How do I look after my indoor bonsai tree?

General Indoor Bonsai Tree Care

  • Place your bonsai 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, especially when the central heating is on. Please take care that the tray does not overflow onto your furniture and make sure that your bonsai does not sit in the water. If bonsai sit in water this can rot the roots and the bonsai can become weak.
  • Good daylight is essential to the health of a bonsai. During winter place your bonsai in the brightest place possible, trying to avoid hot objects like radiators and televisions. 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.  Basically, your bonsai needs a position with good daylight but out of direct sunlight.
  • 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.
  • 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.  If your bonsai gets out of shape, Spring is the best time to hard prune – remove all those straggly shoots and initially the bonsai may look a little bare but with just a few weeks it should be covered in new young shoots.
  • We always recommend feeding your bonsai. Please feed with a bonsai fertiliser – other general plant foods can be too strong for the bonsai and may scorch the roots. If using a liquid bonsai feed I would recommend feeding once a week to once a fortnight during the spring, summer and autumn. Reduce the feeding to approximately once a month in mid-winter when it is barely growing. It is particularly important to feed flowering bonsai. Bonsai, like the Serissa for example, are very hungry trees are rely on you for their nutrients. You will notice yellowing of the leaves if the bonsai is deficient in nutrients.

The following are all great examples of indoor bonsai.
Please click on the image for more specific information about the different bonsai species.

Chinese Elm Bonsai
Sageretia bonsai
Oriental Tea tree bonsai
Tree of a Thousand Stars bonsai
Pepper Tree Bonsai
Fig Bonsai

How to prune your indoor bonsai trees:

How do I water my indoor bonsai tree?

How do I feed my indoor bonsai tree?

Bonsai Care with Lloyd Noall (Bonsai Direct)


Bonsai Tree Fertiliser
Bonsai Care Kit
Bonsai Pruning Scissors

 

If you have any questions relating to your bonsai please enter your comments below and we shall reply shortly.

320 thoughts on “How do I look after my indoor bonsai tree?”

  • Garry

    Hey, this may seem like a silly question, but i have just brought my first ever Bonsai tree a Oriental Lacebark Elm (Chinese Elm) and on the roots is some copper wire. Do i need to take this out or leave it?
    Also im unsure if the Bonsai will ever need repotting and if so how do i tell when?

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct
      Bonsai Direct 3rd July 2012 at 2:53 pm

      Hi Garry,
      When we re-pot a bonsai we wire the bonsai into the pot.
      This helps prevent the bonsai from rocking in the pot whilst the new roots become established.
      We usually leave the wire because it holds the bonsai in the pot during transport and it is now entirely up to you whether you remove this or not. It has now done its job! There is absolutely no harm in leaving it there and it usually helps the bonsai.
      All bonsai will need re-potting or root pruning at some stage to prevent the roots from getting pot bound.
      I would recommend every other summer. If the bonsai has grown considerably please re-pot into a larger pot (you can also do this sooner if you would like the bonsai to get larger). However, if the bonsai looks fine in its current pot simply root prune slightly every other year and put some fresh bonsai soil around the root ball.
      We have produced a DVD about re-potting and root pruning if you are a little daunted in 2 years time: http://www.bonsaidirect.co.uk/item/2351/bonsai-dvd---re-potting---root-pruning

      Great question, many thanks.
      I hope this helps
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • arran

    hi im a beginer got a chinese elm is it good place to put on window seal it say not in direct sunlight but surely it needs some sun on its leaves and do i leave water in the tray aslong as i seprate it with stones from pot .

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Arran,
      Thank you for your enquiry. A windowsill can be a great place for a bonsai for most of the year. It would get good daylight there but could also suffer from scorch in the middle of summer, so I would recommend a cooler location during mid summer if the window you are talking about gets hot.
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • arran

    what do they mean by not direct sunlight what about trees in the wild how do the stay out of direct sunlight

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Arron,
      Trees in the wild can get their water from long roots under ground, bonsai reply on you giving them water so this is why we recommend a position out of direct sun. In a very hot position during mid summer you may need to water 4 times a day and the bonsai will not be able to transpire quickly enough to take up this water. Please move the bonsai to a cooler place in mid summer.

      Reply
  • arran

    if you email me i can attach where i put in a bay window

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      If the bay window faces south it will still be too hot during summer but perfect for the rest of the year.

      Reply
  • arran

    also shall i leave water in humidity tray if i serprate the pot from the tray with pebbbles

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Yes, Please leave some water in the tray. You have the right idea - if you want to leave some water in the tray this helps keep the humidity up round the bonsai - this is especially good when the central heating is on.
      However, you are correct in suggesting standing on pebbles. If the bonsai stood directly in water the roots would rot over a period of time.

      Reply
  • arran

    and on my branches there tiny bit of green algae on the end what do i do leave it or ???

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Generally algae or lichen is just a sign of good air quality. You are welcome to send us a photo - please send to [email protected] and we can check it out.

      Reply
  • arran

    also some green leafs fallen off dont no weather this is because ive just been sent it and its still stressed please could someone help me out with my questions today will be very grate full

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      It is very normal to lose some of the older leaves (not usually the growing tips) within the first 3 weeks of having a new bonsai. The bonsai simply re-acclimatises and at this time of year the new shoots will open quickly. Please keep and eye on the watering and make sure your bonsai does not dry out. Water when the soil feels barely damp to the touch. I hope this helps and happy bonsai growing!

      Reply
  • arran

    emailing you some pictures now the suns on one side of window so not to sure weather to put it in the sun or on the oppisite side where the sun hasnt reach yet till later on in the day many fanks arran

    Reply
  • arran

    emailed you some pics my window is south facing i think could you email me back ask few questions just sent it to you should have it soon cheer again

    Reply
  • arran

    my windows a south westly facing window let me no witch side you think i should put my bonsai on my bay window you should of got few pics

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Arran,
      I think for this time of year I would position the bonsai to the right of the bay window so that they get the evening sun and will not get too hot.
      You may prefer to move the Chinese Elm Bonsai to the left during winter so they get more sun.
      I think the slight discolouration is just while the bonsai re-acclimatizes; I would not worry about it unless it gets worse.
      You are correct, only water when the soil feels barely damp and then water really well until the water comes out of the holes at the bottom.
      If you find it easier you can stand the bonsai in the sink with water for a couple of minutes when they require watering.
      Do not water when the soil is wet because you could over water.
      I hope this helps
      all the best
      Sarah
      Bonsai Direct

      Reply
  • Chris

    Hi i have got a pack of juniper bonsai seeds what is my best way about planting and looking after them is there any food that i need and do i need tools for this stage?

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Chris,
      Thank you for your enquiry.
      The germination rate for Junipers is relatively low and very slow so I would recommend sowing all the seeds.
      There are different theories about stratification - with some seeds you need to cold treat them (in the freezer) for a period of weeks or months prior to sowing.
      The company you brought the seed from should be able to advise you about the best stratification method for the seeds to have.
      After stratification I would sow the seeds in a seed compost and just keep the soil moist; keep them outside - this could take months.
      I am not overly experienced about sowing Juniper seeds - we tend to take cuttings due to their difficulty!
      Sorry I cannot be more help
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • mo

    All the leave have falling of my bonsia. I dont know if l have over watered, but at the ends off the branches l do have green tips growing l am hoping that it will recover.

    Can you tell me what l have done wrong.

    Regards
    mo

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Mo,
      Thank you for your enquiry.
      It is not uncommon for some leaves to drop as we enter winter; this is usually followed by a growth period.
      Is it just the old leaves which are dropping or the new growing tips too?
      Over-watering is usually recognisable by the tips of the leaves going brown/black.
      Please could you let me know what type of bonsai you have and if possible send a photo and I shall be able to advise you further.
      many thanks
      Sarah

      Reply
  • mo

    Hi sarah.

    Not sure of the name had lost the card that came with it. It has normal shape leaves but with jagged edges.

    Regards
    mo

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Mo,

      It sounds like it is a Chinese Elm (Zelcova) if the leaves are serrated.

      This is an indoor bonsai and usually recovers quickly.

      I hope this helps

      Kind regards

      Sarah

      Reply
  • Kristina

    Hi there,

    I brought my partner a bonsai tree of a thousand stars about 2-3 weeks ago now. It's new to us, I've been keeping it watered and its also sat on windowsill as I've read this is best place in winter. Some of the leaves are turning yellow?! I just wondered what we are doing wrong?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Kristina,
      You are not doing anything wrong. If it is just the old leaves going yellow and not the new growing tips this is very normal when you first purchase a bonsai.
      It is probably warmer in your house than in our glasshouse and the bonsai thinks it is going into spring. it will drop its old leaves and then have a growth spurt.
      Just watch out for brown tips to the leaves because this is an indication of slight over-watering.
      If you are worried please send us a photograph and we shall check all is well,
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
      • Hamber

        Hi,

        i bought my bonsai 2 weeks ago approximately last time i sprayed it with water it was 3-5 days ago and my tree suddenly loses its leaves.

        they are turning yellow and they are dry. as i pass my hands over the tree the leaves immediately fall.

        i am scared, i care and i love my bonsaii probably care too much but i dont want it to die.

        i didnt take my tree outside since i bought it, always in my room on the table near the window. sometimes i open my window is it because my room isnt warm enough?

        wish i could send you a picture...

        thanks!

        Reply
        • Bonsai Direct

          Dear Hamber,
          It sounds as though your bonsai has dried out a little but it could just be re-adapting to its new environment; some varieties of bonsai are more sensitive to this than others - I'm not sure what variety of bonsai you have.
          If you wish to send an e-mail please send to [email protected] and I can check the symptoms for you,
          kind regards
          Sarah
          Bonsai Direct

          Reply
      • Hamber

        here take a look...
        one or two leaves look like plastic, they are swollen-like and glow a little bit more than the rest of the leaves...
        the temperature in the city i live is around 23-25*C summer

        /Users/brahimferdjani/Desktop/bonsai/20150923_102452.jpg
        /Users/brahimferdjani/Desktop/bonsai/20150923_102458.jpg
        /Users/brahimferdjani/Desktop/bonsai/20150923_102510.jpg
        /Users/brahimferdjani/Desktop/bonsai/20150923_102523.jpg
        /Users/brahimferdjani/Desktop/bonsai/20150923_102541.jpg
        /Users/brahimferdjani/Desktop/bonsai/20150923_102556.jpg
        /Users/brahimferdjani/Desktop/bonsai/20150923_102602.jpg

        Reply
  • shamima

    Please help. All the leaves on my serissa is turning black. What am I doing wrong ?

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Shamima,
      Black leaves on a bonsai could be a sign of:
      1. Over-watering - the black starts on the tips on the leaves and works its way up the leaf. The leaves go brown/black and are limp and the bonsai may wobbly in the pot slightly. The Serissa is a bonsai which likes to be kept fairly dry.
      2. If the bonsai dried out then the leaves would go crispy and brown.
      3. If the bonsai is kept somewhere very cold (ie not frost free) then the leaves could go black.
      I hope this helps.
      If you would like to send a photographs we could check this for you.
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • nigel

    hello i now live in Thailand could you advise me on bonsi living in constant heat 30c-39c how much water do they need also is in the sun any problem for them. thanks

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Nigel,
      thank you for your enquiry. If I am honest I do not have much experience about the types of trees which grow in Thailand.
      I feel you would be better asking a local garden centre as to what thrives.
      Instinct tells me that you could grow any indoor bonsai but it would just need watering more frequently and certainly checking daily for watering.
      One bit of advice which may be helpful is to put the bonsai into a proportionally fairly large pot. The larger pots hold so much more water so that would reduce the frequency that you would need to water.
      I am sorry I cannot be of more help
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
      • nigel

        thank you very much, you have answered my question. I was of the same thinking surely most plants will grow over here, and the water is now sorted i will keep the soil moist again thanks.
        nigel

        Reply
  • greta

    I have just received a Chinese Elm from you as a gift for my son. What temperature will keep it looking as good as possible for Christmas Day? Would a cool room be better than a warm one?
    Many thanks for your help. Greta

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Greta,
      Thank you for your order and your enquiry.
      A cooler room would be ideal. Please give the bonsai plenty of light and make sure that it does not dry out.
      Wishing you a very happy Christmas,
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • kim pantry

    Why are the leaves falling off?

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Kim,
      Please could you send me some more details.
      Are the leaves changing colour? are they spotty or crispy or brown?
      It is very normal if you have just purchased a bonsai for some of the old leaves to fall within the first 2-3 weeks.
      the bonsai is acclimatising to its new location; this should just be the old leaves and not the new growing tips - a period of growth normally follows.
      If you have a photo this would be a great help to try and work out the cause,
      many thanks
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Becki

    hi i got a carmona bonsai for x mas, i have read loads of different web site on best place for them, how to water etc.. But they all slighty different things! Now i dont know how or whats the best way to keep my tree happy and well. Also i have him in my bay window its always just under 20c but there is abit of a draught is this ok or should i move him? He has lost some leaves but is growing new ones + he has some white flowers, kind regards becki

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Becki,
      Thank you for your enquiry.
      I agree that it can be very confusing, because many books contradict each other.
      I shall attach basic care instructions below.
      The Carmona is a bonsai which prefers a warm position - it sounds like your bay window would be great - nice a bright, but you are correct they do not like cold draughts.
      If the bonsai is happy and growing then it is probably fine but it the weather is very cold it may be worth moving it away from the draught.
      It is very normal to lose a few of the older leaves within the first few weeks whilst the bonsai re-acclimatises; it should not be the growing tips which drop.
      Please do not hesitate to contact us again if you have more questions,
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Oriental Tea Tree Bonsai
      Carmona microphylla

      The Oriental Tea Tree is a simple and elegant tree ideal for growing indoors. This bonsai has pretty white flowers during summer months and lovely green, shiny and waxy foliage. The leaves are unusually shaped and well proportioned. The leaves grow in neat clusters allowing the flowers and branch structure to be highly visible. A highly appealing and artistic bonsai.



      • Your bonsai is a living tree and with the right care it should live for many years. We hope that your bonsai brings pleasure to your home.

      • During winter place your 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.

      • To aid the health of your 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • To keep your bonsai strong and healthy we recommend the use of a good bonsai fertiliser. Bonsai fertiliser, an informative DVD and further advice are available from our website, www.bonsaidirect.co.uk

      • A bonsai is a living work of art and seasonal changes can sometimes be experienced.

      Please do not be concerned if, within 2 – 3 weeks of delivery, your bonsai shows signs of yellowing or falling leaves (normally the older leaves, not the new tips). Not all bonsai will exhibit these symptoms, but it is not uncommon. Your bonsai is simply acclimatizing to its new environment. A few leaves may drop, but within a few weeks you should notice new bright green buds starting to develop.

      We take great care to prune your bonsai before it is dispatched. If the foliage looks a little thin this is purely because it has been meticulously pruned to encourage new buds to form. You will also notice that during the winter months there are fewer leaves than in spring and summer.

      Reply
      • Becki

        Hi sarah, thank you for getting back to me. Now i know what i should be doing hopefully my carmona will live for along and happy life! Thanks again becki

        Reply
        • Bonsai Direct

          Hi Becki,
          You are most welcome, If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to ask,
          all the best
          Sarah

          Reply
          • Iwona Szmal

            My carmona died:( my housemates forgot to water it when l was on holidays:( can l save it? Should l repot it?

            Reply
            • Bonsai Direct
              Bonsai Direct 7th July 2016 at 7:46 am

              Dear Iwona,
              If your bonsai is truly dead then I regret nothing will help.
              To check if it is alive please make some small nicks in the trunk and branches with a sharp knife or thumb nail.
              If the layer just beneath the bark is green then the bonsai is alive.
              If it is alive please keep the soil damp (not wet) and give it plenty of daylight.
              Please do not repot it.
              I would take at least 2-3 months to see signs of life.
              i hope this helps
              kind regards
              sarah - Bonsai Direct

              Reply
  • TOM POTTER

    My indoor bonsai (Chinese Elm) 6 months old gradually lost all its leaves in early December.
    No sign of any new growth yet, is this the normal winter pattern?

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Tom,
      Thank you for your enquiry.
      It is normal to lose a few leaves on a Chinese Elm in December but these should be the old leaves and not the new growing tips.
      Did the leaves go crispy or change colour? It will take 6-8 weeks to display new buds so I would not worry that there are no new shoots.
      It would be nice to establish why it dropped all its leaves.
      Are you able to send a photo?
      Many thanks
      Sarah
      [email protected]

      Reply
  • Sgbonsai

    Hi, I've recently trimmed the roots of my fukien tea bonsai as they were root bound, the leaves have lost their shine and dropping, drying up and turning brown, have you any advice to try help my tree? Thanks

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Thank you for your enquiry.
      Generally, the tea tree prefers being re-potted in summer months so it may just be a little shocked.
      Did you root prune the bonsai or simply pot it into a larger pot?
      If you are able to send me a photo I can just check the symptoms for you ... my e-mail address is [email protected]

      Are the leaves going crispy or maybe brown and limp on the end of the leaves?
      I also wondered whether when you water the bonsai you may not be watering the orginal rootball but just the new soil - this would result in the bonsai drying out.
      It may be easier to water the bonsai by standing the bonsai in water for 5 mins when it requires watering - this way you know you are socking the entire root ball and not jsut the new soil.
      I hope this helps
      All the best
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Christina Wood

    I received a Chinese Elm for Christmas, almost all the leaves fell off in the following 2 weeks, they did not change colour or dry up, just fell off. The new leaves are starting to grow back, they are pale green and on long stems, and seem much bigger than the older leaves. I have the plant on a bright window ledge during the day, I move it at night in case it gets too cold, I have put the pot on a drip tray filled with gravel and water regularly. Is this regrowth normal and do I need to do anything to the new leaves as they start to grow. The bonsai is still looking very bare and not at all as it was when it arrived in the post.

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Christina,
      You will find that as the weather improves and the daylight gets better the leaves will grow more quickly.
      The drip tray with gravel sound perfect, please keep the soil damp.
      the re-growth at this time of year is always larger but this reduces with pruning. Please allow approx. 4 new leaves on each shoot then pinch out the tips. New shoots will then sprout. This stops the shoots getting long and leggy - they will thicken up and come through smaller and go darker green.
      All our Chinese Elms have this new growth (the first this spring) coming through now and the leaves will be larger and lighter green.
      Please be patient - in 4-6 weeks your Chinese Elm could look fantastic, once they start growing they grow quickly.
      Please do not over water - only water when the soil is barely damp and as more leaves grow you will find you need to water more frequently. You can start feeding the bonsai now too.
      I hope this helps
      Lloyd

      Reply
  • Neil

    Hi. On inspecting the soil in my Bonsai pot today (which was rather hard and dry, even with daily watering), I discovered several small stones/pieces of grit. What is the purpose of these stones? I removed some of the bigger ones and turned the surface of the soil over a little, before watering again. My Bonsai is a Podocarpus. Many thanks.

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Neil,
      This is a great question. Bonsai like a free draining soil - the grit is added to the compost to open the soil so that more air can get to the roots.
      This encourages the small fibrous feeder roots which all bonsai growers are looking to develop.
      The grit also helps prevent the bonsai becoming over-watered - although it does sound as though in your case this is not an issue - it may be getting close to the time that it needs repotting.

      If the soil is hard and dry i would recommend watering by standing the bonsai in a sink with a few inches of water in it, for about 10 mins. This will re-wet the soil and make it easier for you to water.
      I hope this helps
      Kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • leon

    Hi I have got a black monkeythorn bonsi tree as a gift but it is starting to lose all its leves and I don't know what to do. do you have any idea of what I can do?

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Leon,
      The Black Monkey Thorn is an Acacia bonsai.
      This is an outdoor bonsai and I would not expect it to have any leaves on at this time of year.
      It needs to be cool so that it has a dormant rest period during winter, but they do not tolerate frost well.
      Do you have an unheated location where you can put the bonsai?
      It may be a bit confused this year because it should be waking up in about May.
      I hope this helps
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • tina

    Hi, I have a Carmona and it didn't have many leaves on it when I bought it about three months ago, well I woke up this morning to find the green leaves drooping, they have no discolouration on them, just drooping. I keep the soil moist as in the right amount of water. My house ranges from 14 degrees, to 20 as its on timer so drops to 14 when off. I hope I have given you all the information. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Tina,
      I think your Carmona bonsai has got too cold.
      They are a bonsai which likes to be kept on the warm side - are you able to keep it somewhere warmer?
      A photo would help so we can check the symptoms.
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • tina

    Ps, I have been standing my tree in water until the soil looks wet. Is that the right thing to do? and the window it is in maybe quite cool and only gets the sun in the evening.

    Reply
  • Bonsai Direct

    Dear Tina,
    Thank you for your e-mail.
    Please could you send me a photograph so we can check out the symptoms.
    My e-mail address is [email protected]
    Kind regards
    Sarah

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Yes, that's fine - when you do water, make sure the whole root ball is wet and then only water when the soil is barely damp.
      I hope this helps

      Reply
  • david gill

    I have a well established, 4 year old, 'Ginseng' bonsai which i suspect has been dried out over the past 3 months. Most of the leaves are going crisp and brown and falling off. I have been feeding and watering for the past 3 weeks but no sign of any improvement. Since this problem arose i have been spraying the leaves as well as watering the soil, is this a good idea? The soil feels barley damp.
    What should i do to re establish healthy growth.

    Reply
  • Mandy Griffiths
    Mandy Griffiths 27th March 2013 at 10:22 am

    I recieved a minature bonsai tree about 3 weeks ago . The leaves are going dry and crispy and some have brown marks on but there is also new growth . Is this a sign of over watering or under watering ? I have been misting it too but its leaves continue to fall off.

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Mandy, Thank you for your enquiry. If you have only had the bonsai for 3 weeks it is unlikely to be over-watering. Dry crispy leaves are usually a sign that the bonsai has dried out or got too hot at some time. Please could you send me a photo so I can check this out? If this is the case please stand the bonsai water in the sink for about 5 mins. The water needs to cover the whole pot. If the bonsai has dried out, it will continue to lose leaves and then in about 6 weeks you should see new buds.
      My e-mail address is [email protected]
      I hope this helps
      How often do you water your bonsai?
      many thanks
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Solek

    Hi,
    I recently got a bonsai but I'm not sure what type it is. But the leaves are crispy and falling off very easily, I think it may have dried out. Is it possible to revive it any way? I can provide photos if it will help!
    Thankyou!

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Solek,
      Thank you for your enquiry. Please could you send us a photo to [email protected] so that we can identify the bonsai.
      If the leaves are going crispy, this is usually an indication that the bonsai has dried out or become very hot. However, it is not uncommon for some types of bonsai to lose their old leaves (not the growing tips) at this time of year. They drop the old leaves as they come into spring and then have a growth period.
      I think it best that we identify your bonsai and help you from there.
      If you believe it has dried out please stand in the sink with water covering the whole pot for 10 mins and then retrun to watering as normal.
      Kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Megan

    I've bought my first bonsai today, an Acacia Erubescens (Bluethorn). I've watered it like suggested, yet after only having this beauty for half a day, the leaves are drooping. My question is - does this specific type droop at night, or am i just really bad with plants? Is there anything i can do to fix this if i have hurt it?

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Megan,
      I apologise but we do not grow Acacia, so I am unsure as to what you advise you.
      If the leaves are dropping I would stand the bonsai in water, so that the water covers the pot, for about 10 mins.
      I was of the belief that Acacia were outdoor bonsai and would not bee in leaf just yet so I would recommend contacting the centre from which you purchased it and getting some help.
      Sorry that I do not know more,
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Bonsai Direct

    Spraying is less important than watering. It is a good idea to mist the foliage once or twice a day but the most important thing is to get the watering right. We recommend touching the soil morning and evening (whilst you are learning). If the soil is wet to the touch then do not water. As soon as the soil is barely damp then soak the soil by either standing the bonsai in the sink for 5mins and covering the pot with water or by pouring water over the soil until it runs out of the holes at the bottom of the pot.
    It is important not to over water you bonsai so only water when the soil is just damp.
    When misting with a sprayer just makes sure all the leaves are damp.
    I hope this helps

    Reply
  • Daniel

    Does moss surrounding a bonsai tree help its growth?

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Daniel,
      Moss does not affect the growth of a bonsai at all.
      It looks really nice.
      If it is thick it can make it very difficult to determine when you need to water the bonsai.
      Hope this helps
      all the best
      Lloyd

      Reply
  • Lisa

    Hi I have a pepper tree and have been using the drip feed bottles how often should I use tem as it has used one in two weeks and any other advice how to look after it would be great thanks

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct
      Bonsai Direct 1st May 2013 at 4:55 pm

      Dear Lisa,
      Thank you for your enquiry.
      I am embarrassed to admit that I have never used the drip feed bottles. We use a liquid bonsai feed which must be diluted. We feed our bonsai weekly. It sounds like it may be using to much.
      Does it give an indication of the period it should last on the bottle. Please do use a bonsai feed - other feeds can be too strong for bonsai and burn the roots.
      I am sorry that I am not much help.
      Possible other growers may be able to advise you further.
      Kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Lauren Talbot
    Lauren Talbot 2nd May 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Hello,
    I bought a chinese elm around xmas time. The tree was lovely, very green and keep growing and growing! I keep it in a cold'ish utility room, which does get some daylight. I soak approx once a week, feed it and spray the leaves with water. In february time all the leaves started to crisp and fall away. The tree is now completely bare and i have trimmed it back of all the crispy twigs. I didnt soak for approx 4-6 weeks and im worried that i have killed the tree :( it is extremely dry. Can it be revived? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct
      Bonsai Direct 3rd May 2013 at 11:54 am

      Hi Lauren,
      It is great to soak the bonsai once a week but it will need watering more frequently than this.
      As soon as the soil feels barely damp then it will need a good water.
      I suspect that as the daylight increased in February, it dried out even more quickly.
      We are watering daily at the moment - the place where you purchased the bonsai should have told you this or provided care instructions.
      Have you not given it any water for 6 weeks? If this is the case the bonsai will not have survived.
      If you have been watering, then please stand the bonsai in the kitchen sink with watering covering the soil for at least 30 mins.
      Then go back to checking the soil daily and water only when barely damp - it will not need as much water now it is out of leaf.
      I hope this helps
      all the best
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Adrian

    Hello,
    Is it better to remove the leaves that have fallen off or is it better to leave them in the soil where they fall?
    Many thanks

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct
      Bonsai Direct 3rd May 2013 at 11:48 am

      I would recommend removing old leaves, your bonsai will look much nicer and they could start to go mouldy with time.
      I hope this helps.

      Reply
  • Nicole

    Hello,
    I got a Sageretia for my birthday 3 weeks ago. I'm read that it loves more acid soil, so I went and got some soil acidifier, giving it the recommended amount. It was growing at the top, and is continuing to grow, but more and more of the bottom leaves are becoming yellow (and sometimes brown) and falling off. It is still very evident that the bonsai is growing, so I am confused to why the leaves are falling off. I am worried that I made the soil too acidic and it's killing it, even though I followed the directions. I keep the soil moist, but not overly wet, and mist it frequently, so I don't think it's an issue of watering. Could it just be stressed from being replanted 3 weeks ago? It's not to the point where I think it's dying, but I'm just concerned because it wasn't as yellow when I got it.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct
      Bonsai Direct 7th May 2013 at 8:02 am

      Dear Nicole,
      Thank you for your enquiry.
      Please could you send us a photograph so we can check out the symptoms - How do you know it was re-potted 3 weeks ago.
      I would just like to see the symptoms - are the leaves crispy at all?
      Sageretia grow well and do not require a soil acidifier but hopefully the issue is unrelated.
      Kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Lydia

    Hello,

    I bought a bonsai from tesco a few weeks ago, it didn't say the species on it but after much investigation I believe it is a Chinese Sweet Plum. I was confused about the watering and had been letting the soil fully dry out before watering. It is now looking very unhappy, many of the leaves are becoming yellow and crispy and falling off, however many still look healthy. I am worried that it is dying because I have allowed it to dry out, will I be able to save it? Also, the care instructions it came with said to fill pot it came in with water from the bottom not to water it from the top, is this wrong? They also said to feed it but I'm not sure what the appropriate food is? Thank you for your time.
    Kind regards
    Lydia

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Lydia,
      thank you for your enquiry.
      If you could send a photo then we can just check the bonsai variety.
      My e-mail address is [email protected]
      It sounds as though it has dried out if the leaves have gone crispy.
      Please be patient - it takes 6-8 weeks to recover.
      During this time I would not feed the bonsai - wait until it is strong again before you feed and then use a bonsai feed such as the one in the link below:
      http://www.bonsaidirect.co.uk/item/1851/liquid-bonsai-fertiliser--t92-

      Only water when the soil is barely damp - and then water well.
      It does not matter how you do this - you could stand the bonsai in water or water from the top or bottom
      I hope this helps
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Georgia

    I bought my boyfriend a Chinese elm bonsai for Xmas 2012. For a few months is was thriving with lots of greenery and was covered in leave with new shoots growing every week. However, a couple of months ago we moved and the bonsai started loosing its leave gradually. We was concerned but put it down to the temperature change in the room. It suddenly lost literally all it's leaves and is completely bare and we don't know what to do! There seems to be a few new shoots but they don't seem to be growing very fast. Is there anything we're doing wrong? We feed it weekly and water it regularly. Any help or advice given will be much appreciated. Thankyou!

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Georgia.
      Please could you let me know if the leave changed colour or went crispy when they started dropping?
      If you are able to send a photograph that would really help.
      My e-mail address is [email protected]
      It is good that there a re new shoots - the Chinese Elm is good a recovering from a shock.
      It would be nice to identify what has happened.
      It will take up to 6-8 weeks for it to fully recover, so please be patient.
      Give the bonsai as much light as possible and keep the soil damp.
      I hope this helps
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
    • Bonsai Direct
      Bonsai Direct 23rd May 2013 at 7:16 am

      Dear Georgia,
      Thank you for the photos.
      I believe the bonsai has definitely dried out. The crispy leaves would indicate this.
      To check if it is alive please make some small nicks in the trunk and branches with a sharp knife.
      If the layer beneath the bark is green then the bonsai is alive - please give the bonsai plenty of light and keep the soil damp.
      You need to give the bonsai at least 6-8 weeks to re-bud.
      I hope this helps

      Reply
      • Georgia

        Thankyou so much for your help. I've made a small cut on the trunk and it's bright green inside. Thankyou again for helping me identify the problem, I really appreciate it :)

        Reply
  • Tina

    Hi I currently have 4 bonsai trees and absolutely love them if I send you pics would you possibly tell me what they are please as it didn't specify when i bought them also any advice on pruning would be helpful as the new branches are growing a bit wild and quick lol... thank you for reading :)

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct
      Bonsai Direct 22nd May 2013 at 8:07 am

      Hi Tina,
      Yes, of course. Please send the photos and I shall try and identify the bonsai for you.
      Kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Rachel

    My juniper bonsai has lost some color and there are some brown spots. Is there something wrong with it? What should I do?

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct
      Bonsai Direct 6th June 2013 at 8:37 pm

      Dear Rachel,
      Please could up send us a photo. If you are unable to upload it here please e-mail me [email protected] so that we can check out the symptoms.
      Thanks
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Gwyneth

    Major dilema! I had a friend take care of my bonsai for a couple of months, it was doing amazingly, until I saw it yesterday, and I was horrified!! The watering tray was full to the brim with water, the soil was drenched, and the leaves have completely wilted. I poured all the excess water out, and set him down in a warm spot to help the soil dry a little. But, after checking today, the leaves are looking even worse, they are now drying up and looking ready to drop. What can I do?? Or have I lost my poor bonsai intirely? Thankyou in advance.

    Reply
    • Gwyneth

      Should just ad, I am not entirely sure, but I believe my tree is a ficus.

      Reply
    • Bonsai Direct
      Bonsai Direct 6th July 2013 at 8:43 am

      It sounds like your bonsai may have dried out and that your friend is trying to compensate and soak the soil.
      I'm afraid if the leaves have gone crispy it is likely that they will all drop off.
      Providing it hasn't totally dried out you should see new buds in about 4-6 weeks.
      Please water as you used to and do not stand in water.
      Please be patient,
      Kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Beenz

    Hello. I recently brought a bonsai tree. After few days I noticed its leaves falling off. I live in Hot climate country and I have placed my bonsai indoor. I have placed it beside the window which receives sunlight in the morning for 2 or 3 hours and then normal day light. I still see its leaves falling. I am new to bonsai. Please help me. I don't know the type of bonsai I have but if you would require, I can send its pic to u. Awaiting for ur reply.

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct
      Bonsai Direct 7th July 2013 at 6:46 pm

      You are welcome to send us a photo so we can try to identify the bonsai and work out what might be wrong. Are the leaves going crispy?
      all the best
      Sarah

      Reply
      • Beenz

        Thank u Sarah for replying me. Can u share the email addresss where I can send u my bonsai pic? Well initially the leaves were green and falling but now I note, some of the leaves are turning brown before falling down. I check the soil layer daily to know if its dry.. Plus I am also giving it outside air daily. Since it is placed near to window, I open the window for little time daily. But my bonsai does not look happy:(

        Reply
        • Bonsai Direct

          Of course, please send the photo to [email protected] and we shall take a look.

          Reply
  • Nick Toye

    Hi, I am just starting out with a Bonsai, I believe it is a Chinese Elm, but it didn't say on the label. There is a lot of green moss on the soil around the tree, but it was like this when bought so I assume that is ok. I also bought a feed tube called Drop by Drop, and it says to place the feed bottle upside down in the soil and replace when empty. Is that right? Nick

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct
      Bonsai Direct 9th July 2013 at 6:47 am

      Hi Nick,
      You are correct, the moss does not do any harm and looks really pretty. Just ensure that when you check your bonsai for water you check the soil beneath the moss to see if the soil is damp or wet.
      I regret I have not heard of Drop by Drop - please make sure it is a bonsai feed - other fertiliser can be too strong and burn the roots.
      If you would like us to identify the bonsai please send us a photo.
      I hope you enjoy it,
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Emma

    I am not sure what type my bonsai is but this week the smaller branches have dropped down, it is watered when it starts to dry out and is still damp enough at the moment, also fed regularly! Is there a way I can send a picture and ge advice? I don't want to lose it!!

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Emma,
      Yes please send a photo to [email protected] and I shall take a look,
      kind regards
      Lloyd

      Reply
  • Fernanda

    My carmona bonsai has died. I was my first bonsai and I put too much water. I heard that if you cut a bit of the branch and if she is brown, not green this means that she id dead. Also if you cut the roots a bit she will might come back to like again. She does not have any leaves and the branch looks really dry. Is anything else I can do it for she comes back to life again. this was 3 weeks ago and she was 3 years old. Thanks

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      If the cambium layer beneath the bark is brown then the bonsai has died and I regret nothing you will do can help the bonsai.
      If this layer is green then this is great news and you should send a photo to us so that we can advise you further.
      A bonsai can recover from no leaves on most occasions (providing the cambium layer is green), however I would not advise root pruning unless the bonsai is strong and healthy,
      I hope this helps,
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Tahira janin

    I recently purchased a bonais elm about 1 week ago it came from holland but the leaves are going yellow very quick and I am keeping the soil damp and it the water tray has water in it with pebbles all the time and it is getting filtered sunlight from the kitchen windowsill as the garden has huge trees which I think block direct sunlight, please can u tell me what I am doing wrong, thank you

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      You may not be doing anything wrong - it may be simply be re-acclimatising to its new location. Are both the old and new leaves affected? When a bonsai adjusts to its new position it can loose a few of the old leaves (not the new growing tips). These then bud back over 3-4 weeks and the bonsai will produce a new flush of foliage. I hope this helps, Kind regards Sarah

      Reply
  • sarah

    Hi, I am new to bonsai and have recently got a Zanthoxylum (pepper plant) 4-5 years old. I have noticed that it has tiny white bug shells on it, also when I watered it recently the leaves have gone very limp! Not sure if I've over watered or if the bugs have effected it. The tree is kept out of direct sunlight but in a warm living room. If you can tell me what I'm doing wrong that would be great.
    Regards Sarah

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Sarah,
      It sounds as though you are keeping the bonsai in the correct position. Please could you send me a photo to [email protected] and I shall check this out. It may be a good idea to spray with a plant invigorator (this would also treat any pest).
      https://www.bonsaidirect.co.uk/item/4582/sb-plant-invigorator---500ml-ready-to-use-trigger-spray
      Kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • normam

    Hi my bonsai leaves are brown and is in living room in 16 c temperature, i moved it from conservatory to living room from June 2013 because the conservatory was to hot for it and the leaves are sill brown I water it one week and fertilizer it once a week at same time why are the any green leaves yet I am moving back to the conservatory for the winter time what am I doing wrong pleases let me know

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Norman,
      It sounds as though your bonsai either dried out or became scorched in the very hot weather in June - is this right? Please can you tell me what sort of bonsai it is please or send a photo to [email protected] I would check to see if the bonsai is still alive - make some small nicks in the trunk with a sharp knife. You need to check if the layer beneath the bark is brown or green.
      I look forward to hearing from you,
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Norman,
      the other thing I forgot to mention is that you need to water you bonsai when it is barely damp (and then soak it).
      In hot weather this will be every day.
      In a hot conservatory it maybe twice a day - I think your bonsai dried out.
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • normam

    Hi sent you some pictures to your email address my email hope you got them

    Reply
Leave a Reply