Firstly, don’t panic! Leaf drop is very normal and it doesn’t necessarily mean that your bonsai is dying. There are 3 main causes of leaf drop, as shown below.

Why is my bonsai dropping leaves?

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
very 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 fairly quickly
– 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 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

Some Examples of Leaf Drop due to Reacclimatisation

bonsai discolouring leaves
Fig.1

As you can see in Fig.1, the inner leaves are the ones turning yellow. They will further discolour and then drop off.

However, new buds will appear shortly after they’ve dropped.

bonsai dropped all leaves
Fig.2

The bonsai in Fig.2 dropped all its leaves. Yours may do the same and it seems rather drastic. Don’t worry though.

As you can see, all the new foliage there started to grow shortly after they dropped.

bonsai leaf drop new leaves / foliage
Fig.3

Fig.3 shows the strong new growth coming through after some leaves have dropped on this bonsai.

The new growth is indicated by the lighter colour leaves and shoots.