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Botanically speaking, Phyllanthus lies within the Euphorbia family of plants and the genus Phyllanthus contains shrubby plants and small trees from tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. The flowers of Phyllanthus are typically small and are followed by small fruits. Some of the larger fruited varieties are eaten for their high vitamin content. One such example is Phyllanthus acidus, the Otaheite Gooseberry.
The Phyllanthus genus, originating from Southeast Asia, Australia, and the tropical Americas, contains several plants used for bonsai. My original Phyllanthus were obtained in 2000 from a friend, Lim Keow Wah of Singapore. The bonsai community in Singapore has been using this material for bonsai for some years. The plants scientific name is Phyllanthus myrtifolius, the Mousetail Plant.
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Phyllanthus do well under moderate to high intensity indoor lighting but do not grow much under lower intensity lighting.
The plants prefer a moist soil mix, and will die if allowed to dry out completely. On repotting make sure to keep the roots moist or the plants will suffer. Drooping and dull colored leaves are present if the plant gets a bit dry. If allowed to get completely dry, it may die.
Plants should be kept in a relatively humid atmosphere. A humidifier will be helpful in the winter when extreme dryness can damage the rather thin leaves.
The plants originate from Southeast Asia and so are unlikely to tolerate freezing. Temperatures above 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal.
Any well drained but moisture retentive bonsai soil should work.
When the plant is actively growing fertilize at weekly intervals with normal strength fertilizer solutions.