise too. So sounds like I should give up on this family of tree?

Regards
ficus, maple, elm, juniper, pine

shilkman
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kdodds wrote:Not necessarily "give up" completely, but I'd definitely consider getting some more experience under my belt with easier trees.

FWIW, a household humidty of 50% is truly unnaturally high. Most households are barely 30% (summer) and can be even worse in winter. I find it hard to imagine your household is maintained at 50% and suspect your hygrometer may be wrong.

Garden centers, nureseries, etc., don't have problems keeping these trees because they're kept (properly anyway) in greenhouses or similar locations with automatic or frequent manual misting and watering.

Barring humidity being a problem, the next culprit would be lack of light.

I wish I could give you an easy recipe for Fukien care, or for saving ailing/failing Fukiens. But, I can't, and I don't know anyone who can, really, as these really are finicky trees. I've one know that I obtained not too long ago. It seems to be doing quite well where it is, but I haven't done anything to or with it yet either. I can tell you that it gets a night time temp drop of around 10ºF, has a pretty stable humidity around 50% or slightly higher (house is whole-house controlled at 40%), and sits in a south/east/west facing greenhouse window.

If not Fukien, then what? Well, Portulacaria afra and Ficus are great choices for first trees, though I'd stay clear of "Ginseng" Ficus.
I have got other trees Chinese Elm etc and up to speed on keeping those going but the Fukien is quite a challenge. I've had a Portulacaria too. But if a tree has to be kept "tented" to keep it alive then that is not very pleasing to the eye. As regards humidity remember this is a UK environment and I would expect RH to be higher than perhaps the US. Anyway I will try it "tented" on the south facing windowsill again and see how it behaves...nothing more to lose.

Regards

kdodds
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LOL, yeah ol' gloomy UK. Though, if you've forced-air heating and a/c then I don't suspect it matters much where you live. I haven't read any country-specific data, just that that "normal" humidity levels run around 30% or lower without adjusting hardware, and even lower in the winter. If you're not getting condensation and icing on the interior of your windows during the winter, then it is FAR more likely that your household humidity is 20% or less in the winter. I, personally, get condensation on all non-dual pane windows.

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