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Have you just brought home your first Bonsai tree, or are you thinking of cultivating some for your landscape? Bonsai trees come from regular stock and seed that go through pruning, root reduction, grafting, defoliation, and potting to produce a small tree with the tree’s look in mature form. If you are an owner of a Bonsai or about to be, you may be wondering how much care this tree needs. A significant part of that is water requirements. We’ve looked into this very subject.
The water requirements of Bonsai can change slightly based on the type of tree you have and the environmental conditions. On average, you should water a Bonsai tree every four to seven days.
You must never let a Bonsai dry out completely, as this can be fatal for your tree. Read on as we break down signs that it is time to water your tree and discuss the care for Bonsai trees that live indoors.
How Do I Know If My Bonsai Needs Water?
There is a range when it comes to how often you should water a Bonsai tree. This is due to varying factors and environments surrounding your Bonsai. These factors include the size of your tree and pot, soil mixture and fertilizer used, as well as weather conditions like wind and sun exposure. Consistently monitoring your Bonsai for signs of drying out or lack of soil moisture is how you will know if your tree needs water.
Checking for adequate soil moisture has been done using different methods, all giving the same needed information. One of these methods involves the use of a soil moisture meter. This probe will tell you if your Bonsai is under or overwatered based on a 1-10 scale. If your meter shows a three or lower, it is time to water.
If you are without a moisture meter, no need to worry. You can use your finger to test the soil. Put your finger about 1 inch deep into the soil around your Bonsai; if your soil is dry or lacking moisture, it is time to water. Please get familiar with the species of your Bonsai; each type can have slightly different recommendations when it comes to moisture levels.
How Much Water Does A Bonsai Tree Need?
You go to water your Bonsai after noticing the moisture in the soil is relatively low, but how much water should you provide? The amount, just like the timing of watering, can vary based on each individual tree. A good rule to follow is to water enough to thoroughly soak your tree’s entire root system.
Did you know there are different ways to achieve these soaked roots? The two most common methods used are overhead watering and watering by immersion. Overhead watering is what you typically think of when you imagine watering a garden or plant. You will shower your Bonsai using a hose or watering can until water starts to come out of the drainage holes.
The immersion method for watering your Bonsai is a quick way to soak the roots of your tree. This is a great way to care for indoor Bonsai trees or ones that have gotten dried out. Keep in mind that immersing too often can start to cause damage to the roots.
The video below shows you how to water your Bonsai using the immersion method.
Read more on our blog post, “15 Best All-Purpose Plant Fertilizers [Liquid, Powder, And Granular].”
Should I Mist My Bonsai Tree?
You absolutely can mist a Bonsai tree, and they benefit from the moisture. Misting is highly recommended in winter months or when the environment is particularly dry. As you mist your Bonsai, you are cleaning the tree’s foliage of dust and debris while creating some temporary humidity and moisture.
Misting should be done alongside watering, but never replace watering with misting. Use the mist to focus on the leaves of your Bonsai and any moss that lives on the top layer of the soil. Stick to your regular watering to ensure your roots are getting plenty to drink.
Can You Overwater A Bonsai Tree?
While we often worry about a Bonsai tree drying out, you should be equally worried about overwatering. You can overwater a Bonsai, making it vital that you check soil moisture before you water. Your soil should always be moist but should not always be wet. The period between watering allows oxygen to reach the roots, promoting growth. If your soil is constantly soaked, this process cannot happen.
Outside constantly wet soil, you may notice other changes with your Bonsai from overwatering. You want to watch for symptoms like an unstable trunk, branches getting weak or smaller, a change in leaf color, and leaf drop. When you notice changes like these, it can indicate that your tree has been overwatered for some time, and there is a risk of root rot.
If you are worried about an overwatered tree, you can take steps to care for it. Move your Bonsai into a new pot after rinsing the roots; you will want to water sparingly and ensure the tree gets plenty of sunlight.
Are Bonsai Trees Hard To Care For?
What goes into the care of a Bonsai is not overly complex, but these trees do require consistent maintenance and upkeep. Like most other plants you will work with, you should be familiar with your specific Bonsai’s fertilizing, watering, soil, and sunlight needs. Since Bonsai trees come in many types or species, you can focus on getting types that are easier to care for, like Jade.
The amount of care required not only changes based on species but the conditions surrounding the Bonsai. One example being if the tree lives indoors or outdoors.
With the proper care, a Bonsai can live long, some reaching over 100 years old. It is worth it to learn the ins and outs of whichever Bonsai you choose. The more you work with these trees, the easier the care becomes, and for most, this care turns into a lifelong hobby.
How Do You Care For A Bonsai Tree Indoors?
Many Bonsai trees live happily indoors. Among these are tropical species such as the Hawaiian Umbrella and the Ficus Bonsai. Just like Bonsai trees outdoors, you need to monitor indoor Bonsai trees when it comes to the amount of light and water they are getting, their soil, and the surrounding temperature and humidity.
Indoor Bonsai trees should be placed in a location that gets plenty of direct sunlight or should be getting at least 10 hours of artificial light. Use humidity trays or daily misting to stay on top of humidity and be well-informed on the temperature requirements of your species of tree.
Wherever your Bonsai has been placed, you should constantly be checking the soil moisture. As we discussed, checking your soil’s moisture daily will allow you to know precisely when you should water your indoor tree. Water immersion is excellent for indoor Bonsai, but you can get what you need from overhead watering as well.
Below is a short video on indoor Bonsai care.
Read more on our blog post, “17 Extra Large Indoor Planters That Will Transform Your Home”.
How often you water and how much water your Bonsai needs often changes based on the species of tree you have and the environment the Bonsai is living in. You want to check your soil moisture daily to ensure your tree gets enough water but not getting overwatered. Soil moisture can be accurately gauged using a moisture meter, or you can make an educated guess based on the finger test.
Your tree should be getting enough water to soak the roots and to keep the soil consistently moist. We hope you found this article helpful when it comes to watering your own Bonsai. Happy Gardening!
Are you looking for some inspiration when it comes to your landscape? Have a look through our blog post, “30 Moss Garden Ideas That Will Inspire You (Both Indoor And Outdoor)”.