How are indoor bonsai maintained?

It is possible to take care of a bonsai indoors

Bonsai are trees that are kept in trays and cared for to make them look pretty. Often such a good job is done with them that it is easy to want to have one inside the house to give an oriental touch to its decoration. Corn, The problem is that no one tells us that these plants generally have trouble adapting to living conditions.

For it, we want you to know how to care for an indoor bonsai, assuming “indoor bonsai” don’t exist, since there isn’t a single tree growing anywhere. What happens is that there are a lot of them that are not cold hardy, and those are the ones to keep indoors during the winter. And yes, with a little luck, you can also enjoy it the rest of the year at home.


Which bonsai are labeled “indoor”?

The ficus retusa is an indoor bonsai

Image – Wikimedia/Greg Hume

The truth is that this is a question that does not have a single answer, and much will depend on the climate of the region. But, in general, and as we said at the beginning, any tree that is not able to withstand the cold will be labeled as “indoor”as is the case with other plants.

Of course, sometimes mistakes are made, because there are those who take into account the climate that generally exists in the country and not so much that of a specific region. For this reason, it is easy to find, for example, citrus bonsai as “indoor” in the Mediterranean, even though they can (and should) be perfectly outdoors in these places.

Corn To give you an idea, in Spain they have the following as indoor bonsai:

  • carmone: persistent, it is very sensitive to low temperatures. It should not be stored outside if it drops below 10°C. See file.
  • Citrus (orange, lemon, etc.): all are evergreen and withstand light frosts. They should be kept indoors only in areas where temperatures drop below -4°C.
  • ficus: the vast majority are evergreen, with the exception of some like ficus carica. The latter resists frost down to -7°C and must be kept outside; but evergreen varieties such as ficus retusa they are more delicate and it is better to have them inside the house in winter if the temperature drops below 0 degrees. Here you have the file of F. retusa.
  • sageretia: it is an evergreen tree that does not resist the cold.
  • Serissa: another evergreen tree, perhaps the most demanding. It needs high temperatures throughout the year. See file.

If you ever come across an elm (Ulmus or Zelkova), holly (Ilex aquifolium), or maple trees labeled as “indoor bonsai”, keep in mind that if you keep them indoors they will soon die. And it is that these trees are able to withstand frost and even snowfall. Keeping them inside the house would be a mistake, because they need to feel the passage of the seasons, the wind, the rain, the sun…, that’s why they don’t live long if kept in the houses.

How are indoor bonsai maintained?

Once we know which bonsai can be kept indoors, it’s time to see how to take care of them to keep them healthy:


these plants they should be kept in a room with plenty of light, because they need (natural) light. In addition, it is important that they are placed as far as possible from where we have the fan, the air conditioning device, and also from the windows if we have them usually open, since the drafts dry the leaves .


Indoor bonsai are delicate

Image – Wikimedia/David J. Stang

Should they be watered by the container method, that is to say “from below”, or from above by wetting the soil? I recommend always watering by directing the water towards the ground, although there is no problem if a tray or plate is filled and the bonsai is placed inside to absorb it. Now, after about 30 minutes, we have to remember to empty said tray or plate, otherwise we run the risk of root rot.

How often to water the bonsai? Indoors, the soil takes a long time to dry out, so we have to water several times a month. More or less, in the summer it will be about 2 times a week, while the rest of the year once a week.

You must use rainwater or water suitable for human consumptionbecause if it contains a lot of lime, it could cause damage (for example: yellow leaves due to the lack of certain nutrients such as iron or manganese, or clogging of the pores of the roots due to an excess of lime).


Like the rest of the indoor plants, the bonsai that are kept inside the house are, in general, tropical trees that need high humidity, such as that of the islands or near the coast, for example. . Corn when you live further inland, away from the sea or rivers, this humidity is usually low.

And this is a problem for these bonsai, because immediately we would see that first the tips of the leaves turn brown, and finally they fall off. Fortunately, this can be avoided if they are sprinkled with rainwater or distilled water daily in the summer, and every 2 or 3 days the rest of the year.


Indoor bonsai are difficult plants to maintain

Image – Wikimedia/Tom Kehoe

To make it look really pretty, it is advisable to fertilize it with a specific liquid fertilizer for this type of plant, such as Battle, which you can buy here following the instructions on the product packaging. The time to do so will be from spring to late summerbecause that’s when it’s most active.


Pruning will only consist of prune any overgrown branches. This will be done with scissors previously disinfected at the end of winter.


It is advisable to transplant in bonsai every two or three years, in spring. To do this, a specific substrate for these plants will be used, such as the one of the Flower brand that you have here, or if you wish, you can mix peat with 30% perlite.

Thus, we hope you can fully enjoy your indoor bonsai.

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