“How often do you water a bonsai tree?”
This is perhaps the most important question after bonsai tree soil and species selection. And it is pretty obvious since the bonsai tree needs perfect watering to survive. Overwatering or less watering will soon kill the tree only to ruin your efforts.
It will help if you water the bonsai tree once or twice every 2 to 3 weeks during spring and summertime. But the frequency can be reduced slightly during the wintertime. However, you must not water the bonsai trees routinely. Instead, do it abruptly to help the tree grow better.
If you are unsure about the bonsai watering techniques, you have hit the jackpot with us. This article will show you how to water bonsai trees properly, suggest the best water can and garden hose for watering the bonsai plants, and discuss effective methods to avoid overwatering the trees.
So, let’s begin.
How Often Do You Water A Bonsai Tree
Although watering a bonsai plant once every 2 to 3 weeks is alright, it also depends on the type of soil and container you are using. The container you will use for potting the bonsai must be well-drained to stop overwatering and clogging.
If the bonsai container has poor drainage, the water will clog into the soil and may rotten the roots and stems of the tree. Next, the soil you will use for the bonsai plantation must be drainable too. The soil’s texture must drain water properly and feature homogenous properties.
Know your bonsai tree species:
Not all bonsai trees will need the same amount of water. Hence the watering frequency for bonsai plants will vary depending on their species. For instance, succulent bonsai species come from arid and drier parts. So, they will need less watering.
However, tropical trees such as willow will require more water. So, for these trees, you need to increase the watering frequency.
Understand the growth period:
As a thumb of rule, bonsai trees need the most watering during their growth period. It means you may need to water them more during summertime and spring season. But when they enter the dormancy period, they will slow down the growth too.
Therefore, during the dormancy period, bonsai trees will need less water. It means you have to slightly increase and decrease the bonsai tree watering frequency depending on their growth period.
Picking the right soil:
When it comes to the bonsai tree watering frequency, choosing the right soil is also important. If the soil lacks a drainage facility, the water will not drain and clog in the pot. Thus, it will damage the roots of the tree.
This is the last thing you would want for the bonsai tree. Hence, ensure that the soil for the bonsai tree is highly drainable and free of any gravel or bits right at its bottom. On top of it, you have to maintain the bonsai tree repotting schedule tightly to allow the soil to drain properly.
Choose the right bonsai pot:
Once you have sorted the soil of the bonsai tree, next focus on the container itself. It is seriously important since the container must be effectively draining and holding the bonsai tree without any clogging issues.
If the pot retains the water or blocks the drainage system, it will rot the tree’s roots. You may look for the following points while choosing the right container for bonsai:
- The container must drain empty when it is empty. If you see the water getting stuck or clogged even in an empty state, you must leave the pot and look for another one.
- Look at the drainage holes in the pot. There should be adequate holes at the bottom of the pot, and their size should be around 10mm to 20mm. But it must not be less than 10mm as smaller holes can’t drain the container properly.
- You should pick a bonsai tree container with feet at its base. The feet help to lift the pot a bit, and so it improves the drainage system.
When you have the right soil and container for the bonsai plants, the standard watering frequency of once every 2 to 3 weeks will be perfect. However, you have to avoid overwatering and choose the right watering can or hose for a comfy watering session.
But before we get into these, let’s check the bonsai tree watering techniques first.
Techniques For Bonsai Tree Watering
You can’t just start watering the bonsai plants following your wish and hope the tree will strive to grow to a beautiful piece of artwork. Instead, you need to focus on it and pay attention to the proper watering tricks for a bonsai tree.
Ensure the right soil mixture:
We have already described the importance of choosing the right soil for bonsai trees. So, it’s time to take the discussion further. When choosing the soil mixture for bonsai, ensure that it has proper drainage, which may come through different materials.
Experts suggest that the right soil mixture for bonsai should contain pumice, lava rock, and Akadema. The ratio can be anywhere from ½ to ¼. Nonetheless, choose a different soil mixture that retains the water for an extended period if you continuously fail to water the bonsai timely.
Avoid routine watering:
The idea of watering the bonsai plants routinely may seem tempting and easy to follow, but it is not effective. Each bonsai tree has different watering needs, and so you must avoid a routine to water them for their healthy growth.
It is better to observe the soil dampness and water each plant when they require watering. Also, it helps the bonsai plants to soak the water better.
Watering when the soil starts drying is the best thing:
You should check the dryness of the bonsai soil to find the perfect time for watering them. Ideally, you should water the trees when the soil starts feeling a bit dry but not entirely dry. You can insert your finger inside the soil to feel the dampness and determine whether or not it needs watering.
Thankfully, there’re three ways to determine the dampness of bonsai soil for the perfect watering for bonsai planters.
Techniques to Determine Soil Moisture Of Bonsai Tree For Watering
The soil of the bonsai tree must not get dry entirely. Hence, you need to find a way to check the dampness of the soil and regulate the watering frequency with perfection. But you may ask, “How do I determine the soil moisture and dampness for bonsai trees?”
Well, check this not one but three suggestions:
The finger method:
The finger method is perhaps the oldest and yet the most effective way to check the dryness of the soil, be it for bonsai or any plants that need watering.
Insert your finger about 1-inch or 20mm deep inside the soil and feel the dampness. If the soil feels too dry, it’s time you water the trees. However, this technique doesn’t apply to all bonsai species. For instance, succulent bonsai trees strive in dry soil. So, you have to know about the bonsai plant watering needs as well.
Use a chopstick:
Alternatively, you may use a wooden chopstick to find the dryness of your bonsai soil. You can use any chopstick that you have previously used for eating noodles. Carefully insert the chopstick about 1-inch to 2-inch deep inside the soil.
Ensure that you don’t hurt the bonsai roots. Leave the chopstick inside the soil for 5 to 10 minutes to absorb the moisture properly. Then, take out the chopstick and check it. If it gets darker or you find water soaked into it, there’s enough moisture in the bonsai soil. So, you can wait for a couple of days before watering it.
If the chopstick color doesn’t change or is void of watermarks, the soil is dry. So, you should water it adequately ASAP.
Use a soil moisture meter:
Both the finger and chopstick will give you an approximate idea of the moisture level of bonsai tree soils. If you want the most accurate readings, you can use a soil moisture meter. It not only frees you from guesswork but also stops under or overwatering the bonsai plants.
So, the soil moisture meter can be extremely valuable for beginners especially. The meter has readings from 1-10, mostly with 1 being the driest reading and 10 being the dampest reading for the soil. So, the lower the reading, the faster you should water the bonsai soil.
For this, insert the long probe of the meter into the soil and check the readings. If the reading is below 4, you should immediately water the soil. If it is between 4- 7, you can wait for a couple of days before watering the soil.
If you wonder how to get the best soil moisture meter, here’re our top three suggestions:
XLUX Soil Moisture Meter:
Coming just over $10, the XLUX soil moisture meter can greatly help bonsai planters. It is available with 26cm and 40cm long probes for easy use. Also, the dial is large enough to read the data without putting pressure on your eyes. It clearly shows the readings with a scale of 1-10 and describes the soil moisture level with three colors.
SONKIR Soil pH and Moisture Meter:
The Sonkir meter is an all-rounder as it serves 3-in-1 functions for you. It can check the moisture, pH, and sunlight level of the soil at ease. So, you will get a perfect bonsai tree care with it. The switch allows you to pick between the three different functions easily, and the readings on the large dial are easily readable. So, you will love every bit of flexibility this moisture plus pH meter brings in your bonsai tree care and maintenance, including watering.
Atree Soil Moisture Meter
This is half the price of the previous two suggestions. But it enjoys 2000+ revved reviews on Amazon, and it speaks about the quality and performance of the moisture meter. It also has three different color indicators with 1-10 scaling for the water dryness and dampness check. Plus, it is durable enough to last for several years to help you water the bonsai plants properly.
The Watering Tools You Need For Bonsai
The easiest way to water bonsai plants indoors and outdoors is to use a water can or garden wand. The cans are smaller in size and have a long spout that makes the watering job for your bonsai pretty easy and fast.
When looking for good-quality bonsai water can make sure it has a long spout to reach the soil without bending your back. You may choose the watering cans from offline or online markets. Thankfully, our research team found the following bonsai water can be ideal for multipurpose use:
1.WhaleLife Indoor Watering Can
The WhaleLife Indoor Watering Can boasts of an attractive appearance with Nordic style. It mimics natural showering. Thus, the bonsai would love it. Plus, the spout is long enough to reach the soil and has a nice curved design for easier use. Last but not least, it comes in different attractive colors to match your taste, and you can control the water flow for the perfect watering jobs for your favorite bonsai.
2.Psukhai Watering Can
The Psukhai Watering Can is another cute little watering pot that you will love for your bonsai trees. It accommodates ½ gallon of water, which should be sufficient to water a few bonsai trees adequately. The spout is long, and you can remove its nozzle for free water flowing if need be.
3.Novelty MFG 30301 Watering Can
Novelty MFG 30301 Watering Can is our final choice for bonsai watering containers. You will love its floral design that ensures attention to detail and aesthetics. It holds 2 gallons of water and is ideal for both indoor and outdoor bonsai plants.
Sometimes you may even use garden wands. Its light shower will resemble the natural rainfall to give the bonsai a taste of its natural land. However, avoid using generic garden wands. Instead, pick bonsai-specific garden wands for better results.
The FANHAO Watering Wand has a 15-inch long wand, and it is perfect for reaching the bonsai soil with ease. Its spray nozzle has 8-spray patterns. So, you can quickly shift the settings and mimic the natural rainfall for the plants to grow better.
Stop Overwatering Your Bonsai Trees:
Most beginners are concerned about drying out their new bonsai trees. Thus, they end up overwatering the plants. This can be lethal for the bonsais if not identified timely. Hence, we suggest you check the wetness of the soil daily.
If you overwater the soil, it will constantly feel wet. But a properly watered soil will drain out and feel less damp as the day progresses. The best thing is to use a soil moisture meter to find the right wetness of the soil and apply water accordingly.
If you overwater the bonsai plants, they will rot the roots. On top of it, overwatering may block the oxygen from reaching the tree roots, eventually turning the leaves yellow. Also, the branches will grow weak, and finally, the stem will die.
So, be aware of it and follow our suggestions of watering bonsai trees once every 2 to 3 weeks adequately for their proper and healthy growth.
Here, we will end our discussion on how often do you water a bonsai tree. Ideally, watering once or twice every three weeks will work fine. However, during the growth time in summer and spring, you may need to increase the watering frequency a bit. On the other side, lower the watering frequency during the dormancy period.
The best way is to use your finger or the moisture meter to measure the dampness of the soil and water the bonsai plants accordingly.