How to Save a Bonzai Tree


Bonsai trees are small trees that demand large amounts of attention when their health begins to fail. Whether your bonsai has suffered a fall or has simply started to show signs of adverse health, take immediate action to save your bonsai.

Step 1

Place your bonsai tree on a clean, flat surface and inspect it closely. Look for signs of adverse health, such as broken limbs and wilted foliage.

Step 2

Trim away any broken branches or twigs with sharp, sterile pruning shears. Pinch away any unwanted or wilted foliage using your thumb and forefinger.

Step 3

Remove your bonsai from its container and gently remove the excess soil from the root system. Inspect the roots thoroughly for signs of damage. Look for discolored, broken or wilted roots. Use freshly sterilized pruning shears to trim away the damaged roots from the system. Remove no more than one-third of the root system, unless absolutely necessary.

Step 4

Incorporate equal amounts of nutrient rich soil, peat moss and organic compost. Ensure that the mixture is thoroughly mixed so it provides an evenly draining environment.

Step 5

Select a clean, well-drained container for your bonsai. Choose a container that is at least as deep as the trunk's diameter.

Step 6

Cover the drainage holes with a thin layer of mesh to reduce the loss of soil through the holes. Line the bottom third of the container with a layer of your soil mixture.

Step 7

Position your bonsai in the center of the container. Fill the container with your soil mixture. Check that no bare roots show from the surface. Press the soil gently around the bonsai to secure its upright position. Fill the areas around the sides of the container with soil.

Step 8

Cover your bonsai's planting surface with a layer of pebbles or stones to retain moisture and reduce the potential of weed invasions. Reuse pebbles or stones only if they have been washed with warm water and soap.

Step 9

Water your newly re-potted bonsai. Irrigate the bonsai with tepid water until the water flows evenly from the container's drainage holes.

Step 10

Place your bonsai in a warm, sunny location that receives at least six hours of sunlight each day. Keep your bonsai away from locations that have extreme temperature variations, such as near patio grills, air conditioners and heating vents.

Step 11

Check the soil moisture of your bonsai daily. Place your finger 1 to 2 inches deep into the soil. Irrigate your bonsai only when the soil feels dry or somewhat dry. Never allow your bonsai's soil to dry out completely.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Potting soil
  • Organic compost
  • Peat moss
  • Mesh


  • Bonsai Gardener: Bonsai Tree Care
  • Bonsai4me: Choosing the Right Pot for your Bonsai
  • Bonsai For Beginners: Repotting Bonsai
Keywords: saving bonsai, help dying bonsai, repotting 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.