So, you are taking care of your precious bonsai tree, and then you realise something off—its leaves have started to turn yellow. What does this mean, and why did it happen to your bonsai leaves? Read on to learn what causes bonsai leaf yellowing.


What Does it Mean if My Bonsai Leaves Are Yellow?

If your bonsai leaves are yellow, there is an underlying problem. If you’re taking care of the tree and its leaves still turn yellow, that means it is no longer producing enough chlorophyll. This doesn’t automatically spell the end of your tree’s life, but it is a warning sign that you need to pay attention to.


Why Did My Leaves Turn Yellow?

  • Bad Irrigation Technique

It’s possible that you are actually improperly watering your bonsai tree. Improper watering technique is more common than you may think. Make sure that you don’t water it excessively. 

Too much watering will cause chlorosis, which makes the leaves yellow because of a lack of chlorophyll. If the yellow shade is intense, this could be the cause. Bad irrigation techniques can even kill your tree.

  • Lack of Hydration

On the other hand, you could also be giving your plant inadequate amounts of water. When your bonsai is dehydrated, it tries to conserve its energy and properly allocate water resources by shedding leaves. 

If this is the case, you’ll see that only some of the leaves are yellow.

  • Not Enough Nitrogen

Nitrogen is one of the main nutrients necessary for bonsai growth. Without a decent supply, your leaves will not grow as healthily and the colour will be affected. This is because nitrogen is largely responsible for the green colour of leaves. 

Make sure you pack in effective fertilizers that can replenish the nitrogen and make up for the deficiency. 

  • Wrong Placement

Sometimes, it’s just a matter of having your bonsai in the wrong place. This is more common for bonsai trees that have been put indoors. With a lack of adequate sunlight, the leaves start to get paler and yellowed.

Your bonsai needs to get enough natural light in order to prevent chlorosis. It also needs to photosynthesise in order to survive. The lack of light will not only harm leaf production but actually put your tree at risk of dying.

  • Iron Deficiency

Another major cause of chlorosis is nutrient deficiency. For bonsai, a common occurrence is iron chlorosis from a lack of iron or malabsorption. 

If you suspect this is the case, you need to apply iron chelate so that the iron is protected from oxidation. This stops it from leaching from the soil so your tree can really take it in. A good place to start is the substrate where your bonsai is placed.



Nobody wants their plants to be unhealthy. If your jupiter or ficus bonsai is starting to yellow, it’s time to change up your care practices and routine before it dies. If you’re unsure how to properly grow a bonsai and keep it healthy, start out with a bonsai kit.

The Bonsai Shop has everything you need to grow your own bonsai tree, from starter kits and pots to tools and accessories. We’ve also got an eBook to help new hobbyists. Check out our collection now and get started!