How to keep bonsai trees healthy

Updated April 17, 2017

To keep your bonsai in optimal health, it must be fed, watered and pruned regularly. Bonsai trees can last hundreds of years if properly cared for. Follow these steps to keep your bonsai tree healthy.

Water your tree. Watering your bonsai is one of the most important things for its health and longevity. The tree should not ever be allowed to dry out. If the soil on the surface of the plant or pot seems dry, then it should be watered. Try not to get on an automatic schedule for watering; rather, water when the tree needs water. This is because there is much less soil in bonsai plants.

Prune your tree. Pruning is essential to keeping your tree in that bonsai shape. Most newly purchased trees do not need to be pruned, but once they have grown a little, their branches must be trimmed in order for the tree to retain its shape. Another reason to prune is to keep the balance with the root ball or root system below.

Find your tree a good place in the sun where it will not get burnt from too much direct sunlight. Sunlight is a key factor in the growth of bonsai trees. Bonsai trees like a lot of sunlight, except immediately after pruning or repotting.

Use bonsai soil. The type of soil you use can determine the health of your tree. Regular soils, such as potting soil or top soil, are much heavier than bonsai soil. Bonsai soil is specially formulated to retain moisture, allow water to drain and allow the roots to breathe.

Fertilise your tree. Fertilisation is necessary for the continued growth of your bonsai tree. There should be three components to any type of fertiliser that you use on your tree: nitrogen, phosphorus and potash. Make certain that these ingredients are in the fertiliser.


A moisture meter works well for watering purposes. This meter will tell you when your plant needs water.

You can also pick up your bonsai tree to see if it needs to be watered. Dry trees weigh much less than watered trees.

Consider misting your tree daily with a spray bottle to recreate the humid environment that makes them grow so well.


Don't overwater your bonsai tree, or you may drown it.

Things You'll Need

  • Bonsai tree
  • Water
  • Bonsai soil
  • Fertilizer
  • Bonsai shears
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About the Author

Stacie Haight Connerty has been writing and editing for almost twenty years. She has been nationally published in several magazines and currently writes for several parenting websites. Stacie has an MBA in marketing and has worked in marketing/public relations for 15 years.