How to Transplant Bonsai Trees


Bonsai can live for many years. The small planters confine the roots and maintain the trees' small sizes. To keep a bonsai healthy and allow new growth, they need to be transplanted regularly. Fast-growing plants, such as willow, may need repotted more than once a year, while evergreens will only need transplanting every three to five years. Transplant your bonsai trees after you finish other seasonal care, like pruning.

Step 1

Prepare the soil mix using 1 part sand, 1 part peat and 1 part loam or compost. If you have an evergreen bonsai, make the mix 2 parts sand to 1 part peat and 1 part loam. Stir until well mixed.

Step 2

Remove the bonsai from the planter. Be gentle and careful of the delicate branches, trunk and roots. Lay the bonsai aside.

Step 3

Dump the old soil in your compost bin, garden or yard. Clean the pot with hot water and soap. Scrub off any residue. Rinse well and dry.

Step 4

Remove the dirt from the bonsai's roots. Trim off about 1 inch of the roots with scissors, untangling as you go. Cut off roots larger in diameter than a pencil and any that feel stiff. This will help develop smaller feeder roots.

Step 5

Place a small amount of soil mix into the cleaned planter. Put the bonsai in and spread the roots. Adjust the plant to your liking. Fill with the potting mix.

Step 6

Water the bonsai thoroughly, letting the water settle the soil. Add more soil to fill any air holes or gaps. Water again and allow it to drain.

Things You'll Need

  • Sand
  • Peat
  • Loam
  • Soap
  • Scrub brush
  • Scissors


  • The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University: Bonsai Care
  • Virginia Cooperative Extension: The Art of Bonsai
  • University of Georgia: Bonsai

Who Can Help

  • The American Bonsai Society
Keywords: repotting bonsai tree, caring for bonsai, bonsai plant care

About this Author

Kitten Arbuckle is a freelance writer living in Indiana. Arbuckle has been writing for websites such as Garden Guides since early 2009. Her education includes training in landscaping, certification in herbal medicine from a botanical sanctuary and a variety of college courses.