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How Long Can Bonsai Go Without Water

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It can be exciting and stressful for many bonsai owners to purchase a new bonsai tree. They are unlike any other plant, as they are miniature trees, and you need to pay attention to conventional care besides regular trimming. Knowing your tree needs may still be something you are getting used to, and bonsai tree watering can be tricky.

When you have a bonsai tree, how often to water can be the major issue should you travel. A quick answer is that you could leave your bonsai without water for a few days if you watered right before you left.

However, consider a family member or neighbor to care for your tree if you’ll be away longer than this. Although beautiful, bonsai trees are notoriously difficult to maintain for any new bonsai gardener. You need to know how to care for a bonsai tree, as they are not like other potted plants.

In our guide, you can learn more about caring for these mini deciduous trees. By the end, you’ll know how often to water the bonsai tree in all conditions, whether it is a dry period or not. As a general rule, mistakes happen, and hopefully, you’ll have learned enough to fix these should they happen to your bonsai plant. (Read St Augustine Grass Runners Guide)

When To Water Your Bonsai

What Signs Mean I Need To Water My Bonsai?

Mostly, bonsai trees shouldn’t be completely dry, and if your bonsai is bone dry, you need to water it before the root ball suffers.

One of the biggest issues is that Bonsai grow in small pots, holding minimal amounts of water.

  • When the top of the soil is dry, water your bonsai.
  • Testing the soil is a great way to tell if your bonsai needs water. Stick your finger about half an inch into the soil and see if it is dry.
  • You can probably let your bonsai go without water for a couple of days if the soil is moist down to half an inch.
  • Checking the leaves are not wilting is another indicator of whether they need to be watered.
  • One quick test can be to check the weight. Grab the pot in both hands and weigh it. If the soil is bone dry, it will feel light, yet it will be heavier if there is still water.
  • Note: This isn’t a reliable method to know when to water your bonsai because you will need to know the weight, which could change as your tree grows.

Also, remember, bonsai tree species vary. Some trees, like jade, must occasionally be allowed to dry out, while others can’t.

What Is the Best Bonsai Watering Routine?

The best watering routine for when to water my bonsai is not followed a routine as there are too many variables. If you have a watering routine, you could miss signs that your bonsai needs water earlier than your routine, or you can easily find watering your bonsai too often.

If you purchase a bonsai, it will most likely come with a tag or care guide. For example, an onis tag or care guide might say that you need to water the bonsai every few days. Instead of using a watering routine, listen to what your bonsai wants, as you’ll be able to tell when your bonsai needs water just by observation.

Check to see if the bonsai soil is dry before adding water. If a bonsai doesn’t get enough water, you’ll notice the tree slowly dries. If a bonsai gets too much water, you’ll notice that the leaves might become brown or droop, and the tree will become loose in the pot.

The leaves will look as if they are dry, which might make you think you are underwatering your bonsai. This happens because too much water will cause the roots to rot slowly. Once a bonsai’s roots have rotted, the top of the tree cannot get the water that it needs, so that the leaves will dry out. Root rot happens after a few weeks of overwatering. (Learn What Temperature Is Too Cold To Water Grass)

Use the right growing medium:

How frequently you water your trees is influenced by the substrate mix. A 12, 14, and 14 ratios of akadama, fine gravel, and sifted potting soil works well for most trees.

When you cannot water your trees frequently enough, you can use a mix that holds more water (by adding more sifted potting soil).

What To Know When To Water Your Bonsai?

The entire bonsai group of species has unique needs. For example, tropical indoor species like ficus, and outdoor species like maple, Chinese elm, etc., require more frequent watering.

Outdoor cultivation exposes most bonsai to the elements like wind, light, and sun, dries them quicker. Rain, however, may alter how frequently you water.

Watering routine for Bonsai

Watering bonsai through seasons

In the summer and winter, when there is hot sun and dry air, a tropical bonsai grown indoors will require more watering.

Summer requires more frequent watering of outdoor bonsai because of the stronger sun, higher temperatures, and dry winds. Unfortunately, you cannot find much moisture in the air with all these.

The frequency of watering a bonsai may change if it is exposed to heavy rainfall in the fall, winter, or spring.

Sun and bright light

Sunlight affects watering frequency. Sunlight can heat the bonsai and its pot, increasing evaporation and transpiration even in winter.

The sunnier a tree is during the day, the more it needs to be watered. This is because a morning-sun bonsai will dry out less quickly than an afternoon-sun bonsai.

Wind Exposure

Wind can dry out the substrate faster and increase the transpiration of certain tree species or water evaporation by the leaves. Reduce your watering interval.

Temperature and humidity

Even in cloudy weather, a high temperature increases bonsai transpiration and reduces soil drying time. Dry air makes this accurate. Humidity also affects the watering cycle. High humidity reduces plant transpiration and water evaporation; thus, you can avoid watering as often.

Pot size

Bonsai watering frequency depends on pot size and depth. A bonsai in a shallow pot will dry faster than one in a large pot. Larger soil volumes increase water reserves and drying time. (Read Do You Water Grass In The Winter)

How Long Bonsai Trees Go Without Water?

Some of the most well-liked plants in the world are bonsai trees. People adore them for their beauty and fascinating past. However, despite their popularity, many people have no idea how to keep a bonsai healthy.

Bonsai trees need less water than other plants but still need regular watering. Many bonsai experts advise weekly watering or watering when the soil feels dry. Your bonsai may require additional water in hot, dry climates.

If you neglect to water your bonsai tree, it will die; while a watering schedule can make it easy, you need to know when your tree needs or doesn’t need to maintain bonsai health.

How to water a bonsai tree indoors:

Bonsai need less water than other houseplants. This means you don’t need to water your bonsai tree every day, so only water your bonsai tree when the soil feels dry. Since indoor environments are humid and the soil takes longer to dry, indoor bonsai trees require less water than outdoor bonsai trees.

When watering a bonsai tree, use lukewarm water, as hot or cold water can damage tree roots. Also, ensure you don’t overwater your bonsai tree. Instead, add water until water flows from the soil mixture and drainage holes.

How You Water A Bonsai Tree With Moss?

Besides this, another method is used if you let your bonsai soil have two days of dryness in between watering. Submerge the pot for about ten minutes, then let the water flood the entire pot before you drain the excess water, and place it back on the saucer.

You can lightly water the soil in the bonsai pot with a watering can until it is saturated, then let the extra water drain off. Aim to avoid pouring too much water at once, which can make the loose soil in your bonsai soggy and cause root rot.

Soak Soil Completely

Water the soil evenly if using a watering can. Never water the bonsai trunk, as the tree’s entire root system needs to be soaked. You’ve watered enough when water drains from the small pot drainage holes.

You may need to soak the tree twice to fulfill the watering requirements, although root rot can occur if you let your tree sit in water. Either water your tree outside or in a sink where water can drain.

Bonsai pots with feet allow the tree to drain better, but any pot will do as long as water can escape. All this drainage means you must watch your tree so it doesn’t become underwatered. In addition, if you repot your tree, its watering needs may change.

Duration Bonsai survive Without Water


How long can ficus bonsai go without water?

A ficus bonsai can go up to two weeks without water. A ficus bonsai should not go without water for longer than a week, though.

How Long Can My Bonsai Go Between Waterings?

Bonsai are grown in very small pots with little soil, so they don’t retain much water. Without this reserve of water, trees won’t survive if not watered often.

Bonsai in small pots, bright sun, long summer days, dry climates, or outdoors may need 2-3 daily waterings. However, bonsai in shady or wet outdoor conditions may only need to be watered every few days.

The only way to know how often to water your tree is to do a soil test. In a larger pot, you could find that your tree only needs watering once or twice weekly to stay healthy. (Read Can You Root A Banana Tree In Water)

How Long Can A Juniper Bonsai Go Without Water?

Evergreens (like Juniper) don’t like wet soil. Junipers can go longer between waterings than other Bonsai but must still be watered when the soil is dry. Because juniper bonsais are usually grown outside, they require more water than indoor bonsai, particularly during the summer.

How Long Can A Ficus Bonsai Go Without Water?

Ficus Bonsais are suitable for beginners because they can tolerate under-watering and over-watering compared to other species. However, if the soil is dry, it must be watered.

If you are worried about how to water bonsai when you are away, you can get a watering tool that delivers water in a certain amount.

Now, you can go away without wondering if your neighbor or family remember to water your bonsai on time or water bonsai with the right amount of water.

How Long Can Bonsai Go Without Water