How to Keep a Bonsai Tree From Dying


The bonsai tree may be miniature, but it requires much of the same care as its natural-sized counterparts. Providing too much or too little care can result in adverse health for your bonsai. In order to keep your bonsai from dying, provide it with individualized care rather than a scheduled maintenance.

Step 1

Inspect your bonsai thoroughly for signs of adverse health. Prune your bonsai to redirect its energy to viable areas. Use sharp, sterile pruning shears or scissors to prune away any dead, dying or diseased foliage, stems or branches.

Step 2

Repot your bonsai to provide it with a well-drained, nutrient-rich environment. Remove your bonsai from its container. Gently remove the excess soil from your root system. Use sharp, sterile pruning scissors to remove any dead, dying or wilted roots from the root system. Trim the damaged roots back to the healthy area of the root. Trim back dead roots as close to the root ball as possible. Follow the recommendations of "Bonsai for Beginners" and avoid using your good pruning shears for this process, as they could become damaged.

Step 3

Repot your bonsai in a clean, sterile container. Make sure that the container has a depth at least equivalent to the trunk's diameter, as recommended by Bonsai4me. Use nutrient-rich, loamy soil to pot your bonsai. Purchase a "bonsai mix" soil or mix your own. Incorporate equal amounts of nutrient-rich soil, organic compost and peat moss. Line the bottom third of the container with soil. Position your bonsai in the center of the container and fill the container with soil. Press the soil firmly around your bonsai to secure its upright position.

Step 4

Soak your newly repotted bonsai in the sink. Fill the sink with tepid water until the water rests about 1 inch above the bonsai's surface. Allow your bonsai to sit in the water until the bubbles cease to rise to the surface. Remove the plug from the sink and allow the bonsai to rest until the water stops flowing from the drainage system.

Step 5

Place your bonsai in a warm, sunny location that receives at least six hours of full sunlight each day. Make sure that the location is well-ventilated and away from sources of direct temperature variations, such as heating vents, air conditioners and drafty doorways.

Step 6

Irrigate your bonsai according to its needs, not according to a fixed schedule. Check your bonsai's soil moisture daily, as recommended by Bonsai Empire. Place your finger about 2 inches into the soil near the root system. Irrigate your bonsai when the moisture levels feel somewhat dry. Adjust the irrigation for your bonsai's individual needs. Allow succulent bonsais to dry out completely between each irrigation. Maintain consistently moist soil levels for those that require it.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never fertilize an ill bonsai.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning scissors
  • Potting container
  • Bonsai mix (optional)
  • Potting soil
  • Organic compost
  • Peat moss


  • Bonsai4me: Choosing the Right Pot for your Bonsai
  • Bonsai Gardener: Caring for Indoor Bonsai
  • Bonsai For Beginners: Repotting your Bonsai
  • Bonsai Empire: Watering Bonsai Trees
Keywords: saving my bonsai, bonsai tree care, caring for bonsai

About this Author

Charmayne Smith is a business professional and freelance writer. She has worked in management for successful organizations since 1994. Smith draws on her business background to write articles, and her work has appeared in a variety of online outlets. She holds a degree in business from Cleveland State University.