19 September 2010

Fujian Tea, Fukien Tea, Philippine Tea, Poor Man’s Tea,

Fujian Tea, Fukien Tea, Philippine Tea, Poor Man’s Tea

Once known as Carmona microphylla,
renamed Ehretia buxifolia or Ehretia microphylla
teens love to give
their Moms a
"Fuken" Tea

A Fukien Tea Bonsai is an ideal choice as an indoor bonsai plant. The Fujian Tea may not be the best choice if you are a beginner, but an experienced bonsai enthusiast will enjoy the challenge.

The Fukien Tea is a tropical evergreen tree that is native to the Fujian Province in China. Fukien Tea bonsai imports from China have become very popular.

Flowers and foliage of a
Fukien Tea Tree
(''Carmona'') bonsai
By Sage Ross

The tree produces shiny dark green leaves and miniature white flowers in the summer which eventually turn to small tomato shaped green changing to orange then to red berries.

tomato shaped green changing
to orange then to red berries.

Keep Ehretia microphylla outdoors as long as possible and bring them in when the nighttime lows are below 50º F. Good air circulation is vital indoors. Indoors select a well lit area and warm spot. The more sunlight the tree receives the smaller the leaves will grow and if the tree does not receive the proper amount of sunlight, it will not produce flowers or berries. The Fujian Tea is relatively pest free in an open outdoor location. Indoors check regularly for pests. These trees are susceptible to scale, aphids and mealy bugs. Indoors there are no natural predators, like lady bugs to keep pests under control, so it will be up to you to deal with the pests yourself. Fukien Tea is sensitive to pesticides. Fukien tea prefers a humid environment. To create a more humid environment, place a tray filled with very small stones or gravel and fill with water and place the pot on top of the stones making sure that the water does not wick into the soil.

Ehretia is relatively pest free
 in an open outdoor location.
Train the Fujian Tea using “clip-and-grow” methods, trim frequently and use little wire. New shoots emerge from the base of leaf stalks after pruning. The most popular styles are broom, literati and cascade. There is a “Small leaf” variety is slow to develop a trunk, but bears tiny red fruit prolifically and a “medium leaf” variety develops a bulky trunk more quickly.

Keep moist but be careful not to overwater. Use a good well draining soil. Fukien Tea likes to be evenly moist, not soaking wet. It prefers some organic matter in the soil mix. Root bound Ehretia can deteriorate quickly. Root prune and repot in early summer when the nighttime lows are above 50º F and daytime highs are above 90º F

Sometimes seedlings sprout
under the mother plant.

The Fujian Tea is easy to start from seed. Allow the ripe fruit to dry in the sun to a small hard seed. Propagate Fukien tea from fresh seed or stem cuttings. Remove the moist coating from the fruit, and plant in moist bonsai soil. Within a short time small seedlings will emerge. Sometimes seedlings sprout under the mother plant. Seedlings are excellent for Penjing or forest plantings. Grow the seedlings for a year, and then start shaping them. There is no such thing as "bonsai seed". The packs of seed marked as such, are just ordinary tree seeds that can be grown into a bonsai. They are a good source of tree seeds when none are locally available.

Cuttings and air layers are also good methods to propagate Ehretia.

 Fukien tea will make you
 “feel young and slim”.


  1. Is it Wax Malphigia aka Fuken tree. I too grow them here in India. Have an mid size Umbrella shaped Bonsai n one in informal uprt style. Lovely Pic

  2. Wax Malphigia would be a new name to me. Do you know the scientific name? It could be the same I like it!

  3. Very good site you have created. I enjoyed this posting and it is a beautiful bonsai plant, really I liked these tree. Thanks a lot!

  4. My wife is from the Philippines. Needless to say, our Fukien Tea bonsai is hers -- but I am the one who gets to work on it.

  5. Great site... thanks for sharing.

    If Fukien tea doesn't respond well to pesticides, how do I get rid of my aphids and scale insects?

    Louis :-(

    1. Water with dawn! Soapy water is the best gardening tool against scale. It suffocates & kills the scale allowing you to easily wipe them off.

  6. A physical assault: Squish the aphids and scrape the scale

  7. my fukien bonsai is dying, i think the ants are the reason. and also the pot have no drainage so im planning to repot it. what do you think? any suggetion

  8. how does it give seeds, my fujian is not giving seeds



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