Why Is My Bonsai Dying? [9 Most Common Reasons]

Growing a bonsai is a challenging job that requires time, patience, and dedication. After a long effort, when your loving bonsai suddenly tends to die it is unacceptable and shocking. So, you have an inquiry: why is my bonsai dying?

As a gardener, it is important to know the reason behind bonsai dying. It helps you to protect your bonsai and keep it healthy. To assist you, we are going to share 9 possible reasons for your bonsai dying.

After in-depth research and gardening experience, we also list some secret tricks to get a bonsai back to life. So, if you don’t want to lose your favourite bonsai, read the article crucially.

Why Is My Bonsai Dying

Why Is My Bonsai Dying?

Bonsai trees can die due to wrong care and maintenance processes. Let us tell you some common mistakes of Bonsai care that can cause plants to die.

  1. Forget watering or under-watering
  2. Misplace an outdoor Bonsai to indoor and vice-versa 
  3. Overwatering
  4. Lack of sunlight or over sunlight
  5. Curtailed branches
  6. Roots disease
  7. Lack of care
  8. Pest attacks and plant diseases
  9. Insects or eggs 

Here we give a brief about the bonsai dying reasons. To save your bonsai from dying and get it back to life, the first step is to identify the reasons for your bonsai dying. So now we will discuss the reasons in depth with remedy so that you can easily find out the reasons and save your plant.

1.Forget watering or under-watering

Generally, you plant bonsai in small pots to minimize its height. So, the root does not get robust room to collect nutrients and water to use for future survival.

So if you accidentally forget to water the tree or give a low amount of water, that can dry out the soil. Completely dry soil can kill your bonsai because the roots are also dry.

How to identify the reasons 

Well, you know how frequently you water the plant. So it is easy to identify. You can also notice some symptoms. If the roots are dry, the leaves will start to fall off, or the leaves will become yellow slowly. But if you don’t look up these issues then the roots of the plant will be 100% dry. In that case, you can’t rescue your plant. But if the roots are starting to dry, you can take action to get back your bonsai.

How to rescue

You should water the plant by maintaining a proper routine. Depending on your bonsai types and soil, you should fix the water amount. If the soil quickly observes water and the plant requires more water to grow, then you should give adequate water. 

But if the soil can’t absorb water, then limit the watering process. You can take a stick and insert the stick on bonsai media to check the moisture level.  If it comes out dry, then water it thoroughly. 

After watering the plant, wait a few minutes to check whether the media absorb all the moisture or not. It helps to strengthen your bonsai and get back its life. After recovery, it is better to replace your bonsai in a new pot with good media. 

You can also take suggestions from where you buy the bonsai to fix water level. 

2. Misplace an outdoor Bonsai to indoor and vice-versa

You know bonsai trees can be of different types, such as indoor and outdoor. Suppose you buy a bonsai tree such as Juniper and place it indoors will be enough to die. Because it is an outdoor plant and can’t survive indoors due to lack of sunlight. On the other hand, if your bonsai is an indoor plant and you place it outdoors, it will also die.

How to identify the reasons 

If the plant’s leaves gradually turn yellow and slowly fall off, but you properly take care of it. Then you have to predict the wrong placement of your plant. 

How to rescue

When buying your bonsai, ask the owner about its species. That is the best way to choose the right placement. But if you forget to ask then search on the web to research. Because it is important to fix the place and also organize a proper care routine for sensitive bonsai. 

It is better to place indoor bonsai at the window side that is situated in the south direction. If you buy outdoor bonsai, then make sure it gets proper light and protection from intense winds.

3. Overwatering

Earlier, we mentioned that the water level depends on soil and bonsai species. All the media is not capable of absorbing similar water. Overwatering can also result in your plant dying. 

How to identify the reasons 

If you don’t know how much water your bonsai requires to live, that can be very dangerous for your plant. When you notice the plant’s soil is wetty, or has excessive moisture, then maybe you over water your plant. 

How to rescue

So, before watering, don’t forget to check the moisture level of the soil with a stick. It helps to avoid overwatering. Depending on the soil condition, fix your water level accurately to ensure the healthy growth of bonsai.

But if you were already overwatering your bonsai, please immediately re-pot the plant. Then follow the above tricks to give accurate water.

4. Lack of sunlight or over sunlight

Beginner’s gardeners frequently make the mistake of thinking that indoor bonsai does not require light. But the truth is indoor bonsai need a large amount of light for growing and surviving in your home. On the flip side, outdoor bonsai needs direct sunlight, and it is also a wrong concept. Direct sunlight may burn the leaves of the plant.

Lack of sunlight or over sunlight

How to identify the reasons 

If you notice your indoor plant’s leaves are not growing, not looking greenish, or even the plant has weak foliage then you have to predict that it is deprived of light. 

If your outdoor bonsai leaves look brown or burn and get direct sunlight that is 90°f+, then it becomes fatal. 

How to rescue

An indoor bonsai requires 5-6 hours of sunlight a day  to grow properly. If your home doesn’t get natural light, you should keep using artificial growing light. Or place it beside the window which is south facing to get proper light.

If you have outdoor bonsai make sure whether the plants get enough sunlight or not. In that case, try to place the pot where it gets adequate sunlight but not excessive heat that burns the leaves.

5. Curtailed branches

Curtailed branches in bonsai trees indicate a lack of nutrients or water issues. Shrink branches are at high risk of dying if you don’t take prompt action. 

How to identify the reasons 

If your plant is attacked by different kinds of plant diseases, then you will find curtailed branches. As a result, the  branch will shrink.

How to rescue

There is no specific solution to rescue your plant from this issue. You have to follow some tricks. Such as 

  • You can cut out the shrink branches from the bonsai to avoid spreading the diseases to the whole tree. You can use scissors to cut out the affected branch.
  • Then check the media to ensure whether the soil can give proper nutrients to the tree or not.
  • Use distilled water while watering plants to avoid salts, toxicity, and impurity.
  • Re-pot the bonsai in a good drain and good quality soil that can supply proper nutrients to the bonsai tree.
  • Keep it in the shade after repotting to adjust the change.
  • After repotting, monitor the tree carefully to find whether the problems are solved or any issues arise.
  • Put balanced fertilizer when the bonsai is recovered properly.

6. Roots disease

Healthy bonsai roots are mandatory to ensure the healthy growth of bonsai. But sometimes, the roots may rot or be affected by some plant diseases. Your bonsai may also die due to unhealthy roots. 

How to identify the reasons 

When the trees become diminutive, you should check the roots. If you find the roots are not in perfect shape, size, length, get discolor, or have a smell then it can be a symptom of root disease. 

How to rescue 

You have to follow a step by step process to identify the root disease and properly solve it. 

  • Take out the bonsai trees from the pot. 
  • Place it on flat surfaces that are germ-free.
  • Now, look at the root to discover any signs such as discolouration, smell, etc.
  • If you find any affected or unhealthy roots, then trim the roots. 
  • Finally, place the plant in another fresh pot.

Don’t forget to remove the affected roots far from the trees to avoid the spreading of diseases.

7. Lack of care

Often you try to grow bonsai due to its aesthetic shape and beauty. But after buying, we can feel it requires lots of effort, dedication, and patience for growing a bonsai. All of you can’t invest those efforts for a bonsai plant due to your hectic schedule.

How to identify the reasons 

If you over prune, wire the plant wrongly, don’t provide adequate amounts of right water, fertilizer, and don’t notice its growth then many disasters can happen. All of these negligence can kill your bonsai.

How to rescue 

You need to repot and prune the trees once a year with care and dedication. Don’t over prune the trees to achieve the shape quickly. You need to wire the trees with lots of patience and remove the wire after a certain period to avoid damages to your expensive trees. So, you can’t lose patience while taking care of your bonsai.

8. Pest or other diseases

If you don’t make the above mistakes, then there is a high chance the bonsai is attacked by harmful insects and diseases. Insect’s or other diseases can also make your bonsai die.

How to identify the reasons 

If you notice fuzzy spots on leaves, or the leaves get sticky or find mold, that also indicates your trees are at risk. You know what mold can kill your expensive branches without any symptoms. It can grow under branches or leaves, so it is not visible to anyone.

The dangerous part about mold is it can affect your remaining plants. So, if you have one tree that builds up mold has a high risk of affecting other plants. You need to be careful about mold. But if you have already been attacked by mold then you have to take action immediately.

How to rescue 

The rescue process is not the same for all the plants. It depends on the species of your bonsai trees. You need to consider the bonsai types, care, and every detail before taking any action.

  • You can use alcohol to stop mold from growing or spreading. Put a few amounts of alcohol on the affected area through a cotton pad. You can also directly cut out the affected leaf or area if it is noticed during the pruning period.
  • Basically, mold build-up when the humidity is low. So try to raise the humidity in your room where you place the bonsai.

9. Insects or eggs

Insect’s attacks on plants are very dangerous. Some insects are very powerful and can kill your loving bonsai plant within a few days. So it is mandatory to remove insects and their eggs thoroughly from the trees.

How to identify the reasons 

If your bonsai leaves dry, turn into a yellow shade to green, or fall in the normal season rather than spring, then it may be affected by insects. Even the plant’s growth will slow. 

How to rescue 

You have to use insecticides to kill the insects. But before using any insecticides, make sure whether it is safe for your bonsai plant species. If you choose the wrong insecticides that can kill your trees within a day. Here is a guideline to use insecticides on your tree.

  • Spread insecticide according to the instructions
  • Use an insecticide that is safe for plants
  • After applying insecticide, keep the bonsai separate from other plants to avoid spreading

So, these are the 9 most common reasons for your bonsai dying and how to identify the reasons and their solutions.

How To Keep A Bonsai Tree From Dying?

How To Keep A Bonsai Tree From Dying

Ok, prevention is always better than cure when it is about the expensive bonsai. You should not take risks with your favourite plants. So it is better to know the right care and maintenance to avoid bonsai tree dying. You have to follow some steps to ensure healthy growth for bonsai. 

  • Know your plants

You must know details about your plants to avoid bonsai dying. Know the species, media details, types, care, etc., crucially to do the perfect care for bonsai. 

When you know your plant’s details, it helps you to place it in the right place and also ensures proper nutrients for the plant to grow flawlessly. That is the secret to keeping bonsai trees good and healthy.

  • Care guide

After knowing the plants, let’s research about the right care such as watering level, lighting, pruning, wiring, and repotting to avoid mistakes. 

When you learn the right caring process, you can avoid bonsai dying. If you can adopt the right care, you can ensure healthy growth instead of struggling with the survival of bonsai.

How To Get a Bonsai Tree Back To Life?

We know how painful it is to see bonsai trees dying. So we do a lot of research about bonsai and find out some common reasons that make bonsai die. So if you want to get a bonsai tree back to life, you need to follow some tricks. 

Before applying any remedy or tricks, observe the bonsai tree carefully. It helps to find out the exact reasons why it is dying. Give some time on testing so that you can go through each leaf, branch, trunk, bark, and root. Try to find out any signs that can cause bonsai trees to die.

Extreme fall off leaves and suddenly the leaf turn yellow is a major sign that indicates your tree is dying. Take remedy according to the reasons. At the beginning of our discussion we have already talked about the reasons for bonsai dying and how to save a dying bonsai.

Some Tips To Get Back Your Dying Bonsai

Knowing some useful and beneficial tips, tricks, and hacks can help you to properly take care of your tree and avoid the tendency of bonsai dying. That’s why now we will share some tips for your convenience. 

  • Optimal fertilizer

Often lack of fertilizer can also cause plants to die. Dying bonsai requires an exact amount of fertilizer to get back to life. Some bonsai trees require specific fertilizer, whereas some bonsai plants are fine with any kind of fertilizer. 

So, according to your plants’ type, choose the right fertilizer from a nursery or any online shops to rescue the bonsai. You will find two types of fertilizer depending on the fertilizer’s usage procedure. One is liquid fertilizer and another is spray fertilizer. You should use the best fertilizer that suits your plant. 

  • Moss

The plant dies when the media does not have a good drainage system. Good drainage is a must for the healthy growth of trees. So you can add sphagnum moss to ensure a good drainage system to your soil. It is the key to protecting bonsai trees from overwatering.

  • Pliers

You need good quality pliers to clip the damaged leaves and branches. Clipping is also essential to revive your dying plants. So you need to cut out the dead branches and leaves to avoid garbage from the pot.


Why is my bonsai dying after Repotting?

It is a very common scenario that you face after repotting. It happens due to excessive root pruning, wrong soil media, and wrong placement. You can avoid bonsai dying if you prune correctly and keep it in the shade, using proper soil after repotting. Don’t use any fertilizer after immediate repotting and give adequate water to ensure healthy growth.

Is my bonsai dying?

Many people don’t understand whether the bonsai is dying or normal. That is why they fail to take any remedy process to survive bonsai. When you face extreme leaves fall, and the leaves turn yellow all of a sudden, that indicates your bonsai is dying. So check the bonsai regularly.

Can you save a dying bonsai?

It depends on your bonsai condition. But when you notice your bonsai is going to die try to identify the reasons and take the right action to save your dying bonsai. After recovery don’t forget to re-pot the bonsai.

Why do my bonsai trees keep dying?

Your bonsai will keep dying due to lack of nutrition, water, sunlight, take care, root damage, inadequate drainage system, and for ignorance.  You have to test your bonsai soil frequently and take proper care to avoid the tendency of bonsai dying. 

Final thoughts

If you don’t have patience, dedication, and time bonsai is not your cup of tea. Growing a bonsai requires some effort and care. We hope now you get the answer to your inquiry: why is my bonsai dying.

If you face bonsai dying, don’t forget to check the above tricks to get back your bonsai. Besides, you should follow our tips to avoid bonsai dying. If you follow the above tips and guidelines, you can ensure the healthy growth of your plant. 

Happy gardening!?

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