How to Take Care of an Indoor Bonsai Tree


The Japanese popularized bonsai trees, but they had their start in China during the Tang dynasty. Bonsai is Japanese term for plants grown in shallow containers. For centuries, Europeans have grown plants indoors. The increased popularity of growing bonsai trees indoors is a natural outcome as Eastern influences become more common in the West. No plants grow naturally indoors, so indoor plants require particular attention. With the right tools and a little knowledge, homeowners can grow thriving bonsai trees indoors.

Step 1

Place the bonsai trees in windows that provide sunlight unobstructed by trees or other structures. Employ artificial grow lights to provide supplemental light to the bonsai tree. Rotate the bonsai tree monthly to ensure that light touches every part of the tree.

Step 2

Expose the bonsai tree to humidity. Raise the level of humidity in the home or office with an electric humidifier or fill a clay pot with water and put it on a heater vent near the bonsai plants. Place the bonsai tree on a tray filled with wet gravel or sand as an alternate humidifying solution. Place bonsai trees outdoors in naturally humid climates during summer months.

Step 3

Regulate the temperature in the home or office to maintain temperatures of 64 to 75 degrees F; optimal night-time temperatures range between 57 and 71 degrees F. Bring the temperature in the room to an acceptable level in colder seasons using a heater.

Step 4

Allow the soil to dry out before watering. Test the moisture level of the soil with your finger. Water the bonsai tree by putting it in a sink or tub of water if the soil is dry to the touch. Leave the tree in water for approximately 10 minutes. Allow the tree to drain. Do not water the plant if the soil feels damp.

Step 5

Feed the tree every four to six weeks with a liquid fertilizer. Follow the label instructions for dosage frequency, but double the amount of water prescribed for the mixture. Feed only when the soil is wet.

Tips and Warnings

  • Fertilizer added to dry soil can burn the plant roots

Things You'll Need

  • Light
  • Humidifier or water-filled clay pot
  • Heater
  • Fertilizer


  • "Bonsai in Your Home"; Paul Lesniewics; 1996
  • "101 Essential Bonsai Tips"; Harry Tomlinson; 1996
  • "Bonsai: The Art of Growing and Keeping Miniature Trees"; Peter Chan; 1985
Keywords: indoor bonsai trees, grow bonsai indoors, indoor bonsai care

About this Author

Rebecca Moore has been a writer since 1994. She has been published on Associated Content, Suite101, eHow and numerous print magazines. Moore attended Living Word Bible College and Leeward Community College. Moore enjoys spending time at garden shops and botanical gardens and experimenting with hydroponics and square foot gardening.