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How to Take Care of Bonsai Tree with 6 Steps

Bonsai trees are a reproduction of a natural tree in a miniature form. Bonsai trees are easy to care for if done correctly. Keep reading to learn how to care for bonsai trees correctly. 


How to Take Care of Bonsai

Bonsai practice began in Japan and China centuries ago. They are known for their calming effect on a room. They are a beautiful and special plant to own.

Some people believe bonsai trees help them meditate and reduce their stress. People are often intimidated by growing a bonsai tree; it is often believed the care is difficult.

However, those who opt not to grow a bonsai tree are missing out on its beauty. The care is far from difficult. It is a miniature tree, so it will grow in beauty over the years.

Here is our Bonsai Trees for Complete Beginners' Guide.

Before you make your purchase, here are things you need to know about how to care for bonsai tree. The care is simple; nothing complicated is required.

Things You Will Need:

Watering Bonsai Trees

One of the most crucial steps in caring for your bonsai tree is watering. It needs to never be forgotten. If the soil appears slightly dry, it is time to water. It is important to not let the soil completely dry out.

proper watering of bonsai tree

By Ted

The frequency of watering is going to depend on its placement. While many people keep their bonsai trees inside, they are often kept outside during the warmer months.

 Watering is also going to depend on the size pot used, the type of soil and the type of bonsai tree you have.

If you are unsure about watering, there are moisture meters you can purchase. This may keep your mind at ease. Another tip to remember is how to do the actual watering.

Ideally, you would use a watering can or a hose attachment. You don’t want to just dump water on top of the bonsai tree.

how much water for bonsai trees


To prevent any damage, water should be done in a soft manner. Some owners place moss over top of the soil to prevent erosion from watering.

If your tree is outside, often a good rain is all that is needed to prevent the soil from getting too dry.

When watering, it is a good practice to water until it comes out of the holes on the bottom.

Where to Place Your Bonsai Tree in Winter

Bonsai trees cannot survive in temperatures below 40 degrees. This is important to remember. Once the nighttime temperature starts to dip under 40, it is time to bring the plant inside.

When inside, you need to find a good placement in your home for your tree. The best place is going to be on a south facing window sill. If you don’t have that in your home, opt for a west or east facing window.

bonsai placement in winter

If worse came the worse, you can purchase an indoor grow light and use a north facing window. Often times, grow lights are the only way a bonsai tree can get enough light with a north window.

Wherever you pick, you need to make sure the bonsai tree gets 4 to 6 hours of sunlight each day.

Something else to consider during the winter months is humidity. When inside, your bonsai tree won’t get the recommended moisture in the air.

To remedy this, place a shallow dish near the tree with gravel and water. This will add moisture in the air around the tree.

Bonsai Tree Placement in Spring, Summer and Fall

As winter warms and the nights no longer dip below 40 degrees, you can move your bonsai tree outside if you so desire. People usually select their patio or balcony for placement, but you can put it wherever you want.

bonsai placement outside in spring, summer and fall

The most important thing to consider when deciding placement is the amount of sunlight received each day.

Just like in wintertime, they need 4 to 6 hours of sunlight outside. If you can, find a place outside that gets nice morning sun. This will provide everything needed.

Bonsai Fertilizer and Food

Bonsai trees are beautiful, and to keep this beauty, fertilizing is really important. Fertilizing is a necessary step due to the small amount of soil the tree grows inside. They need additional nutrients as they quickly deplete what is already in the soil.

Spring fertilizing needs higher nitrogen to encourage growth. In the fall, pick one with less nitrogen to slow the growth. 

The general recommendation is to fertilize the tree once every month, except in the winter. Use half the recommended amount of fertilizer.

water soluble fertilizer for bonsai tree

Something else to try for your bonsai tree is a foliar feeding. You can use a water soluble fertilizer every other month. The best option is a spray.

Trimming a Bonsai

One of the reasons you selected a bonsai tree has to be because of its small size.

Trimming a bonsai helps maintain the shape and size. You have to actively trim back new growth. Always remember to use bonsai clippers, not scissors.

Always use bonsai tree clippers when pruning, not scissors

Via bonsaitreehelp

However, you don’t want to remove all of the new growth. This is important to remember for the future of your bonsai tree.

There is no right and wrong schedule for trimming.

It entirely depends on the growth pace of your tree. Try to keep an eye on the growth and evaluate when the trimming needs to occur.

Repotting Your Tree

Your bonsai tree is in a very small container. As their roots grow, you have to repot them.

This is done to help give your tree a new, fresh supply f soil and to allow a more compact root system to grow.

repoting bonsai tree

This doesn’t have to be done all the time, so don’t fret. It is going to be done every two to four years.

This is vague, however it is all based on the pace at which your tree grows. You should check the root system to see if it has become pot-bound.

Here are some things to know about repotting

  • Always repot your bonsai tree during mid-summer.·
  • Remove everything from the pot.·
  • After you have removed the tree from the pot, you have to remove the outer and bottom edges of the root mass. Rake the soil away and prune back the roots. Try to ensure you don’t remove more than ¼ of the root system.·
  • Put a screen over the drainage holes. Then, on the bottom of the pot, add a thin layer of gravel. Next, add new soil. You need to place enough soil so that it replaces the amount that was taken away.·
  • Once you place the tree back into the pot, fill in all the empty space with soil. Water thoroughly. Now you don’t have to worry for at least another two years!

I hope this article has answered your questions on how to care for bonsai tree. For more knowledge on bonsai making, don't miss our Literati Bonsai Ste-by-Step Beginners' Guide

It is far from a hard task! The most important things to remember are their placements throughout the year and watering the bonsai tree correctly. 

Failure to water the bonsai tree could cause issues, as well as forgetting to fertilize the plant. With the proper amount of care, your bonsai tree will live a long life and spread the calming atmosphere throughout the house. 

Don’t be afraid to take care of this delicate tree. Do you have any awesome tips to share for taking care of a bonsai tree? If so, leave them in the comments!

How to take care of Bonsai tree

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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Leave a Comment:

James says August 8, 2018

Great tips. I loved your section on bonsai placement during each season. Many people don’t think that this is important, and that their bonsai will be happy as long as it is next to some source of natural light. give your bonsai lots of sunlight please!

bonsai tools for beginner says March 8, 2020

What a good article. It is important to know how they behave in each station and offer the care they need. Especially in winter.

It would have been interesting to talk about the tools for bonsai since they are fundamental for the work to be done that the post describes.

It is not always easy to choose properly and the amateur tool bag is growing to do our jobs better. When we start it is important to see some opinions and reviews to succeed in the purchase.

Here it is not explained very well. But newbies make mistakes … always. You have to learn faster or you spend money.

There are some very useful we can get little money, the branch cutter, the rake, such as chopsticks to work roots and wire cutters.

They help us with a basic task of bonsai design, such as training wiring.

JP says March 29, 2020

In order to do what you want in your bonsai trees you need the best tools and accessories and also a lot of patience.

I have bought tianbonsai tools and I am really satisfied

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