Fukien Tea Won't Send Shoots

DrTolhur

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I got a Fukien tea last spring, and it was understandably stressed from shipping. So I gave it the full year and most of this spring to get its act together, but it's still not creating any shoots. It's got lots of foliage, but no tender green shoots. All of the leaves are growing directly out of these woody nubs. And you can see that they're almost stacking on top of each other. I'm in zone 5, and it lives outside with probably ¾ sun. I just can't figure out how to get it to actually send out shoots so I can have any kind of design. It's basically static at this point.
 

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DrTolhur

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What do you mean by that, Forsoothe? Are Fukien tea not usually long-term trees?

I did actually repot it last spring, though, and it seems no worse for wear. No plans to repot soon.
 

SWfloirda

Shohin
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Mine doesn’t grow much either. It’s alive, gets flowers and stays green and full. But it hardly ever has noticeable new growth.
 

Forsoothe!

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They are problematic. There are no male plants, only females, and they are all temperamental and finicky.
 

penumbra

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One of mine is just waking up and sending new shoots. It is a small plant but shoots can get quite long.
The other I have is still sleeping but healthy. I expect new shoots soon.
I did kill one two years ago.
Best of luck with yours. I have no wisdom to share. It does seem they prefer deeper pots.
 

DrTolhur

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Cadillactaste, that's actually what's making it so frustrating. It looks perfectly healthy and happy, but it refuses to grow shoots. Per a suggestion from somewhere else, I have been watering it once per week with water that had a banana peel soaking in it. Otherwise, generally watering it once per day with tap water.
 

penumbra

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My get a liquid fertilizer about twice a month.
 
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what's the humidity like where you are? Fukien tea is tropical and like some humidity, I would say at least around 50 percent. Look closely for new shoots growing somewhere like out of the tips of a branch or one of those 'nubs'. Those woody nubs were shoots that were pruned at one point and it looks like growth came forth. I'm not sure if its the photo lighting but your leaves look slightly lighter green than you would expect. Idk about banana peel but you can buy a ten dollar ph reader and check the acidity of your water and adjust it if you have to. Could also be a iron shortage i think(anyone knowledgeable on this?), which is fixed with iron supplement via fertilizer. Also, make sure its not getting too much sun i suppose, I have read many different opinions on how much light they need on here but i believe if they are outside they don't like more than an hour or two of direct sunlight each day. Too much could theoretically have caused yours to go dormant like some plants do in the heat of summer. On the other hand I see your in Michigan so not too far from Canada, so they also don't like cold temps below 60 degrees F. In montreal, mine sits inside by a window, 10 inches behind glass, that gets morning sun from about 8 to noon when its not cloudy, which seems to be about half the time in the fall/winter where I am. I also have a small led grow light that I put on in the afternoon, sometimes full day. I have a humidifier that keeps the room around 50-55 percent humidity and I water about every 2-3 days(when the top inch of soil dries out a bit, i just touch the top and gauge the moisture/bounciness of the soil to the touch to avoid packing the soil down and decreasing drainage), in summer Ill just open the window if its above 20 Celsius. I feed every two weeks in growing season, every 4-6 weeks in winter/when its not growing, with solid fertilizer (15-30-15) (its solid but u mix it with water so idk what that makes it)that I got from the shop who sold it to me, but if yours isn't growing I don't think you're supposed to fertilize it.
 

DrTolhur

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Thanks for the input, Mitchell. I actually noticed maybe 2 months ago that it was sending out two shoots. (Man, they get stiff really fast.) They were unfortunately, though probably not surprisingly, at the top, which is where I don't want new growth. As such, I pruned off the top section to try to force it to send any growth energy to other locations where I need more branching. We'll see if it responds.

To answer more directly some of your points:
- My latitude is just a little south of yours.
- In the summer, it is outside with nearly full sun, but it's not usually more than around 80ºF/27ºC. So I don't know if that could be affecting it.
- Once it starts cooling off notably overnight in the autumn, it comes indoors for the winter. It sits on a table next to a south-facing window, so it gets maybe 4 hours of sun there.
- In the summer, outdoor humidity is pretty much always over 50% here. It sits on a humidity tray inside.
- I don't think those woody nubs were shoots. I think they're just like a callus/build-up from the tree putting out leaves in the same spot without branches. They seem to get larger without any shoots.
- I'm no expert, but I think the colour of the leaves is good. A couple will get pale and fall off here and there, but they're a rich green for the most part.
 
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Thanks for the input, Mitchell. I actually noticed maybe 2 months ago that it was sending out two shoots. (Man, they get stiff really fast.) They were unfortunately, though probably not surprisingly, at the top, which is where I don't want new growth. As such, I pruned off the top section to try to force it to send any growth energy to other locations where I need more branching. We'll see if it responds.

To answer more directly some of your points:
- My latitude is just a little south of yours.
- In the summer, it is outside with nearly full sun, but it's not usually more than around 80ºF/27ºC. So I don't know if that could be affecting it.
- Once it starts cooling off notably overnight in the autumn, it comes indoors for the winter. It sits on a table next to a south-facing window, so it gets maybe 4 hours of sun there.
- In the summer, outdoor humidity is pretty much always over 50% here. It sits on a humidity tray inside.
- I don't think those woody nubs were shoots. I think they're just like a callus/build-up from the tree putting out leaves in the same spot without branches. They seem to get larger without any shoots.
- I'm no expert, but I think the colour of the leaves is good. A couple will get pale and fall off here and there, but they're a rich green for the most part.
Hey! That sounds like good progress with the new shoots, glad to hear it seems to do well outside in this climate, I was thinking it was just the angle in the sun in that photo that made them look light green because the plant looks pretty damn healthy overall. Thanks for letting me know about the nubs, perhaps you are right, although on mine I have seen some nubs with new shoots, mainly near the ends of the branches. Good to hear though! Thanks for the update.
 

Arnold

Omono
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Pretty cool for living in Canada 😂 that nice substrate its the key to the health, they come in an awful mud usually die from that
 
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