When caring for a bonsai tree indoors, it’s very important to first know what species of tree it is and what the needs are for that kind of plant.
The bonsai tree does not know it’s a bonsai. It only knows that it’s a tree. So if you have a Juniper bonsai, Its needs are the same as those of a juniper that’s not a bonsai. And if you have a Ficus bonsai, its needs will be the same as a ficus tree that’s not a bonsai.
But where many new bonsai beginners make a mistake is to incorrectly assume that a bonsai tree can be kept indoors all the time. Some can, but most bonsai trees will not get enough sunlight inside your house unless you have it under a grow light with a quality timer.
For most bonsai, it’s best to bring it indoors only when guests or visitors are coming over. After they leave, return the bonsai to the outdoors where it can receive natural sunlight.
How to look after a bonsai tree indoors
First find out exactly what type of plant it is. What species is it? If you’re not sure, you can take a small cutting from the tree to your local nursery and ask them “what kind of plant is this?”
Once you find out what kind of plant your bonsai is, then find out what type of care that plant needs. Of greatest importance is to know how much sunlight it needs. Some plants need full sun, some will need partial sun, sometimes referred to a partial shade and still other plants need shade.
But no living plant can survive without any sunlight at all. Find out the amount of sunlight your bonsai needs.
Bonsai trees are planted in shallow pots and in soil that is designed to drain well, therefore, you will likely need to water your bonsai tree more often than you would need to water the same plant in your landscape or garden. Watering a bonsai is extremely important but you can’t water it too much, just like you can’t water it too little.
The finger test:
Every day you should press your finger onto the soil. If it feels dry the bonsai most likely needs to be watered. If the soil feels damp, it doesn’t need water. Be aware that morning dew can cause the bonsai’s soil to feel wet, but this can fool you because as soon as the sun warms up the pot, the dew will dry. So, check your bonsai’s soil in the later morning each day.
This article is intended to help the new bonsai tree enthusiast keep their bonsai alive. To learn how to train a bonsai, check out the other articles on this website.
Photo credit: flickr Creative Commons, Bonsai Perfection by lawepw