How Long Can Bonsai Go Without Water?
Getting a new bonsai tree can be somewhat stressful. You are probably still adjusting to figuring out what your tree needs and watering can be hard to get right. If you are wary of overwatering or if you need to be away from your bonsai for some time while you are traveling, it’s important to know how long it can go without any water.
In general, it’s safe to leave your bonsai without water for a few days. If you know that you will not be able to water your bonsai for a week or longer, you should arrange for someone else to care for it while you are away.
Bonsai trees are beautiful but notoriously difficult to take care of. If you have a bonsai tree or are thinking about getting one, it’s important to know how to care for it before something goes wrong. If you know how to water it properly and how to look for signs that it needs something, you will be able to keep your bonsai happy and healthy for a long time.
What Are the Tell-Tale Signs That a Bonsai Needs Water?
In general, bonsai trees should not be completely dry. While it’s okay for them to get a little bit dry between waterings, if your bonsai is completely dry, it’s time to water it. Ideally, you will water your bonsai when the top of the soil is dry.
A great method of finding out whether or not your bonsai is dry enough to be watered is by testing the soil with your fingertip. If you stick your finger about a half of an inch into the soil and it is still dry, you should water your bonsai. If the soil is damp half of an inch down, you can probably go a few more days without watering the bonsai.
Another way to tell if your bonsai needs to be watered is by looking at its leaves. Are the leaves drooping or becoming brittle? Then your bonsai probably needs to be watered. If neither of those methods work or if you just want to be extra certain that it is time to water your bonsai, pick up the pot and test its weight. If it feels lighter than normal, this means that the soil is dry and it is probably time to water it.
Remember that this can differ between types of bonsai trees. Some trees, such as jade, do need to be allowed to dry out from time to time. Look into recommendations for your specific type of bonsai on how often to water it.
What Is the Best Watering Routine?
The best watering routine for a bonsai tree is no routine at all! If you have a watering routine, you could be missing signs that your bonsai needs water earlier than your routine tells you to water it or that you are watering your bonsai too often.
If you purchase a bonsai, it will most likely come with some sort of tag or care guide. On this tag or care guide, it might say that you need to water the bonsai every certain number or days. However, this is not the best way to take care of a bonsai and you shouldn’t rely on this schedule.
Instead of using a watering routine, listen to what your bonsai wants! You’ll be able to tell when your bonsai needs water just by observing it. Check to see if the soil is dry before you water it. If a bonsai doesn’t get enough water, you will notice that the tree will slowly start to dry out. The effects of underwatering will be noticeable very quickly. It’s easy to catch underwatering, and depending on the severity of the dryness of your bonsai, it can be easy to fix.
If a bonsai gets too much water, you’ll notice that the leaves might become brown or they might droop, and the tree will become loose in the pot. The leaves will look as if they are dry, which might make you think that you are actually underwatering your bonsai. This happens because too much water will cause the roots to rot slowly. Once a bonsai’s roots have rotted, the top of the tree will not be able to get the water that it needs so the leaves will start to dry out. Root rot happens after a few weeks of overwatering.
At What Point Is a Bonsai Still Savable?
Mistakes happen even with the most experienced bonsai caretakers. If you are worried that your bonsai is beyond return, you should try your best to repair any damage that you can.
The most important step is to determine what went wrong with your bonsai. The two most common problems with bonsai trees are over and underwatering. These two can actually be very difficult to tell the difference between. Over and underwatering have a lot of the same symptoms visible in your bonsai, as mentioned above. In each case, the leaves might start to droop or become dried out.
It’s important to think about when you first started to notice these symptoms in your bonsai. Overwatering will cause the symptoms to occur slowly over a span of weeks as the roots of your bonsai start to deteriorate and rot. Underwatering symptoms will start to appear very quickly, within a few days of the bonsai needing to be watered.
Overwatering is hard to recover from when the roots are rotted. However, underwatering is fairly easy to save a tree from. If the underwatering is serious, soak the whole pot in a tub of water until it gets evenly watered. Then you can resume your regular watering.
Make sure that you are also using the proper soil for your bonsai, and are using fertilizer and not only watering it with plain water. These two small steps will go a long way in keeping your bonsai healthy. If you have not been using fertilizer, you should start now! Your bonsai will thank you.