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Oriental Tea Tree (Carmona microphylla) indoor bonsai trees
  • Pretty white flowers
  • Very artistic bonsai
  • Beautiful leaf shape
  • Low maintenance
  • For warm environments
  • Infrequent watering
Example of Carmona bonsai tree

Carmona Microphylla Bonsai (Oriental/Fukien Tea Tree)

The Fukien Tea Tree or Oriental Tea Tree (Carmona microphylla) is a simple & elegant flowering bonsai ideal for growing indoors. This bonsai has pretty white flowers during summer months & lovely green, shiny & waxy foliage. The leaves are unusually shaped and well proportioned. The leaves grow in neat clusters allowing the flowers and branch structure to be highly visible.

The Oriental Tea Tree is a stunning, artistic bonsai with beautiful white flowers which symbolises courage and ‘heart’, love & devotion. A truly beautiful indoor bonsai choice with a lovely meaning. A highly recommended flowering variety perfect for your home or office.

I think the Fukien Tea Tree is a truly stunning bonsai, with its dainty white flowers and glossy green leaves. I love that it is slow growing and needs minimal maintenance; it works perfectly with my lifestyle.

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Tree meanings
Bonsai in general symbolise peace, harmony, order of thoughts and balance.
The Oriental Tea Tree is a stunning, artistic bonsai with beautiful white flowers which symbolises courage and ‘heart’, as well as love and devotion. We think this is such a lovely meaning!

Oriental Tea Tree (Carmona microphylla) Bonsai Care Summary

Positioning & Temperature

The Oriental Tea Tree is an easy bonsai to care for, but it does not like cold or draughty environments. This fabulous bonsai prefers a warm position in your home or office and likes a relatively even temperature without huge fluctuations. A warm lounge or kitchen would be ideal. Please position your bonsai with good daylight but avoid very hot positions in mid-summer so that it does not scorch.


Watering is an important part of growing bonsai trees, an indoor bonsai is dependent upon us to check it regularly to ensure it does not dry out. Please check the soil daily whilst you are learning. Touch the soil surface, if the soil is wet or damp then your bonsai does not require water. When the soil is barely damp to the touch please soak the soil. The Oriental Tea Tree has a very fine fibrous root system and prefers to be kept slightly on the drier side. We recommend that you keep the soil damp and not too wet.


Although not essential, misting the leaves of indoor bonsai trees helps maintain the humidity around the bonsai. This is actually more important during winter months when the air is dried out by the central heating. Misting should be in addition to checking the soil for water.


Feeding with a bonsai feed will help keep your Oriental Tea Tree healthy, vigorous and encourage flowers to form. Bonsai are dependent upon us for nutrients and our Bonsai Direct Fertiliser has the correct nutrient balance and trace elements that your bonsai requires. We feed weekly throughout the year; your bonsai grows throughout the year, just a little more slowly during the winter months.


This is a relatively slow growing variety of bonsai, so pruning will be mainly limited to the spring/summer growing season. This bonsai has a very neat and compact habit and it is easy to produce the highly defined shape that one expects from a beautiful bonsai. New shoots usually sprout in an upwards direction. Allow a shoot of approx. 5cm to form and then prune back to 2 new leaves with a sharp pair of bonsai pruning scissors. The new leaves are often a lighter green so this is very easy to determine.

Growing/Propagating your own Carmona Microphylla bonsai trees

We are frequently asked for bonsai seed kits but the reality is that these kits are rather a disappointment. They often don’t germinate and it is not the best way to propagate indoor bonsai trees. You are far better to purchase a bonsai, so you can enjoy growing it, and propagate new bonsai by taking cuttings.
These are best taken in spring. Allow new shoots to grow 8-10cm and then prune with clean pruning scissors. Pop these cuttings into some fresh multipurpose compost in a small pot. Water them and then keep misting to maintain humidity.

Re-potting your bonsai

Young bonsai will require repotting more regularly that mature specimens. All plants become pot bound over time, and bonsai trees are no exception. We recommend re-potting or root pruning (if the pot is still aesthetically larger enough) usually every 2-3 years.

When re-potting the Oriental Tea Tree you want to minimise the disturbance of the original root ball. Often you will read about removing a quarter of the root ball when re-potting a bonsai; we recommend that you ignore this advice when re-potting a Carmona. They have particularly fine roots which do not like being disturbed. The root system is not vigorous so you should only re-pot your bonsai when the root ball is pretty solid. When you do come to repot simply remove from its original pot and tease out a few roots around the edge of the root ball, with a chopstick. There is no need to remove much of the soil. Pop into a slightly larger pot and add some fresh bonsai soil around the edge of the pot.

Please remember that re-potting of indoor bonsai is best undertaken during the warmer summer months when the bonsai is growing. You can find our bonsai repotting video here. We have also put together a repotting guide, which is also great for beginners.

Bonsai tip

You can also spray your bonsai with a Plant Invigorator to help deter pest and disease and keep your bonsai trees healthy. We spray our bonsai with an invigorator once a week.
Please avoid using air freshener near your bonsai; they are not overly keen!

We send all of our bonsai with free care instructions which are perfect for beginners; these allow you to get the most out of your bonsai, and keep it healthy and beautiful. We have also put together loads of care and advice pages; don’t forget to take a look!

Gifts for Every Occasion

We think our bonsai make incredible gifts – they’re unique, fun-to-grow, and are different from all other gifts. That’s why we’ve put together a gift range, allowing you to find the perfect gift. We also offer a wide variety of gift wrap, balloons, and personalisation options. You can choose your delivery date in the checkout, so you can have your bonsai gift delivered at the perfect time. We also provide free next working day delivery to most of the UK, and Saturday and Sunday delivery is also available.

39 replies

  1. This may be a stupid question i know this is a tea tree. I was wondering if you can make actual tea from the leaves or flowers kinda make it dual purpose Bonsai not that i would just a inquiry.

    1. Hi David,
      This is more of an ornamental variety of Tea Tree so I suspect it is not great for making tea!
      all the best Sarah

  2. Does this bonsai need direct sunlight? My windowsill is too cold and draughty to keep the tree there but the only other warm places in the house the sunlight from the window doesn’t reach… Thanks

    1. Dear Liz,
      Just a bright position, the bonsai will not require direct sunlight.
      I hope this helps
      kind regards

  3. My bonsai has shed all of it’s leaves it’s position is in a warm kitchen window. Will new leaves start to grow?

    1. Hi Chris,
      Without seeing the bonsai and knowing what caused the leaf drop this is impossible to say.
      What variety of bonsai is it please?
      Did it dry out or did something else happen? Kind regards Sarah – Bonsai Direct

      1. Thanks for your prompt response.

        The bonsai is a Oriiental Tea Tree – Carmona the soil was dry but did not fully dry out.

      2. This variety likes to be warm and out of draughts. If it became a little too dry it will drop its leaves but does not mean it is dead. Please keep the soil damp (not wet) and mist the branches daily with water. At this time of year you would expect it to take at least 2 months to see improvements.

  4. I may be going on a wild hunch here from such an old thread.

    but mine is springing out lovely flowers left right and centre and then by the end of the day then seem to have dried up and gone brown and even fallen off lasting like 1 day at the most?

    I water it every other day (if the soil feels dry to the touch) and its fed every 3rd week.

    The tree is quite young and I keep it on a windowsill.

    What can I do to promote the flowers and the time they stay on the tree !!

    Thank you

    1. Hi Ben,
      In this heat the flowers of the Oriental tea tree will not last long.
      Please remove dead flower heads as this encourages new flowers,
      kind regards

  5. Does this lose its leaves in the Winter months? Mine seems to have been very healthy until recently where leaves are drooping and hard to the touch. Could this be over-watering symptom? I’ve never let it get too dry. Some brown dead leaves but non that look like its been over-fed with nutrients.

    1. Hi Robert, a bonsai can lose some old leave during winter months. They will be replaced with new shoots after about 3-4 weeks. The new growing tips should be unaffected. Please keep the soil damp and not too wet. This bonsai does not like to be in wet soil. I hope this helps Kind regards The Bonsai Direct team

    2. If you are worried please email a photo. Thanks 🙂

  6. Had my oriental tea tree in late April. Its leaves are sticky and some are brown on the ends.

    1. Hi Janet,

      We would definitely recommend looking at our bonsai care page ( ), particularly the articles on bonsai bugs and black/brown tips.
      If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please email us a picture of your tree to [email protected].


  7. Hello. I am keeping this tree in direct sunlight on my window still? Would this be a problem?

    1. Hi Calvin,

      Tea trees don’t like direct sunlight as it can scorch their leaves. They are best kept away from direct sunlight, but still with lots of light.


  8. Hi
    Loving our new Bosnia Tea tree but we have a lovely little fruit that looks like a tiny apple , will it fruit all over
    Thanks Nicki

    1. Hi Nicola,
      If it is a sweet plum the fruits can appear anywhere on the bonsai.
      I hope this helps
      Bonsai Direct team

  9. I am absolutely thrilled to have this beautiful Tea Tree and all that came with it and the mist as well. I am trying to look after it so well! I have lost 10 leaves already. Too much water on the roots & they could rot!

  10. I’ve been bought a beautiful oriental tea tree bonsai but cannot decide where to put it in the house. I’ve not many options, either a warm spot which has some light or in the kitchen by the window with more light but it gets cold in there. I’d appreciate your recommendations, thank you.

    1. Hi Maria,
      I’m so glad you like your new bonsai!
      A warmer spot would be perfect for the Oriental Tea Tree. This variety are fairly tolerant of lower light levels, but do not like the cold!
      I hope this helps

  11. Hi Sarah,

    Hoping for some help!

    Had my tea tree for approx 7 months , was beautiful and green with small white flowers. The little flowers eventually died off but recently the leaves have started to turn yellow/dropping. He’s now at a south facing window with lots of sunlight since November, having been moved from a bright and sunny but cooler room in the winter. I only water when surface soil is dry but after some research, I suspect overwatering is the problem 🙁

    Yesterday I checked the soil at the drainage holes and it’s really wet, even though the surface soil is dry. Could this have been purchased potted in the wrong soil?

    Not sure the best way to resolve. Any advice appreciated :pray:

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Niki.
      This is most likely to be a temperature issue as the Tea tree likes a warm position with even temperature.
      If you could kindly press the NEED MORE HELP button on the link below and provide your order number and some photos we will try and provide the right advice.
      I doubt it is the soil but if the room is cool and the bonsai not growing it will not use much water.
      Kind regards
      Bonsai Direct

  12. Hi, I hope you can help! I was given my bonsai in October and generally speaking it seems to be doing good however I’m a bit worried about the soil. There are some white flecks and have been for a while and recently, what looks to be moss growing however I now think this is actually something else? The last thing that I’ve noticed recently is very fine roots showing above the soil. I would appreciate any advice you could give me 🙂

    1. Hi Rai,
      White flecks in the soil are usually a soil-borne fungus, which is completely harmless and nothing to worry about. It is common to get moss or a similar plant growing on the soil as well, and this and the fungus can be removed using a soft brush (like an old toothbrush). In terms of the health of the bonsai, none of these thing do any harm, but it is often best to keep the soil as clean as possible.
      Roots above soil are completely fine. The main feeder roots are in the middle of the rootball, and it does no harm to the bonsai for some to be above soil. You can either leave them as they are or cover them over with a decent-quality gardening soil.
      I hope this helps,
      Kind regards,
      Bonsai Direct

  13. Hi Bonsai Direct,

    My soil has gone a bit dry and I am trying to water it a bit every day to bring back moisture but there is no difference. When I water it the water sits for a few seconds before the soil absorbs the water. Should I repot the tree and if so can I use Cacti/Succulent Potting Compost Mix and Enriched with Seramis. Thank you

    1. Hi Bola,

      Could you send us an email with a few photos of your bonsai? I can take a look and help you further this way.

      Kind Regards,
      Bonsai Direct Team

  14. Hi Bonsai Direct,

    I’ve been caring for a Fukien Tea Tree bonsai (I assume is an alternative name) on this page.

    I live in a tropical country (Singapore) where the temperature and humidity is generally warm / even throughout the year. I keep the plant indoor and on a windowsill where it gets some direct sunlight throughout the day.

    So far it has survived my ignorance about scale bugs (I cleaned it up and continue to catch them where possible). Now I’m facing a new issue – the leaves are growing tremendously huge!

    It’s not a bad thing by any chance, but the new shoots are rapidly emerging all over the plant and are gigantic, which is not aesthetically pleasing but I can make do.

    Could you advise on how I might care for it so that the leaves would shrink to their smaller size? Did I put too much fertilizer?


    1. Good Morning,

      During different cycles and different seasons the leaf sizes can vary. There isn’t anything you can do I’m afraid but there is nothing you have done to cause this.
      Continue doing what you are doing, when the shoots get long just give them a prune.

      I hope this helps.
      Kind Regards,
      Bonsai Direct Team

  15. I purchased a 12 year old Carmona microphylla bonsai from you back in December 2020 and am pleased to say it is doing very well. I was planning on repotting this summer which I have purchased a new pot from you with two bags of bonsai soil included. My question is do I need to add anything else to the soil (eg. Akadama) or is the soil that was included with the pot adequate.

    1. Hi Tom,
      I am pleased to hear that your Carmona is doing well! Usually the soil you receive with the pot is a sufficient amount however this does depend on the size of your tree in comparison to the pot.

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    1. Hi Vorbelutr,
      Thank you very much, your kind words are really appreciated. A lot of time and effort goes into our blog posts!

  17. Hi my chinese tea tree has now lost most of its leaves and those that remain are brown. It was next to a drafty window ( in the picture) but now it is next to a non drafty window. I dont know what to do. Please help.

    1. Hi Rich,
      I am sorry to hear that your bonsai isn’t doing too well. Tea Trees do not like getting cold, this could have contributed. Please email us a few photos and we will be happy to take a look. Best wishes, The Bonsai Direct Team.

  18. Hello.This post was really fascinating, especially since I was browsing for thoughts on this matter last Saturday.

  19. Hello
    My partner is a Bonsai enthusiast and I would like to buy him a bonsai.
    It may seem like a silly question, but are your bonsais real , cultivated varieties , not grafts etc? I don’t want to purchase the wrong thing ! Thank you so much.

    1. Hi Sharon!
      Yes our bonsai are real, we grow them here onsite for many years.
      Kind Regards,
      The Bonsai Direct Care Team

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