Can You Keep A Bonsai Tree Indoors?

While it is true that you can keep bonsai trees indoor, this is only true for certain trees. Before placing your tree indoors, you should first figure out what tree you have. Tropical and subtropical trees are the only ones that can thrive indoors. These trees need high, stable temperatures all year round. This can be achieved outdoors only in certain climates.

Indoor vs Outdoor trees

As mentioned before, indoor bonsai trees need high, stable temperatures consistently all year. Outdoor bonsai trees, on the other hand, need to be exposed to the changing of the seasons. Outdoor trees experience dormancy periods in the winter and another small one in the summer, indoor trees do not. This dormancy period is completely natural in outdoor trees, but very unnatural and unnecessary for indoor species. If outdoor species do not receive this dormancy period, they will grow weak and can die. 

Caring for an Indoor Bonsai Tree

Taking care of bonsai trees is different from caring for a regular potted plant. Bonsai trees are planted in shallow containers in order to limit their nutrients and water intake. Indoor bonsai trees are also used to lots of light and high humidity, which can be hard to emulate in your household. 

Light

Light is one of the most important factors in caring for a bonsai. These trees need lots of light with as much light intensity as possible all year long. This can be hard to accomplish indoors, but it can be done. Placing your tree directly in front of a South facing window will ensure the tree will get as much natural light as possible. That being said, it is still very possible that your tree still isn’t getting enough light. Adding artificial lighting for around 10 hours a day will help significantly. 

Humidity and Temperature

Indoor bonsai also need high humidity all year round. Your tree needs higher humidity levels than the ones in your household, especially when using air conditioning and heating. Circulating air from outside by opening a window during the daytime will help. To increase humidity, you can try placing a humidity tray filled with water underneath the tree’s pot. Be careful not to let the tree’s roots soak in the water, though, as this will cause the roots to rot.

Tropical trees also need high temperatures all year, close to the temperatures in your living room. Subtropical trees, on the other hand, thrive in a low temperature winter. These trees like temperatures lower than your average living room.

Watering and Fertilizing 

Another very important part of caring for a bonsai is watering. How much water a bonsai tree needs varies from tree to tree, but there are some general guidelines you can follow for every tree. The first being that you should never water a bonsai tree on a routine or schedule. Check the soil’s moisture levels every day or a few times a day in the hotter months. You can check the soil using your finger, a chopstick, or a moisture meter. If the soil is dry, water generously until the water starts dripping out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Then repeat this process once more. Do not water your plant when the soil is already wet. This can cause root rot and will eventually kill the plant if left untreated.

All bonsai fertilizers contain the elements Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). Each element serves its own purpose. For indoor bonsai trees, balanced fertilizer should be applied consistently all year round because they lack a growth period. The packaging should tell you how often to apply the fertilizer.

Caring for indoor bonsai trees isn’t as hard as one may think. So long as you care for your tree properly, your tree should grow healthy and strong. The tree should receive as much light as possible during the day. Constant high humidity is required all year round, and temperatures should stay relatively high for tropical trees, lower for subtropical. Water your tree when it needs to be water, never on a routine. Fertilize constantly all year round. In time, you will learn your tree and will be able to care for it much easier.

What Does Bonsai Mean?

What does the word “Bonsai” mean? That’s a question that many beginners to the discipline of Bonsai might wonder. In the Oxford dictionary, “Bonsai” is defined as a “shrub or tree meant to be an ornament that is grown in a pot and synthetically prevented from being a normal-sized plant. It is a discipline that has been around for thousands of years. In order to fully understand the full nature of the Bonsai, here is some extra information you need to know: 

Bonsai History 

Although the word “Bonsai” and the concept has been taken over by Japan, this concept was originally called “Pun-Sai” and it was a Chinese creation. They perfected the art of growing miniature trees in a container by 700 A.D. and they kept the concept to themselves for at least 400 years. However, when this discipline was introduced into Japan during the Kamakura Shogunate period from 1185-1333, they perfected the practice and renamed it “Bonsai”. It has been a well-established Japanese traditional ever since. 

Bonsai and Spirituality

Of course, a lot of people relate the Bonsai tree to the practice of Zen Buddhism. While this is a worthy idea, the Bonsai can go much deeper than that. For some, this means that the Bonsai helps them become more in tune with the natural world. For others, Bonsai is a reminder that everything is elemental. The trees adapt, survive, and even thrive even within their limited surroundings. They are very resilient indeed. 

Bonsai and Budo 

Naturally, Budo is a martial arts practice. It requires a lot of training in order to do it right and to be able to practice the moves well. Although it may seem surprising to some, many Budo artists find inspiration in the Bonsai plant. This is because much like their training, the Bonsai is being trained as well. As they gaze at the Bonsai, they are made aware that their persistence in training will get them where they need to be as well. 

Bonsai Trees in China 

The earliest known reference to Bonsai trees in China occurs in the tomb of Crown Prince Zhang Huai in 706 A.D. There was a painting of two ladies-in-waiting who were each holding a Bonsai Tree. They were holding small paints in some very small dishes, and these would later become known as the Bonsai trees that we all know and love. Moreover, another Chinese reference to the Bonsai tree was in many Chinese works of literature. Moreover, many artists attempted to include at least one Bonsai tree in their masterpieces simply because this was a symbol of a man of affluence and culture. 

Bonsai Trees in Japan 

Even though the Bonsai tree didn’t become widespread in Japan until medieval times, they were first introduced to Japan some 1200 years ago as a religious or tourist artifact. They were first portrayed in Japanese art about eight hundred years ago, and archaeologists and historians alike both love everything that has to do with the Bonsai tree in Japan simply because it is a window into their culture. For it was during this time period that the Japanese were fascinated with everything regarding China. 

So you see, the Bonsai tree is more than just a plant. It incorporates so many different themes that it is definitely an amazing discipline to be involved in. The “meaning” of Bonsai is truly very vast indeed.

How Do Bonsai Trees Stay Small

Whereas this is usually a somewhat tricky question to ask, it without a doubt has an answer. What I know is that bonsai trees are generally small because we want them to be small-sized. When I trap the bonsai tree root in a pot, it means it will have a stunted growth hence making it small in size. Furthermore, the bonsai pots do not allow the trees to expand but this depends on the bonsai pot I will be using. Bonsai trees in smaller pots are usually small compared to those in larger containers.

Bonsai Wire Training

I use bonsai wire training because it is a vital method best for styling and training bonsai trees. When I wrap the wire around the tree branches am very much able to reposition as well as bend the branch. I usually do wiring in winter when the tree has shaded its leaves, enabling me to work very quickly. It will take a few months for the tree to get the required new shape, so I always pay close attention to remove the wires on time to avoid the creation of ugly scars.

Moreover, I also make use of the appropriate material while wiring, with this typically either annealed copper or anodized aluminum. These two types of material serve different purposes; copper is for pines and conifers, while aluminum is for deciduous.

For starters, I would recommend you to use anodized aluminum since it is very easy to find on the market as well as to work with. However, during the use of these wires, I always make sure I protect the branches from being damaged. Therefore, I recommend that you first wrap the branches with raffia that has been soaked in water before commencing to wire the bonsai tree.

Kengai Bonsai Training

This type of training is for bonsai trees that are struggling to get enough light for its leaves. It is one of the most challenging methods to understand, so the main agenda for Kengai training is to create branches facing down along with upward-facing leaf pads on a downward trunk. However, most people usually mix things up when implementing it, resulting in not the intended outcome. If you do it properly, you will end up with the best
results ever, and this will give an excellent impression from the pot.

Seki-Joju Bonsai Training

Bonsai trees are forced to look for nutrients either in holes or cracks. Their roots are usually unprotected before reaching the ground; therefore, they need to have some defense mechanism in the sun. Seki-joju training comes along with some benefits, among them, is giving a good impression and mage of the landscape and also a sense of age and struggle. On the other hand, it also has some disadvantages; Seki-joju can fail to give the image I want; for example, if I select a rock which is not appropriate chances of it giving me a poor image are very high.

Pruning Bonsai Trees

Just like any other tree or flower requires pruning, so does bonsai trees do. I prune bonsai trees to give it a designated size, shape as well as an appropriate style and enable it to provide an excellent impression to the eye. Furthermore, by pruning, I help the plant to keep its aesthetic value and the entire health status plus boosting its longevity. However, pruning varies with the type of bonsai training. For me to do pruning, there are several tools I require, such as:

  • Bleach
  • Pruning Scissors
  • Concave cutters

Then I identify the parts of my bonsai tree that needs to be pruned, especially the parts that are crowded to allow enough light to penetrate all the parts of the bonsai tree. Furthermore, annual remove half the new growth to balance and make my bonsai tree sizeable and well-shaped using a pruning scissor. Additionally, when I am doing away with large branches, I use concave cutters since the scissor is for thinning as well as trimming deciduous trees.

Based on the above information, I hope you have been able to understand how bonsai trees grow small and the reason why this is the case. Consequently, you are better- placed to understand thanks to this comprehensive guide I have taken you through to know whether this tree is a perfect fit for you.

What’s A Bonsai Tree?

What Does Bonsai Mean?


In Japanese, bonsai is written like this:  盆栽
“Bon” is a thin bowl or dish.
“Sai” is a growing plant or tree that is planted.
Therefore, “Bonsai” means “a tree which is planted in a shallow container”.

What Exactly is a Bonsai Tree?


A bonsai tree is a tree that is grown in a small container in order to restrict and redirect growth. Special training techniques such as wiring and pruning branches and pinching buds are also used to redirect
growth. Despite what many may think, bonsai trees are not genetically dwarfed trees. They are, however, commonly kept very small at about one meter in height. Almost any tree can be grown as a bonsai tree, so long as they have a woody trunk or stem, can grow true branches, can be grown in a container in order to restrict its food storage, and have small leaves.

What Does a Bonsai Tree Represent?

The art of growing bonsai trees has been practiced and refined over hundreds of years. The main qualities that are seen in bonsai trees are harmony, balance, simplicity, and age. Keep in mind that bonsai trees are interpreted differently by every person that observes the tree.

Harmony – Harmony is a very highly valued part of Japanese culture. Japan’s culture is very anti-conflict. This is seen in their laws and customs. People typically want to live in a harmonious place. A common theme in bonsai growing is the representation of harmony in nature. The aspect of co-existing with elements is seen in the bark’s curves and the branch’s fine lines. Jagged edges and crooked corners often symbolize hard life moments.

Balance – One very prominent feature on bonsai trees is the element of balance. The triangle is used in the bonsai design because this shape symbolized stability and strength. Specifically, the isosceles triangle is used rather than the equilateral triangle. Isosceles triangles’ sides are unequal and thus creates the look of asymmetry. This is valued in Japanese culture. Asymmetrical triangles provide a
sense of movement which symbolizes life’s continuation.
Simplicity – Simplicity is another feature that is evident in Japanese culture and the bonsai tree itself. Art, architecture, homes, offices, and more all have elements of simplicity in them. The bonsai tree’s container is very simple so that it does not draw attention away from the tree itself. The color should be earth toned and fairly plain. All bonsai trees have elements of simplicity to them. Every tree is beautiful all on its own, there is no need for extravagant designs or decorations.


Age – Bonsai aesthetics often include different portrayals of age. The tree’s characteristics, such as the trunk, branches, and roots, can manipulated in order to depict age. Exposing the tree’s roots can be used to look like the appearance of age. Youth can be seen in a smooth trunk with no blemishes. On the other hand, scarred trunks can symbolize old age. A dead piece of trunk placed within the tree’s composition can represent the evolution of the tree. Drooping branches can be seen as old, while branches growing upward can be seen as young. Youth can be depicted in full leaf growth, while sparse growth can depict old age. The elderly in Japan are treated with great amounts of respect. Three of more generations often live under one roof. This is often portrayed on bonsai trees with some aspects
of youth and other aspects of older age that complement each other.

A bonsai tree is a trained tree that grows in a small, plain container. Bonsai tree’s fertilizer is restricted in order to redirect growth. While the literal translation of bonsai is roughly, “tree in pot”, bonsai’s have many other meanings. They often portray different aspects of harmony, balance, simplicity, and age. All of these elements are highly valued in Japan. Every element of a bonsai tree means something. Nothing is added “just because” or without careful consideration. The bonsai tree often depicts the future. But most importantly, a bonsai tree is whatever you want it to be!