How to Care for a Bonsai Tree


The word bonsai means "tray growing" and is a training method for trees. Bonsai trees require a lot of care and patience on the part of the owner for them to thrive. They have strict watering and pruning requirements.

Step 1

Pinch back the bonsai's leaves with your thumb and forefinger in early spring to maintain the tree's shape.

Step 2

Repot your bonsai every two years in the spring. Trim the roots at this time by removing up to 2/3 of the roots. Remove any plant debris from the soil--decomposition may cause fungal diseases.

Step 3

Water your bonsai when the surface appears dry, soaking it using a watering can until water runs through the bottom of the container. Mist the leaves every two or three days with water.

Step 4

Place your bonsai in a well-lit area that is kept at 60 degrees F. during the day.

Step 5

Apply a balanced fertilizer every three weeks except in the winter. Dilute fertilizer by 1/2 to avoid root burn.

Step 6

Scrape moss off the trunk or branches of the tree if necessary; use a hard-bristle toothbrush.

Step 7

Apply pesticide if the bonsai becomes infected with caterpillars or red spider mites. These pests are attracted to bonsai.

Things You'll Need

  • Watering can
  • Mister
  • Fertilizer
  • Hard-bristle toothbrush (optional)
  • Pesticide (optional)


  • Bonsai Gardener
  • Emperor's Bonsai
Keywords: growing bonsai trees, miniature tree, indoor plants

About this Author

Based in Baltimore, Maryland, Karen has worked four years as a professional writer and editor, writing for the online source eHow with articles such as "How to Make Chocolate Chip Biscotti" and "How to Make Marshmallow Fondant," and editing scripts for A Work In Progress, an inspirational radio drama.