Taking care of plants requires an observant eye and keen senses. Since plants can’t express themselves and speak about what they need, plants give apparent clues indicating what they need or what they are more than.

Bonsais are nothing different—although they’re plants prohibited from further growing into their potential size, they still exhibit the same signs. Therefore, the common reasons shown by typical plants should also indicate the same things on them. But what does it mean when a bonsai’s leaf falls off?


1. Too Much or Too Little Light

Bonsai leaves have a specific colour to absorb particular light. Like people and most other animals, different light conditions mean different needs for the plants. If a bonsai tree is getting too much or too little light, the leaves would be either pale or dark-coloured.

When the top of the tree turns yellow and leaves start falling off, it means you’ve moved it to a spot with too much light. While this can be the case sometimes, generally, it is too little light, which results in the same result.


2. Plant Disease Infection

When leaves turn yellow, and the bonsai is turning sickly, the leaves fall off. It is because plants’ immune systems are compromised and just trying to protect themselves. Just like the immune system of humans, it’s the response to antigen attacks. In the case of a bonsai, the leaves fall off to let it cure itself of the infection. If you don’t want the bonsai to die, you need to find the exact cause and treat it immediately.


3. Overwatering

There is a point where you should stop watering the bonsai. Although you know that you did everything else right, if the leaves fall off, it’s also because you over-watered it. In general, you should water the bonsai every day. But if you notice that the leaves are thin and pale, it means that you’ve overwatered it. Stop watering the bonsai until the leaves are moist.


4. Underwatering

Overwatering is bad but underwatering is deadly—if you don’t water your bonsai at all, the leaves will start to turn yellow and fall off. But then again, it’s not just an extreme case since the under-watering would also make the leaves weak and sick, which causes them to fall off.

Similarly, underwatering also cause yellow leaves to fall off. When the leaves start turning pale, and you frequently water it, it’s usually because of under-watering. Like under-watering, overwatering is also a killer of bonsai trees. The only difference is that under-watering is what kills it faster.


5. Poor Soil Quality

A healthy bonsai is the result of nutritional soil quality. If the bonsai has poor soil quality, it will fall off because it is unhealthy. Soil quality can be determined by seeing if the bonsai has a healthy green. Just make sure that you water the bonsai right after you plant it. Once the plant dries out, you can give it a small amount of water.



Taking care of a bonsai tree may seem a little daunting at first, but once you know how to maintain it, it’s not that hard at all. The thing with bonsai is that it is a living thing, and you need to give it the care it needs, just like any other living thing.

Bonsai Shop is the leading bonsai shop in Australia. Aside from providing bonsai starter kits and supplies in the country, we also share tips and tricks in taking care of the small plants through books and blogs. Visit our website today and learn more about bonsais.