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Bonsai Care – Looking After the Soil and Water Your Bonsai Needs

This article is all about how to water your Bonsai tree and what soil to use.
The Substrate
The substrate used for growing bonsai is generally composed of:
25% sand

25% of small rocks

25% black earth

25% clay.

Personally, I buy my substrate for bonsai. If you want to make your own substrate, just look in the books on bonsai, each author has his own recipe!


It is good to add Mycorise to the substrate for bonsai. What’s Mycorise?

The Mycorise (Mysillium mushroom) promotes the uptake of fertilizer per tree. It is generally bought in the form of granules. It can be found in stores specializing in horticulture.

Check expiry date before buying. 

Excessive watering of a bonsai can kill as much as insufficient watering!
There are two main sources: tap water and rainwater.

Tap water

If you use tap water, it must have rested at least 24 hours prior to watering. This time allows the evaporation of chlorine and fluorine present in water. It can also adjust the temperature of water at room temperature.


This is the ideal source. It does not contain chlorine or fluorine. Water should be at room temperature when spraying to avoid a shock.

How often to water

It depends on the ambient temperature, the humidity and the requirements of the tree.

The humidity of the substrate should be checked daily.

Some species require to be moist at all times, while others prefer the substrate to dry between waterings.


We must never let the substrate dry completely.

Look in a specialist book on bonsai to find out what is best for each species. During the period of growth, a tree needs a larger quantity of water. As opposed to the rest period, when the tree is in less demand.

It is best to irrigate early in the morning. You can also do it in the evening. You should never water a bonsai in full sun, that may burn the foliage.

It is also suggested to spray the leaves between waterings, especially in winter. Indeed, inside the houses, the moisture can be very low. Heat and low humidity are perfect for the proliferation of insects. That is why it is good to spray the leaves morning and evening in winter.

How to water 

Submerge the pot into water or just with a watering can or hose. Ensure that the substrate is fully saturated with water at each watering. When watering is completed, it is advisable to tilt the pot slightly to get rid of the water remaining on the surface. The substrate should be moist but not soaked. I heard that 80% of the success of a bonsai is connected to the watering. So extreme care should not be taken.

Original Author: Paul J Martin Full Bio
There are lots more articles on all aspects of growing and maintaining your bonsai here at the authors site bonsai pictures
Tags: black earth, tap water, chlorine or fluorine, specialist book, recipe tips

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