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Watering indoor bonsai trees

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.

Leaf Drop on my Bonsai

SymptomsWhat to do nextImage
Reacclimatising 
(Very common and nothing to worry about)
– Normally happens within 2 months of receiving/moving your bonsai
– Older leaves will drop (those closer to the trunk)
– Newer (often a lighter green) leaves will start growing at the ends of the branches
– Please give your bonsai some time to acclimatise to its new location. 
– Keep the soil just damp to the touch at all times.
– It can often take 4-6 weeks before new buds appear
Reacclimatising
Underwatering 
(very common and 
more serious)
– Often during hotter periods, but can happen at any time of the year
– Older and newer leaves are effected
– Leaves go yellow/brown and crispy
– Symptoms are displayed quickly (usually within a couple of days)
– Please stand your bonsai in a container of water for 1 hour so
the water just covers the top of the pot. 
– Please watch our watering video and keep the soil damp at all times
– It can often take 6-8 weeks before you see any signs of improvement
Underwatering
Overwatering
(less common and slightly serious)
– Often during cooler periods, but can happen any time of the year
– Older and newer leaves are effected
– Leaves go black/brown
– Symptoms for overwatering can take a while to show
– Please watch our watering video and keep the soil just damp at all times
– It can often take 6-8 weeks before you see any signs of improvement
Overwatering

What happens when I go on holiday?

If you are just going away for a short break (up to 5 days) please stand your bonsai in a tub or the kitchen sink in water, so that the water level is at least half way up the pot. Please ensure that it is in a cool position. The bonsai will be over-watered for a few days but this is perferable to drying out. Upon your return remove the bonsai from the water and then only water again when the soil is barely damp. Then return to your normal watering regime.

If you are going away for longer than 5 days then you need to find a friend or neighbour to take care of the bonsai for you. Please leave them with care instructions and you could even recommend that they watch our bonsai watering video above. It is normally a good idea for them to take it home with them – then they won’t forget to water it!

15 replies

  1. I am going away for 10 days in July. To water my bonsai, it was suggested that I place the pot on a brick in a basin with water below the pot level, then cover the surface of the pot with a cloth at either end which is immersed in the water so that the bonsai is watered by capillary action. Do you think this would work?

    1. Dear Ceri,
      I think if you do this the bonsai will dry out.
      I would preferably ask someone to look after it or stand the bonsai in water.
      This will overwater it for a short time but this is preferable to it drying out.
      when you return please allow to drain the revert to keep the soil damp,
      I hope this link helps:
      https://www.bonsaidirect.co.uk/blog/bonsai-care-advice/bonsai-care-information/how-do-i-water-my-indoor-bonsai-tree-2/

      kind regards
      Sarah

  2. Friend bought tree from you for Christmas for me. I fallow all instruction and even order lots of your products, but 5 months later tree was dead. Straight after Christmas tree start loosing leaves and at the end was just plain stick, I notice some little white insects walking on soil. I’m gutted that I need to loose my tree, I’m thinking to get a new one just to replace my present, but now I’m scared that once you send me new one will haven same.

    1. Dera Giedre,
      Please could you send me a few photos so we can try and establish the cause of the leaf drop.
      Many thanks
      Sarah

  3. Thank you very much for the invitation. Best wishes.
    PS: How are you? I am from France

  4. My bonsai I purchased from you was so lovely buy is now baron feel so sorry
    looking at such a a lovely little tree

    1. Hi, if you want to send a photo to [email protected] we can try and help your bonsai.

      Many thanks,
      Bonsai Direct

  5. I was given a Bonsai last Christmas and its been fine up until now, i’m assuming it could be the hot weather we’ve been having in England but its started losing a lot of its leaves.
    I water it every time I see the soil dry out and give it plenty. – I’m worried that its dying? I can see smaller new buds sprouting but it doesn’t look very good at the moment.
    Could you shed some light on why my tree is losing so many of its leaves?

    1. Hi Charlotte,
      Yes the hot weather could be causing this but without seeing it, it is hard to say for sure.
      Have the leaves changed colour? Please mist the leaves daily with water in addition to keeping the soil damp.
      Do you feed the bonsai?
      It is a great sign that you have new buds. Perhaps for the next week just place it somewhere a little cooler but please do keep the humidity up by misting – this will make a lot of difference.
      We are misting at least twice a day at the moment.
      We hope this helps
      Best wishes
      The Bonsai Direct Team

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  7. Hi
    the Bonsai that I bought for Christmas for my daughter has shed its leaves once, then new leaves grew. In the last few weeks all leaves have dropped off and bark of tree looks as if the tree is dying. So sad, please help

    1. Hi Susanne, I am sorry to hear that your daughters bonsai isn’t doing too well. Could you email a few photos to us? We will help you from there. Many thanks, The Bonsai Direct Team.

  8. Does your site have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an e-mail. I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it improve over time.

    1. Thank you for your message! We apologize for any confusion regarding our contact page. You can reach us by phone at 01363 877752 or by email at [email protected]. We appreciate your interest in sharing your ideas for our blog. We’re always open to new suggestions and look forward to hearing from you. We’re committed to improving our website and providing the best experience for our customers. Thank you for your support, and we’re excited to work on enhancing our site further.

  9. Exceptional Blogs and Videos on Bonsai

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