How to Grow a Bonsai Tree


Bonsai trees are miniature trees that are cultivated from regular-sized trees. There are many trees that can be grown as bonsai trees. Although the bonsai type may vary, most bonsai trees require the same general care.

Step 1

Select a potting container that meets the size and needs of the bonsai. Choose a potting container that has a depth that is equal to the diameter of the trunk and one third the height of the tree. If an oval or rectangular pot is selected, select a pot that is two thirds the height of the tree.

Step 2

Plant your bonsai tree in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. Use a combination, in equal parts, of nutrient-rich soil, peat compost and sand. Place a layer of soil at the bottom of the container. Place the bonsai into the container and fill the container with the remaining soil.

Step 3

Place the bonsai tree in a partially shaded area that will receive at least 4 to 6 hours of full sunlight each day. Morning sunlight is ideal. Keep the bonsai away from areas that project direct heat, such as heating vents, stoves and fireplaces.

Step 4

Water the bonsai regularly but only as the tree requires. Check the tree's moisture levels before each watering. Stick your finger approximately 1 to 2 inches into the soil near the roots. Water the bonsai when the soil feels dry.

Step 5

Dust the bonsai daily. This will reduce the potential for disease and insect infestation. Mist the tree's foliage daily to promote healthy foliage and ample humidity levels. Increase the misting to two or three times per day during the hot, dry summer months.

Step 6

Look for signs of disease and infestation as you inspect the tree. Treat diseases and infestations immediately to avoid serious tree damage. Use fungicidal sprays and insecticides only according to the manufacturer's instructions. Speak with your local nursery or horticultural specialist for assistance with diagnosis and treatment selection.

Step 7

Fertilize the bonsai during its growing season, early spring through midsummer. Use a well-balanced fertilizer that includes nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Apply the fertilizer evenly around the tree, using at half strength.

Step 8

Prune the bonsai tree to promote a miniature size. Trim the bonsai's foliage, stems and branches. Pinch away new leaves and buds to promote well-conformed, small-sized foliage. Prune the branches with an angular cut to encourage rapid healing. Avoid pruning all of the bonsai's new growth simultaneously, as this will cause dieback and stunting.

Step 9

Repot the bonsai every 1 to 2 years. Repot the bonsai immediately if it shows signs of being too large for its container. Prune away one third of the root system during the repotting process. Remove excess soil from the root system. Use sharp, sterile scissors to cut the roots. Never cut away more than one third of the rooting system. Cut larger roots while leaving finer, fibrous roots undisturbed.

Tips and Warnings

  • Excessive hours of direct sunlight may cause foliage burn.

Things You'll Need

  • Bonsai tree
  • Potting container
  • Fertilizer
  • Water
  • Pruning shears
  • Scissors


  • Bonsai Tree Care
  • A Guide to Watering Bonsai
  • Choosing the Right Pot for your Bonsai
Keywords: bonsai care, grow bonsai, miniature trees

About this Author

Charmayne Smith is a business professional. She has worked in management for successful organizations since 1994, and her writing career began with her business career. Her business has successfully assisted many clients with start-ups, development, and expansions. She has a bachelor's degree in business and has published with Identity Theft Chat, Garden Guides, eHow, Travels, Associated Content and others.