Watering is indispensable to bonsai raising. It is a plant's lifeline. Proper
watering promotes a plant's growth. Otherwise the plant becomes weary or
withered. Although watering does not sound too difficult, you must keep
experimenting to master it. Watering takes the most amount of time in
bonsai raising, and in this sense it is the most intimate contact you have
with your bonsai plant. You should master this fundamental for a plant's
“How Often Should You Water?
When people walk into our nursery, this is, without exception, the most
asked question. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. How often you
should water a bonsai tree depends on several different variables: what type
of tree is it, what time of year is it, where is your tree kept, where do you live,
and more than a few others. Watering bonsai is a constant balance between
too much and too little.
How Should You Water?
The "best" way to water is to first wet the soil a little, this will improve the
soil's ability to absorb a larger volume of water, and then you should water
thoroughly until the soil is saturated. Make certain that the entire soil mass
gets wet - every time - you water and wait for the excess to run out of the
drainage holes to be sure.”
“When Should You Water?
The "best" time to water is arguably early in the morning, before your bonsai
begins its day of photosynthetic activities. However, it is important to be
vigilant about its watering needs throughout the day, especially during the
summer. Bear in mind that bonsai trees do not grow when the soil is wet and
they do not grow when the soil is dry: it is only during the in between periods
that your bonsai tree takes in water and nutrients. You also need to be aware
of the amount of light your new bonsai is getting, the temperature of the
room your bonsai is located in and the humidity levels of that immediate area.
You also need to be realistic about your other life responsibilities, not only for
their sake, but also for the sake of your bonsai. Work out a watering
schedule that is realistically feasible. It makes no sense to schedule watering
late in the morning, if you know that five days a week you're going to be out
the door by 7 AM. Be practical or you and your bonsai will be sorry.
What Kind Of Water Should You Use?
Water your new bonsai with room temperature tap water, because cold water
has the potential to shock its roots. If you have the ability and the time to
collect rain to water, that is great, but it is unnecessary unless the water in
your neighborhood is unfit to drink - and, if it is, you might consider moving
yourself and your bonsai somewhere safer.”
“Why Is Humidity Important For Bonsai?
Although indoor bonsai slow their growth in winter and do not need as much
water, they still do require sufficient humidity. Humidity helps to reduce water
loss through the processes of transpiration. Transpiration will have a negative
effect on your bonsai's ability to retain water and remain healthy.
How Can Humidity Be Improved?
The sometimes-dry climate of a home or apartment can be altered to benefit
your bonsai tree. Placing your bonsai on a ‘humidity tray’ filled with decorative
pebbles, that should be kept wet at all times, will help increase humidity
levels. Another solution is regular misting. Misting is the most common
humidifying method. It has the additional benefit of removing dust from your
bonsai, which blocks sunlight and interferes with the exchange of oxygen and
carbon dioxide. Be sure to mist using room temperature water to avoid shock.
What Else Is Helpful To Prevent Dry Conditions?
Keep your indoor bonsai trees away from breezy doors, windows and heating
sources, such as vents, radiators, and fireplaces; to avoid quickly drying them
out. While more sunlight is desirable, it may dry out your bonsai. So,
maintaining a watering schedule during winter is just as important as during
summer.” By Tom Regan
A saying handed down among Japanese bonsai makers is that it takes three
years of time to master the job of watering. Soil in bonsai pot dries up at
various speeds, depending on factors such as the season, the weather of
the day, the living environment of the bonsai, the size of the pot, and the soil
type in the pot. In addition, watering is specific to the species and the size of
the tree, the tree's growth stage and growth rate, and the water absorption
rate of the roots. Therefore, each individual plant in the pot requires specific
watering method. The appropriate watering method is to regularly provide the
plant with sufficient water as needed after the surface soil in the pot has
The roots of the plant are breathing while they are absorbing water, so
the pot always needs fresh air. Since the air gaps in soil vary in size, water
flows through the large gaps and accumulates at the bottom of the pot
during watering. Water eventually leaves the pot through the drainage hole in
the bottom of the pot. In this process water pushes out the stale air in the
large air gaps and lets fresh air flow in. The smaller air gaps hold water by
capillary phenomenon and the roots absorb water from them.
Gently sprinkling water is not enough to refresh the air in the soil.
Moreover, although sprinkling water moisturizes surface soil, but the deeper
soil remains dry. So when you water the plant, you should supply sufficient
amount of water to refresh the air in the soil and to let water permeate the
soil in the middle of the pot.
When water flows, it involuntarily chooses the path that is easy to flow
through, for example along the inner wall of the pot and through the large
gaps in the soil. Therefore water cannot easily permeate the soil in the center.
To prevent this from happening, you should let water permeate for a little
while after the first watering, and water again to ensure water reaches the soil
in the center.
When you have just repotted a plant, its roots are not yet fully
developed. In this case it is also effective to water the leaves directly. Water
can be absorbed through the stomata in the leaves, and water also cleans up
the leaves. This method is applicable to all types of trees.
Fortunately trees are very adaptive to their environments. Your tree will
become naturally accustomed to your watering cycle after a period of time.
But before this happens, you should take into consideration the living
environment of the plant, the type and quality of the soil, the size of the pot,
and the availability of your time. To prevent the bonsai tree from withering,
you should carefully observe the condition of the tree and keep trying and
reflecting on your work. In this way, you will find the specific watering method
suitable to your plant.
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