Watering a Bonsai is one of the fundamental tasks to carry out to look after your Bonsai successfully.
It seems like quite a simple thing to do but, in the Bonsai world, watering is a skill that can take years to master with confidence.
Each tree has different requirements, and watering them all at the same time with the same frequency is not a good practice. If you are going for a holiday, it may be wiser to ask a friend or family member to look after your trees while you are away rather than rely on an automatic watering system. Other options are available. For example, if you are part of a Bonsai club, ask another member to look after your plants—the members usually look after one another’s trees when required—or you could use a Bonsai-sitter service from a professional nursery.
Many trees can be killed by over-watering or allowing them to go bone dry for an excessive period. If your Bonsai is left in a soaking wet environment for too long, the roots will rot. On the other hand, if you let it dry up for too long, your Bonsai will suffer from dehydration and will die quite quickly.
These scenarios make it quite necessary for us to understand the needs of our trees for the sake of their health. Nowadays, it’s quite easy to retain information about the specific care for each species we hold in our collections, and this should give you a good hint about how to approach your Bonsai.
Part of your daily routine should be to check your tree and estimate if it requires water. This can be done by rubbing the soil’s surface or plunging a wooden stick dip down to the bottom of the pot. If the surface of the soil or the stick are wet, then the tree doesn’t need to be watered. If they are damp, then you can water it, and when its dry, you must water.
Watering is best practised early morning or late afternoon (in the summertime, you can water both or even three times a day). This task can be handled with watering cans, hoses, and lances, and all of them should be fitted with a very fine rose pointing upward.
Gently water your pot by moving the spout up and down to allow the soil to first absorb water, then go down the pot, and finally, fill it up.