Carmona is a shrub of tropical origin, it comes from China, where it has also been cultivated as bonsai for centuries; the most used species are carmona microphylla and carmona macrophlylla, which differ only in the size of the foliage. These are evergreen shrubs, densely branched, the stems already show a twisted pattern and a gray and fissured bark at a young age, which give even the specimens of a few years the appearance of an old shrub. The foliage is small, dark green, bright, slightly waxy and leathery; in spring it produces small white star-shaped flowers, followed by small red fruits, which turn black over time, containing the seeds. In Europe the carmona is grown mainly as bonsai, and in particular in the apartment.
Plants of the Carmona genus are also called ehretie, so we can also find news of them as ehretia mycrophylla, or ehretia macrophylla.
The appearance of the carmon makes them very suitable for bonsai cultivation, the small leaves, flowers and fruits of small size make them very suitable even for beginners. In fact, however, despite being found on the market with great ease, they are not cultivated as easily, and quickly a luxuriant carmona in the nursery becomes a dry and leafless plant at home.
The main problem of these plants is due to humidity; in nature, the carmons grow in areas with a cool and humid climate, which has abundant rainfall and scarce temperature changes. In the apartment, on the other hand, we generally have a very dry climate, especially when the heating system or air conditioning are active. Furthermore, during the summer the temperature changes between day and night can be very high.
To best cultivate our Carmona it is advisable to keep it indoors only during the cold months, and move it outdoors during the summer; we will choose a well-lit place, avoiding, however, areas directly affected by sunlight or swept by the wind.
Throughout the year we must try to keep the soil moist, but without soaking it excessively and without leaving stagnant water in the saucer; the best method for watering the carmons is certainly by immersion: let's get a large basin, place our pot on the bottom and fill with water up to the edge of the pot; when the surface of the growing substrate is wet we can remove the pot from the basin and let it drain for a few minutes, before placing it back in its tray.
From March to October we supply fertilizer every 10 days, using half the quantity recommended on the package; in winter let's fertilize only once a month.
Carmona - Ehretia microphylla: The problems of carmona
Carmona plants grown by hobbyists generally tend to exhibit the same symptoms often: after a short time the foliage withers and dries up, and the plant dies.
However, this symptom can be the manifestation of different problems; often it is a water problem, the soil has always been kept wet, soaked with water, and the root system is wasted due to asphyxiation.
The same identical symptoms can occur instead due to a lack of watering, with a dry and dry soil.
At the same time, carmon often die due to an excess of fertilization, or due to the use of excessively concentrated or unspecified fertilizer for bonsai.
We remind you that the best way to obtain healthy and luxuriant plants is to always respect their climatic and water needs.
In addition to crop problems, cultivation in an excessively dry climate can often cause the appearance of cochineal in the carmon, which nestles on the underside of the leaves, thus escaping our sight; periodically it is advisable to check under the leaves, especially on the central veins, the presence of such insects, which must be eradicated quickly using special insecticides; it is important to check the carmon often because if treated as soon as a parasite appears there is a limited use of chemical products; if, on the other hand, we try to cure the presence of a parasite that is already widespread on the plant, we can cause damage to the foliage caused by the chemical used to kill the parasite, with consequent deleterious effects for the entire plant.