Over-watering Bonsai Tree Symptoms

Overwatering bonsai tree symptoms

Overwatering bonsai treesIf the tips to the leaves on your bonsai go soft and black/brown this can indicate one of two problems:

  • Your bonsai is suffering from over-watering.
  • Your bonsai has been hit by frost or become too cold.

In the case of indoor bonsai, brown/black tips to the leaves is usually indicative of over-watering. Frequently this is also associated with the bonsai becoming loser or wobbly within the pot. Over-watering is not something which happens quickly; it is a slow degenerative issue which slowly rots the roots and the bonsai can even exhibit symptoms of wilty leaves (usually associated with lack of water). This is because the roots become weak and do not function properly.

If you observe these symptoms please place the bonsai in a cooler position with good daylight and out of direct sun. Check the bonsai daily for water and only water the soil when it is barely damp to the touch. It will take along time to see new buds or leaves; in this time you are hoping that your bonsai will re-grow the root system. It is important not to feed a bonsai during recovery.

 

 

15 thoughts on “Over-watering Bonsai Tree Symptoms”

  • Norbert

    Hi,

    My tree are over watered and half of the tree dropping leaves another half growing new once. I have not watered for 2 weeks now but still not drying up. What to do?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • bonsaidirect

      I regret there is nothing else you can try. It sounds as though the roots are weak through over-watering. It will take several weeks for the roots to get stronger. When they are stronger hopefully the canopy will start to recover but this will take time.
      Kind regards
      Sarah - Bonsai Direct

      Reply
  • Heather

    I've had my tea tree bonsai for just over year. It hasn't had many new shoots and now the leaves are going brown and dropping off. I don't think it's overwatering. It's in a draught free spot with some sun, but the room temperature is not consistently 20 degrees (which I think is too warm a room temperature for people and the environment) Can you suggest a solution? I was wondering about a cloche in winter if you think this is the problem.

    Reply
    • bonsaidirect

      Hi Heather,
      Are the leaves soft and brown or crispy and brown?
      This could be just seasonal leaf drop if it is the old leaves. Perhaps you could send me a photo so i can check this.
      many thanks
      Sarah
      [email protected]

      Reply
  • Emily Lane

    I have a juniper bonsai tree (I think) and it is possible that it has been over watered but the leaves are crispy and brown they are even brown near the branches any ideas on if it is over watering and any way to fix it?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • bonsaidirect

      Dear Emily,
      I think the first thing to do is establish if you do have a Juniper. The advice would depend upon the variety of bonsai.
      Please could you email me a photo and I can check this for it. Please let me know where you keep it.
      Many thanks
      Sarah
      [email protected]

      Reply
  • Amy

    Hi,
    I was given an oriental tea tree (Carmona) bonsai for christmas but I think it has been in normal potting soil as I have only watered once surface soil appeared just damp/dry but is now definitely showing signs of root rot which I recognise from orchids being in the incorrect soil. I've ordered a replacement soil that looks to have better drainage components but is there anything I can do to help the tree while the new soil is on its way?
    Thank you in advance :)

    Reply
    • bonsaidirect

      Dear Amy,
      The Oriental Tea Tree has quite fine roots so sometimes growers use a peaty/sandy mix for this variety.
      When you do repot it, please do not disturb too much of the existing root structure.
      Just keep the soil damp and not wet in the meantime,
      The Tea Tree does not like to be wet, damp soil is perfect.
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Lono

    Hii,
    I have a Ficus indoor Bonsai.
    I overwatered it and mold (I guess) started to grow (white powdery stuff, around the base of the tree and around the pot.
    And just as he first comment. half of the tree is dropping leaves another half growing new ones.

    I removed the tree with the soil from the pot and removed the excess of water. I put news paper around the soil so it will absorb the excess of water in the soil, close to a window. No direct sunlight.

    What are the next steps?

    Many many thanks!
    Lono

    Reply
    • bonsaidirect

      Dear Lono,
      I suspect the lower and older leaves are dropping and the new top leaves are growing; is this correct?
      Please make sure it is in a pot with good drainage hole and that the bonsai does not stand in water.
      Kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Mathew

    I have two young Japanese elms sported in June 2017. Some of the leaves have gone brown at the tips and are crispy, some have fallen off completely. What should I do? I don't think I'm under watering maybe to much how do I get them healthy.

    Reply
    • bonsaidirect

      Dear Matthew, Black tips to the leaves is usually a sign of over-watering. The roots start to rot and then the saplings show signs of under-watering because the roots are not working efficiently.
      Please keep the soil just damp and give then 2-3 months before you will see any improvement. The roots must re-grow before the leaves can show any signs of improvement.
      I hope this helps
      The Bonsai Direct Team

      Reply
  • Brianna

    I have have a Blue Star Juniper that I just purchased a few weeks ago and the ends of the tree leaves are turning brown rapidly. I water Often and mist the leaves to keep humidity often too. The trunk and branches don't seem to be flimsy or weak.... Whats wrong ?! The tree is nearly 13 years old and the last thing I want is for it to die, send help.

    Reply
    • bonsaidirect

      Dear Brianna,
      The Chinese Juniper does not like to be wet. It prefers the soil to be barely damp.
      Where do you keep your bonsai?
      kind regards
      Sarah - Bonsai Direct

      Reply
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