How to water bonsai trees
One of the questions that we are frequently asked is how to water bonsai trees. Like all living plants, bonsai trees need water to stay alive. When people ask us, how do I water my bonsai tree? We look at how much water does a bonsai tree need, how often to water and how to actually do it.
How much water does a bonsai tree need?
Like mature trees in the wild, bonsai trees pump water through their roots into the body of the tree to the foliage. Bonsai tree needs enough water to supply all of the leaves and stop them from drying out.
How often do I water a bonsai tree?
Wild trees take this water from the soil. Bonsai trees are often grown in shallow bonsai pots with a smaller amount of soil. Due to this, bonsai trees will dry out more quickly than trees planted in the ground. It is also possible to over-water a bonsai tree. If the roots are constantly soaked, they can rot, damaging and eventually killing the tree. It is easier to kill a bonsai tree through under-watering than over-watering. So, there is a question on balance – enough water but not too much. A few factors affect this balance. Let’s look at these now.
- The location of your bonsai tree affects how much water it needs
Temperature affects how often you will need to water a bonsai tree. If the weather is warmer, the tree will need to pump more water to supply the foliage with water. In hot weather, you will need to water more. Most bonsai trees are grown outdoors, but if your bonsai tree is indoors, the temperature of your home or office will affect how often you need to water.
- The size of the bonsai tree affects how much water it needs
Smaller bonsai trees are generally grown in smaller pots. Smaller pots have less soil. The soil holds water. Smaller bonsai trees will, therefore, need watering more often than bigger bonsai trees.
- Windiness affects how much water a bonsai tree needs
If the weather is windy, the tree will lose more water through its leave. You’ll need to water more on windy days or better still, provide a location for the tree which is out of strong winds.
- The soil affects how much water a bonsai tree needs
Bonsai soil is usually a mixture of different components. Some soil mixes dry out more quickly than others. An open, free-draining soil mix tend to be better for the health of the tree but can also mean that you need to water more often.
- How pot-bound is the tree
The roots of bonsai trees, like other potted plants, keep growing inside the pot until they have completely filled the space. We then call them pot-bound. Bonsai trees that are becoming pot-bound dry out more quickly after watering
- Pot size affects how much water bonsai tree needs
Bigger pots have more soil, so they dry out less quickly than smaller pot.
Enough info! Can’t you just tell me how often I need to water a bonsai tree?
You are aiming to keep the soil evening moist all of the time. It’s ok if the soil dries out a little bit between waterings but do not let it dry out completely. In hot, summer weather, it’s likely that you’ll need to water it every day.
How to water bonsai trees
When you do water – soak. Give it plenty. You need to make sure that you get all of the soil wet. Much of the root is at the bottom of the pot. If you just give them a drop of water, the top of the soil can be wet, but the rest of the soil can remain dry.
Outdoors, it is absolutely fine to use a watering can or hosepipe. Just be careful not to wash all of the soil out of the pot. Indoors, you tend to be more careful as you don’t want to get water everywhere. Try filling a bowl with water and submerging the pot – it’s a good way to make sure that you get all of the soil wet but again, make sure any loose soil isn’t washed out of the pot. Gently submerge it. Leave it in there for a few minutes. It might bubble as air escapes.
The foliage and branches also benefit from being watered. It washes off dust and helps deter pests.