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How to take care of a bonsai tree?

Yes, like every other tree, the Bonsai tree needs sunlight. The simplest answer to the question does bonsai need sunlight? Is yes.  The necessity of direct available sunlight for any bonsai tree depends on the species, and not all bonsai would encourage direct sunlight.

Sunlight is something that newly sown bonsai seed or a small immature bonsai will need the most. A high-grown bonsai tree can survive with less amount of sunlight as the majority of species of bonsai need maximum nurturing in the first 5 to 9 years. 

How Much Sunlight Do Bonsai Trees Need? 

As we discussed earlier, the necessity of these miniature trees depends on the species, yet, in general, your bonsai tree needs direct sunlight for a period of 5-6 hours in a day. 

Does bonsai need sunlight?

As sunlight helps plants to extract energy out of water and oxygen, in other words, we can say that heat of sunlight cooks food for plants. So failing to provide the necessary amount of sunlight can weaken the miniatures, or eventually, they would die. 

Let’s know the details and necessity of sunlight with respect to the species of bonsai.

  • Chinese Elm: 5 to 6 hours of sunlight in summer.
  • Ficus: 4 hours of sunlight in summer.
  • Juniper: 4 hours of direct sunlight in winters and 6 hours in summer
  • Maple: 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight in the hot season.
  • Jade: 4 to 6 hours in the hot and dry season.
  • Fukien Tea: 2 to 3 hours of direct sunlight.
  • Pine: Small pines need 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight; larger pines need a few more hours of direct sunlight 
  • Wisteria: 6 to 8 hours of sunlight in summer. 
  • Azalea: Needs sunlight for 6 to 8 hours of 
  • Cotoneaster: Needs sunlight for 4 to 6 hours
  • Cherry blossom: Needs sunlight for 4 to 6 hours
  • Lemon: Needs sunlight for 6 to 8 hours
  • Crabapple: Requires sunlight for 5 to 6 hours during the summer
  • Orange: Requires sunlight for 5 to 6 hours during the summer

What Bonsai Tree Species Need More Light? 

Among all bonsai species, maple, waiters need more sunlight and is preferred to keep it outdoors. As it is the fastest growing bonsai species, the need for water and sunlight is also high. Adding further, bonsai species like Azalea, and Lemon, are among bonsai that need considerably more sunlight. 

Which Bonsai Trees Can Survive With Less Sunlight?

Does bonsai need sunlight?

Among all species of bonsai plants, we have seen the bonsai that needs much sunlight. Now let us see those species of bonsai that need less sunlight.

1. Ficus Bonsai Tree (Ficus Retusa and Ficus Ginseng) 

Starting your bonsai hobby from scratch? Try with any ficus bonsai. Ficus bonsai is one that needs less sunlight, but yes, ficus bonsai needs an ample amount of light so do not keep them in shady spots. You can keep focus indoors under artificial lighting.  

2. Sweet Plum or Snow Rose Bonsai Tree

Sweet Plum is sensitive to extensive sunlight, so sweet plum is also among the indoor bonsai and can live in less sunlight. Keeping Sweet Plum indoors across the year is better as far as the growth of this species is concerned. 

3. Jade Bonsai Tree

Also known as dwarf bonsai, jade bonsai thrive in the availability of light. Jade bonsai can grow well in sunlight. Jade bonsai is the perfect piece to use as an indoor and outdoor bonsai. Temperature above 41 degrees Fahrenheit is a must for Jade bonsai. 

4. Hawaiian Umbrella Bonsai Tree

Hawaiian Umbrella Bonsai is again a good choice for an indoor bonsai plant that can live better in dim lights. The temperature should be above 50 degrees Fahrenheit for the Hawaiian umbrella bonsai tree. Hawaiian Umbrella bonsai doesn’t demand special arrangements of lighting, so you can place it in normal lighting. 

5. Carmona Bonsai Tree (Fukien Tea)

Fukien Tea is very sensitive to both cold and extreme heat. Fukien tea bonsai can be placed on glass window sills, but the window should be closed. Fukien tea bonsai should not be placed in the afternoon when the sun is at its peak. 

How To Position Bonsai Trees According To Season?

Among many factors, season and climate are one of them. Let us see how to position your bonsai in changing seasons to help your bonsai grow perfectly. 

1. Summer

As far as outdoor bonsai are concerned, few bonsai thrive in cold climates but should be placed indoors in summer or in a hot climate. For indoor bonsai, make sure they are under sufficient artificial lighting.

Does bonsai need sunlight?

When we discuss growing bonsai in shades, Outdoor bonsai needs sunlight and needs to be put in shady locations. As far as Indoor bonsai are concerned, indoor lighting is already lesser compared to outdoor lighting. So placing bonsai in a shady place indoors is not a smart move to give better growing conditions to your bonsai.

2. Winters

Placing bonsai indoors at spots where sunlight is present helps bonsai get enough sunlight to grow. In winter, a few species are sensitive to extreme cold when the temperature falls significantly. Placing bonsai in sunny indoor locations can let bonsai have enough heat for photosynthesis.

When there is no sunny spot indoors, and the climate is unfavorably low for your bonsai, shift the bonsai to a storage place where it is a little bit warm and above room temperature. 

For native species of bonsai, it is ok to leave your bonsai outdoors without any change in position or location. 

Get More Information How Long Does A Bonsai Tree Live?

What Species Of Bonsai Can You Keep Indoors?

There are several bonsai species that can grow positively indoors in the presence of adequate lighting. A list of them are

  1. Chinese Elm
  2. Ficus
  3. Jade 
  4. Fukien Tea

What Species Of Bonsai Cannot Keep Indoors?

When you talk about the miniatures that are necessarily kept outdoors for optimum growth, there are many species that are considered outdoor bonsai. Let us see it as a list. 

  1. Juniper
  2. Maple
  3. Pine
  4. Wisteria
  5. Lemon
  6. Azalea
  7. Cherry Blossom
  8. Crabapple 
  9. Orange

Can Bonsai Trees Survive Without Sunlight?

Nope! A bonsai does need light for the photosynthesis process. Light is nothing but a form of heat, and even a miniature needs heat for food processing. 

So less or more, every tree, including bonsai, needs light, and No bonsai tree can survive without sunlight. If you ask how long they can survive? Well, the answer is that it depends on various species of bonsai. 

What Happens If Bonsai Trees Don’t Get Enough Sunlight? 

Does bonsai need sunlight?

Lack of sunlight or artificial light in no sense can help bonsai to grow. And a shortage of sunlight can cause various problems to your bonsai plants.

Among them, weakened foliage and falling leaves are a sign of bad health of bonsai.

A few more problems that your bonsai will face are enough sunlight is not provided are:

  • Death: Sunlight is a source to function and process food in plants; if adequate sunlight is not available, the plant might malfunction and eventually die.
  • Falling Leaves: With inadequate sunlight, food processing and various other processes like absorbing water and oxygen get affected. When no adequate water and oxygen are available, the plant cannot feed leaves for their growth, and eventually, leaves start falling. 
  • Insect attack, fungal and root infection: Lack of sunlight is also responsible for poor immunity of plants against pest and fungal attacks. So, outdoor bonsai, when attacked by fungus or Insects, can cause adverse effects on your plant and should be avoided. The sign of fungal and root infection is yellow spots on leaves. Use fungicides and insecticides to get rid of problems from microorganisms. Keep monitoring your bonsai when insecticides and fungicides are used. 

Tips To Ensure Your Bonsai Tree Gets Enough Sunlight

You just have to make sure that adequate light is available to your plant, and for that, simple

  1. Place your bonsai at the brightest spot of your garden
  2. Make sure there is no obstruction, in the form of an object or shade, in getting direct sunlight to your plant throughout the day.
  3. For indoor bonsai, place them on window sills for a couple of hours, ensuring your plant is getting adequate sunlight. 
  4. Place your bonsai for at least 5 hours (depending upon species) under the direct sun to get the maximum amount of sunlight. 

Find Out More How Often To Water A Bonsai Tree?

Will Bonsai Trees Grow In The Shade?

Shady locations are by no means helpful to the growth of the bonsai plant. As most trees perform photosynthesis using sunlight or artificial lights, placing bonsai in shady locations may restrict the growth of plants and should be avoided.

However, Shady locations outdoors can be preferred to avoid extreme sunlight falling directly over your bonsai. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can bonsai trees survive without sunlight?

No, Bonsai needs an adequate amount of sunlight or natural light. No bonsai can live without sunlight. 

2. Can bonsai be kept indoors?

Yes, Bonsai can be kept indoors when the climate is extremely hot or extremely cold. 

3. Where should I place my bonsai tree at home?

Choose a non-shady place for your bonsai and under direct sun. As per the climatic condition, keep changing the position to maintain the health of your bonsai.

4. Can bonsai get too much sun?

In the summer afternoon, when the sun is at its peak, it can harm bonsai, so yes, bonsai get too much sun which might not be good from the perspective of the plant’s health.

5.  Are Bonsai Trees Winter Hardy?

A few species of bonsai can withstand winter but not all. So depending upon the species, treat your bonsai accordingly. 

6. How much light do flowering or fruit bonsai need? 

6-8 hours of direct sunlight is necessary for flowering or fruit bonsai. These plants need a higher amount of heat and light compared to non-flowering and non-fruit bonsai trees. 

7. Will bonsai trees grow in shade?

For the growth of your bonsai, Shady locations should be avoided as it prevents plants from direct heat and can be harmful. 

Also, Read How Long Do Bonsai Trees Take To Grow?

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