Bonsai trees are beautiful, but they require constant care. They need to be watered regularly, fertilized, pruned, and trimmed. Wondering how often to water a bonsai tree? And how long does it take before they look bad?
There’s no set answer to these questions because each bonsai tree species is different. However, there are general guidelines that will help you decide whether you need to water your bonsai tree.
I’ll go over the basics of watering bonsai trees, including how often to water them, and how long it takes for them to look bad.
- Related article: Detailed Care Guide for Bonsai Trees
How Often Should You Water A Bonsai Tree?
Bonsai trees need plenty of water to keep the soil moist and never let it completely dry. You should check on the soil daily to see if water is needed. On average, bonsai trees will need to be watered every 5-7 days. As long as you do this, they’ll grow well.
Bonsai trees need to be watered regularly. It is important to check if the soil is moist or dry. Letting the bonsai soil dry out completely could kill the plant.
The bonsai soil mixture can also affect how often you need to water your tree. The potting mix should be well-draining and the bonsai pot should have drainage holes for excess water to flow out.
How Much Water Does A Bonsai Tree Need?
Watering bonsais requires some trial and error. How much water a particular bonsai tree needs varies depending on a number of factors, including the bonsai tree species, environmental conditions where you live, type of pot, tree size, and type of bonsai soil.
When watering, you want to give the bonsai enough water to soak the root system. The two most popular methods used are overhead watering (showering with a watering can) and immersion watering.
Watering cans are used to water plants indoors. Immersion watering is used to soak the roots of Bonsai trees. Immersion works well if the bonsai is dryer than usual.
Watering with a water can, the rain method, is the common method used by a bonsai gardener. This way of watering is good for small bonsai pots and containers.
If you’re using an overhead watering can, it might be hard to get to the soil with the tree’s growth. Using a hose attachment can help and prevent splashing. Be sure to water carefully, so you avoid disturbing the soil.
This is a good overview video of watering with a can and some watering tips:
Watering bonsais using the immersion method is very simple. Watering by immersion means soaking your bonsai and pot in a bucket of water that’s about an inch below the top of the container. Once bubbles stop coming up in the water, you can take the bonsai and pot out of the water.
If you don’t see bubbles when you put the bonsai in the water, then you can set a timer for 10 minutes and remove the bonsai then.
This is a good overview video of the immersion method in a sink:
How Do I Know If My Bonsai Needs Water?
If you want to know whether your bonsai needs water, look at its leaves. Leaves that have turned yellow or brown indicate that the soil has dried out. If the soil is dry, you’ll notice that the leaves turn yellow or brown. If they’re wilted, then it probably needs water.
A soil moisture meter can also tell you how much water is in your soil. You need to check your bonsai every day to make sure it gets enough water. A reading of 3 or below on the meter means there’s very little to no moisture and the bonsai needs water.
SONKIR Soil pH Meter, MS02 3-in-1 Soil Moisture/Light/pH Tester Gardening Tool Kits for Plant Care, Great for Garden, Lawn, Farm, Indoor & Outdoor Use (Green)
- Kindly NOTE: This soil tester can not be applied to test pH value of any other liquid. If the soil is too dry the indicator will not move, and water it before testing.
- 3 METERS IN ONE: Soil moisture level, Soil pH value and Sunlight level could be
Instead of a meter, you can check soil moisture by putting your finger about an inch deep into the soil near your bonsai. If the soil is dry, it is time to add water. Each type of plant can have slightly different recommendations regarding how much water to give them.
Can I Mist My Bonsai Tree?
Yes! Mist your bonsai regularly. It will help keep the soil moist and protect against insects. When misting, you should spray from above the foliage. Spray until droplets fall off the leaves.
Mist a bonsai tree in winter months and if you live in a dry climate. Clean the tree’s foliage of dirt and debris before misting. Misting will help increase humidity and moisture.
Mist should be used alongside watering, but never substitute watering for misting. Be sure to continue watering as you normally do with checking the soil and then seeing if the bonsai needs water.
Misting should be focused on the leaves of your bonsai and any moss growing on the top layer of soil. A humidity tray is also a great way to increase humidity levels for your bonsai.
Can You Overwater A Bonsai Tree?
Yes, you can overwater your bonsai, but that could be fatal to your bonsai. Overwatering can cause root rot and kill your bonsai. Your bonsai may not always need water, so wait until you see signs of dry soil before adding more water.
Bonsai soil should be kept moist, but not saturated. The roots of your bonsai should be able to breathe the oxygen for growth. Waterlogged soil will also compact the soil and there will not be any oxygen in the air pockets of the soil for the roots.
Overwatering causes problems with the health of your bonsai. Your tree should be moved to a new pot if you notice any of the following symptoms: unstable trunk, branches getting weaker, smaller, or losing color, and/or leaves dropping off.
You should repot your bonsai when it shows these signs of stress. Repotting helps prevent future problems.
Are Bonsai Trees Hard To Care For?
Bonsais are easy to take care of, but do need constant monitoring. They require regular maintenance and attention. Some people think that they are hard to care for because bonsais don’t grow fast. However, when you properly care for your bonsai, it will flourish and grow well.
You need to know how much water to give them, what kind of fertilizer to use, direct sunlight, and when to prune them. Jade is an easy plant to care for because it doesn’t grow very fast.
The amount of time needed to take care of a bonsai depends on the species and the environment. A bonsai can live for hundreds of years. It is worth learning how to take care of them.
Watering Bonsai Tree Final Thoughts
Bonsais are easy to care for. Follow proper care guidelines and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful trees that will last for many years.
When watering a bonsai, keep in mind that you want to avoid overwatering. If you have a bonsai that does not seem to be thriving, check its soil first. Determine whether your bonsai needs water or not.
For more about bonsai trees, check out these articles: