I’ve done a fair few species care guides but I realised I’ve never done a guide addressing everything to do with caring for an indoor bonsai tree.
Indoor bonsai trees are generally harder to care for than outdoor trees as you need to try to replicate the environment they live in, in nature. These are usually tropical or sub-tropical conditions, meaning you need to have high levels of light, heat and humidity to keep the bonsai tree thriving, which can be tricky to achieve. Keep reading to find out more…
Picking An Indoor Bonsai Tree
When looking to start growing an indoor bonsai tree, you’re best going with a sub-tropical or tropical species of tree as these are going to be best suited for living in your home. There are a huge amount of different potential species to choose from but I would advise going for one of the easier species that require less expertise to keep.
These trees can all be grown indoors relatively easily for beginners, without having to create increased humidity levels. These species are commonly used in bonsai starter kits as they’re known for not being too tricky to keep alive and thriving.
Indoor Bonsai Tree Care Requirements
Bonsai trees, whether indoor or outdoor all need access to water, sunlight and fresh air. Bonsai typically have quite a reputation for being hard to care for purely because of the attention to detail that goes into these aspects, which is a lot greater than that of maybe just keeping a succulent alive.
Arguably the most important factor in keeping a bonsai tree alive is the watering. When growing an indoor bonsai, you’re responsible for 100% of the water the tree is going to be getting, so keeping on top of it is extremely important. My indoor bonsai dry out a lot faster than my outdoor trees, so I check the soil moisture every day of the year.
I have a full watering guide
here which will show you exactly how to keep your indoor bonsai well watered all year round.
Trees need a huge amount of light to stay healthy and ensure growth is maintained. Providing the levels of light a tree actually needs, indoors, can be tricky comparative to growing one outdoors but it’s still possible. Finding a sunny window is the best option for most indoor bonsai. You’ll want to keep rotating the pot every few days, especially during the growing season to ensure that all of the foliage is getting a nice even amount of sunlight without burning.
If you fail to provide enough sunlight for the tree you’re going to start noticing yellowing leaves, a lack of new growth and these mean you need to try and change the positioning of the tree to somewhere getting more light.
3. Heat & Humidity
As tropical and sub-tropical trees are from warm climates, they need to live in a relatively high heat. If you’re someone who likes to keep your house at a nice warm temperature during the winter, the bonsai should have no problem surviving at that kind of temperature.
These indoor bonsai species also tend to originate from areas with high levels of humidity, so we have to try and achieve that artificially. The only way to do this without getting too complicated is to make use of a bonsai humidity tray that sits under the pot, full of water. Beyond that and allowing fresh air into the room, there isn’t much you can do.
Can Any Bonsai Tree Be Grown Indoors?
No, only subtropical or tropical bonsai tree species can be grown indoors all year round for a number of reasons. Bonsai trees are genetically the same as their full size species out in nature and they require more or less the same growing conditions. Bringing a tree that in nature is used to the colder, wetter environment into a warm, humid house is sure to be a killer for the tree.
Trees go dormant in the winter months, which is extremely important for the health of the tree and the growth you’ll see the following summer. This dormant period only happens as the light levels start lowering and the temperatures get much colder. By growing an outdoor bonsai tree indoors, it will never actually get a dormant period.
Growing an indoor bonsai is great fun and the perfect route for beginners to take, or anyone without green thumbs! Make it easier on yourself by picking a sub-tropical or tropical tree species, as these are going to thrive indoors providing you follow the correct care instructions!
Indoor Bonsai Care Guide Video