How to Care for Brown Leaves on a Juniper Bonsai Tree


The juniper is a hardy conifer that belongs to the Cypress family. This adaptable tree has a rapid growth rate and adjusts well to pruning and wiring. It is a fairly drought-tolerant tree that develops rich green foliage needles with a sturdy, exfoliating trunk. Although the juniper can withstand short periods of dry weather, it requires ample water to maintain its rich green color. The lack of water, as well as improper pruning, will result in brown leaves.

Step 1

Inspect your juniper bonsai closely. Use your fingers to carefully pinch away the browning leaves. Use this process to thin out the interior foliage to promote increased air circulation throughout the juniper bonsai. Follow the recommendations of Bonsai4me and avoid using pruning shears or scissors for this process, as they may cause additional browning.

Step 2

Repot your juniper bonsai to provide it with fresh soil. Remove your juniper bonsai from its potting container and place it on a flat, clean surface.

Step 3

Clean the bonsai’s container with warm water and soap. Clean it thoroughly to remove any potential contaminants. Place the container upside down and allow it to air dry.

Step 4

Remove the excess soil from the root system. Trim down the root mass if the juniper is root bound. Use a sterile root hook to remove approximately one third of the root mass, advises Bonsai for Beginners.

Step 5

Inspect the roots of the juniper closely. Use sharp, sterile pruning shears to remove any damaged, dead or wilted roots from the system. Avoid removing more than one-third of the root system to prevent growth stunt and dieback.

Step 6

Mix equal amounts of nutrient-rich potting soil, peat moss and clean, coarse sand. Line the bottom third of the container with the loamy soil and place your juniper in the center of the container. Fill the container with the soil mixture and press it firmly around the tree to secure its position.

Step 7

Irrigate your juniper bonsai deeply with tepid water. Pour the water at soil level to avoid wetting the foliage. Irrigate the juniper evenly until the excess water flows from the bottom of the container. Allow your bonsai to rest until the water no longer runs from the drainage system.

Step 8

Place your newly repotted juniper bonsai in a warm, sunny location. Choose a well-ventilated location that receives at least six hours of full sunlight each day.

Things You'll Need

  • Soap
  • Root hook
  • Pruning shears
  • Potting soil
  • Peat moss
  • Coarse sand


  • Bonsai Gardener: Juniper
  • Bonsai4me: Juniperus Species/Junipers
  • Bonsai For Beginners: Repotting Bonsai
Keywords: juniper bonsai care, saving juniper bonsai, browning juniper 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.