Bonsai growers often face the issue of yellowing leaves. While some yellowing is normal, too much yellowing can be very alarming. The first step in dealing with yellowing is identifying its cause. Sometimes, yellowing becomes very persistent and disheartening for even experienced growers. To deal with this issue, here are some time-tested techniques.


1. Understand What Makes the Bonsai Leaves Turn Yellow

The leaves of bonsai trees turn yellow for several reasons. First, a bonsai having pests and diseases can definitely turn yellow leaves. In this case, the yellowing leaves are only a symptom of a more serious problem. On the other hand, Malnourishment can also provoke bonsai leaves to turn yellow. When the plant is not getting its nutritional needs, the leaves may turn yellow due to a lack of iron and chlorophyll.


2. Prune Yellowing Bonsai Tree Leaves

The yellowing leaves are usually the ones on the top, high above the ground. It’s best to trim these leaves, as they only cause more shading upon the smaller leaves below. Pruning is not only an effective way to deal with yellowing, but it will also encourage new leaf growth. It’s best to prune the affected leaves at the base, not ripping the leaf apart. Pruning the leaves will help them regenerate instead of drying out and dying.


3. Allow the Plant to Thrive in a Good Soil

A bonsai plant should have a good balance of nutrients and water flow. You should have good potting soil and a good watering system, which is the key to providing irrigation for the plant. It’s common for some bonsai growers just to water their plants once a week. However, this is not enough to keep the leaves alive and green.


4. Water Your Bonsai Properly

To find the cause of yellowing leaves, you should check if the water you are using is hard or soft. Water that is hard or hard water will cause yellowing of the leaves. It will also cause the plant to lose its natural colour, as seen in the leaves.

The first step should constantly be changing the type of water used to water the plant. This can change the colour of the leaves back to their natural green shade.

5. Understand the Bonsai Tree Species You Are Growing

Each bonsai species has its own methods for growing and other specific requirements. As a result, each bonsai tree usually has a different level of yellowing. For example, the Chinese elm is one of the easiest species to grow, but it also has some of the most severe yellowing. The pine species is more difficult to grow, but it has far less yellowing.


6. Ensure the Plant is in the Right Environment

Do not place your bonsai tree in a natural sun area. This is one of the most common mistakes avid bonsai growers make. Bonsai trees are meant to be grown indoors and should be placed where they will receive the right amount of light. When the plant is exposed to direct sunlight, the leaves will be yellow, losing their green colour.



Yellowing of bonsai tree leaves is a common occurrence, especially among new growers. To stop the yellowing and get a healthy green color back, it’s essential to have a good understanding of your bonsai plant.

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