Carmona microphylla is a common species used for indoor or otherwise tropical bonsai in the UK and is one species many people starting the bonsai hobby have once owned or even still own. It is commonly called the Fukien tea tree.

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The species is also called Ehrethia buxifolia but is more widely known as Carmona microphylla under the Boraginaceae family. They are native to Southern China and South-east Asia.


They are a tropical evergreen species forming more of a shrub form than a tree form and have small oval, dark green shiny leaves which are paler beneath. They also flower and have tiny white flowers throughout spring and summer, however flowering times may vary subject to climate and conditions.


After flowering the fruit form which are small green berries that slowly turn red in colour upon ripening. Pruning can be carried out at most times of the year but avoid pruning whilst flowering if you want to enjoy the small flowers. Prune new shoots back to two or three leaves once around six to eight leaves have formed on a branch.





Wire new shoots only once they have matured as they are very tender but once hardened off are still able to be wired and can be positioned into some good shapes. Pruning is the preferred method of achieving a good style though as they tend to grow well in the warmer conditions allowing multiple pruning opportunities.

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They are a very poplar species for indoor bonsai but are often quite a hard one as they tend to have  a tendency to struggle in the UK inside if the conditions are not quite right and are quite hypersensitive. They are a species that does like to be watered regularly but not kept too wet, they require a bright location for light but not in full sun with some shade. They also like a constant temperature of around 15-24 degrees and do not thrive above or below this temperature range and often object to drafts.

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