Bonsai Tips for the Summer

As the heat approaches those countries in the northern hemisphere, many new bonsai enthusiasts will start looking for bonsai tips for the summer. While it’s easy to say more watering is needed, there are some other factors to keep in mind. You want your bonsai to remain healthy while not causing too much stress with interference.

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Here’s our Bonsai Alchemist guide for the summer:

Here’s our Bonsai Alchemist guide for the summer:







Eight Important Bonsai Tips for Summer

Before discussing the details of what you should be doing this summer to your bonsai, we want to share these eight tips you should read through carefully. Many newbies make these mistakes, and you’ll save your bonsai if you take note of these pointers.

  • Power of three: A ancient Japanese saying states you should water three times: for the soil, pot, and bonsai. The water may cling to the pot, while the soil also needs nourishment. Once those are taken care of, the remaining water is for the roots.
  • Max mode: Bonsais that love sunlight will soak in as much as possible, which means they’ll need as much water as you can provide. If you feel the soil is dry, it’s time to water again. You’ll need to learn how often to water your bonsai trees by testing daily.
  • No neglect: Don’t forget to water, as one day of non-watering is enough to lead to the death of root tips. Make it a daily routine to check the soil at least twice.
  • Don’t over-mist: Yes, your bonsai needs humidity too. However, too much spray may leave droplets on the leaves that act as a magnifying glass, which can burn them.
  • Feed your baby: With all the water you’re pouring into the soil, it drains the nutrients away. Your bonsai is also eating as much as it can at this time. Ensure that you fertilize regularly to keep it happy.
  • Check your soil levels: Watering causes soil to compress, push through the drainage holes, or fall over the sides. Ensure that you keep your soil topped up, so the roots remain covered.
  • Full sun: Many bonsai trees love the full sun in summer, but that doesn’t mean it wants sunlight all day. The afternoon sun can heat the container and soil, and it might burn the leaves. So ensure your bonsai receives morning and evening sun, with some shade in the afternoon.
  • Hot water: If you’re using water from the tap or a hose, ensure it’s not boiling hot. It can burn the roots while damaging the soil. Instead, find a way to cool it down before watering your bonsais.

The Yearly Bonsai Cycle

Every bonsai tree is different, but some general seasonal rules apply. So while you’re dealing with the summer, your miniature landscape has had an interesting journey over the last year. Here’s a quick overview of what your baby has been through.


Depending on the species, you may see some fruit in early autumn while the rest of the tree stabilizes. After that, there won’t be many more shoots, and the roots are preparing for the coming winter. Of course, it’ll still feed on fertilizer as it stores carbohydrates for the cold period ahead.


When the heart of winter arrives, your bonsai will go to sleep. Some species still prefer some fertilizer, while others don’t. You’ll need to protect them from frost, but make sure there’s still some sunlight around. Let it rest as much as possible without interfering.


Early spring will show some growth appear, which is when your bonsai will start feasting on soil nutrients again. As it moves into late spring, you’ll see tons of leaves and shoots. You’ll need to take some time pruning back for maintenance, so you don’t lose the desired shape.


The past three seasons have led to this point. Flowers will bloom, and the foliage will continue to grow. However, some species will stop developing further and reach a state of semi-dormancy. Caring for your bonsai in this season is a matter of life or death.

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What You Should Be Doing This Summer

Now that you have a better understanding of what your bonsai is going through this season, it’s time to look at what you should be doing this summer. We’re going to show you three main tasks you should perform or be aware of, but remember to keep watering as much as possible.

Summer Repotting

When you reach the middle of summer, the bonsai will slow down growth and prepare for the coming cold months. It may also focus on seed and flower development instead. Broadleaves develop roots quickly in spring, and you may need to transplant sooner than expected.

However, steer clear of repotting conifers in summer, as they prefer not to be disturbed after new shoots have appeared. Ideally, it should be done at the end of winter or early in spring when you see fresh leaves.

Maintenance Pruning

Since you have a specific design in mind, you’ll want to do some maintenance pruning after the growth period is done. When it comes to pines, you’ll want to cut back new needles or buds before autumn arrives, especially if they are in undesired locations. It’ll also strengthen the branches you want to keep for the next season.


Some bonsai trees start going into dormancy in summer, especially in extremely high temperatures. The primary reason is to reduce heat and light absorption as a self-defense mechanism. Ensure that you provide as much water as is needed to prevent dehydration caused by soil saturation or evaporation.

Final Thoughts

While bonsais love heat and sun, it’s a critical period that can kill them if you don’t look after them properly. You’ll need to take extreme care to nourish them daily for the leaves to remain healthy for the entire season. We hope our bonsai tips for the summer have helped you prepare.

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FAQs about Bonsais in Summer

We know you are in a hurry. Before you go, feel free to read through the questions people always ask about bonsais in summer.

The most significant aspect is watering. Provide as much as the soil, pot, and roots need while ensuring you don’t over-mist the leaves. Remember, you also need to feed it fertilizer more often than usual.

It’s better to wire a bonsai in autumn or winter. Summer sees massive growth, which can swell the branches and cause the wire to bite into them. Also, you might hurt any new buds that appear.

The ideal time to repot is late winter or early spring. However, sometimes it becomes necessary to do it during the summer dormancy for some species. You’ll need to take extra care not to damage or prune too much of the roots.

Bonsai trees use sunlight to make food, so ensure it receives as much light as possible in the summer. You should also provide shade in the afternoon, so the light doesn’t burn the leaves or dry up the soil.

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Shaun has two passions in life that combine into an extravagant show on Bonsai Alchemist. The one is for writing and the second bonsais. He’s been writing fantasy and horror novels since 2000, while also creating online content since 2015. He’s involved with writing for films and games. Finally, he’s also the owner of a book publishing company.

He received his first bonsai as a gift in 2009 and has been growing several species in his quiet home in South Africa. He prefers propagating new life instead of buying bonsais at the store. His son and daughter share his love for nature, while his wife stares on at her introverted hermit husband.


Shaun M Jooste


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