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small evergreen tropical plant or shrub, native to southern Asia, also called the Fukien or Korean tea, naturally reaching 10 m in height. It has dark green, glossy oval leaves; small white flowers in spring, followed at the end of summer by roundish green fruits, which become purplish when ripe; the bark is gray-brown, smooth, and becomes wrinkled in the plants of many years. This plant is widely used as bonsai, having very small leaves and soon reaching the appearance of an ancient tree, with twisted branches and wrinkled bark; however it requires a lot of care in cultivation, since the climate of the countries of origin is very different from the European one.
Pruning and exposure
Pruning: it can be pruned all year round, trimming the buds when they have reached 5-6 pairs of leaves, leaving only 2-3 pairs; you can apply the wire from March to October, but it is better not to leave it too long to avoid scars on the bark.
Exposure: loves very bright positions, but not direct sunlight. In the warm season it is good to place it outside in half-shade; in winter it should be kept indoors, as it is very cold, possibly close to a window. In spring it is possible to expose it to the sun's rays for an hour a day, towards evening.
the carmona is native to areas with a tropical climate, so it loves very humid environments, so it is good to water it often, however, waiting for the soil to dry slightly between one watering and another to avoid water stagnation. To increase the environmental humidity, on the hottest days and in winter, it is advisable to spray distilled water on the leaves every day. For the same reason, in winter it would be better to place the carmona away from heat sources, which dry out the environment excessively. Add fertilizer for bonsai in the water of the watering every 20-30 days in summer, more rarely during the cold season. Avoid excess fertilizers that can cause stains and yellowing of the leaves, it is advisable to halve the usual doses of fertilizer and to double the frequency of administration, or it is possible to use slow release fertilizers.
Carmona, Jade plant, Wax flower - Carmona microphylla: Other tips
Soil: any well-drained bonsai soil is fine, but we can prepare an excellent compost by mixing peat, sand and clay in equal parts. It is repotted every two years or so, preferably in late winter, just before the vegetative restart.
Multiplication: by seed, using the fruits of the previous year in spring. Or you can multiply by cuttings in spring and summer, with cuttings about 5-7 cm long, which must be planted in a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts, to be kept moist and protected for about a year; the seedlings are repotted individually the following year in spring.
Pests and diseases: the carmona suffers a lot from the excess of water and also the lack, which quickly cause the yellowing of the leaves. It is attacked by cochineal, aphids and red spider mites; in these cases it is preferable to try to remove the insects before proceeding with the spraying with insecticides since the leaves of the carmona are particularly sensitive to the chemical substances that could stain them.