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How to Water a Bonsai Like a Professional Gardener

How to Water a Bonsai Like a Professional Gardener

A bonsai tree brings a cool vibe and living accent to the home or office- and these plants are surprisingly easy to care for!

The ancient art of pruning and trimming into intricate, detailed shrubs is still around today, and you can try your artistic hand with your own tabletop bonsai tree.

Care to cultivate your own unique bonsai trees? Keep reading to learn how!


How to water a bonsai?

You can water your bonsai with regular tap water, although rainwater is ideal. Place the plant in the sink and water well, until water runs from the roots or drainage holes of your pot. During peak season, water in the morning as needed, and water once weekly during the dormant season or winter months.


Watering a Bonsai Tree

Watering a Bonsai Tree is not difficult but is at the core of caring for and cultivating a hardy bonsai tree.

When determining how much to water a bonsai, some factors come into play that makes it distinctive to each individual plant, including the following.

  • Type of Bonsai
  • Size of your Bonsai
  • Container or pot size
  • Type of Soil
  • Climate and Hardiness Zone
  • Season

Since it is not possible to know exactly how often and how much water your bonsai will need, there are ways to figure it out and find out what your bonsai needs.

Carefully look at your bonsai and check the soil with your fingers. Is it dry?

The soil should be neither wet nor dried out when you water. Over time, this will become instinctual.

If you are caring for more than one bonsai, they may not be on the same watering schedule at first. Over time and as you gain growing experience, you may be able to groom and create a common schedule that works for all.

When watering an outdoor bonsai, use a watering can and water and pour directly on the bonsai until the water puddles on the surface of the ground or soil.

Do not water during the hottest part of the day- but if you must, try to avoid getting the foliage wet.


Watering Tips and Tricks

While water is the key to success with a bonsai, there are some other factors that play a part in the proper irrigation and maintenance of your bonsai.

Consider the following factors as it concerns your distinctive location, climate, and hardiness zone.



The perfect medium for a bonsai is a combination of pumice, lava rock, and akadama, which is a type of Japanese soil, favored for cultivating bonsai trees.

You may also add compost to sustain your outdoor bonsai. The type of soil or medium used will dictate how frequently the bonsai needs to be watered.



If you notice water running directly through the container and out the drainage holes, the plant may need to be repotted and transplanted.

This indicates that the roots are tightly wound in a ball, so it will be difficult for the bonsai to absorb water properly.



Many recommend watering a bonsai in the morning, so the moisture has time to evaporate throughout the day, but most agree that the water should be tepid or warm.

Watering a warm bonsai with cold water can cool down the plant and give it a bit of a shock.



When watering the bonsai, the roots are what absorb and benefit from the water.

Make sure that you thoroughly water the roots, root ball, and entire root system by watering generously until water comes from the drainage holes. If water comes out right away, you may need to repot your plant.

If you are cultivating indoor bonsai trees, the kitchen sink is the perfect place for watering. This allows you to soak the roots, drain the water, and repeat.

Filtered tap water is a suitable substitute for rainwater when watering your bonsai.


Some Bonsai Basics

While most bonsai species thrive the best outdoors, bonsai will need to be brought inside during extreme temperature fluctuations or weather conditions.

Bonsai do not mind seasonal weather changes but need sunlight and warm temperatures to become hardy and healthy.

If you are growing bonsai indoors, your home or office lighting should provide adequate light for your plant to photosynthesize but try to provide the plant with a sunny window whenever possible.

Be careful not to position bonsai in spots that get chills or drafts, like in front of an air conditioning vent.

Bonsai require pruning and transplantation, periodically.


Frequently Asked Questions about How to Water a Bonsai


What is the best soil for bonsai?

The best medium for bonsai trees is not actually potting soil, but aggregates and substrates, such as gravel and lava rock. Talk to your landscape or garden retailer to learn more.


What’s the best watering schedule for bonsais?

You cannot set a watering schedule with a bonsai typically. It is best to check the soil to ensure the roots are not too moist and susceptible to rot. During dormancy, you can water your bonsai once a week, but during the summer months, you need to consider sun exposure and temperatures to ensure your plant gets enough water- but not too much.


What is the best kind of bonsai for indoors for beginners?

The great thing about bonsai trees is that there are some distinct varieties that are very easy to cultivate and maintain. Dwarf bonsai trees are a good indoor choice, like a Ficus or umbrella tree. Chinese elms and snow rose are also beginner-friendly and very gratifying to grow.



Use these tips to water and cultivate your own bonsai tree. These bring a cool style and a bit of life to indoor spaces- plus, they are a great conversation piece!

Take care when watering bonsai and keep them safely protected from any drafts or dips in temperature.