November 21, 2021

 Do Bonsai Trees Need Sun?

Sunlight is essential for a wide variety of plants to be able to grow and bloom. Generally, bonsai trees do need sun, but there are exceptions depending on the type of bonsai tree you have.

In this article, we’ll discuss do bonsai trees need sun and which bonsai trees can handle being without sunlight.  We also look at the ones that ones will need direct access to the sun every day in order to thrive.

In general, though, most bonsai trees can’t survive without access to sunlight.

If they don’t get enough light over time they begin to fade away until eventually, they die.

Why Do Bonsai Need Sun?

There are a couple of reasons why people who raise bonsai trees feel that they need to have direct access to the sun. The first reason has to do with the lighting requirements of most types of bonsai trees. Most types of bonsai tree species require full sunlight in order to survive and thrive. They can’t survive when there isn’t enough sunlight because their growth is stunted by the lack thereof.

The second reason has more to do with aesthetics than anything else. Trees planted in the ground naturally grow towards the sun in order to receive as much sunlight as possible, and attempting to train a tree into different positioning does not change this basic instinct.

However, As the sun is the source of energy for the plants, That’s why plants need sunlight to grow.

How Much Sunlight Do Bonsai Trees Require?

Once you know which bonsai trees can handle being without direct sunlight, the next step is figuring out how much sunlight they should be receiving in order for them to thrive. Since every bonsai tree species has its own unique needs when it comes to light exposure, there isn’t a specific amount of time that will work for all of them.

In general terms, though, most indoor bonsai trees will not be able to receive enough sunlight from an artificial lighting source such as fluorescent lights or incandescent bulbs. The best option would be using LED grow lights since they produce low heat and are closer simulators of natural sun rays than any other artificial light.

Different Bonsai Tree Species Require Different Amounts of Sunlight

Bonsai trees that are native to tropical environments usually need all day long exposure to the sun in order for them to develop optimal conditions. For example, ficus bonsai trees or fig-banyan trees need at least 6 hours of sunlight every single day in order for them to survive and thrive.

Other types of evergreen plants prefer more indirect exposure to strong sunlight, but 6 hours is still a minimum requirement.

Conifers are well known for being able to tolerate less exposure, although it’s best if they get 4-5 hours per day. You’ll have better results if you give each type of plant precisely the amount of sunlight they require rather than giving them too much or too little.

If you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to choose a place close to a window but not in front of it – that way, the plant will get access to sunlight, but the intensity won’t be so strong as to burn its leaves. Too much direct exposure can do just as much damage as not enough!

Types of Bonsai Trees That Need Little Sunlight

Although every bonsai tree needs light for survival and many types need full sun, there are those with less demanding requirements when it comes to lighting. Here is a list of bonsai trees that don’t need too much light:

Japanese Boxwood

These plants can survive with very little direct exposure to unclouded sunlight, so you don’t need to put them in front of a window all the time. They actually prefer partial shade or indirect lighting most hours of the day. This makes them ideal for offices or living rooms where there isn’t too much natural light available during certain times of the day.


This evergreen tree tolerates quite low light levels without any problems, so it can grow successfully indoors or in moderately lit areas. It is always best to keep Chamaecyparis bonsai trees close to a window so they have the chance to receive more light if necessary.


Junipers are very resistant, but they still need access to full sunlight during the early morning and midday hours for healthy growth. If you place them too far from a window or your office is not sunny enough, junipers can still survive but won’t thrive as well as they would with sufficient natural light every single day!

Ficus Bonsai Trees

Ficus trees come from tropical regions, so they don’t need to grow in direct sunlight all the time. While they definitely need access to enough light for photosynthesis, focus can perfectly well be kept near a window and receive indirect sunlight most of the day. If your office doesn’t provide much natural light, you should consider getting a grow light for this specific bonsai tree species.

Snow Rose Bonsai

It is a good idea to keep the Snow Rose near a window so it can receive indirect sunlight during most hours of the day. However, this bonsai tree can also grow in shaded areas as long as there’s no chance for its leaves to dry out.

Araucaria Bonsai Tree

Even though Araucarias come from a subtropical environment and thrive with full sun exposure, they do well with 4-5 hours of direct sunlight every day. Remember that this amount of time is not crucial – if your plant gets more or less sunlight from day to day, it will still survive without problems!

What If You Keep The Bonsai In Direct Sunlight For Too Long?

If you’re placing your bonsai in direct sunlight for a longer period of time then you may notice the leaves are starting to turn yellow. This is something that occurs when bonsai trees are exposed to too much sunlight. If this is the case, there are some steps you can take in order to prevent this from happening or speed up the recovery process if it has already started.

Here are a few tips on how you can deal with leaf discoloration:

If you follow these tips, you will be able to get your bonsai back on track so it can grow healthy again.


Some bonsai species require sunlight and some don’t. So it’s your responsibility which bonsai you choose and where to keep it. If you have a bonsai that needs little light then you should place it in a place that gets minimum sunlight or near a window where it can receive indirect sunlight. It is not good to expose the plant for a long time under direct sunlight, as it will damage your lovely work of art!

By the way, If you’re being realistic about your bonsai, you’ll learn how much light and sun your trees require.

Do do bonsai trees need sun? Yes but each type of bonsai requires a mix of direct sun and sunlight

About the author 

Greg Reed

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