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How Often to Water a Bonsai Tree?

Depending upon how you water your Bonsai Tree, the general quality, appearance and Bonsai health significantly differ.

In summer, water your Bonsai tree every 3-7 days, depending on its type. In winter, water every 7-10 days or once a month if your Bonsai is in a cooler place.

Let me walk you through how frequently you should water your Bonsai tree, along with a few other important details.

When Should You Water Bonsai Tree?

Some Bonsai tolerate a few days of no watering, while some require watering every 2-3 days.

Immediately water your Bonsai if you notice shriveled roots and wilted leaves losing color.

According to most of the plant parents online, the most common cause of a Bonsai tree dying is the lack of water.

Here are a few ways to learn how and when your Bonsai tree needs to be watered:

  • Stick your finger or chopstick about two inches deeper into the soil.
  • If you find no moisture, water your plant right away.
  • Lift the pot and feel its weight. Drier plant soil will be lighter to lift.
  • Use a moisture meter to measure the soil moisture before watering.

Signs You May Be Overwatering your Bonsai Tree

Bonsai trees already have very slow growth. Overwatering them will halt their growth completely.

Bonsai tree under light
Bonsai trees are natural slow growers. You would want to take it slow and let them grow at their own pace.

Other than stunted growth, here are other signs of overwatering Bonsai.

  • Leaves will start yellowing, and the branches will wither down.
  • The leaf tips of the plant will turn brown and black.
  • If you touch the topsoil of the pot, you will feel that it has gone soggy.
  • You will witness little white spots on your Bonsai tree’s leaves.
  • You will notice brown and mushy rootballs with foul smells.
  • Mold formation with frequent bacterial disease infection.

The Best Watering Technique for Bonsai Tree

Let us look below for watering techniques optimal for your Bonsai tree.

Watering TechniquesSpecification
Rainfall MethodRainfall water is ideal with no harmful chemicals.

Collect rainwater or let the plant enjoy direct rainfall.
Watering CanUse distilled water

Soak the Bonsai till water oozes out from drain holes
Immersing MethodFill in the tub with water.

Submerge the Bonsai pot and let it soak till bubbles stop forming.

Besides manual watering, you can also invest in an automatic drip irrigation system to water your Bonsai.

Factors that Impact Watering Bonsai Tree

How much and how often Bonsai trees need watering depends upon various factors.

Let us look at the factors in detail below:

1. Climate in Your Area

In hotter climates, you may need to water your plants more often than in colder climates.

If you live in Alaska, be very pinchpenny with the amount of water you provide your Bonsai tree.

So, pinpoint your USDA zones and location from the equator and poles.

A general rule of thumb is water more if you are closer to the equator than the poles.

2. Tree Location and Light

Bonsai trees that are placed in brighter sunlight need more frequent watering. Meanwhile, those kept in dimly lit places might need less water.

Similarly, indoor Bonsai trees enjoy controlled care, so they need less water than outdoor ones.

Remember, transpiration and evaporation are directly related to sunlight. More sun exposure means more water, and vice versa.

3. Amount of Fertilizer

Watering right after fertilization is crucial to ensure a faster breakdown of fertilizers. It also protects plants from getting severe fertilizer burns. 

Similarly, fertilizers increase the decomposition rate of organic materials. It results in faster drying of the soil.

Therefore, you shall water your plants frequently to keep the soil moist.

But you can rely on soil enriched in organic matter as they dry out much slower.

4. Species of Bonsai Tree

How much and how often your Bonsai needs water also depends upon the species you have.

Let us look at the species of Bonsai with high and low watering needs.

Low-water SpeciesHigh-water Species
Ficus BonsaiJapanese Maple Trees
Jade BonsaiWeeping Willow
Crown of ThornsBirch Bonsai
Monkey ThornCherry Bonsai
Wild LaburnumFukien Tea

If you are unsure which species of Bonsai tree you have, you can visit Bonsai Empire to find out.

5. Pot Size

Generally, smaller pots dry up quickly, even at normal room temperature. But larger pots stay moist much longer.

Also, using too large pots increases the soil’s water-holding time and causes overwatering issues.

Therefore, give them water more frequently if the Bonsai trees are in a smaller pot.

6. Temperature and Humidity

Besides sunlight, temperature and humidity also significantly affect the plants’ transpiration rate.

In hotter temperatures, the transpiration rate spikes, resulting in faster drying. So, water your Bonsai more in summer.

You might need to water your plants every three days to a week in summer.

Similarly, low humidity condition also results in faster dehydration and needs more water.

However, high humidity and cold temperature significantly reduce plants’ water intake. Therefore, cut back on watering during winter.

Remember, if the condition is arid, you shall water your Bonsai even in winter.

7. Other Factors

There are other factors that may affect the frequency of watering your Bonsai trees.

Let us look at the factors in detail below.

  • Avoid watering low-permeable soil more frequently to prevent water saturation.
  • Freshly repotted or pruned Bonsai trees need less water for a few weeks.
  • Bonsai kept in windy places need more water.
  • Bigger Bonsai trees need more water than smaller ones.

Still, the main affecting factor will be the species of Bonsai tree you have, so be aware of your variety.

Should you Mist the Bonsai Tree?

The Bonsai tree usually has a greater watering requirement, so regular misting can work like a charm.

However, if you have placed your Bonsai outdoors, you may not need to mist it.

Bonsaiii tree
You should mist the Bonsai tree occasionally to provide it with the required water.

Misting has a lot of benefits. First of all, it keeps the humidity in check. It also keeps the plant cool in hotter temperatures.

If your Bonsai is laced with excessive dust, misting can be a good option to clean your leaves.

To mist properly, follow the techniques below.

  • Avoid misting your Bonsai late at night, as the water won’t evaporate properly.
  • Use misters to mist your plant from bottom to top and reverse the path.
  • Use room temperate distilled or rainwater to mist.
  • While misting, ensure every leaf of your Bonsai gets misted.
  • Place a wet pebble tray near the plant to boost the humidity.

For optimal growth of the Bonsai tree, consider watering and misting regularly side by side.

In the End…

Bonsai trees are among the delicate plants that must be looked after meticulously and watered appropriately.

Before pouring water, perform a subtle background check of the Bonsai tree and follow the tips that I have mentioned above for proper growth.

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