Need urgent advice for my Fukien Tea Bonsai Tree (Carmona retusa)

tarakanj

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Hello, two days after getting my bonsai home, the leaves rapidly started turning yellow (some with white dots) and falling off. I am aware that this could happen due to overwatering, however, after regulating irrigation, it seems to be getting worse. Could it be the soil? Can anyone help?

(Please note that it is receiving a few hours of indirect sunlight so I accommodated that with an incandescent lightbulb.)

I deeply appreciate your time to answer my question
 

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Mayank

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Is the soil draining well? If you push your finger into the soil is it wet? What zone/area are you in? You can add that to your profile.
My fukien was looking pretty bad last week shedding leaves which had some white dots (although my leaves seem to have this even when healthy) and I made some soapy solution with Dawn detergent and washed the whole thing, every leaf, and it's still alive this week which is a minor miracle considering it's a Fukien!
 

HorseloverFat

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Greetings, Traveller!
Glad you found your way to the Tiny Forest. The Woody Dwarves will attempt to assist.

I know ABSOLUTELY nothing of Carmona... but others will.

I DO know that Incandescents will often throw more “heat” than “light”.. how close/what KIND of bulb/lamp are you using. I’m thinking your tree is NOT getting enough light.. I do not know if this, however is the cause of your issues... but it WILL become an issue.

🤓

Soil needs to be addressed.. I just lack SPECIFIC Fukien knowledge regarding timing/desired soil content.

Someone will know.
 

Tiki

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Fukien Tea dropping leaves after being moved? That's a feature not a bug. You're in 10b? Probably warm enough to put that thing outside so it can get some hotter and more humid weather than inside your home. They don't seem to care much for mid 70's(F) and low humidity. They like it hot and steamy, NO freezing temps.

Not sure whats going in the pot, soil looks...whats a good word? "Chunky"? Hard to tell how well its draining or if its draining at all. Lift the pot up and ensure it has some proper drainage holes, and when you water try to make sure that nearly all the soil is getting wet not just where it looks like there are fissures in the soil.

You state you have only had this for a few days now, this isnt uncommon for Fukien teas to "go through the motions" after being moved from one growing location and climate to another. They are a sun loving plant, but with more sun equals more water so somthing you need to watch for if you elect to move it to a sunnier spot is that it will dry out faster than before.

Probably couldnt hurt if you have some plant food to feed it a bit. Doesnt really matter what fertilizer you pick, something for container plants and follow the directions on the package. If you are still unsure post what you want on here and we can take a look at it.

Good luck!
 

badatusernames

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Is the soil draining well? If you push your finger into the soil is it wet? What zone/area are you in? You can add that to your profile.
My fukien was looking pretty bad last week shedding leaves which had some white dots (although my leaves seem to have this even when healthy) and I made some soapy solution with Dawn detergent and washed the whole thing, every leaf, and it's still alive this week which is a minor miracle considering it's a Fukien!

What are the white bumps indicative of? I took mine to be aphids because I swear eventually they started moving, but they were on top of the leaf, not beneath. I did the same as you and it's gotten much much better. For some reason my fukien just wants to leave no matter how badly I've abused it over the years, which is crazy because I was explicitly told at the time not to buy it by the nursery haha
 

Carol 83

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What are the white bumps indicative of? I took mine to be aphids because I swear eventually they started moving, but they were on top of the leaf, not beneath. I did the same as you and it's gotten much much better. For some reason my fukien just wants to leave no matter how badly I've abused it over the years, which is crazy because I was explicitly told at the time not to buy it by the nursery haha
It's not unusual for the leaves to have white dots, they just do. But if you saw them moving, that's a different thing..
 

badatusernames

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It's not unusual for the leaves to have white dots, they just do. But if you saw them moving, that's a different thing..

They were a bit sticky too. I couldn't figure out what could have gotten on them, but read that some infestations leave a sticky residue
 

Flowerhouse

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I got curious about the white dots report and went to look at my F'n Tea. Sure enough, white dots everywhere, all over the top surface of the leaves. But the white dots I see are hairs, and they are supposed to be there. Warmth and sunshine, as Tiki said. Give it time. When I got mine it had dropped a zillion leaves in the shipping box and continued to lose more. I monitored the situation by removing every single leaf from the soil surface and the surrounding area. The next day I counted the leaves that fell and removed them again. Each subsequent day my Tea dropped fewer leaves, until we reached a point where it seemed like a "normal" level given the limitations of care in my home.
 

JackHammer

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I had one for 11 years before i lost it after a re-potting. Yes, they drop a lot of leaves, they just turn brown, that's ok. Yours has way too much water. Let it dry out inside under a bright window if possible. Give it like 5 days before even checking the water. It seems like a long time but it likely needs it. Even if it seems bone dry, hold on for at least 5 days after that picture was taken. My gut says 7 to 10 days before the next time you would need to water it.
No need for the light bulbs. As long as it is close to a window, it will do just fine. The leaves will just be a little darker if there is less light and it won't grow quite so quickly.
The little white dots are normal, and yes, they can be a little sticky. Normally stickiness isnt too concerning. The thing to look for with the white dots are mites / mealy bugs. Those can make the leaves very sticky. My tree had mealy bugs one time and I used 50/50 rubbing alcohol / water. I misted the leaves and soaked the roots, then they went away. That was a 'hail mary'. You can see the mealey bugs moving, and they are quite disgusting.
Also, rubbing alcohol can be used to clean the leaves from any stickiness. I have never used any type of soap.
Good luck!

Edit: I just looked at dates... how is the tree doing?
 

JackHammer

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While people are talking about white dots on fukien here are a few images.

I actually looked and a fukien I picked up last month has mites. I misted the tree with 50/50 rubbing alcohol/water and just in a few hours, the size of the colony has reduced dramatically. I just found the mites yesterday.

20210613_162327.jpg20210613_162406.jpg

The little evenly spaced dots on the leaves are fine but you can see a small group of mites gathering. And then one branch is pretty covered.

I will treat them with alcohol for the next few days and I expect they will go away.

It does help that this is in growing season. This would be harder to deal with in winter.
 

Mayank

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While people are talking about white dots on fukien here are a few images.

I actually looked and a fukien I picked up last month has mites. I misted the tree with 50/50 rubbing alcohol/water and just in a few hours, the size of the colony has reduced dramatically. I just found the mites yesterday.

View attachment 380531View attachment 380532

The little evenly spaced dots on the leaves are fine but you can see a small group of mites gathering. And then one branch is pretty covered.

I will treat them with alcohol for the next few days and I expect they will go away.

It does help that this is in growing season. This would be harder to deal with in winter.
I had that last year. I thought those were aphids but whatever, it doesn't matter. I washed the whole tree with Dawn detergent suds, every leaf and branch. Next day or so, it proceeded to throw the famous "fukien (pronounce as you see fit!) fit" and dropped every single leaf (my Camelia is a drama queen). In a few weeks it grew a whole new canopy and was disease free. Until the next time........rinse and repeat.
 

Carol 83

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(my Camelia is a drama queen).
If you don't mind me asking, in what way? I seem to find myself with 3 Camellia's. I have them on the east side of the house where they get morning sun and afternoon shade. So far they are doing fine. I received one in January and just kept is inside under the lights until it could go outside. Just curious, being in Michigan, what you do with yours in winter. My apologies @tarakanj for derailing your thread.
 

Mayank

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If you don't mind me asking, in what way? I seem to find myself with 3 Camellia's. I have them on the east side of the house where they get morning sun and afternoon shade. So far they are doing fine. I received one in January and just kept is inside under the lights until it could go outside. Just curious, being in Michigan, what you do with yours in winter. My apologies @tarakanj for derailing your thread.
Every year it looks like its dead. I tried gro-lights in winter, etc, no difference. So I just let it "act" like its dead and treat it no different and it has come back 😁
 

Carol 83

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Every year it looks like its dead. I tried gro-lights in winter, etc, no difference. So I just let it "act" like its dead and treat it no different and it has come back 😁
But does it bloom? @Leo in N E Illinois suggested letting it get enough of a chill to set the buds, then bring it inside.
 

JackHammer

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I had that last year. I thought those were aphids but whatever, it doesn't matter. I washed the whole tree with Dawn detergent suds, every leaf and branch. Next day or so, it proceeded to throw the famous "fukien (pronounce as you see fit!) fit" and dropped every single leaf (my Camelia is a drama queen). In a few weeks it grew a whole new canopy and was disease free. Until the next time........rinse and repeat.
Could be aphids. I went out today and they are mostly gone. I don't like the soap because of the changes to the ph.
Mine have dropped leaves but they never look sick when they do it. They are just growing replacements.
 

JackHammer

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But does it bloom? @Leo in N E Illinois suggested letting it get enough of a chill to set the buds, then bring it inside.
Are you saying that they don't bloom inside? Mine have bloomed inside without issues. Several years I had to keep them inside because I was renting at the time. They still bloomed.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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@tarakanj - the OP has not logged into BNut since March 25, 2021. Perhaps their Fukien Tea, fukien died.

@Carol 83 - I'm giving Camellia a try again. Bought 4 in spring. I still have some trepidation, since I killed off the last batch 5 years or so ago. My plan is to leave them out into the autumn to allow them to set buds. I'll bring them in to avoid frosts colder than 28 F or so. Maybe even bring them in to avoid 32 F frosts. Have not decided, winter in the well house, dark and below 40 F, or winter in the orchid light garden, which will run around 60 F at night. Depends on whether they are an autumn bloomer or winter bloomer. Those will go in the light garden, so I can see the blooms. The spring bloomers will go in the dark & cool, with the azalea. We'll see which do better.
 

Mayank

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I'm so sorry, I was asking @Mayank about his Camellia.
I'm sorry if I confused things with my posts. I was talking about Fukin tea and not Camellia bonsai. OUR Fukin tea is named Camellia (cause drinking tea is camellia sinensis and we try to pick "no-brainer" names for our trees so we don't forget 😀) and thats what I'm talking about. I usually do let all my tropicals stay out until low 30s, almost sometimes first light frost then they all come in. The Fukien tea has always flowered (tiny white flowers) and is flowering outside right now also.
 

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