Watering Bonsai Trees

Watering Bonsai Trees

Perhaps one of the most important parts of caring for any plant is to properly water for best growth. A bonsai tree is no different and in fact, most bonsai trees that die due so because of dehydration. Proper watering is the key to keeping your bonsai tree alive and healthy.

How Often Should I Water My Bonsai Tree?

The key to proper watering of a bonsai tree is to make sure the soil never becomes dry. Check the soil daily to determine if it is time to water. As with any plant that is in a container, a bonsai’s need for water will vary greatly upon the size of the tree, the size and type of pot as well as the location of the bonsai. If your bonsai is located in full sun you may need to water every day. Water your bonsai tree early in the day. This will help keep your bonsai from being vulnerable to slugs, fungus and disease as watering too late in the day and close to overnight weather and temperatures will increase susceptibility for these issues. Midday watering can also offer problems as it can create temporary cooling of the leaves through transpiration and water that sits on the leaves during the heat of the day can burn the leaves. Early morning watering is the best time for your bonsai.

What Is The Best Way To Water My Bonsai Tree?

The important part of watering a bonsai tree is to not just water the soil in the pot. When it comes to watering your bonsai tree, perhaps the best method follows an old Japanese one about caring for the bonsai. This method holds that with bonsai, it rains twice — meaning that you should soak the soil the first time until water runs out of the holes in the pot. Allow the water and soil to soak for 15 to 20 minutes then soak the soil again until water runs out of the holes again. Misting the foliage on the tree will keep the leaves free of dust and will keep the breathing holes (stomata) in the leaves open. Natural watering by rainfall is ideal for your bonsai but it may not be enough so you should plan to water even if there has been rain. Often, rain will only soak the top layer of the soil so you will still need to check the soil to determine if your tree needs more water. If your area has been receiving excessive rain, be sure to prop up your bonsai tree’s pot to allow the excess water to drain out. If you choose to use a hose, turn it on a mist setting or a low-pressure setting. Too much pressure from the hose can unsettle the soil.

Watering Tips

Never water your bonsai with a hose that has been laying out in the sun. Allow water to run through the hose for a few minutes to cool off first before applying to the soil of the tree. Do not water your bonsai by immersing it in water. You might hear this recommendation but it is usually a sign that the soil the bonsai is planted in is poor. Use a stick to poke holes around the edge of the pot then water thoroughly instead. If this is a recommendation by a vendor you purchase from you should plan to repot the bonsai as soon as possible to give it better soil to grow in. Does your bonsai have flowers? If so, make sure that when you are watering your tree you don’t hit the flowers. This can kill those pretty blooms almost immediately. Under watering is a source of problems with bonsai trees but over watering is also a danger. It is most important to check the soil of your bonsai tree every day to determine if it needs watering rather than planning to water daily. Water your bonsai when the top centimeter of soil starts to dry out. Remember that every tree is different and just as different people have different personalities and needs, it is the same with your bonsai trees. What is the appropriate schedule for one tree may not be adequate for another. That is why you will need to check every day to determine watering needs. Allowing the soil to dry out just a little between watering will help ensure that you are not over watering which can be deadly to your bonsai.

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