How Often Do You Water Bonsai Trees

One of the most important questions beginners always ask is, “How often do you water bonsai trees?” The primary reason is that the liquid is the lifeblood of the tree, keeping it alive, healthy, and strong. However, you can also provide too much of the precious substance, causing diseases and pests.

We’ll show you how frequently to water bonsais, which factors to consider when caring for it, and how to test if the time is right.

Water Bonsais Trees

How Often Do You Water Bonsais Trees?

The one aspect that’ll determine how often do you water bonsai trees is the season. While it may differ for a few species, you’ll mostly need to start watering daily when spring arrives. There are new leaves, branches, and flowers appearing, which means it’ll need as much moisture as possible.

When summer appears, and the heat is intense, you might need to water bonsai trees more than once a day. It all depends on a few factors, which we’ll tell you about in a moment. All you need to note at this point is that you should be checking your miniature landscape more than once a day.

Autumn brings shorter days and longer nights, and some countries become colder quickly. You’ll start reducing watering times to maybe every second day. When winter appears, you’ll take longer to provide nourishment, perhaps only once or twice a week. Since the bonsai is dormant, you don’t want the roots to sleep in wetness.

How Often Do You Water Bonsai Trees

Factors For How Much Water Bonsais Need

While the seasons play a vital role, you’ll need to pay attention to some other factors. Some of these will require more watering, while others less. If you’re wondering how often do you water bonsai trees, look at these elements for proper bonsai tree care.

We have a detailed bonsai tree care guide with all the relevant information. Check the guide out here!

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Type of Soil

The soil’s component ratios will determine your watering needs, as some of them hold the liquid for some time before releasing it. For instance, you may find a combination of peat moss, clay, and vermiculite. Others contain stones for easier drainage. You’ll need to test how quickly the water drains.


Fertilizer is essential during the growing seasons for your bonsai to develop quickly while remaining fed. However, it can dry the soil and break down the soil’s nutrients. In some cases, you may need to increase how much you water bonsai trees in the summer months.

Bonsai Size and Species

It’s no secret that larger bonsais will drink more water. You’ll also need to pay attention to how much foliage it has when it comes to branches, leaves, and flowers. The tree will need to supply the liquid to every part of its system.

Not all species drink the same amount. Some sip slowly over a few days, while others are very thirsty. You should check a species care sheet for your bonsai tree to see how much you should water it.

Container Volume

While most bonsai enthusiasts use small pots, there are a few who use larger containers. The more soil you have, the better the retention. You’ll be able to water bonsai trees less often since they can store more of the precious liquid. 

Exposure to Natural Light

Sunlight evaporates water quickly, leaving your bonsai tree thirsty. A good rule of thumb is to place it in an area that gets morning sun and then shade for the rest of the day. Also, you can use a humidity tray to add moisture to the air without the need for a spray bottle.


When the air is dry, or there’s a strong wind, the soil will dry fast. If you have low humidity levels, you’ll want to mist the leaves regularly during the day. You should also focus on providing shelter from strong winds.


Some diseases feed on the roots, slowing down how quickly they can drink. You should always ensure that the roots don’t remain wet for too long, which can be caused by overwatering.

How Often Do You Water Bonsais Trees

The Soil Test

There are a few methods you can use when watering your bonsai to test if it’s enough. One costs money, while the others are easy to use if you know how:

  • Soil meter: Stick the probe into the soil and let it measure the moisture content for you.
  • Finger: Press your finger up to 2 inches into the soil and feel if it’s dry. However, it only applies to specific bonsais, as succulents prefer less watering.
  • Chopstick: Leave it in the soil for about 10 minutes and see how much the color changes or how wet it is. The higher the extreme, the less you need to water.

Signs That You Should Water Bonsai Trees

Underwatering in summer and overwatering in winter are two sure ways of killing your bonsai. There are a few signs you should look out for that it’s thirsty, besides testing the soil. If you notice that the leaves are going yellow or brown, or you see leaves falling off in spring, you’ll want to consider adding some water.

How to Water Bonsai Trees

When you water bonsai trees, it should mimic rain showers in real life. One of the best methods is using a watering can to evenly spread the liquid so that it doesn’t damage the soil structure. Immersion is another helpful way where you place the entire pot in a tub of water for a few minutes to absorb as much as is needed.

Final Thoughts

Learning when you’ve watered bonsai soil enough can be challenging, especially if you’re a beginner. It can be the life and death of your plant, and we’re sure you’d prefer the former to the latter. We hope this article has guided you to a healthier relationship between you and your bonsai.

How Often Do You Water Bonsai Trees


Before you vanish, we’re sure you might want to look at a few FAQs we found online. If you have any other queries, please feel free to send them to us.

The top sign that you need to water your bonsai tree is when the soil is dry. Ensure you test it daily, even in winter, as it may be going through a dry spell. You can use a soil meter, your finger, or a chopstick.

How often you water your bonsai tree depends on several factors. Some of these include bonsai size and species, container size, weather, sunlight exposure, and the season. You’ll need to check on it to see how thirsty it is.

Place a tray under the container and water the soil until you see the liquid enter the tray. Remove it and give the soil chance to dry before you water it again. You should also submerge it within a tub every now and again.

It’s not only the roots that need water. Your bonsai tree will drink less if there’s higher humidity. You can spray a mist on the foliage in the dry periods or feel free to place a humidity tray under the pot. When the heat evaporates the liquid, it will rise to the leaves.

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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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