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indoor bonsai

Bonsai Tree Care Basics, Indoor Bonsai Trees

Bonsai Trees That Can Grow Indoors

indoor bonsai on desk

The only trees that can grow indoors as bonsai trees are tropical and subtropical trees. These trees need high, stable temperatures all year and have no dormancy period in the winter. Indoor bonsai trees can be described as easier to care for than outdoor bonsai because you can control more variables indoors. All bonsai trees are easy to care for, but some are easier to care for than others. The bonsai we will be talking about in this article are Ficus, Carmona, and Crassula trees.

Ficus Bonsai Trees

Ficus bonsai trees are the most popular bonsai trees and the easiest to care for. Some of these trees can even produce flowers. While there are at least 800 varieties of the Ficus, the two most common are the Ficus Retusa and the Ficus Ginseng. Ficus Retusa is often seen with a S-shaped trunk with dark green oval leaves.

Ficus Ginseng have thick trunks and are commonly grafted with microcarpa leaves.

Positioning Ficus Bonsai

Ficus bonsai trees need lots of sun and consistent temperatures. They prefer high humidity but can survive in low humidity due to their waxy leaves.


Watering Ficus Bonsai

Water these trees as you would any other bonsai tree. This means watering only when necessary, never on a schedule. Ficus’s can stand occasional over- or under-watering. Mist the leaves daily to maintain humidity, but don’t do this to much as fungal problems may occur.


Fertilizing Ficus Bonsai

Feed every week or two in the summer, and every two to four weeks in the winter if growing does not stop. Solid or organic fertilizer can be used.


Ficus Bonsai Training Techniques

Prune regularly in order for the tree to maintain its shape. When 6-8 leaves have grown on a branch, prune back 2. Large wounds can be covered in cut paste. It is easy to wire thin and medium strong branches because they are flexible. Check the wiring regularly as the wire can cut into the branches very fast. Wire strong branches with guy-wires because they can be left on a tree for longer.


Ficus Bonsai Pests and Diseases

Ficus trees are very resistant against pests. Leaf drop can occur if the light intensity is low or if the air is dry. If spider mites or scale occurs, you can use an insecticide to get rid of them, but you will also need to improve the plant’s conditions. Artificial lighting and leaf misting will help.

Our Top Ficus Bonsai Choice

This Ficus bonsai tree is a great choice for the bonsai collector who wants an aged tree, or if you are trying to give a gift that is actually meaningful and rare.

Ficus Indoor Bonsai Tree – 20 Years Old; 18″ to 22″ Tall with Decorative Container

                   

If you’re interested, our how to care for the Ficus Bonsai Tree article can be found here.

 

Carmona (Fukien Tea) Bonsai

carmona bonsai tree

Originally from China, the Fukien Tea bonsai was named after the Fukien providence in Chinese Fuijan. It is also common Australia, Indonesia, Japan, and Taiwan. Carmona Bonsai Trees have dark green, small leaves. On the top of these leaves are small white dots, and on the bottom are hairs. White flowers can sometimes appear all year round and can sometimes produce berries.

Positioning Carmona Bonsai Trees

This tree needs lots of light directly in front of a South facing window. The preferred temperature for these trees is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. To increase humidity, place a humidity tray filled with wet gravel under the pot. Do not expose Fukien Tea’s to frosty air.

Watering Carmona Bonsai Trees

Keep the soil moist as this tree does not like droughts, but don’t water to often because this tree does not like its soil being wet. Water as soon as the top soil gets dry.


Fertilizing Carmona Bonsai Trees

Use organic, solid fertilizer because of their sensitive roots. Feed from spring to autumn.


Carmona Bonsai Training Techniques

Prune and trim this tree regularly. Young shoots are easier to prune because of the flexibility and tenderness. Use caution when wiring mature branches.


Pests and Diseases of Carmona Bonsai

Scale, spider mites, and whiteflies can occur in inadequate conditions. Insecticides will get rid of the pests, but in order for the plant to fully recover, humidity and light conditions must be improved. Treat Chlorosis with iron fertilizer.

Crassula (Jade) Bonsai

Small jade bonsai


The Jade Bonsai Tree is a woody shrub or tree that can grow up to 10 feet tall. Its thick trunk supports thin branches and thick, green succulent leaves. The trunk is soft and green when the tree is young and becomes reddish brown as it ages. White flowers can appear in autumn but only when the tree has gone through a drought during that season.


Positioning the Jade Bonsai

This indoor bonsai tree needs lots of light. When the tree is receiving enough sunlight, the tips or edges of the leaves will turn red. Keep this tree above 41 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.

Watering A Jade Bonsai Tree

Allow for the plant’s soil to dry out between watering. In the winter, these trees can be watered as little as once every three weeks when the tree is kept at a low temperature. This tree is not particular about over-watering. Check the plants soil daily and water when needed.


Fertilizing A jade Bonsai Tree

Feed once a month from spring to autumn. This is the Bonsai Fertilizer we recommend.


Jade Bonsai Training Techniques

These succulents carry water in their branches and trunk which causes them to bend from the weight. Crassula bonsai trees handle pruning very well, and this should be done regularly to force branches to grow lower on the trunk. Do not use cut paste as this will cause rotting. The Jade’s bark is soft, so watch over the tree when wiring as the wire will bite into the bark fast.

Jade Bonsai Pests and Diseases

So long as this plant is cared for properly the plant shouldn’t have any problems. The common succulent pests and diseases you should look out for include bacterial soft rot, powdery mildew and black ring disease. These diseases are easy to identify and can be treated or dealt with when they are discovered.

These are some of the bonsai we suggest for indoor decoration and cultivation. They thrive indoors and also will last a lifetime if cared for properly. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check out our other bonsai articles!

Bonsai Care, Bonsai Tree Care Basics, Indoor Bonsai Trees, Uncategorized

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.