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Introduction to Bonsai Tree Care

Your bonsai is a living tree and with the right care it should live for many years. We hope that these tips will help you care for your bonsai. Should you ever experience difficulty it is far better to ask for help sooner rather than later because help is much easier when the symptoms are mild. Full bonsai care information is available on our bonsai care DVD:

Choosing a Bonsai

My advice would be to choose a bonsai which is not too small. Very small bonsai dry out rapidly making them harder to look after. Bonsai seed kits tend to be very disappointing, with poor levels of germination. The best way to get started is to actually buy a bonsai and have a go. All the bonsai on our website are easy to care for so you just need to consider if you would prefer and indoor or outdoor bonsai, how dark your room is, if you would like it to flower etc..

Watering your Bonsai

Watering is the most important part of growing bonsai. Check your bonsai morning and evening to see if it needs watering. If the soil looks dark and feels wet then it will not require watering. Only when the soil looks light brown and feels damp will your bonsai require more water. Water thoroughly all over the soil until the water drains through into a tray or saucer. Never let your bonsai dry out and avoid keeping it constantly wet. The soil should go from wet to damp between watering. Remember the hotter the position the more water your bonsai will use. If the soil surface becomes hard during hot weather simply submerge your bonsai in water, to cover the soil surface, for about ten minutes.

Pruning your Bonsai

To maintain the artistic grace and beauty of your bonsai it will need to be pruned regularly. Once new shoots have grown to about 2-3cm, using a sharp pair bonsai scissors carefully cut back to the first pair of new leaves.

Feeding your Bonsai

To keep your bonsai strong and healthy we recommend the use of a good bonsai fertiliser. Bonsai fertiliser can be purchased by following the link below:–t92- If using this fertiliser, outdoor bonsai should be fed weekly from March to October. Indoor bonsai should be feed weekly all year round.

Positioning your Bonsai

During winter place your indoor bonsai in the brightest place possible, trying to avoid hot objects like radiators and televisions. Good daylight is essential to the trees health. In summer time beware of hot south facing windows, a little sunlight morning or evening is beneficial, but too much and your bonsai could over heat. Outdoor bonsai should be positioned in a sheltered, semi-shaded position in the garden.

Indoor Bonsai Drip Trays

To aid the health of indoor bonsai place it on a humidity tray. This will catch the water draining through the holes in the bottom of the bonsai pot. This water will create some humidity around your bonsai. Please take care that the tray does not overflow onto your furniture and make sure that your bonsai does not sit in the water.

Repotting your Bonsai


Like all pot plants bonsai need to be re-potted regularly to stop them becoming pot bound. If the roots cannot grow then the bonsai will stop thriving. Small bonsai should be re-potted or root pruned every 1-2 years, larger bonsai every 3-5 years. For indoor bonsai the best time to re-pot is during late spring and summer and outdoor bonsai should be re-potted when out of leaf, around February/March. Basically, when re-potting use a free draining soil such a Akadama or a mixture of John Innes compost mixed with horticultural grit. This subject is so vast that we have produced a DVD which covers the re-potting and root pruning of both indoor and outdoor bonsai.—re-potting—root-pruning

If you have any questions please send us a reply below:

2 replies

  1. Hi, my son bought me a tree of a thousand stars for christmas, and it has been losing its leaves since I got it. I have been careful about watering any advice you can give me please also it is sprouting new shoots at base of trunk .

    1. Dear Shirley,
      Thank you for your enquiry.
      It is common to lose a few leaves within the first 2-3 weeks whilst the bonsai re-acclimatises to its new location. These will be the older leaves and not the new growing tips.
      Please keep your bonsai in a bright position and water well when the soil is barely damp to the touch.
      Serissa do not like to be very wet – they start to get brown tips to the ends of the leaves.
      I would recommend removing the new shoots from the base of the trunk – this is quite common but if you leave them there the bonsai tends to become more of a bush!
      If you could like to send us a photograph we can just check that all is well,
      I hope this helps
      kind regards

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