Why Is My Bonsai Dropping Leaves?


Since my passion for Bonsai began, I have spent countless hours reading Forum posts and it’s very clear that a lot of beginners struggle with their Bonsais dropping leaves. I dread to think how many people have completely given up on a bonsai tree purely due to the leaves dropping. Don’t fret, it’s not going to be the end of your tree (hopefully)!


There are only a few reasons a bonsai tree would be dropping leaves. The most common reasons for your bonsai dropping leaves are overwatering, underwatering, lack of light and possibly even your tree has a disease.





A lot of beginners are extremely paranoid about their bonsai tree, and new hobby, dying. Therefore, many beginners will overwater a bonsai tree in the hopes of keeping it strong and healthy. Unfortunately, it does the polar opposite. Overwatering will cause what’s known as ‘root rot’, which essentially makes your bonsai extremely weak and will eventually cause the leaves to drop.


Watering amounts will of course change through-out the year and will vary from tree to tree, however, watering your bonsai as the soil is starting to turn from damp to dry is definitely the best course of action to avoid root-rot. Root-rot will not happen overnight, realistically speaking, overwatering your bonsai tree a few times shouldn’t make too much of an impact on the health of your tree. However, over a long period of time, your tree will become extremely weak. If you’re interested in learning more about this, I have put together an in-depth article about over-watering your bonsai tree and what you can do to fix it!




On the opposite end of the spectrum, underwatering your bonsai is just as detrimental as overwatering. Forgetting to water your bonsai tree will no doubt cause the leaves to drop off within just a few days. Finding the perfect watering routine can be tricky, feel free to reference my bonsai watering guide to learn some tips that may help you out.


Ensure that as soon as the soil is starting to dry out, you water your bonsai tree until water is draining out of the bonsai pot. I would highly recommend setting an alarm on your phone if you’re likely to forget to water your tree. If a tree drops leaves through underwatering, it’s extremely hard to bring the bonsai back to a healthy state, so avoiding this happening at all costs is definitely a better port of call.




Lack of light is again another huge reason for leaves dropping off a bonsai tree. Instead of putting your indoor bonsai where you think looks nice, it’s a lot more important to think about the amount of light the tree will be getting. I highly recommend putting your bonsai tree in front of a window that gets a lot of sunlight. Bonsai trees LOVE sunlight!


If your bonsai tree is placed somewhere very sunny, yet still dropping leaves, it’s most likely to be overwatering or underwatering that’s causing your issue, not the lack of sunlight. Of course it’s important to bare in mind that if your bonsai is sitting in a window, it’s likely to be getting pretty hot through-out the summer. Although that’s not directly a problem, you’ll need to increase the frequency you’re watering the bonsai to avoid it drying out and the leaves dropping off.




Most indoor bonsai trees are pretty unlikely to suffer from disease, so I won’t go into too much detail in this article. However, if you’re sure your tree is being watered the correct amount and gets enough sunlight, yet is still dropping leaves, you definitely need to consider the possibility that your tree has a disease.



So, in conclusion, your bonsai tree is only going to drop leaves due to improper care, or disease. For the majority of indoor bonsai trees, the likelihood of disease is pretty slim, so it’s more likely to be either, underwatering, overwatering or a lack of light. Although there is no ‘fix’ as such, however, ensuring that your bonsai tree has the right amount of water and gets an optimal amount of sunlight, over time, should bring the tree back to health.


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