Growing a bonsai is an art, and taking good care of a bonsai can be a challenge. They require time, patience and dedication. And if you are a beginner, you should spend more time learning the basics of bonsai growing. While taking care of your bonsai, there may come a time when you notice it’s not as vibrant as it used to be. If your bonsai begins to decline, it could be for a number of reasons. Let’s look at some of them and how you can save your tree.

1. Underwatering

Your bonsai will start to wither if it is underwatered. For example, the leaves will turn yellow, become shrivelled, and fall off. The roots will begin to die as well. The branches and trunk will weaken, causing your bonsai to become top-heavy, eventually falling over.

If your bonsai is not getting enough water and you notice the above symptoms, it’s time to water your tree. Do not let the top soil dry out, and never let it sit in a tray of water. This can cause root rot. Check the soil with your fingers. It should be slightly moist at all times.

2. Overwatering

Some signs that your bonsai is overwatered include yellowing leaves, wrinkling leaves, and droopy branches. The leaves on your bonsai will tell you the amount of water it needs in between watering. As a general rule, you should water your bonsai once a week. Water it more frequently if it is planted in a shallow pot or in a location with poor drainage.

It’s important to know how frequent your bonsai needs to be watered because overwatering can kill it. It really depends on the type of tree you have. Some bonsai trees are native to humid areas and need more water than others. Foliage plants, like tropical and subtropical trees, will need more water than trees that are native to arid climates.

3. Too Much Light

Another reason why a bonsai might be dying is because of too much light. Bonsai are usually placed near a window for sunlight. But if the sunlight is too strong or if it’s in a room that’s too hot, the bonsai will not thrive. This can happen if the bonsai is placed near a window that faces the sun.

When the bonsai is placed too near a window, the strong light can dry out the soil. Never place your bonsai near a cold draft. Strong drafts, such as from an air conditioner or heater, can also kill your bonsai. If you have an indoor bonsai, keep it away from radiators.

4. Insects

Ants or mites may be eating away at the roots of your bonsai. They will move along the roots and eat them away, especially if the roots are on the surface of the soil. Check your bonsai for these pests; don’t just look at the branches.

If your bonsai was in the garden, check for the presence of ants by searching for them around the base of your bonsai. They typically surround the base of the tree, especially if the tree is close to the ground. If you notice any kind of pest or insect, search for the source. If you find nothing, take your tree to a professional.

5. Improper Pruning

Pruning is important for the health of your bonsai. It allows light, air, and moisture to reach the inside of the branches. The result is stronger branches and healthier foliage. However, if you prune the bonsai too often, the tree will not have enough time to grow new branches and leaves.

When pruning, never leave stubs. Cut branches back until they’re flush with the trunk. You can cut each branch back one by one, or you can prune your bonsai all at once. It’s up to you. Make sure that each branch is cut as flush as possible with the trunk.


There are other reasons your bonsai might be dying, but these are the most common ones. These are not difficult to prevent, and you can save your tree if you can spot these problems at an early stage.

If you want to make sure your bonsai tree thrives and grows beautifully, then you’ll need the right tools and supplies at your disposal. Bonsai Shop is here to provide everything you need to grow your beloved trees. We carry tools, pots, and bonsai plants for sale, as well as other accessories. Shop now to get your very own bonsai starter kit!