Your First Bonsai

A majority of peoples first Bonsai are Indoor Trees. These are most likely tropical trees from Asia or the South America’s. The following points are for guidance, if you require more details see the book reviews.


These trees ahould have a minimum temperature of between 6 – 10 C in the winter and summer temperatures of between 18 – 22 C. You can place these trees outdoor on a warm summers day.


The ideal location to place your tree is on a east facing window sill or a bright north is second best. It’s best not too place your tree on a southern or western facing window as this will cause rapid drying of the soil with the heat of the afternoon sun, so be vigilant during the summer months if you have to place your trees there.

Misting and Humidity.

Indoor trees should be misted at least once daily to compensate for the low humidity in homes. This is particulary important with winter heating. Avoid placing your Bonsai near a radiator, fire or hot air duct as no amount of misting will save your tree.
You can use a humidity tray to help your Bonsai stay moist. This is best done by placing some small pebbles (Aquarium gravel) on a tray and adding some water. Rest your Bonsai on the stones making sure its not sitting on the water. As the water evaporates, it will provide a more humid environment for your tree. Also remember that misting and humidity tray will not replace proper watering techniques.


Before you water your tree it is best to leave the water standing in a container to reach room temperature. I tend to collect rain water or use filtered water. If you have a high lime cotent in your water dont use tap water on Azalea’s.

How do you know when to water?

Scratch or rub the surface of the soil. If the soil is wet leave it. if the soil is damp you can give some slight watering or soil misting and if it is dry, well it needs watering.

How to water?

The best method is to use a fine ‘rose spray watering can’ as you would use for watering seedlings. You can submerse your tree about once a month.

Do not over water your tree as you could drown the roots.

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  1. I just got a present of a beautiful bonsai tree i think its called ‘Tree of a Thousand Stars’ I love hardy plants and have a lovely avocado plant for some years now but am nervous of this new one it seems to be a very strong and powerful tree I dont know how to look after it. websites give conflicting advice. I read your information and tips are clear thanks anything else i need to know? what if i go away for a week or two?

    • Hi Detta

      A great Bonsai to start with. The ‘Tree of a Thousand Stars’ is also known as the Chinese Snowrose or Serissa.

      Going on holidays is always a worrying time for collectors.
      Firstly your local Bonsai shop may have a tree holiday care service or you have a neighbour with green fingers. If not any of the above then see the following:

      I normally place the indoor trees on the draining board on capillary matting or a large tray with pebbles and some water. The trees sit on top of the stones. The location must be away from direct sunlight. With this I would use a drip watering system. One I have found very good is the ‘Big Drippa from Harrod Horticulture.

      I’ll put up an article with more details if that will help.

      Thanks for the question


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