In general, the frequency of watering a bonsai tree is 4 to 7 days for a plant, and twice a day for a tree. However, it depends a lot on other factors like soil mixture, soil moisture, fertilizers, disease, etc. With that being mentioned, you should never let your bonsai plant completely dry as it adversely affects plants’ health and life.
When Is The Best Time To Water Your Bonsai?
The best time to water your bonsai plant is when the top soil surface seems moistureless and dry. Press gently your fingers on the surface and if it feels dry then water your bonsai plant. Other than that, it is important to place the plant, ie, is it outdoor or indoor?
- Outdoor Plant
Mostly when a plant is placed outdoors, there are more chances of soil getting dry and moistureless rapidly and needs watering. Depending upon the climate, you should check the soil in intervals of two days, as summer water evaporates briskly.
Also, if you are using a humidity tray, you should also replace the water quite often as open water can attract germs and insects and indirectly put your plant in danger of insect attack.
- Indoor Plant
As far as your indoor bonsai plant is concerned, in the dry season, keep track of moisture in the soil every next day. In winters, you can track moisture in the soil every alternate day. Again the days won’t matter, the soil moisture level does. So simply, keep checking the moisture often in summer and regularly in winter.
How Much Should I Water My Bonsai?
The quantity of water to feed your bonsai tree is not in liters but the quantity required for the soil. The water should be poured from the top using a watering can. Keep watering the soil under the water starts draining from the bottom drainage hole.
You can also pour water into the soil by simply placing the pot under a running tap in the sink. The water flow should not be too high to harm the plant or erode the soil. You can also let the bonsai plants watered directly from rain.
Factors To Be Considered To Water Bonsai
Watering a bonsai tree or a bonsai plant depends on various factors. Soil mixture, Climate, humidity, location of the plant, size of the plant, wind, pot size, sunlight, etc.
Let’s talk about the essential few points.
- Soil Mixture
The soil mixture for bonsai plants is supposed to be rich in holding water and lessening drainage. In simple terms, use a mixture of soil where 25% of particles should hold moisture in the soil. Inorganic and organic fines, clay, and vermiculite are some of the soil particles that can increase the water-bearing capacity of the soil, but make sure it is not above 25% as it may cause root rot problems.
- Size of plant
More the size of the plant, it is obvious that it will need more water. More water and quite often. The size of the plant does matter when you talk about feeding water. The only possible method to know if a plant needs water is by measuring the moisture level of the soil.
Fertilizers affect the growth of plants and soil moisture. More the amount of fertilizers and nutrients are present, they will expedite the consumption of moisture from the soil. For that matter, even the decomposition of soil is an important aspect to focus on and should change soil as soon as bonsai shows signs of paused growth.
Another factor that matters to your outdoor bonsai plant is wind. Strong winds can boost transpiration and thus require more water. In dry and cold weather, when the soil is frozen, it becomes hard for roots to absorb water from the soil, which increases the necessity for water.
- Direct Sunlight and High Temperature
Bonsai trees need a constant water supply, hence bonsai plants or trees under direct sunlight will need watering more rapidly. Due to evaporation, in dry climates and temperatures, the soil will turn arid quite often and quickly.
- Soil Moisture
Watering the bonsai largely depends on the moisture level in the soil.
How To Check Soil Moisture?
Let’s talk about three methods to measure soil moisture that are widely practiced.
- Using Soil Moisture Meter
The soil meter is a technical instrument used to measure soil moisture which is way more accurate than any other method. In the display with reading from 1 (dry) to 10 (wet), when the reading measures three or less than 3, the soil is dry and needs to be watered.
- Using the Finger Method
Placing your finger 1 inch in the soil can get you an idea if the soil has enough moisture or not. This method is not very practicable or accurate in winter as it is tough to determine moisture if the soil is cold.
- Using the Chopstick Method
Reusable moisture measuring instrument is a chopstick. Inject a chopstick 1-3 inches into the soil and let it be for 10 minutes. If there are watermarks on the surface of the chopstick or it is darkened, then the soil is moist; if not, the soil needs to be watered.
How To Water Different Types Of Bonsai Trees?
Every Bonsai species has a different water demand. You cannot treat every bonsai species the same way, especially when watering is concerned. Let us see how to water different species.
- Jasmin Bonsai
Jasmin Bonsai doesn’t require stagnant water; excess water can cause root rot. Watering Jasmine bonsai should not be frequently, and to give the plant a longer life, let the water drain away easily.
- Ficus Bonsai
As per the climate and size of Ficus bonsai, it needs to be watered once or twice a week. If properly fertilized and watered, Ficus bonsai can also live indoors without sunlight.
- Jade Bonsai
Jade Bonsai is very sensitive to excess moisture and can die quickly if not taken care of. It must be watered when the topsoil is arid and if moisture is missing till the bottom.
Some Tips To Water Bonsai
There are a lot of interesting facts that an individual should know.
- As per suggestion by the vendor, water the plant by immersion because the plant has been planted in poor soil, which will make it difficult for the plant to grow.
- Always remember that watering a bonsai tree or plant totally depends on the moisture of the soil
- Watering the bonsai plant with a water hose placed under direct sunlight is not recommended. The water hose should be allowed to pass some water through it, making it a bit cool.
- If you are watering your bonsai plant under running tap hard water, you can use rainwater to compensate and remove the salt deposition in the soil.
- Watering bonsai should be done in a couple of rounds at one time to make soil the utmost wet.
Most Common Watering Problems In Bonsai Trees
As a matter of fact, bonsai is highly dependent on water for growth and sucks water continuously from the soil. So there is a need for a constant water supply to the plant.
When you fail to water the plant and the soil runs out of enough moisture, then the roots start siphoning water for the voids. The plant gives signs of being underwater.
Brown leaves, Yellowing or dry leaves, and Reading of soil moisture meters rapidly below 3 are common signs shown by an under-watered plant.
Overwatered plants mainly fail from the roots and can take much time to be identified. As plants also need air to breathe, overwatering removes a large proportion of air and chokes the plant.
The signs shown by the overwatered plant are:
- Smaller branches may shrivel.
- The stem might start dying.
- The foliage might turn yellow and drop.
- Root Rot
Roots of bonsai are seen only when repotting. Though it is hard to identify if it is unhealthy. But If the roots are rotting, the color of the roots will be black, or if by touching, it disintegrates, it is rotting. Also, you can also observe if there is fungus on the roots.
With that being mentioned, whenever you find rotting roots, it is going to take some of your time dressing the roots. To get rid of rotting roots, you need to cut the rotting roots and prevent their spread.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much water do you give a bonsai tree?
An adequate amount of water for a bonsai tree depends on the size of the tree and the moisture of the soil. It is not measured in liters or gallons, but keep watering the pot until the water drains out of the drainage hole at the bottom.
2. Can you overwater a bonsai tree?
No, you can not overwater a bonsai tree/plant. Underwatering and overwatering is a reasons for delaying or harming your bonsai plant.
3. Should you water your bonsai tree every day?
Both, No and Yes. Yes, for big bonsai trees and no for small bonsai plants. Watering a bonsai plant depends on the size of the tree.
4. How do I know when to water my bonsai tree?
Water your bonsai tree depending on the moisture of the soil. You should water your bonsai plant if the soil is dry.
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