Indoor Bonsai Tree Care
There is a big misconception among bonsai beginners that all bonsai trees can be kept indoors. Not true!
Yes, some bonsai trees can be happy as an indoor bonsai tree. Sadly, many just don’t survive indoors well.
It all has to do with a tree’s environment. Mainly, where it comes from and how it lives in the wild.
If you just bought a beautiful Douglas Fir bonsai tree, you may know that it grows in the colder parts of world. So unless you plan on keeping your house below freezing throughout the winter, your lovely Fir tree may not make it indoors…
Now, if you keep a cold room just for this purpose, it’ll do fine. Honestly, most people will never do that so it’s best to keep trees like that outside for the winter so they can hibernate as nature intended.
For other trees, like a lovely Banyan bonsai, it can’t handle the cold well at all. So you’d think it would do well indoors, but sadly the humidity just isn’t high enough for it to happily live inside all year long. The trick is to move it indoors for the cold seasons, and back outside when it warms back up.
With that said, this is how to care for a bonsai tree when it’s living indoors.
Tree’s like sunlight. Bonsai trees are no different. The difference is in the amount of sunlight that’s appropriate.
Generally speaking, for indoor trees, they should be in a south facing window (in the northern hemisphere) to get enough sunlight to survive. If this isn’t possible, which it isn’t in my house setup, you can pick up some grow lights and automate this process so you have literally nothing to worry about.
We all know that bonsai trees need water. That’s obvious.
What’s not obvious is that you can easily over or under water them when indoors. They key is to have it in really well draining bonsai soil (which you should be using anyway) to prevent over watering.
To prevent under watering, don’t let your tree dry out completely unless that species of tree specifically needs it to survive.
It’s hard to say how often to water, since all environments and trees are different, but I’d suggest you check every single day until you know that your setup needs a watering every 2, 3, or however many days.
Most houses are just too dry. Central heating or cooling zaps most humidity from the air, which isn’t good for most trees.
There are 2 solutions for this:
- Use a drip tray to hold water (which is great for preventing spills when you water anyway.)
- Mist your bonsai trees once or twice a day.
Pests And Mold
Ugh, mold. If your bonsais or pots have any white fuzz on them, it’s mold from not enough air circulation. It’s aggravating, and I despise it.
To prevent it, try to remove any fake moss, or use some kind of bleach or lysol on any pots that hold moisture.
Pests can be equally frustrating. If you get any bugs crawling on your bonsai tree, or any spots on your leaves, try to find out what it is and get the most gentle version of a spray to fix it as you possibly can.
Where I live in the Northeastern US, it can get pretty cold and dreary for parts of the year. When this time comes around, I’m extra grateful that I have a bonsai addiction hobby. I’m able to keep my tropical collection alive and thriving indoors for the late fall and winter, which allows me to enjoy some unusual tropical greenery and scenery when it’s below freezing and the sun is setting before dinner.
If you take care to provide enough sunlight and humidity, water appropriately and keep any mold or pests away, you can enjoy a few indoor bonsai trees too.