How To Take Care of a bonsai tree

Do you want to know how to take care of a bonsai tree? There are some things that you need to know when learning how to take care of it, so I’ll give you the best tips on how to take care of your bonsai tree. If you want to learn more about it, then read on!

What Is Bonsai?

Bonsai is a Japanese word meaning ‘put in a pot’. The cultivation of these lovely trees originated in China and was adopted by Japan. With a mix of horticultural techniques and aesthetics, cultivating a bonsai tree is now considered an art that aims to create a realistic miniature representation of nature in the form of a tree.


According to Fronda, “bonsai is one of the types of trees that need the most care in order to grow and flourish properly. They are small plants that depend a lot on external conditions such as light, air, and water, which is why take care of everything related to the conditions that surround them and the hydration that we supply them on a daily basis. Some basic care so that your bonsai grows in good conditions are:

  • Pruning: select and remove the leaves and branches that you must prune from your bonsai with the pruning, hollowing, and pruning shears.
  • Wiring: it is a technique that requires some practice and experience and that is used to shape the branches of the bonsai.
  • Transplant: pay attention to the species of your tree to be able to transplant it when appropriate. To do this, get all the necessary materials such as grids, pliers, sieves, tweezers, or specific spatulas for bonsai.
  • Pots: the soil of your bonsai must always retain water, so the material your pot is made of is very important. If you choose ceramic pots, they will retain less water than if it is made of plastic.
  • Substrates: look for the most suitable soil for your bonsai species, keeping in mind that water retention and drainage holes are essential. From Bonsai Empire recommend a mixture of akadama, pumice, and volcanic rock mixed in a ½ – ¼ – ¼ ratio. If you can’t water the trees frequently then you should have a higher proportion of akadama.

Step by Step Guidelines on How To Take Care of a Bonsai

Making bonsai is a long process you have to learn a lot about bonsai care. These few caring guides will help you:

1 Bonsai Location

The first thing to be clear about when you start caring for a bonsai is the place where you are going to place it.

Although there are things to take into account such as the lighting of the place, the exposure to the sun, or the time of year in which we find ourselves, the most important thing to choose a good location is to know what species our bonsai belongs to. The documentation of each tree allows us to know the different species with which we can work and their cultivation needs.

In general, bonsai are plants that must be located outdoors which is called outdoor bonsai. After all, they are tree species. Therefore, think of a place where it is sheltered from the winds, with good lighting but avoiding the direct sunlight during the hottest hours.

Bonsai that are tropical species or do not grow in our latitudes must be in places with a constant temperature. Place them inside the house in a place with well-diffused light and without excessive heat, avoiding radiators.

As a general rule, our plants should be placed in full sun in the first half of the day and in a location that is sheltered from the wind.

2. The Tree species:

Species as in nature there are different species of bonsai, each of them has different characteristics and, therefore, require very specific care. Get advice on the characteristics and needs of the bonsai species before choosing a specific one and choosing the one that best suits your lifestyle.

3. The time of year: 

Bonsai require much more care in the seasons that favor their growth than, for example, in the winter months. Although this depends on the species of the tree, there are some, like the tropical ones, that require care all year round. In winter you should be more careful with the cultivation of your bonsai and avoid some things that may cause an effort such as transplants.

4. Temperature:

tropical species grow best in warm climates or with high temperatures, while other species require cold periods. For this reason, it is vital that you inform yourself about the species you acquire.

5. Selecting the Right Vase Should

Choosing the right pot for bonsai is a task that requires a lot of care, as many factors must be analyzed. According to Vera, the ideal is to choose unglazed pots that don’t have bright enamel, unless the tree has flowers or fruit. The size of the pot should be about 2/3 of the height of the tree and the depth of the pot should measure up to 2 times the thickness of the trunk at its base.

6. Use a toothpick to check the humidity

To be more certain if you are watering the bonsai well, a commonly used technique is to dip a toothpick into the pot’s soil and then remove it to make sure the toothpick is too wet. If it is soaked, it is not necessary to water it at that time.

7. The watering of the bonsai

Irrigation is fundamental: with it, the elements that are in the substrate are dissolved and in this way, the plant can absorb them. The main thing is to pay attention to the leaves of the tree and the moisture of the earth.

Water your bonsai with rainwater when the soil is slightly dry, if it is still a bit wet, wait a while. It is better this way since the roots are very sensitive to waterlogging and can rot due to a lack of oxygenation. Keep in mind that excess or lack of water produces disorders or diseases in plants.

Therefore, never routinely water your trees. Use your fingers to feel the degree of moisture on the surface of the substrate. With a little experience, you will be able to see it at a glance.

1. How to water a bonsai

The ideal is to use a watering can that has fine holes or with an irrigation lance that is as long as possible. Water until the water runs out of the drainage holes and wets the leaves. Do it in two stages to ensure that the soil is completely soaked and check that the water temperature is as close to room temperature as possible, trying to irrigate with quality water, free of chlorine and lime.

In winter, try to water in the middle of the day, when it is a little warmer, this way you will prevent the overwatering from freezing in the container. However, in hot weather, water should be given in the morning or in the afternoon when the sun has already gone down, in this way you will prevent the thermal contrast in the roots that could harm them. Sometimes due to overwatering bonsai can die. If it happens how to revive your bonsai tree you must know the reviving process.

 To Know More: How often do you water a bonsai tree?

8. Fertilizing the Bonsai Tree

The bonsai, like all potted plants, has a limited space in which to grow, so the nutrients available to it are very limited and the health of our plant is compromised.

For this, we should think that the foundation of bonsai nutrition should be based on what the natural environment offers.

The liquid humus, whose base is earthworm humus, provides all the benefits of this: it creates a community of microorganisms in the soil mixture that help nutrition in a natural way, promotes health in the soil by preventing pathogens from developing and affecting the roots of the plant and help maintain adequate levels of nutrients to avoid imbalances.

As the bonsai container has a defined size, providing nutrients in a liquid form, it is the easiest way to fertilize our bonsai.

By using liquid Humus you are providing humic and fulvic acids that improve the structure of the soil, in short, you are providing organic matter.

In order for your tree to have complete nutrition, use the Jardín Bonito Pack that includes:

  • Liquid fertilizer to creates the beneficial base micro life.
  • Bio-NPK provides all the macro and micronutrients that the plant needs, getting good growth.
  • Greenfield to ensure that the supply of calcium is correct, avoiding malformations in the leaves.

Learn More: The Ultimate Guide To Best Bonsai Tree Fertilizers

9. Watch Out for Pests and Diseases

When well cared for, the risk of tree infection is minimal. So always make sure your trees are planted with the right soil mix. Always follow good care practice tips to keep your bonsai healthy. Vera indicates isolating the infected tree from other trees to avoid infection. It is usually necessary to remove the infected parts of the tree and to apply a fungicide. Seek the help of a professional to determine the type of pest or disease so that you can get the proper treatment.

Most common pests of bonsai

1 )aphid

These are very small bugs that can be of various types: green, black, orange, and brown aphids, although the most common are green. They are small sucking insects that attack new shoots on plants.

Typically, the infestation of aphids begins at the beginning of spring until the cold of autumn begins. They reproduce very quickly and in a short time form very large colonies on the newest shoots.

Its way of feeding is through the sap, preventing the normal development of the plant. Sometimes their saliva causes the curling and deformation of the leaves they parasitize. During feeding, they release molasses, a very attractive substance for ants that acts as a shepherd to take care of these aphids.

The main damage of aphids is to weaken the plant, followed by indirect damage. The first of the indirect damages is produced by expelling the molasses where a black fungus called sooty mold develops that attacks the leaves, reducing photosynthesis and weakening the plant. The second damage and the most serious is the transmission of viruses, aphids travel from one plant to another so they can infect our plants.

The solution to aphids is to treat them preventively if it is known that the plant is prone to this plague or at the moment the first individuals appear so that the plague is not a problem. Apply HTpro White, a living bio-protector based on earthworm humus that contains a set of microorganisms that reinforce the plant’s defenses and ends up reducing the incidence of the pest.

2) Spider mite

They are observed as small reddish dots on the underside of the leaves, which are actually mites. They appear in hot and dry summers when the environmental humidity is very low and they die when winter arrives due to low temperatures.

High humidity or contact with water hinders its development and lays eggs throughout the winter, laying eggs the following season.

In the early stages of the plague, the mites are at the base of the leaves where they may be more or less present. As the pest develops and gains size, they form spider webs that are also located on the underside, creating a microclimate resulting from the retention of moisture produced by the plant’s perspiration. This microclimate allows it to survive and thrive in extreme conditions

This spider web decreases the effectiveness of treatments, so we must avoid the advanced stages of the plague.

The symptoms are easy to identify: it generates yellow dots on the leaves, recognizable to the naked eye. As the plague progresses, the leaf turns completely yellow, causing the leaf to die and the entire plant to become defoliated. Sometimes I can affect the shoots causing them to stop growing or become deformed.

A solution to the red spider. At Nostoc we have the HTpro INDIGO product, a bio-protector created specifically for pests caused by different species of mites. If the plague is very powerful, you can also use the HTpro SILVER, and both together produce a synergy that favors the elimination of the plague. It also tries to increase the environmental humidity.

3 ) Thrips

Thrips are small black insects between 1 and 2 millimeters that can be seen with the naked eye. Like most sucking insects, they are found on the underside of the leaves, which is the most permeable area and the easiest to parasitize.

Larvae and adults eat the juice and the symptoms are seen with the naked eye, are whitish spots on the leaves with a typical silver appearance and surrounded by black specks that are the droppings.

They can also feed on flowers and fruits; In the case of flowers, if the attack is very strong, they may not open or sometimes the petals have a curled appearance. Sometimes the attacked leaves are deformed and can fall.

How to fight thrips? 

The appearance of thrips can be attributed to the weakness of the plant. To combat this plague, HTpro WHITE is applied, a bio protector that reinforces the plant’s defenses. Apply it by wetting the beam and the underside of the plant to make it fully effective

4) Cochineal

Mealybugs are small insects that look like little limpets that are defined by having a protective shield. They can be of different colors and appearances but the common characteristics are that they have a reduced movement and feed on the sap of plants.

They can be found on the larger veins of the leaves or on the stems or branches. Some of the sap is excreted in the form of molasses and this attracts ants. Sometimes this molasses, if it remains on the leaves, is the ideal place for the sooty mold fungus that affects the photosynthesis of the plant to establish itself.

Mealybugs can have more than one generation during the year depending on the climate in our area.

Insecticides are not very effective against this type of pest due to its shell, so at Nostoc we propose another system. The use of a bio-protector, HTpro WHITE, which in addition to reinforcing natural defenses, helps to control the pest by adding microorganisms that cause the death of the pest.

10. When and how to transplant a bonsai

It is recommended to perform a bonsai transplant every two years if it is young or every three or four years if it is more mature.

It can be said that it is the same technique as when we plant cuttings.

Not all bonsai are transplanted the same, there are those that require more care than others, so, depending on the one you have, you will have to inform me better to follow the correct steps, generally, it is not complicated, although if you do not have experience, it is best that you leave your bonsai in the hands of an expert. But if you dare to carry out the transplant yourself, we are going to give you some general guidelines to carry it out successfully:

  • You need to have the following tools: sharp scissors, a rake, wire cutters, a small stick, and a small pot.
  • If your bonsai has never been transplanted, it was probably sold to you anchored to the pot with wires. Look at the bottom of the pot and if it is attached with wires, cut them.
  • We will remove the bonsai from the pot to help us with the rake. To carry out this process we must be very careful not to damage the roots.
  • Once we have removed the tree from the pot, we will proceed to remove the substrate with the help of the small stick.
  • When we have removed all the possible substrates, we will cut the roots with scissors. We will focus on trimming those roots that have grown excessively, in general, it is recommended not to trim more than 25 or 30% of all the roots.
  • Now we can transplant the bonsai to another of the same size or larger, but first, we must prepare it: the pot must have drainage holes, we can cover them with a mesh cloth, and we can also add U-shaped wire to stabilize the bonsai in the pot, just as we had it before extracting it.
  • We will fill the pot with a small layer of the coarse-type substrate so that this layer serves to drain. Later we will add another small layer of the normal substrate.
  • We will place the bonsai in the pot, fixing it with the wires.
  • We will add more substrate to cover the base of the tree and with the help of the stick, we will press the soil in such a way that all possible air pockets that may remain are eliminated.
  • Finally, we will water.

Learn More: How to Repot a bonsai for Beginners

11. How to prune a bonsai

We can say that when we prune a bonsai we are pruning a dwarf tree. We divide bonsai pruning into two types: the one that is done to shape the tree and the one that is used for maintenance:

1) Pruning to shape the bonsai

This type of pruning is more complicated than maintenance since it will determine the final shape of the tree:

  • Prune in late fall or sometime in the spring.
  • Remove branches that are growing vertically and look too thick as they won’t bend, always use a concave pruner for thick branches.
  • Remove all those unsightly branches that make unnatural turns.
  • Eliminate the branches that cover the trunk in excess.
  • Prune long shoots and cut them into a concrete shape.
  • Cover the cuts in the branches with caulking paste which will help the tree’s wounds (cuts) heal more quickly.

2) Maintenance Pruning

Pruning for maintenance should be done throughout the season that the bonsai is growing to keep the bonsai in the shape we originally gave it. It is important to use sharp scissors to make the cuts:

  • If the tree is deciduous: the outermost parts of the branches and those that have grown excessively, distorting the initial shape of the tree, should be cut.
  • If the tree is evergreen: care must be taken that, when the cut is made, it does not take leaves as they will turn brown. In these cases, it is best to make the cut with the index finger and thumb.


Pinching is essential to maintain the shape of the bonsai. It is very simple, cut the longitudinal growths of the year that break the foliage profile of the tree canopy and use very sharp scissors.

Try to do it whenever you can because it is very important, it affects the outer parts of the branches and the upper part of the tree. With this action, you will promote the tree to distribute its strength by growing more evenly and you will notice that the foliage is much denser.

Depending on the species and the vigor of the bonsai you have, you should pinch more or less frequently, observation here is essential.

13. The substrate or soil:

The substrate or soil-like all trees, the bonsai depends on its roots to live, so we must provide the nutrients and water they need to be healthy. The soil must be porous and with good drainage to avoid waterlogging. You can make the substrate yourself or buy the right soil you may get ready-made.

14. Tools and Supplies Needed for Bonsai Growing

There are special tools and supplies needed when growing a bonsai. You will need at least two pairs of pruning shears. One pair should be smaller than the other, as larger branches require larger shears. Pruning shears come in all sorts of shapes and sizes so you can choose what best fits your needs.

You will also need tree wire. It can be used in place of or along with pruning shears. If your cutting is bigger than the wire gauge, then you’ll have to use both tools to shape your bonsai. Bonsai scissors are used for clipping smaller branches and twigs.

You will also need a watering can, or watering can attachment on your hose. Bonsai trees should be watered daily or every other day. There are several different types of fertilizer available so it’s best to use one that is geared towards your type of plant. Read and follow all instructions as over-fertilizing can cause serious damage to your plant. Tools and supplies needed for growing bonsai

15. Bonsai Wiring Methods (How to tie down branches)

If your goal is to get that branch on your tree growing straight up, it’s time for wiring. No matter what kind of wire or string you use, start by securing one end and wrapping around in a spiral formation. For thinner branches, it works best if you wrap underneath them, but don’t go so tight that you cut into the wood.

The goal here is simply to hold a branch in place until it heals into its new position. Once you have all wires secured, leave them alone for at least two weeks. It takes that long for trees to heal over their wounds and set themselves into their new positions. If you need to remove any wires sooner than that, just be sure not to damage any bark when doing so.

The first step in learning how to take care of a bonsai tree is watering. Bonsais are living things and need water just like us.

16. Deadwood Trimming (This is done in spring.)

Once a year, or whenever needed, remove any dead or loose branches. Some trees drop leaves or needles, but for your first few years don’t worry about removing them unless they are brown and wilted.

You can also remove any branches that rub against each other, as they may cause damage over time. If there are long branches with no leaves at all, cut them off near their base if possible.

A branch can be pruned for many reasons. If it is diseased or dying, prune off all discolored wood that extends beyond sound wood.

Always sterilize your tools before and after use to prevent infection by fungi, bacteria, or viruses that could have been on an improperly disinfected instrument. Remove limbs with cracks in them. Cracks are caused by injury, disease, or weather damage.

Cut off any sprouts or sucker growths that grow from below or between existing branches. This can be done when cutting away deadwood, and during spring pruning, when removing diseased and broken limbs. It is better to leave two well-placed small branches rather than one large branch.

Learn More: Bonsai Clippers Vs Bonsai Scissors -Which Is Best For Trimming Your Bonsai Tree and Why?

17. Repotting Your Bonsai Tree

What To Do When You Need To Move It: Bonsai trees can get very big, and that means that repotting is part of their life cycle. Taking care of a bonsai isn’t all about providing water and sunlight—it’s also about giving them room to grow. Learn how repotting works so you can better care for your tree.

There are three key reasons for repotting: a new pot is needed, your tree is getting too big for its current pot, or it has outgrown its current soil. You should only report when you see that your bonsai has outgrown its pot, as doing so will make it easier for your plant to absorb nutrients and water.

Repotting can be stressful on a plant and should always be done during dormancy, which is typically late winter or early spring. Make sure all new growth is removed before repotting occurs.

Some bonsai enthusiasts recommend repotting only when one or more of these issues are present, but many others suggest doing so whenever your plant has outgrown its pot.

The best thing to do is try repotting after a year or two and then stick with that schedule as long as your plant continues to grow. Consult with an expert before starting if you have any questions about when it’s best to report.

Learn more about planting tips for better health: There are some common mistakes that people make when planting their trees, so it’s important that you avoid them.

18. Root Over Rock Method (You need a large pot for this method)

This is probably one of the most popular methods for root pruning. For this method, place your Bonsai in a large container (14 or larger) with drainage holes. The container must have sufficient depth that when soil is added it comes at least halfway up the trunk and extends several inches beyond all sides of the Bonsai tree.

Water your Bonsai at least twice a week and make sure that it never dries out. This container method requires more frequent watering than other techniques. It’s important to water slowly and evenly until water flows through holes in the bottom of the container. After watering, let the excess water drain from the hole in the bottom before returning the Bonsai tree to the display location.

An alternative method is to place your Bonsai directly in a container with drainage holes and no drainage tray. In this method, place small pebbles in the bottom of the container that extend up sides approximately 1⁄4 inch. Insert your Bonsai and then fill in around it with additional small pebbles until about 1⁄2 inch from the top rim.

19. Others Care

Any bonsai should get as much natural light as possible during the day so that it keeps the little leaves alive and the branches growing the way you want them to take pruning after pruning.

Unless you live in a place where winters reach below zero degrees, your bonsai will be able to be kept outside the rest of the year without problems. If you notice that the leaves of your bonsai are wilting at the tips and you can’t find the reason, it may be the water you use for irrigation.

The recommendation of experts is to use rainwater or purified water that is left to stand for a couple of days with the intention of eliminating chlorine and other chemicals that can alter the pH composition of your bonsai.

Frequently Answer The Question

Bonsai care for beginners: how to do it?

Caring for a bonsai plant primarily involves observation. It needs a bright place to grow and room temperature. Irrigation is not regular, only when the plant needs it and the soil begins to dry out.

What kind of fertilizer should I use on my bonsai tree?

We recommend that you use a Bonsai mix grown specifically for plants, or in the case of flowering fruit trees which have finished growing and starts to exhibit signs of over-production, this product may be nutritionally adequate until new transplants are required. It is advised not to use food from livestock feed supplements since it contain potassium nitrate (6%) as opposed to potassium sulfate (0.45%). Such fertilizers also contribute

How do I care about Ficus, Juniper, Jade, and Maple Chinese Elm in Winter?

The art of fern, tropical and other kinds of Bonsai trees requires a bit more attention than the standard bonsai. These plants have evolved over time to survive in jungles or alpine environments where they gain their original shape that provides effective protection against natural disasters (that were probably saved from extinction), such as storms and droughts. But when it comes to our temperate zone conditions, with high temperatures year-round

How is a bonsai formed?

Forming a bonsai and maintaining its shape is the most important part of caring for a bonsai plant. Not only do you have to trim, but also wire the branches and roots. Each of these elements decides the shape of the plant.

How do you care for a bonsai tree at home?

A bonsai tree is a wonderful addition to any home, and caring for it can be a fun and rewarding experience. The first step is to select the right tree, and this can be a challenge because there are so many beautiful options out there. Once you have selected your tree, take some time to study its characteristics. This includes understanding its natural habitat, the type of soil it prefers, and the amount of water it needs.

Next, you will need to start potting your tree. This should be done in well-drained soil that is slightly acidic. Always use a good potting mix and make sure the roots are well-protected. Once your tree is in its new pot, give it plenty of water and fertilizer. Make sure to check the water levels regularly, and if necessary, add more water or fertilizer. Finally, keep your bonsai tree in a sunny location and away from direct sunlight.

Where to buy a bonsai?

It is best to buy a bonsai tree from a reputable source. It can be a flower shop, a garden center, or even a nursery. It is important, as this way you can be sure that your bonsai tree is healthy and will grow well.

How often do you need to water a bonsai tree?

Bonsai trees require very little water once they are established, but you should water them every two to three days during the growing season and every week during the winter. Make sure to thoroughly soak the soil and water the tree until all of the water is absorbed. If your tree doesn’t seem to be getting enough water, it may be necessary to water it more frequently.

 How to properly water a bonsai plan

There is no general rule for watering bonsai. For the most part, it depends on the environment in which the plant grows. Normally, it is done every day, although it is recommended to observe the soil in the container.

In this blog post, I will be teaching you all the necessary details on how to take care of a bonsai tree. By following the instructions provided, you will be able to keep your bonsai tree healthy and happy. It is important to note that every bonsai tree is unique and requires a different approach, so be sure to read all of the instructions carefully before starting. Do you have any questions after reading? Let us know in the comments!

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