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Spotty Leaves On Your Bonsai Tree – Black Spots on Bonsai Leaves

Spotty bonsai tree leaves

Black SpotSpotty leaves on a bonsai

Black spot is a fungal disease which affects the leaves.
On a bonsai this usually shows as small dark coloured spots on the leaves.
It is easy to treat but you will need to spray the foliage with a fungicide (available from garden centres).
It is important to repeat spray according to the instructions on the bottle.
If your bonsai does have black spot you will probably notice spots on all the leaves (new and old). If the spots are only on the old leaves please read on!

Old Leaves

Old leaves (ie not the new growing tips) frequently show small spots. These leaves will drop and new ones will replace them. This is just a sign of aging. If there are no spots on newer/younger foliage them I would suspect that this is the cause.

Red Spider Mite

Red Spider Mite is a very tiny pest, which is just visible with the naked eye but can go un-notiiced. It is the symptoms which normally become apparant in the first instance. Red Spider thrives in warm, dry conditions so rarely affects outdoor bonsai.
Bonsai affected by red spider mite tend to display a pale mottling on the leaves. If you look closely fine silk-like webbing and hanging leaves can also be seen.
Eventually a bonsai with red spider mite will start dropping leaves.
To treat for red spider mite we recommend that you spray twice weekly with plant invigorator. Spray to run off so that the leaves, branches, trunk and under the leaves are dripping. Repeat twice a week for 4 weeks and then return to using weekly.

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8 replies

  1. Hi,

    I got my first bonsai a few months ago, a Chinese elm, and over the last few weeks it’s started to develop some white powdery spots on all the leaves.

    it started off on just a few leaves which I cut off but it seems to of just spread all over.

    1. It sounds like a mildew, but without seeing the bonsai it is not possible to confirm.
      You could spray with Rose Clear or a similar insecticide/fungicide which will treat most fungal issues.
      I hope this helps. You would need to spray at least 3 times at weekly intervals.
      kind regards

  2. My new bonsai from you has started to develop black spots on the leaves and have started to drop

    1. It is very normal in the first 2-3 weeks for old leaves to drop off. The spots appear and they yellow and drop. Approx 4 weeks later you get a growth spurt. Please just keep the soil damp (and not wet) and mist the leaves.
      I hope this helps
      kind regards Bonsai Direct

  3. My bonsai cuttings are turning black with droopy leaves. It started blackening on the stem starting at the top then starting at the bottom so only the middle is still green. No idea what’s happening.

    1. Hi Ashley,
      Without seeing the bonsai we can’t be sure, but this sounds like an over-watering issue. If you’re making cuttings, something that might work is wrapping a polythene bag around the pot with a rubber band to keep the humidity up.
      Hope this helps.


  4. My bonsai has small brown dots on its leaves, what should i do?

    1. If it is just the old leaves this is normal. It’s very common for old leaves to drop from your tree, and they frequently have black spots. There’s nothing to be concerned about if new leaves are unaffected.

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