December 5, 2021

bonsai water can

How to Water Bonsai Trees Indoors?

As a bonsai hobbyist, you may love to place your favorite bonsai indoor but it requires much more activity and care than outdoors bonsai trees. Bonsai trees, by their nature, are succulent and drought-resistant shrubs which once established in the ground or pot can go for weeks without water. And looks like this is what you thought when you decided to bring your beloved outdoor Bonsai Tree indoors.

Since bonsai is a plant that naturally needs less water, it may not survive if it is kept permanently indoors with no means of watering itself. Inherently, a big indoor container with a large soil mass helps to retain moisture better than a smaller one carried indoors from the garden, but still, an hour or two here and there for thorough watering is required along with regular misting.

In this post, we will learn how to grow healthy Bonsai indoor and water it occasionally which is necessary.

Why Bonsai Tree Requires Water?

Bonsai trees need water to grow. But the amount of water required is much less than other plants, and indoor Bonsai Trees are even more dependent upon regular misting or watering to stay healthy.

If you notice that leaves are falling off, not growing, or yellowing anytime during the year, it means your bonsai tree might be lacking some essential nutrients (such as iron) which can be corrected with fertilizers like Seasol Organic Plant Food.

Remember a thirsty bonsai needs a good drink once a month rather than a little sip every now and then! For example, A large outdoor bonsai in summer drinks about 1/2 gallon daily for continuous growth during the summer months. But an average 20 inches indoor bonsai requires the drinking of 25-50 ml or a teaspoon during the same time.

Tips to Water Bonsai Trees Indoor:

Water bonsai trees indoors strategically. Choose a place inside your home, preferably away from strong sunlight and drafts which can damage delicate leaves. Place your bonsai tree in a tray or saucer filled with rocks or pebbles, and add water to come up about 1/3rd the depth of the soil in the Bonsai pot. This will allow excess water to drain. The tray also acts as a reservoir when watering your bonsai tree. If using a saucer, make sure it is large enough that the roots do not sit in the water.

How Often to Water Bonsai Trees?

Watering frequency varies according to species of plant and time of year (summer vs winter). Indoor bonsai trees require watering once every 1-4 weeks depending on the time of year and type of soil used, whereas outdoor ones require watering only once a week during summers and at least twice a week during winters.

The frequency of watering depends on the type of soil being used, the amount of light and temperature in the room, etc. In dry indoor environments such as air-conditioned rooms or heated houses, bonsai trees require more frequent watering compared to summer outdoors. If you notice dryness around your Bonsai pot, it means your plant needs water immediately.

How to Water Bonsai Trees?

Watering a healthy bonsai should be an easy task if you know how to do that properly. Follow the following steps:

Step 1: Take Water into The Pot –

Water the bonsai from a watering can or hose, taking care to water slowly and gently so as not to disturb or dislodge the soil. Apply until the water drains through the bottom of the pot.

Step 2: Empty Excess Water

Empty any remaining water from the drainage tray after 15-20 minutes. If using a saucer, empty excess water after an hour or two. If your bonsai tree is in a shallow pot, then use a long-stemmed plant sprayer instead.

Step 3: Don’t Over Water

Check the soil moisture by carefully squeezing the soil. If it forms a tight ball and resists crumbling in your fingers, it is moist enough to not require watering yet! Continue with this procedure until you notice your bonsai tree has stopped taking up water. Now go on to the next step.

Step 4: Distribute Water Evenly and Gently

Evenly and gently spread water throughout the soil with your fingers to make sure all soil areas receive some moisture. Avoid “puddling” any water on top of the soil.

Step 5: Clean the Pot

Clean away any water which has accumulated on the exterior of the pot or tray with a soft cloth to prevent any mildew or rot. If you use a sink or tub, make sure you thoroughly rinse the container and your hands afterward.

Can I Give the Liquid Fertilizer with Water?

Yes, you can mix fertilizer into the water. For example, if using Seasol Plant Food Liquid Fertilizer with a 5-8-4 NPK ratio, use half of the recommended amount of fertilizer every time you water. This will provide nutrients to your bonsai plant for up to 4 weeks. However,  it is important to remember that more is not better, as over-fertilizing can be just as harmful as under-fertilizing.

What Precaution Should I Take Before Watering the Bonsai?

Before watering your bonsai, you should check this formulation here-

  • Don’t exceed the required amount of water/f
  • Fertilizer should be applied to your Bonsai tree according to the formulation.
  • Do not use the same fertilizer every time.
  • Don’t overwater, if your Bonsai pot couldn’t absorb water after 20 minutes then stop watering immediately.
  • Don’t create any drainage problems in the pot.
  • Maintain good air circulation around the tree so that it can breathe properly.
  • Clean your bonsai once a month to avoid diseases and keep away spider webs etc by spraying clean water on the leaves & trunk of the plant with an artificial sprayer or by using a soft brush.

Remember that If you are growing your bonsai indoors then try to keep them near the windowpane because sunlight has an important role in the photosynthesis process which ultimately helps plants to convert light energy into chemical energy. Which can then be used for its growth & reproduction.


As bonsai plants require frequent watering for proper growth. This determines your bonsai happiness, so try not to forget it! Watering a healthy Bonsai tree should be an easy task if you know how to do that properly. If you follow our guidelines and steps properly hopefully you will be able to keep your Bonsai in good health and in turn grow a beautiful bonsai in the long term.

So, now you know how to water your bonsai tree properly. Make sure you check out our other bonsai guide. Good Luck!

About the author 

Greg Reed

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