Feeding Bonsai Trees

Bonsai Tree Feeding & Fertilizers


It is important for you to regularly fertilize your bonsai in order to keep it healthy and growing properly. Bonsai fertilizer contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N-P-K) which have assigned numbers based on the weight of each of these elements present in the fertilizer. You will want to use what is called a balanced fertilizer, with assigned N-P-K numbers of 20-20-20. Feed this fertilizer to your bonsai every other week at quarter strength.

These three elements found in bonsai fertilizer are necessary for photosynthesis to take place and for proper growth of your tree. Nitrogen plays a role in the size and quantity of new growth, as well as a minor role in the green leaf color. It is also necessary for proper cell division and for the manufacturing of protein. Phosphorus is also needed for proper cell division to take place and additionally aids in flowering and good growth of the roots. The cell enzymes are activated by the Potassium, which also helps maintain healthy cell activity overall.

Tips on fertilizing your bonsai include the following:

  • Make sure you thoroughly water your bonsai before fertilizing and be careful to never fertilize it while dry.
  • If your tree is unhealthy, do not mistake fertilizer for medicine. Instead, avoid fertilizing it until it becomes healthy again.
  • Switch brands of fertilizer after each bottle since they all have different concentrations of certain minerals and trace elements. It is beneficial for the growth and health of your bonsai to be exposed to differing amount of these minerals and trace elements.
  • Follow the directions on the fertilizer and avoid over-fertilizing your bonsai. Fertilizer is good for your bonsai, however, too much fertilizer can be bad for it.

Bonsai trees are able to absorb synthetic nutrients via their foliage so it is imperative you follow the manufacturer’s suggestions for foliar feeding. The leaves could easily and quickly burn if your plant is foliar fed in direct sunlight. It is best to mist the foliage when administering a synthetic nutrient. You should also check to make sure there are no pests hiding underneath the leaves and that the wires are not channelling into the bark.

As you can see, bonsai trees take a lot of time and effort to cultivate properly. You must be willing to treat your bonsai with the utmost care and respect, while ensuring it is kept in an ideal growing environment. Bonsai trees are very sensitive and react poorly and quickly to adverse growing conditions. After all the time and attention you pour into taking care of your bonsai tree, it will most definitely become one of your prized possessions that you show off to everyone.

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