Repotting Bonsai Trees Practical Guide

Does it need repotting? take the tree out of the pot; if there is still some soil left and the root have not filled the pot, you could leave it for another year.

If it does need repotting then don’t worry, its easy. Tease out the roots from the sides and bottom, a root hook is ideal for this. I didnt have one for years when I started with bonsai but as soon as I bought one, I was glad that I did. Tease the roots out gently. Sometimes they will have grown so long that they loop round and round in the pot. Trim back the long roots. Generally its best not to remove more that a third of the root mass. If the bonsai has a very thick layer of moss on the top, remove some or all of this to stop water running off the surface rather than flowing into the root mass. There may also be some weeds growing in the soil, these can also be removed at this time.

If re-using the same pot, brush it out and give it a rinse if you wish.

Cover the drainage holes with some mesh to stop the soil washing out of the hole when you water. It also stops bug getting into the pot. Woodlouse in particular like to make a home inside bonsai pots.

Put wire through the wire holes if the pot has them. If the pot doesnt have wire holes, put the wire through the drainage holes. Take care not to dislodge the mesh.

Place some soil in the bottom of the pot in an even layer. Please click here to view our range of bonsai soil

Carefully sit the tree in the pot. Have a look and make sure that the tree is positioned within a good viewing angle, facing forwards. You may also want to tilt the tree slightly forwards or backwards to improve the view. If using a round pot, the tree can be right in the middle. If the pot isnt round, it is more common to place the tree slightly off-centre. Usually slightly towards the rear of the pot.

When happy with the position, bring the wires together over the root mass. Try to do this at the rear of the trunk to hide the wires from view. Pinch the wires together and twist them a couple of times.

Put soil in. Work the soil into the gaps around the rootball. A chopstick or handle of a tool can be used to work the soil into the gaps. Pat down the soil but don’t compress it to much as you want to keep an open texture with air space.

Using some pliers, twist the wire several times so that the tree is well anchored into the pot. With practice the tree will hardly move at all when the pot is picked up and jiggled around.

Cover with more soil if required up to the rim of the pot.

Water gently with a watering can from above. Drenching the tree will wash too much soil away. Better to water gently a couple of times. Make sure its watered all the way through, until water comes out of the drainage holes.

Take a photo of the tree. It will help you keep a record of its development and you can post it to our Facebook wall so we can see your lovely new tree!

Repotting Videos

We’ll be adding various repotting videos here as we make them.