Understanding the Basic Principles of Bonsai Tree Care: Watering, Fertilizing, and Pruning

Are you looking to reward yourself with a new hobby

If you’re considering a beginner-friendly Bonsai tree, you must choose one that’s hard to survive. Your newfound hobby will be a failure if your tree never makes it past a few months. 

Well, whatever the case, you must learn the basics of Bonsai tree care before you take on the task. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of the best beginner Bonsai tree care that is sure to thrill, excite, and challenge you.

Read on to find out what you need to know!


Watering is a basic principle of bonsai tree care as it is vital to a bonsai’s health and growth. Without proper hydration, a bonsai will die or become severely damaged.

Watering bonsai trees is a delicate balancing act that needs to be done for optimal health. Watering helps to give nutrients to the roots and encourages healthy root growth and activity.

Proper hydration also helps in preventing pests and diseases from infesting the tree. Water helps to ease the absorption of essential nutrients into the plant’s leaves. Watering helps to keep a bonsai’s soil moist, which is essential for keeping the tree in its healthy state.

Tools and Materials Necessary

Tools and materials needed for watering a bonsai tree include a water container and hose or watering can fill with clean water. A soil moisture meter is to check the soil moisture level of your bonsai tree. If the soil moisture meter reads dry, then the tree needs to be watered.

Other materials required for watering a bonsai tree include gravel and a large flat bowl to give the extra water somewhere to go after watering so the roots are not waterlogged. A syringe can also come in handy for concentrating on getting water to the deepest parts of the bonsai tree’s root system. Regular pruning is essential for maintaining a healthy bonsai tree and the necessary tools include good bonsai shears, tweezers, and a cutting knife.

Checking for Signs of Drought

When checking for signs of drought in a bonsai tree, the first thing to look for is the leaves. If the leaves are starting to become yellow, brown, and crispy, then the tree is likely dehydrated. Check the soil, paying attention to its moisture level.

If the soil is dry, it is a sign that the bonsai tree needs water. Pay attention to the branches. If the branches appear brittle and weak and break, this could be a sign of a lack of water.

Best Time for Watering

The best time to water your Bonsai tree is in the morning or late afternoon when the sunlight is not direct. This time provides the perfect balance of light and shade which makes watering easy and effective.

When watering your Bonsai tree it is important to not over or under water it. The soil should remain moist but not wet or soggy and only water when the soil feels dry or the top layer looks slightly cracked. In the summer months, water more frequently, and during the winter months, water less as the tree’s needs change throughout the year.

Make sure the temperature outside is warm and that the water you are using isn’t too cold. Cold water can damage the tree’s root system and affect its growth.

How to Fertilize Your Tree

When fertilizing, it is important to use fertilizer specific to bonsai trees. This will provide your tree with the right amount of nutrients it needs.

Proper fertilization can help promote healthy root and foliage growth, as well as increase the life of the tree. Fertilizing at the right time can help prevent any nutrient deficiencies or soil nutrient imbalances.

Gather all your needed supplies before you start applying fertilizer. You’ll need an outdoor hose, a watering can, a shallow dish, and bonsai fertilizer. Start by filling the shallow dish with the fertilizer and make sure you fill it up to the brim.

Take the hose and pour it into the fertilizer mix. Then, using the hose, dilute the fertilizer mix until it becomes a runny liquid. 

Once all that is complete, grab your bonsai tree and place it on a dish of fertilizer. Make sure you pour an even amount of fertilizer around the tree and that you don’t fill the pot with too much fertilizer.


Pruning is a basic principle of bonsai tree care that helps the tree stay healthy and aesthetically pleasing. This is to control the growth, shape, density, and structure of the bonsai tree.

Pruning is also used to remove dead and unhealthy branches, as well as to promote new growth in areas where it is needed, to maintain a balanced bonsai. This helps direct the energy of the tree to areas that need more growth and keeps the bonsai more manageable. It encourages increased vigor and helps with the health of the bonsai tree. 

You can try wire training on your bonsai branches, start by gathering all the necessary materials such as bonsai wire, wire cutters, and a few small clamps. Begin by selecting the branches to be trained, and then apply the wire onto the branches with a slight arching from top to bottom.

Wind the wire around the branch, making sure not to wrap it too tightly to avoid damage. Cut the excess wire off with the wire cutters. Secure the wire with small clamps at both ends.

Check the wired branches to ensure the wire is not cutting into the wood and to make sure it is still in the correct shape. The most important aspect of wiring bonsai branches is to recognize when enough is enough and remove the wire before it becomes embedded in the wood. 

Bonsai Tree Care Is an Act of Love

Bonsai tree care is a rewarding and meaningful task that requires time and dedication. The results of your efforts are usually seen in the beauty and longevity of your bonsai tree.

A bonsai tree is special and, like all relationships, requires nurturing and love to last. Whether you’re new to the world of bonsai trees or an avid enthusiast, take on the challenge of caring for your bonsai and appreciate the joy it will bring!

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