The New Zealand Tea Tree also commonly known as Manuka is an extremely difficult specie to develop and train into good bonsai. It has the reputation as THE ULTIMATE IN FORBIDDEN BONSAI. Had I known about this earlier, I might not have taken on this journey. As the saying goes "Ignorance is bliss.". It was only after I successfully bonsai the Manuka that I learned that many have tried but very few succeeded. I have seen only two New Zealand Tea Tree Bonsai outside my garden. One in Japan, and the other owned by an acquintance in Perth, Western Australia.
This adventure of mine started in 1987. I was on holiday with my family in Western Australia and was overwhelmed by the beauty of Manuka flowers. With my bonsai interests, I thought the Manuka with its' tiny foliages and attractive flowers might be a good candidate for bonsai. So when I moved to Perth in 1998 and after settling the family in, I bought some Manuka to bonsai. How little did I realized what I was in for.
To cut a long story short, I killed three dozens of them before I succeeded in extracting their (Manuka) secrets of handling them to their satisfactions. Even as garden plants, the Manuka is very fickle. They are extremely touchy and slight disturbance of their roots or lack of care and they wish you goodbye. For the first time, I learned of Instant Death in plant. An ex-nursery person told me that they usually lost half of their Manuka stock.
I will post the results of my over 10 years of frustrations and joy in developing and caring for New Zealand Tea Tree Bonsai.