Bonsai Care Instructions


Display, Positioning and Lighting

A Bonsai only looks as good as how it is displayed.

Try and keep on a table or a stand at eye level.

Filtered sunlight is preferable, under a large tree, a patio or shade cloth.

Don’t place in hot direct sunlight especially in the afternoon sun or on the ground.

If kept indoors, it needs to be in a sunny north facing room with good ventilation.

Don’t place in a room that has cold, dark or damp conditions.

Don’t keep in a room where you are not even prepared to sit in the middle of winter.

Window sills are not recommended for several reasons, the daytime temperature is too hot, night time too cold and glass refracts.

Good lighting is very important, such as Ultra Violet light which all plants need for survival.

If you are going to place your Bonsai indoors in a fairly dark room then try to invest in additional Ultra Violet Grow Lamps in order to supplement light conditions.


Using a small watering can or jug, saturate the soil until the water drains out through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.

This needs to be done once a day, preferably early in the morning before the midday sun.

If a few days have passed without any water (up to a week), submerge the entire tree with pot into water. The water needs to cover the soil of the tree but not the top of the tree.

Air bubbles will be noticed in the water. Once the air bubbles stop, remove the tree from the water and place in a saucer or tray to drain.

Dependent on the size of the pot and tree, water daily in summer (on very hot days) and every second to third day in winter depending on ambient (room) temperatures.

Spray the leaves with water to keep foliage in good condition and to discourage pests.

Some experts prefer the use of collected rain water in a plastic (not metal) container rather than chlorinated tap water. This does not mean that tap/filtered water cannot be used, if rain water cannot be collected.

Do not let the soil dry out (get grey or ashy) or leave the pot standing in water.

More regular watering will be necessary the higher the ambient (room) temperature (e.g. heaters used in the room), the more exposure to sunlight or the smaller the pot. 


Frequent watering removes a lot of the nutrients from the soil, thus it is very necessary to feed your Bonsai with fertilizer during the growing seasons (usually between August to May in South Africa).

Normal plant fertilizer for your garden plants can be used, and small amounts can be mixed into the soil of the Bonsai at least once a month, depending how quickly you would want it to grow.

Bonsai feed or special Bonsai fertilizer is not necessary, the Bonsai will survive/cope exactly the same as your other plants without it.

Don’t try feeding a sick or dry Bonsai. Rather water well and place in a shady location to recover before feeding.

Pruning and Styling

The art/beauty of the Bonsai is in the eye of the beholder.

Pruning and styling is dependent on how the audience/spectator (yourself) would like to see the Bonsai grow and be displayed.

Your Bonsai will grow out of proportion and lose its character if not regularly pruned and trimmed to keep it in a specific style.

Styling is done in early spring to a specific style and to remove any unwanted growth.

Bonsai wire can be used to shape/style the trees branches.

Pruning and leaf snipping is done all the time to maintain and reduce the leaf size and to assist in keeping the tree small and not making it top heavy.

One or two sets of developed leaves can be left while snipping the growth tip off the other leaves.

Landscaping (decorating) the pot in order to portray a natural environment for your Bonsai can be done using pebbles, gravel, or moss as a covering. The latter will assist as a good indicator of sufficient water and UV sunlight absorption.

However be careful not to place too much moss covering as this can inhibit a free flow of fresh air to the roots of your Bonsai which it needs in order to remain healthy.

A good idea is to partially landscape the pot with some moss and alternate with pebbles or gravel.

Pebbles, gravel or moss are not a pre-requisite to growing a successful Bonsai, it merely adds to the aesthetic appeal. 


Contact the Team for assistance on the subject of re-potting.

Pests and Diseases

These must be identified and treated using a suitable insecticide from your local nursery.

Home-made mixtures of sunlight liquid and water that is swabbed on the leaves can prevent some pests but must not be used as a permanent substitute for an insecticide.

There are also many new organic pesticides on the market and these are always preferred by us over the conventional chemical or toxic pesticides. 


The above basic care instructions should be sufficient for the care of your Bonsai.

Additional in-depth information can be found at book stores or at Bonsai clubs. is an award-winning Digital Media, Marketing, and Advertising Company est. 2015, is a Member of the Independent Media Association of South Africa (IMASA), and Brand South Africa's Play Your Part Ambassadors, with a global reach of over 10 million

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