How To Take Care Of A Bonsai Tree (Here’s How!)

Many people think that taking care of a bonsai tree is daunting and challenging. However, it doesn’t have to be difficult if you have the right knowledge and tools with you. Yes, you will need to offer the bonsai more care and love than your average houseplant. 

Watering is a crucial part of taking care of bonsai trees. Following a watering schedule that meets your bonsai plant’s watering needs is essential for growing a healthy and beautiful bonsai plant.

And, once you learn its bonsai growing requirements, it will become a breeze for you in no time. So, if you are a beginner and don’t know how to take care of a bonsai tree, you are in the right place. Here is everything you must know. 

How To Take Care Of A Bonsai Tree (Here’s How!)
How To Take Care Of A Bonsai Tree (Here’s How!) –

What is Bonsai?

The word “Bon-sai” (usually written as Bonzai or banzai) is a Japanese term that, literally translated, means “planted in a container.” It is an art derived from an ancient Chinese horticultural practice and later developed under the influence of Japanese Zen Buddhism.

Bonsai, literally “bon,” means tray or pot, and “sai “means plant. It is the art of miniaturizing trees that grow in nature. 

Bonsai originated about 1200 years ago in China to put woody plants in containers in courtyards. Beginning about 700 years ago, the Japanese perfected the art.

Today the art of bonsai has become a source of immense pleasure and inspiration for most people in the U.S and around the world.

Bonsai originally refers to a tree or shrub; today, it may refer to any miniaturized plant, such as herbaceous plants. Furthermore, succulents are usually used for bonsai.

Characteristics Of Plants That Make Excellent Bonsai Tree

Here are a few qualities that make good bonsai trees:

Characteristics Of Plants That Make Excellent Bonsai Tree
– Plants with small leaves
– Plants with good twig form
– Plants that can endure intense pruning
– Plants that thrive in container culture
– Plants with beautiful bark or roots
Table Contains Characteristics Of Plants That Make Perfect Bonsai Tree –

Generally, plants with primary tap roots that can not survive when the tap root has been trimmed do not work well as bonsai.

Providing the climatic conditions of a plant that does not naturally grow in your area can be very challenging, making the bonsai expensive to maintain. I suggest you choose plants that are easy to maintain and grow well in your location.

List Of The Best Plants For Making Bonsai
– Azalea
– Junipers
– Quince
– Elms
– Wisteria,
– Cedars
– Arbor vitae
– Pomegranate
– Maples
– Oaks
– Cypress
– Pines
– Boxwood
– Pyracantha
Table Displays a List Of The Best Plants For Making Bonsai –

How To Take Care Of A Bonsai Tree

You will have to take care of many elements when you grow a bonsai tree. You must carefully consider each requirement so that your bonsai gets all the love it needs to thrive. Here are all the factors you must understand to learn how to take care of a bonsai tree in the best way possible:

1- Choose The Proper Location 

The first thing you must decide when caring for a bonsai is where you will place it in your home. The key to knowing this is understanding whether your bonsai tree is an outdoor or indoor plant. For example, bonsai trees such as spruce, pine, and juniper need to be placed outdoors so that they are exposed to the seasons. 

  • Outdoor bonsai trees also include deciduous trees that change leave colors with the season. Such trees include ginkgo, elm, maple, and more.
  • On the other hand, indoor bonsai trees are usually subtropical, and they thrive when there is a stable temperature the entire year. These include bonsai trees, such as ficus, Hawaiian umbrellas, and jade.

Once you determine the location of your bonsai tree, you can move on to the other elements that will help you care for your bonsai. 

2- Understand Your Bonsai Tree’s Light Requirements

Light is life, and bonsai trees thrive when they receive a few hours of direct sunlight every day. As a general rule of thumb, your bonsai tree needs between five to seven hours of sunlight every day. However, if your tree is indoors and the lighting is not very intense, then you can also keep your bonsai tree in the light for at least sixteen hours each day

If your bonsai tree is in a shady area and you want to increase the light exposure, then we suggest that you do this gradually. That is because if you suddenly move your bonsai from shade to light, it can damage your tree as it will be too intense. You must also opt for natural lighting, as artificial lights can hinder the growth of your bonsai. 

The environmental factors also keep on transforming depending on the times and seasons. That is why you can frequently change the location of your tree. Doing this will help you to balance the temperature, humidity, and lighting levels for your bonsai tree. 

3- Learn To Meet Your Bonsai Tree’s Watering Requirements

If you want to know how to take care of a bonsai tree, you must understand the watering requirements. The bonsai trees vary greatly in how much water they need. However, most of the trees require you to keep the soil moist and offer humidity. 

For example, you can mist your bonsai tree to keep it healthy, but every few days, you must offer it the water it needs. As a general rule of thumb, you can water every time the topsoil layer is completely dry. Underwatering and overwatering are both problems you must avoid as they can damage your bonsai. 

The soil will also play an important role in how well the water is drained from your pot. That is why you must select soil that will offer the best drainage to your bonsai tree. 

4- Choose The Correct Soil For Your Bonsai Tree

The correct soil can make or break the growth of your bonsai tree. A good rule is to select soil that will offer you the best drainage. If you want this drainage, you can add large particles to your soil mixture. These include volcanic stones or rocks to enhance your drainage by adding more air to the soil. 

The ideal soil mixture must easily hold water, and you can improve this by adding clay. You can also fertilize your bonsai from time to time. Doing this will guarantee that your bonsai gets the nutrients it needs to remain healthy.

Great fertilizer for the bonsai will contain an equal amount of potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen. Before you use the fertilizer, we recommend that you thoroughly water the tree. If you use fertilizer when the soil is dry, it can damage your bonsai tree. 

5- Shaping And Pruning 

The key to maintaining a compact shape for your bonsai is to prune it well. There are two types of pruning techniques, which include:

  • Maintenance 

This type of pruning will help you strengthen your bonsai tree by promoting growth. You can cut away young shoots and leaves so that the leaves underneath are exposed to sunlight and air. Doing this will strengthen your tree and maintain its overall health. 

Maintenance pruning is ideal for leaves, buds, and branches. The ideal time to opt for maintenance pruning is when you witness new growth that begins to morph the tree shape. If your bonsai tree produces flowers, we recommend that you prune it during the spring months so that more new flowers can grow in the upcoming spring. 

  • Structural 

The second type of pruning for your bonsai is structural pruning. However, this is an advanced method, which is why you must only use this technique when your bonsai tree is dormant. In this type of pruning, you remove the primary structural branches of your tree. 

We recommend that you opt for a professional if you want structural pruning on your bonsai. They will utilize their skills and knowledge to do this in the best way so that your tree can recover in no time. 

6- Repotting Your Bonsai Tree

Finally, you have to repot the bonsai from time to time. That is because trees don’t have enough room to grow big and create a stable network as they do in nature when they are in containers. When you begin repotting, it will prevent any root binding and replenish nutrients in the soil. 

I recommend that you repot a bonsai tree during the spring to reap the benefits of its growing cycle. Such a cycle is when your tree wants to grow and shifts energy from roots to leaves. If you want to know whether your tree is ready to be repotted or not, you can always look for the roots coming in through the drainage holes. 

In addition, I recommend that you don’t repot your bonsai tree during the winter months. That is because your tree is dormant during this time, and it is storing most of its energy in its roots to keep consuming. 

Final Words 

That was everything you must know on how to take care of a bonsai tree. All of these guidelines will make taking care of your bonsai tree a breeze.

That is why we suggest that you follow these guidelines in detail, as they will guarantee your bonsai is thriving and living happily for a long time to come. 


Hello friends, I am Altiné. I am SO excited you are here! I am the guy behind Plants Heaven is a blog that shares information about preparing, creating, and maintaining gardens in and out of your home, regardless of where you live. My goal is to help you learn to love gardening and reap the benefits that come with it. I am still learning; therefore, the information I share on this site may not always be “expert” advice or information. But, I do my VERY best to make sure the information shared on this blog is both accurate and helpful.

Recent Posts

Many people think that taking care of a bonsai tree is daunting and challenging. However, it doesn’t have to be difficult if you have the right knowledge and tools with you. Yes, you will need to offer the bonsai more care and love than your average houseplant.