Friday, March 19, 2010

First casualty of the winter

This winter has been a very long and cold one this year and we are still waiting for spring to start, but I must confess that I have already had my first casualty of the winter period. Unfortunately this has nothing to do with the 50cm or more snow or even the -15°C that we have had for most of the winter. No this casualty is one of the trees that has been snuggled up nice and warm inside my house. The Fukien Tea tree (Carmona Microphylla) has decided that this was the time to go. I am unsure of the exact reason but my theory is that the untreated cut, which is common for malsai bonsai, was the start of it's decline.

As normal for this time of year the inside of modern homes are quite dry when there are freezing temperatures outside and this dryness means that there is very little humidity in the air. This, I believe, has resulted in this untreated cut drying out and then slowing working itself down the tree. The leaves from the higher brackets fell from the tree first and the lowest branch was last to loose its leaves.

I have a cutting of the Fukien Tea tree taken a couple of years ago from another tree that also died, but fortunately this is still growing well leading me to believe it died because of the untreated cut and not the dry air during the winter months. If anybody as any other reasons why my Fukien Tea tree died in this way then I would be grateful for the information.


  1. Hello,

    all what I can say: "Indoors are very complicated!!!" That´s why I switched to outdoors many years ago and I´m absolutely happy. There is no plant on earth growing up in a cave or house. A plant needs four seasons, wind, rain, snow, etc. If these perequisites are not given - your project is going to fail.

    Regards from Austria,

  2. Hello Igor,

    Yes that could be a good reason. Maybe some 'indoor' trees perform better than others to being inside for most of the year especially here in Finland where we already have a much shorter growing season. Maybe I will stick with Ficus which seems to be more tolerant to my warm but dry home.


  3. Fukien Tea seems to be hard to keep alive here in Finland. Lack of light is of course big problem, but I strongly suspect lack of humidity is a bigger one. Some kind of terrarium is propably a must for Fukien Tea.

    Igorilla, indoor growing is harder, and therefore more rewarding, when you have success... You do need the equiptment though.

  4. Moi Jani,

    Thanks for the advice. The humidity is a big problem even for my children. The house is so dry that we have had to buy small humidifiers for their bedrooms.
    First I need to make an cabinet similar to yours, seen in your blog Janin bonsait, with the correct lighting based on your extensive research, and then move to an old house where the humidity is may be not so low.

    T: Mark.