Bonsai watering, practical tips

  Mistral Bonsai       13/06/2024
Bonsai watering, practical tips

With summer arrival, we take the opportunity to give you some advice about bonsai watering. It is, as well as the location, one of the most influential factors in the bonsai growing process, becoming even more important in summer. In this blog, we will revise some concepts, talk about new watering systems and offer you the best tips to ensure an optimal watering of bonsai.

The 2 most common questions:

Does the bonsai always have to be moist? No

Water is the most important element for trees, however, the roots require air and oxygen, which they get when the soil is dry. To satisfy these two needs, bonsai should be watered when the soil is dry below its first layer.

How often should we water?
Bonsai watering

We know that we should water when the soil is dry below its first layer, but how often does this happen? There are different factors that determine the frequency of watering: the specie, the soil composition, the size of the pot, the location, the sunlight, the humidity… We must be aware of this, checking the state of the soil. With time, we will get to know the needs of our bonsai. Also, if we observe the substrate, we will notice a change in a paler colour.

Aqua meter, a little help!

Aqua meter is a very useful watering indicator that will help you to know when to water. Valid for all kinds of bonsais and plants, this tool will tell you when to water. Get your Aqua meter in our online shop. See how it works in this video:

We know when to water, but how do we do it?

The water

We know that the best water for irrigation is rainwater, but we are aware that it is not always possible to collect it, so we offer alternatives. The first option is spring or filtered water. Another option, and probably the most common, is tap water, which should be left to stand in an uncovered container for 24/48 hours for the chlorine to evaporate.

The watering can

There are special watering cans for bonsai. These recreate the effect of rain through fine holes. With bonsai watering cans, find the ones available in our online shop here, you will get a soft fall of water on the soil, avoiding the substrate loss and the removal of the roots.
Bonsai watering can

How do we water? Abundantly

It is very important that the water reaches all the soil in the pot, so water until the water comes out of the drainage holes. A very effective watering technique is to pour a little of water over the substrate, leave it for about two minutes, and then water until the water comes out of the holes. The reason for this is that when the soil is dry, the liquid filters through the dry passages and is not retained as much in the soil, and when watering again on the slightly moistened soil, the soil retains the water better.

TIPS. Whenever possible, the best time to water is at dusk, as temperatures are milder, allowing the water to remain in the soil longer and allowing longer absorption by the roots. If we water when there is sunlight, we must be careful not to wet the leaves and/or flowers, as the water together with the light could burn them.

I will be out for a few days, how do I water my bonsai?

There are alternatives to find our small trees in great shape when we return from our holidays or short trips. Before detailing each of these systems, we would like to make it clear that they are not a substitute for regular watering, but a complement to it.

Hidrobonsai-System and Automatic watering

The Hidrobonsai-System, developed by Mistral Bonsai, and the Automatic Watering, both work by absorbing water from a reservoir to the roots of the tree through a wick. There are different sizes, find yours in the irrigation section.

How to set it up?
  1. Fill the tank and moisten the wick
  2. Water the bonsai
  3. Insert one end of the wick into the soil, through the drainage holes
  4. Place the bonsai on the tank, making sure that the other end of the wick is in contact with the water

Drip irrigation

Another option for irrigation during short absences is dripped irrigation. This system allows you to adapt a bottle with water and regulate the dripping of the water through it. Find the drip irrigation system in our shop.

Only in case of emergency! Watering the bonsai by immersion
Immersion irrigation

We want to make it very clear that this is an irrigation technique to be used only in extreme cases of dehydration of the bonsai, as this form of irrigation causes the loss of soil and salts present in it. Once this has been clarified, how do we water by immersion? It consists of submerging the whole pot of the bonsai in a container with water until air bubbles stop coming out, taking it out and letting the excess water drain off.

Spraying the leaves

BonsaiSpraying bonsai leaves with a sprayer produces an effect similar to the morning dew on trees in nature. It is especially useful for bonsai located indoor or in urban environments, where they do not receive rainwater or low humidity.

TIP. It should be avoided during daylight hours, preferably at dusk, to avoid damaging the leaves.

Spraying will also help to clean the dust from the leaves, replacing the humidity in nature.

This is our review and advice on how to water your bonsai properly, did you find it useful? Adapt your watering and make your bonsai look perfect during summer.

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About the Author

Mistral Bonsai

In Mistral Bonsai we are a communication team, technicians and masters committed from the first day to disseminating the wonderful art of bonsai. A world that offers many things to share. We believe that a bonsai is a tree with a soul, unique and unrepeatable. Another of our most essential pillars is, how could it be otherwise, our close commitment to the preservation of the environment and nature.