Sageretia or false tea come from China and Japan. In their native country, they grow about 2 to 3 meters high and grow shrub-like. The bark is brown to gray, quite smooth and sometimes has white spots, similar to the bark of sycamore trees or an old three-pointed maple. This evergreen plant has shiny, small, light green, elliptical or oval leaflets. The yellowish-white flower panicles appear from August to November, from which small blue berries develop. It is very fast-growing and is well suited for bonsai design and as an indoor, as it can be kept very well in the winter in the warm apartment up to 22 ° C with sufficient humidity.
Sageretia likes a semi-shaded outdoor spot in the summer, but it can also be kept indoors year-round. Indoors, it should be placed in a south or west window, but it needs protection from too intense sunlight. In winter the tree must be placed indoors or in a heated greenhouse, at temperatures between 12° and 22° C. The warmer the location, the more light is needed. Plant lamps can then be helpful. Try to provide increased humidity.
Always keep the root ball moist, but not soggy. The roots should not be allowed to dry out completely, because the leaves and branches of the Sageretia will then dry out quickly and the whole tree can easily die from lack of water. This can happen even if watering is forgotten just once! Sageretia prefers a slightly acidic or neutral pH, which is why it is better not to use very chalky watering water. The tree likes high humidity, so it's a good idea to sprinkle the foliage with lime-free water often.
Apply solid organic fertilizer every four weeks during the growing season or use a liquid fertilizer weekly. In winter, in a cool location, fertilize once a month with liquid fertilizer, or, in a warmer location, every two weeks.
Sageretia shoots can be pruned back to two leaves throughout the year. Frequent pruning of the shoots helps develop good branching. Healthy trees do a good job of budding back when you need to prune them more. Sageretia should not be pruned in late summer if you want flowers and fruit. Young branches and shoots can be wired in the spring. Older branches are stiff and hard to bend. However, once the basic branch structure is developed, there is not much reason to wire old branches.
Sageretia bonsai should be repotted every two years. A standard substrate mix works well, holding enough water while being very permeable. Sageretia tolerates root pruning well; up to one-third of the root mass can be removed. It may be helpful to choose a slightly larger than normal tray to prevent rapid drying.
Sageretias can be propagated from soft cuttings and from woody cuttings. These root easily during the growing season.
Aphids or whiteflies can infest the sageretia. In that case, a suitable insecticide will remedy the situation and you should try to increase the humidity. In rare cases powdery mildew can occur. Then a specific fungicide must be used and you should improve air circulation. If the leaves turn pale green with darker leaf veins, this indicates chlorosis. Then the tree needs an iron fertilizer and watering with less lime. Brown leaf tips indicate too much wetness.