The Ultimate Guides How To Revive a Bonsai tree

One of the best ways to relax and let your mind wander is by taking care of your bonsai tree. It’s an excellent way to de-stress after work, and you can feel great knowing that it’s always best to take good care of any living thing you have in your home or office. If you’re wondering how to revive a bonsai tree, here are few steps that will help you out!

 Few The Common Mistakes That Can Lead to a Dying Bonsai

A bonsai tree can die for many reasons. It could be dying because of some mistakes you made when taking care of it, or maybe it isn’t getting enough sunlight. Whatever reason it might be, one thing is for sure: dead bonsais are painful to look at. A dead bonsai doesn’t seem like anything special because all that you can see are dry leaves and twigs.

To properly help your bonsai, it’s essential to figure out why it’s dying. This is vital so that you can identify the cause of your tree’s death and avoid making the same mistake again.

Becoming a master bonsai artist is no easy task, and we all take the journey in our own way. Some people might knock over a lot of trees along the way, whereas others may not. What is most important is to take the lessons and apply them to your future. It’s different for everyone and is like life, so one of the best parts about bonsai is how everyone’s journey is different.

In this article, we’ll review some of the common mistakes that will likely lead to a dead bonsai tree

Forgetting to Water

We know how important it is to water well for the bonsai trees. All Bonsai trees need water to be healthy and grow. However, sometimes it can be hard to tell how much water your bonsai needs. Different types of trees may require different quantities of water to maintain healthily and thrive.

For example, would be that a weeping willow tree needs more water than a baobab tree. It is important to know what type of tree it is and how much water it needs.

Also, bonsai containers usually have to be shallow and small but have a drainage hole. They’re different from traditional garden pots. The most crucial drawback of growing trees in pots or containers is that they dry out much faster than their counterparts in garden pots or in the garden.

You can spot dead leaves on trees because they haven’t been watered. The leaves will start to sag, dry out, and eventually drop off.


All in all, over-watering is one of the significant causes of death and dying bonsai. Bonsai owners will sometimes be so concerned about not forgetting to water their trees that they overwater.

Most bonsai trees don’t like their roots to stay completely submerged. Poor watering will lead to the death of your bonsai, due to the rotting of the roots that can travel up the trunk.

If the drainage is slow enough, the ground won’t be able to absorb it, which means the excess water will slowly sink into the soil. So before you even realize there is a problem, it might be too late. However, leaves, just like most bonsai, can give you a general indication of your tree’s health.

For a tree, one sign of overwatering may be yellow leaves and drooping leaves. There is an important distinction, however, between that and the change in some trees, which go from green to yellow with the change of the seasons. If yellow leaves are the only symptom, make sure to test for damp soil and that there are enough nutrients.

Placed in the Wrong Location

Most trees that are used in the art of bonsai are not meant to be in containers. Make sure your tree is being taken care of properly. If it isn’t, it may be dying and needs to be transferred to an area where there are more sunlight and water so that it can begin to thrive again.

The next reason your bonsai may be dying is that it’s being kept in a location where it cannot thrive. In most cases, trees are meant to be outdoors and have plenty of suns, soil, and water.

Trees that are kept indoors usually won’t make it very long. This can be due to a lack of sunlight or too much heat or both. Another common mistake people make when attempting to grow bonsai trees is keeping them at temperatures that are either too hot or too cold.

What species of bonsai do you have and what do they need? That’s the most important thing. The way to ensure you choose the best location is to wait until you have the tree with you to decide where to put it.

Insufficient Sunlight

It’s not enough for plants to get sunlight, they need it to grow and be healthy. If you are gardening a specific species of bonsai, it might need as many as six hours of sunlight every day. It’s usually a good idea to place bonsai plants where they get morning sun and afternoon shade. Still, check the species’ guidelines to see what they need.

Contrary to popular opinion, UV rays in sunlight are not what plants need the most. Some bonsai thrive where they get a lot of morning sun and afternoon shade. However, a lot of the UV from the sun is blocked by glass, so if the plants needed it, they wouldn’t be able to survive indoors.

Some plants require blue and red light for their development. Since blue light encourages chlorophyll production, leaves and stems are likely to be more robust. So-called red light is an essential component of germination, bulb development, root growth, flowering, and fruiting.

Pests and Diseases

Similar to any other type of plant, bonsai trees are at risk for pests and diseases. The best thing to do is pay close attention to your tree and be sure you’re watering it properly. One way to tell if your tree has a disease or if it’s just unhealthy because of improper care is by looking at its leaves: Bonsai leaves should be dark green, not yellow or black spots.

Once your leaves turn yellow or black spots, there’s a good chance your tree has a disease. The most common diseases affect bonsai trees and their leaves are caused by fungi, which love humid conditions like those found in greenhouses.

Lack of Nutrients

Remember to make sure your bonsai has enough nutrients to survive. The leaves of a bonsai tree will begin to turn brown if it does not contain these nutrients, such as iron, magnesium, or nitrogen. One thing you can do during the growing season is using a liquid fertilizer in order to make sure your bonsai is receiving all the nutrients it needs.

Rushing the Process

One of the mistakes that newcomers often make is to become over-enthusiastic about new bonsai plants. We understand this. There are certain aspects of it that might be challenging. It could lead to some mishaps or dead trees.

Whenever we’re looking forward to getting started on our new bonsai, it’s very tempting to hurry the process. Our thinning would reduce the number of leaves or roots too far. Sometimes we would repot it into a nicer pot than it came in at the wrong time of year.

We might even go so far as to style the tree with wire and then change our mind a week later. As the process can be a lot for the tree, if too much is done to it, the bonsai can die.

How To Revive A Bonsai Tree

Now that we know some of the common reasons a bonsai might die, we can move on to some techniques to try and  how to revive a bonsai tree

1. Pruning The Tree

First, you must remove all dead foliage and dead leaves with a sharp set of pruning shears. This is so that the dried leaves do not sap the tree’s strength unnecessarily and to save the tree’s vitality.

2. Check for Signs of Life

First of all, it is important to check if the dying-looking tree that we want to recover is still alive. To do this, an infallible trick is to make a small notch with a nail or a knife in one of its branches or in the trunk.

If when tearing and causing a small wound we see that the interior is green, it will mean that the tree is still alive, if on the contrary, it is brown, unfortunately, the tree has no possible remedy.

To know which branches are dry, we can spray the tree and see if they have a reddish color and a rough skin, if so, we can cut them because sap no longer circulates through those areas of the tree.

 3. Identify the Bonsai Trees

To identify the species of our tree since the growth conditions must mimic the natural environmental characteristics of each species. This may give us some guidelines as to how to clean it up or the mistakes we have made in taking care of it. In addition, we will know what type of fertilizer is the most suitable for your species.

4. Prune the Roots

Observe and examine the roots. If, when removing the plant from the pot or container, we observe that the root system is loose and soaked, it is very likely that the drainage or irrigation is inadequate. Check that the drainage holes are completely clean and without blockages.

If the roots are firm, that’s a good sign. Regarding the color, the healthy roots have a whitish appearance, if we observe that there are hardly any roots of this color, it is advisable to prune the roots.

5. Submerge the Roots

Submerge the roots in water so they do not dry out while you set up the container. One other thing that one could try is a wet cloth gently wiping over the roots.

6. Proper Sunlight

Check that the plant receives the right amount of light. It is always preferable that bonsai grow outdoors, but if it is an indoor bonsai, make sure that it receives at least the minimum recommended amount of sun, this will depend on the species of your tree.

7. Prepare Fresh Container

The same pot can be used again if it is carefully cleaned. However, in the future, we’ve found that it works best if you use a larger container, such as a pot. In the next planting season after the plant has regained its health, you should move it into a smaller pot so it looks like a bonsai tree.

8. Repot Your Dying Bonsai

Transfer your bonsai to a pot with 2 drainage holes. If you reduce the frequency of watering your bonsai and it is still struggling, transfer it to a new pot with 2 drainage holes.

This helps rid the soil of bacteria that may cause infection and drains excess water and nutrients.

While you should avoid replanting your bonsai tree more than once a year, if possible, it’s best to go ahead and replant it if the leaves continue to wilt or turn yellow, brown, or black, or if the roots are rotting and infected.

Fill a pot with bonsai soil or a mixture of sand, soil, and pebbles for proper drainage and aeration.

Read More :How to Repot a Bonsai for Beginners Complete Solutions

9. Use Bonsai Potting Soil 

To keep your bonsai healthy, use bonsai potting soil. Choose a bonsai potting soil that is specifically made for bonsai trees when repotting your tree.

Because they grow in limited areas and need to retain water and have excellent drainage, it can be difficult Mixing your own bonsai soil to meet the demands of your tree may be challenging. It’s usually a good idea to choose bonsai potting soil.

Try combining 2 parts Akadama with 1 part pumice and 1 part lava rock if you want to start with bonsai soil. Pumice and lava rock provide excellent drainage and aeration, while Akadama assists in retaining moisture.

10. Select the Prime Location

To take the most care of your bonsai, you need to plant it in the right location. You can read the species care guide for your bonsai to learn about precisely where to put it for it to thrive. Usually, bonsai should be in a partially shaded area that receives morning sun for at least four to six hours and then a shady spot in the afternoon. The ideal location must also have good ventilation for quality cell development.

11. Water Your Bonsai

Bonsai trees require a lot of watering and can easily dry out in your home. The best way to ensure your Bonsai tree stays hydrated is to water it more frequently, but be sure not to over-water your Bonsai tree. Water only once every week or two during winter and summer, but increase that to once or twice a day during spring and fall. Another option is using self-watering pots that automatically provide your plant with plenty of water without overwatering it.

Read More :How To Water a Bonsai tree indoor Ultimate Indoor Bonsai Watering Solution

12. Fertilizer Your Bonsai tree

Fertilize your bonsai with organic and inorganic fertilizers, respectively. In previous posts, we give some tips to fertilize these trees, as well as the best time to do it.

Read More : The Ultimate Guide To Best Bonsai Tree Fertilizers

13. Give Your Bonsai tree Time

It’s critical that your bonsai tree be given time to recover. You will notice a big improvement in how it looks and how strong it is when you allow it plenty of time to rest between styling sessions. This can be a couple of days up to a few weeks depending on what kind of bonsai tree you have and how much work needs to be done. The best thing you can do for your bonsai tree protects its root system because that’s where all of its energy goes towards growing.


How to save a dry bonsai?

The air must be very dry and the misting just isn’t enough, it also needs to water the roots: and it’s not enough in the current state, it has to soak the pots in water at T° and not calcareous, and let drain and at 20° you have to water them at least every 10 days when the top is dry.

How to save a dead Bonsai tree?

Dead Bonsai Tree: 8 tips to save it and get it going again

  • Is the plant still alive? First of all, you need to check if the plant is still alive. …
  • Cut the top of the stem. …
  • Move the plant. …
  • The plant has not been watered. …
  • The plant has been overwatered. …
  • Fertilizer supply. …
  • Save the cuttings. …
  • If the plant does not survive, compost it.

How do you know if a Bonsai tree is dead?

The signs of a dead Bonsai tree are easy to recognize if you know what to look for. The first sign is that your Bonsai will stop blooming and lose its leaves if it’s not receiving adequate water. If you’re not an experienced Bonsai owner, or if you don’t have a reference book available, it can be difficult to tell whether or not your tree is in good health.

How to check if a tree is dead?

For more complete control, just scrape off the bark:Green: The tree is still alive.
Yellow: The tree is not completely dead, but its future is uncertain.
Beige: The tree just died.
Brun: The tree is long dead.

Why has my bonsai lost all its leaves?

If so, your tree is likely suffering from overwatering, which is one of the most common causes of leaf drops. Make sure you water the bonsai correctly, without excess, and let the surface of the soil dry out slightly during watering (but not too much).

How to save a bonsai that has lost all its leaves? If the leaves drop off for no other obvious reason while the tree is growing, add a special bonsai fertilizer that will provide your tree with the necessary nutrients. Then apply fertilizer regularly and avoid overdosing.

Why are my bonsai leaves turning yellow and falling off?

Yellow leaves are a sign of a watering, location, or light problem. This symptom is often followed by the leaf drop. … Watering is tricky and should only be done when the substrate is completely dry. Organize the watering and check the bonsai’s exposure to light.

The Final Thoughts

If your bonsai tree is looking a little worse for wear, don’t despair. With a little time, patience and care, you can revive your bonsai tree and enjoy its beauty for years to come. We hope that our tips have helped you figure out how to revive your own bonsai tree. If you have any other tips or tricks that have worked for you, please share them with us in the comments below!


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