Taking care of a bonsai tree is a profound pleasure that cannot be put into words. However, facing challenges on your way of becoming a better bonsai tree gardener is inevitable.
More importantly, any of the issues you may need to resolve in order to help your bonsai reach its fullest potential are merely a part of the learning process.
Without any doubt, though, no bonsai enthusiast wants to see his/her miniature masterpiece suffer.
If you are stressed out and wondering how to revive bonsai tree with leaves falling off, it’s best to take appropriate actions as soon as possible.
Keeping in mind that there are different factors that can lead to leaves falling off, you need to start the process of healing by first identifying the very cause of the issue.
Factors that can Make a Bonsai Tree Lose Leaves (+ How to Fix the Issues)
Wang Xiang’s Taiwan West Indian Cherry Bonsai – Image Source
1) Overwatering or Under-watering
Both overwatering, as well as under-watering, can lead to leaves falling off with (seemingly) no reason at all.
As a rule of thumb, regardless of whether it comes to an indoor or an outdoor bonsai, you want to water your tiny tree only when the soil feels slightly dry to the touch (about an inch deep).
One of the most common reasons for over- or under-watering is not the absence of a well-working watering schedule but dealing with poor-quality soil.
The soil is a critical factor for the well-being of any bonsai tree. If it retains too much water, then it may seem as if the upper layer is fairly dry while the roots are actually soaking wet for a prolonged period. This can further exuberate the issue due to the increased possibility of root rot.
According to a research article titled Control of Root Rot Disease Using Plant Powder and Essential Oil from Artemisia Monosperma, root rot disease caused by a specific type of morphological species known as Fusarium solani, can be addressed successfully with the application of essential oil or plant powder.
However, when it comes to dealing with bonsai losing leaves and suspecting that poor-quality soil in combination with overwatering may be the cause for the issue, your wisest move is to start by letting the soil dry out (but not completely).
Next, you want to significantly decrease the amount of water you typically feed to your bonsai tree and let it take the time to recover. It’s better to stick with more frequent watering using less water as to make sure you won’t make your bonsai suffer from under-watering.
Once the recovery process shows visible signs of improvement, you need to repot your bonsai in high-quality soil.
If you suspect that under-watering is the cause for leaves falling off (maybe you often forget to water your bonsai?), then you want to re-hydrate your bonsai but skip the rush. Water the tiny tree using a small water can. Imagine you are mimicking rain.
Keep watering until you notice water flowing through the drainage holes. Let it drain for about 30 minutes and repeat the procedure. Hopefully, in the case the roots haven’t dried out and died off completely, your miniature tree will gradually start to recover. It’s a great idea to regularly mist the leaves and stem, too, to help the tree transpire water better while roots are recovering.
Do not make the mistake of compensating under-watering with overwatering.
This can lead to water stress which can be lethal to your bonsai tree. Then again, letting your bonsai take the time to recover is crucial. Keep monitoring it frequently and stay persistent.
Video by: Continuing Education – New Frontiers School Board – How to water a plant…. the right way!
2) Exposure to Higher/ Lower Temperatures than Needed
As a rule of thumb, you need to keep indoor bonsai trees at room temperatures that do not fall below 15 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit) and do not exceed 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit).
For outdoor bonsai trees, it is imperative to understand the requirements of the specific plant specimen you are dealing with. To illustrate this better, deciduous bonsai varieties will inevitably lose some or all of their leaves during the autumn-winter season, so there might be no reason to worry about leaves falling off.
Environmental stress can also cause your bonsai to lose leaves. Remember that trees are creatures of habits. Changing their position frequently can easily stress out the plant because of variables such as cold or strong air penetrating through the window/door, exposure to direct sunlight or a shady spot that is not suitable for the type of tree you are growing, etc.
For indoor bonsai tree gardeners, keep in mind that the natural access to indoor light might not be sufficient to help your bonsai thrive. Consider opting for an artificial indoor grow lighting system.
Above all, you need to find the perfect spot for your bonsai tree and stop stressing it by moving it around. Then again, let your bonsai masterpiece take the time to recover and don’t rush with additional treatments if you believe that environmental stress is the cause for leaves falling off.
4) Wrong Fertilization Routine
Are you using slow-release nutrients or fast-acting fertilizers? Or maybe you are using no fertilizer at all? In any of these cases, wrong fertilization might be to blame for your bonsai losing leaves.
Check out the label of the fertilizer that you are using and do your research according to the type of bonsai tree you are growing.
5) Pests or Disease
Last but not least, pests or disease can make the leaves of your bonsai rapidly fall off. On the bright side, pests or disease-related issues are effortless to spot and hard to confuse with any of the factors we discussed above. Inspect your bonsai thoroughly (use a magnifying loupe if needed), and use the right type of solution to get rid of the pests or disease-caused troubles.
Video by: sweetirisfarm – 11 Common Garden Pests – Garden Pest Identification
Image Credit: @cascadiabonsai
Anyone can learn how to revive bonsai tree with leaves falling off in a breeze, as long as you are patient, consistent, and determined to help your miniature tree recover. Skip the rush and let your plant “speak” to you, as it will always send you the right signs – just stay calm, interpret them, and act accordingly.