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Bonsai Tree Care Basics

Thriving Bonsai Tree

Caring For A Bonsai Tree

Bonsai trees are not as hard to care for as some may think. These trees do have different care requirements than regular potting plants because they are planted in shallow containers that restrict the tree’s growth. Here we will talk about some of the basic care guidelines for bonsai trees, including, watering, fertilizing, light and humidity, and soil.


Watering Your Bonsai Tree

watering your bonsai tree

Using a bonsai watering can is an easy way to water your bonsai trees.

Each individual bonsai tree is different and has slightly different needs, but these guidelines can be applied to all bonsai trees.

The first of which being that you should only water your tree when the soil gets slightly dry. Check the soil every day to see if the tree needs watering.

Do not water the tree if the soil is still damp as this can cause root rot. When your plant needs watering, water generously until water drips out of the drainage holes, then repeat once more.


Our Top Bonsai Watering Can

bonsai watering can

Homarden 30oz Metal Indoor Outdoor Plant Watering Can (Stainless Steel)


If you’re interested, our top 5 picks for watering cans article can be found here.


Fertilizing Your Bonsai Tree

fertilizing your bonsai tree

All bonsai fertilizers should contain Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). Each serves a different purpose, but all are equally important. Nitrogen promotes stem and leaf growth, Phosphorus increases growth of any fruits or flowers and root growth, Potassium encourages growth of the plant in its entirety.

For indoor bonsai, it is recommended to use a balanced, liquid fertilizer all year round as often as it directs on the packaging. Outdoor bonsai, on the other hand, need fertilizers with different ratios depending on the time of year. A fertilizer with a high Nitrogen content is recommended in the spring, a balanced fertilizer in the summer, and low Nitrogen in the autumn.

In order to encourage your bonsai to flower, use a fertilizer with high Phosphorus content. For more mature trees, use a fertilizer with a lower Nitrogen content or reduce the amount of fertilizer you apply.

Our Top Bonsai Fertilizer Choice


Bonsai Fertilizer Pellets by Perfect Plants – 5 Year Supply – All Natural Slow Release – Extended Enrichment for All Live Bonsai Tree Types


If you’re interested, our top 5 bonsai fertilizer picks article can be found here.


Light & Humidity For Your Bonsai Tree

If your bonsai tree is outdoors, it should receive enough light outside. It will need at least 5 hours of sun every day or their leaves could grow very large and will be susceptible to diseases and pests.

Conifers need full sun in order to thrive.

As for humidity, your tree is likely to suffer from low humidity when placed
outdoors. You can improve its humidity by placing a humidity tray filled with water under the plant’s pot and misting the leaves several times a day. Wetting the walls and floors around your tree can also help.

Indoor bonsai trees often do not receive enough natural light. In order to receive the most amount of light as possible, place your tree in front of a South facing window at all times. Removing the tree from this spot will decrease the light intensity significantly, which will weaken and can kill your tree.

Even if your tree is in front of a South facing window, chances are your tree is still not receiving enough light. If your tree is not getting enough light, artificial lighting for around 10 hours a day can help. Your tree also needs high humidity, higher than the levels in your standard home. To increase humidity levels, you can place a humidity tray filled with water underneath your plant’s pot and misting the leaves several times a day. You can also try opening your windows during the day to allow for air to circulate.

Bonsai Soil

Using the right kind of soil is crucial for the health of your bonsai tree. Bonsai soil needs to provide proper drainage and aeration. There are two kinds of soil, organic and inorganic.

Organic soil contains dead plant matter such as bark, peat, or leaf-litter. Using this kind of soil for bonsai trees is not recommended. Organic soil does not provide sufficient water drainage or aeration. Inorganic soil should always be used for bonsai soil. Inorganic soil includes lava rock, fired clays, and calcite clays.

The soil you should use for your bonsai tree is inorganic soil. A mixture of Akadama, Pumice, and lava rock at a ratio of ½, ¼, ¼ for deciduous trees and 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 for coniferous trees.

Caring for bonsai trees is a rewarding process that anyone can do. Water your tree when the soil gets a little dry, fertilize at the rate needed, provide the sufficient amount of light and humidity, and use the right kind of soil. With the proper care, your bonsai will grow healthy and strong for many years.