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bonsai watering

How to Water Bonsai Trees?

Who isn’t fascinated to bring home a bonsai tree? But when it comes to watering bonsai, people question themselves a lot. 

But do you know bonsai watering isn’t that challenging? On the contrary, it is easy, and all you need to do is give your bonsai a couple of minutes in a day. Sounds strange?

In this article, we will explain to you, in detail, everything about watering bonsai trees.

When to water bonsai trees?

When the soil on your bonsai tree feels just a bit dry, you should water it. The ideal time to water a bonsai plant is not subject to any rules. However, you should strictly avoid watering with cold water in the afternoon. Sun rays already warm the soil, and cold water will likely cool it down rapidly, jeopardizing the bonsai’s health.

You should check soil moisture before watering the bonsai tree. This will indicate the plant’s water requirements. There are different ways to do so; let’s get into them.

Ways to check Soil Moisture

It’s critical to check the soil regularly to determine whether to water your bonsai plants or not. The soil itself speaks for the watering needs.

1) Using a soil moisture meter

A moisture meter is a helpful tool whether you’re an expert or a novice because it eliminates the need for guesswork each time you water.

A moisture meter easily measures the soil’s moisture content in the root zone. Bonsai enthusiasts use it to avoid both over and underwatering. On the scale, 1 represents dry and 10 illustrates moist. You can easily do the rest of the watering work.

  • Place the moisture meter at the root ball’s level.
  • Examine the moisture level of the bonsai soil.
  • Water your bonsai tree at level “3,” which is typical for many bonsai species
  • Now, it’s time to take the meter from the plant.
  • After each usage, clean the moisture meter. Keep the moisture meter somewhere dry.

2) Finger Method

This method is pretty simple. Insert your finger into the bonsai soil approximately an inch deep. It’s probably time to water your tree if the soil doesn’t feel particularly moist. 

Unfortunately, you can’t rely solely on this method as it is inefficient. It is a general principle that not all bonsai plants follow. It might be challenging to determine how moist the soil is with just your fingers.

3) Chopstick Method

  • Put a wooden chopstick about 1 to 2 inches deep into the tree’s soil.
  • Keeping the roots in mind, it should be roughly halfway between the main stem of your bonsai plant and the edge.
  • Let the chopstick stay on the ground for around ten minutes. It will give the chopstick enough time to absorb any water in the soil.
  • Now, it’s time for the final part. Check the chopstick by taking it out. The soil is moist if the chopstick or popsicle has turned dark or bears a watermark. It’s the ideal time to water your bonsai plant if it’s dry and the color hasn’t changed.

Steps to water your water

Step 1: Check the soil’s moisture content using a moisture meter. Chopsticks or your fingers can also be used. 

Step 2: Take out your water cans or bottle if the soil is dry. Pour the water slowly into the pot.

Step 3: Water your bonsai tree from the top to avoid washing away the soil. 

Step 4: Be careful to saturate the tree’s complete root system after deciding the soil is just a little bit dry and needs water. Continue watering until the bottom drainage holes are empty, then repeat the process for a few minutes.

Watering Bonsai Tips

  • You don’t need to water your little trees every day. It is best to assess the soil’s moisture content or dryness first. If your bonsai feels a little bit dry, water it.
  • You can use regular tap water for your bonsais. It is beneficial to water them from time to time with rainwater if your tap water is hard.
  • If your bonsai tree is exposed to scorching rays of the sun, avoid watering it.
  • When watering your flowering bonsai tree, be careful not to soak the blooms. The fruits and lovely blossoms can perish.
  • A schedule that works for one bonsai tree might not be suitable for another. To determine your bonsai plants’ watering requirements, you must inspect them every day.
  • To prevent overwatering your bonsai, let the soil slightly dry between waterings.

How much water does my bonsai need?

To determine how frequently you should water your tree, you should consider several criteria. With practice, you’ll be able to assess your tree’s requirements by looking at its leaf and container weight. The dryer the plant, the lighter it is.

Here are the several criteria you need to consider:

1) Pot-bound

Like other potted plants, bonsai trees’ roots expand inside the pot until it occupies the entire volume. It is known as being pot-bound. Pot-bound bonsai trees dry out more quickly after being watered.

2) Pot Size

Greater soil volume in larger pots causes bonsai trees to dry out more slowly than in smaller ones.

3) Sunlight

Due to the sun’s scorching rays, water in the container evaporates quickly. You should prepare to water your tree frequently if it receives a lot of direct sunshine.

4) Strong Wind 

Your bonsai may lose more water through its leaves if the weather is windy. On windy days, you’ll need to water more or put the tree in a less windy location. 

5) Soil

Typically, bonsai soil is a blend of various ingredients. Different soil mixtures dry out at different rates. Although a smooth, well-draining soil mixture generally benefits the tree’s health, it may also require more frequent irrigation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ques 1: When should I water my bonsai during the day?

Ans: According to the bonsai experts, you should not water your bonsai tree during the hottest part of the day when it is in direct sunlight. To keep your bonsai moist throughout the night and the following morning, you should water the bonsai tree in the late afternoon or evening.

Ques2: Should I mist my bonsai often?

Ans: Your precious bonsai can benefit a lot from misting in terms of increasing humidity levels. Misting helps to clean your bonsai tree’s leaves and revitalize them. 

Although misting is not a substitute for thorough watering. It will only temporarily create a humid environment, not fulfill its thirst.


Water is a necessary element for bonsai plants to survive. Even though different bonsai species have varying water needs, we have provided you with the best practices you should keep in mind while watering your bonsai.

If you still have any queries about watering bonsai, let us know, and we will get back to you ASAP!

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