Watering Bonsai Trees

The Basics of Watering Bonsai Trees

Watering bonsai timber is a elementary activity, and looks like it needs to be one of many best. In spite of everything, you’ve seemingly watered many crops, both in your home or exterior in your yard. How laborious can watering bonsai be?

Watering Bonsai Trees

Over previous 10 years, I’ve realized about correctly watering bonsai, however not with out trial and error. I’ve killed a handful (okay, greater than a handful) of timber by both under-watering or over watering. Now you’ll be able to keep away from the errors I made, and be taught the ideas and tips that I at the moment use to lift wholesome timber.

Because it seems, watering a tree that’s confined to a small container isn’t as simple as you might suppose. The artwork of watering includes observing the tree, allocating the correct amount of water, figuring out when to water, and possibly extra importantly, when to not water.

On this article, we’ll discover the fundamentals of watering bonsai timber and particular strategies that will help you efficiently develop a thriving younger bonsai.

Setting Your self Up For Success

In case you lately acquired a tree from the mall or massive field retailer, it’s a good suggestion to take a second and consider how the tree is potted within the container. Sadly, many timber are available containers that aren’t best for development, or worse, not conducive for survival.

Juniper Bonsai in Round Pot

Have a look at the soil – is there a high layer of rocks on the soil which can be glued down? It is a observe utilized by industrial grows to make sure the soil stays within the pot throughout transport, however it may well trigger issues when caring for the tree.

Fastidiously take away these rocks to show the soil beneath.

Subsequent, take a look at the soil and the pot itself. Particularly, you’re in search of:

  • Correct drainage holes
  • Soil that drains effectively

Watering bonsai that doesn’t have the suitable kind of container and soil will be difficult.

Drainage Holes

Have a look at the underside of the container your bonsai got here planted in. Does it have drainage holes? If not, you might want so as to add a couple of.

These holes permit us so as to add an excellent quantity of water to the highest of the soil, and let a portion of the water run by the soil and out the pot. This drainage course of is necessary, in order that solely a portion of the water stays on the roots.

Soil High quality

Relying on the place you bought your first tree, it could be planted in quite a lot of soils … from backyard soil to gravel and every thing in-between. The composition of the soil will instantly affect its means to empty, and thus how usually you have to water your tree.

Bonsai Soil with Scoop

The perfect bonsai soil drains effectively, but retains sufficient water to feed the roots. Backyard soil will seemingly retain an excessive amount of moisture when watering bonsai, and gravel alone received’t retain sufficient water.

How Typically Ought to I Water My Tree?

Frequent gardening observe may inform us to water our crops on a set schedule. For example, many householders water their lawns with automated sprinklers, and a few even go so far as putting in automated watering techniques for the flora round their yard. Indoor, too, it’s simple to get right into a behavior of watering crops on a schedule so we don’t neglect. We people are creatures of behavior.

Contemplate the container your bonsai is rising in. It’s seemingly very small, which implies the basis system for the tree lives in a compact atmosphere. Water too usually, and the roots could also be vulnerable to rot, as they’re consistently soaking in water. Water too sparsely, and the roots are more likely to dry out, thus killing the tree.

Boxwood Bonsai Tree on Window Sill

With tiny timber, a schedule isn’t the popular method for watering bonsai. As an alternative, we depend on common statement of the tree, or extra importantly, the soil, to grasp when water is required.

Measuring Moisture: The Chopstick Technique

To grasp how a lot water your tree wants, we have to understand how moist the soil is roughly 1” beneath the soil floor. Whereas it could be tempting to stay your finger within the soil to really feel how moist the soil is, it’s higher to make use of a bamboo chopstick.

Watering Bonsai with Chopstick to Measure Moisture

Go away the chopstick within the soil always, and every day (twice a day throughout a really heat or windy day), elevate the chopstick out to see if it’s nonetheless moist beneath the soil line. Whether it is, then the tree doesn’t want quick water. If the chopstick is simply a bit of bit moist, or starting to dry out, water completely.

By no means let your soil change into bone dry. This may increasingly kill your tree.

Watering Bonsai – How a lot?

Now that we’ve established when to water your tree, we are able to transfer on to the second matter in watering bonsai … how a lot must you water your tree.

While you pull up your chopstick and see that it’s starting to dry out, water it generously. Bear in mind, a tree that’s planted in free draining soil in a pot with drainage holes can take an excellent quantity of water with out the danger of overwatering.

Water the tree till you see water drain out the holes within the backside of the pot. As soon as the water has stopped dripping out the underside, water it once more in the identical method. This can make sure that your tree is well-watered.

Tip: Be cautious to not wash away the highest layer of soil when watering.

What Form of Water To Use

Faucet water is usually accepted as secure for bonsai use. Nonetheless, it’s greatest to fill your watering can and permit the water to take a seat in a single day earlier than utilizing. This permits any chlorine that may have been added to your faucet water to evaporate.

Moreover, when you’ve got the flexibility to gather rainwater, it’s most well-liked over faucet water. Retailer it in a chunk of pottery till prepared to be used.

What Time of Day Ought to I Water?

Test your tree within the morning to see if it has started to dry out. If it has, this can be a good time to water. If it hasn’t, test once more within the early night.

It is suggested that you simply keep away from watering in the course of the hottest a part of the day except the tree could be very dry, or proper earlier than solar down.

Seasonal & Environmental Issues

As you’ll be able to think about, your tree will want extra water within the heat, summer time months, and fewer within the winter. Relying on the place you reside, your tree could reside exterior exterior within the winter. If it’s buried beneath snow within the winter, it is going to want little, if no, water throughout this era.

Bonsai Branch with Snow

To Mist or To not Mist

The subject of misting usually comes up in bonsai. At massive field shops, some bonsai solely get misted and by no means correctly watered. As we’ve simply realized, that may be an enormous downside, because the timber received’t get the correct quantity of water.

Nonetheless, misting does have its place in bonsai.

Some species, like juniper, respect a day by day misting of their foliage.

Misting can be helpful for indoor timber that don’t get enough humidity in any other case.

Instruments for Watering

There are two primary instruments for watering bonsai; a backyard wand and a watering can.

Sure wands are made particularly for bonsai. These wands produce a really light bathe on your tree which mimics a fragile rainfall. Such a wand is good, as frequent garden-store kind wands can produce a bathe of water that’s too intense, and may shortly wash away your tree’s soil.

Moreover, watering cans is usually a welcome boost to your backyard. These can be utilized to distribute rain water you could have collected, or just as a alternative for a backyard wand. The identical suggestion applies to cans: discover one which simulates pure smooth rain drops.

Fundamental Watering Suggestions

  • Use a high-quality nozzle, both in your hose or watering can, which offers a mild bathe of water
  • When water begins to puddle on the floor of the soil, cease watering and permit it to soak in. As soon as it has soaked in, you’ll be able to proceed to water.
  • Be cautious to not disturb the soil floor an excessive amount of
  • Use chilly water. In case you’re watering on a scorching day, you should definitely let the recent water run out of the hose earlier than watering the tree.


Watering your bonsai tree will be an pleasurable deal with that you simply sit up for. It offers time so that you can respect your tree, and picture the way it you’ll form it sooner or later.

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