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Ryan Ferland - Jan 01 2020

Bonsai Beginners Guide

So we heard you have just become the proud plant parent of a bonsai tree! This is an exciting time in a plant parents life. You've taken your bonsai home with your mind racing with creativity and possibility, but now what? 

Watering your bonsai

Water is one of the most important factors for success with bonsai plants. Start with daily checking to determine how quickly your plant is drying out in your home. Soil should be starting to dry before watering. 

Touch the surface with your finger and if you can feel moisture no water is required that day, once you can feel and see a little dryness on the surface then it is good to water. The weight of your pot is another good way to asses if it needs to be watered. Your plant will lighten as the soil dries out, signifying a drink is required. 

When watering your bonsai tree, apply the water slowly to avoid washing the top layer of stones away and ensure that you water all around the plant evenly until it runs out the bottom drainage holes.

In addition, it is a good idea to submerge the whole pot just to just above the soil line in a bowl of water every two weeks or so, to check that dry air pockets are not forming. This becomes more important during the active growing season April to November when plants are using more resources.


Lighting is the other key factor for bonsai success. Usually, south or west windows are ideal except perhaps in the hot heat of summer. Moving your plant farther into the room can help prevent leaf burn. If your home has lower light conditions supplemental lighting can be used. Growing bulbs can easily be fitted into regular light fixtures and should be placed 12-15 inches away and left on 12-14 hours per day.

Fertilizing your Bonsai

Feeding your bonsai with a balanced fertilizer weekly during the active growing season (April to November) will keep your plant looking green and healthy. Fertilizing during the winter months can be reduced to once per month.

With just a little practice and patience you too can become a bonsai expert! As always if you have any other questions or concerns email us, or come into the garden centre and talk with one of our plant experts!