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Seasonal Tips to help you care for your bonsai - Winter


Bougainvillea and Crassula starts under fluorescents

Indoor Bonsai under flourescent lighting

TIPS - Winter

Indoor/Tropical Bonsai

Obviously your tropical bonsai need to stay inside out of our harsh winter cold. Be mindful of drafts - a cold, drafty window could create a troublesome micro-climate for your bonsai. Keep your bonsai in a bright location; a south facing window and/or different types of artificial lighting can be utilized. We've had great success overwintering our tropical bonsai indoors with fluorescent  and LED lighting.  


Your trees will appreciate an increased humidity level. Using a humidity tray, humidifier or frequent misting of your trees always helps.


Also, don't forget to feed your tropicals in winter; weak doses of a balanced fertilizer once or twice a month will suffice.


One last note, expect some leaf drop bringing your bonsai indoors during the winter months. As the days lengthen your bonsai will rebound and you will begin to see new foliage emerging. 


Finished bonsai under flourescents. 

Bougainvillea starts under LEDs.

Outdoor/Hardy Bonsai

Outdoor bonsai need a cold, yet protected location. An unheated garage, cold frame or an enclosed unheated porch are a few ways to winter your trees. Bonsai must be protected from the harsh wind and bright sun. Usually temps between 25-42 degrees F are ideal for your dormant bonsai - try to avoid extreme fluctuations of temperature.


Although daily watering is not required for dormant bonsai, less frequent watering is necessary to keep your tree's rootball moist. Here we check our bonsai every 10-14 days in the winter. NOTE: do not water a bonsai if its rootball is frozen. Wait until the tree thaws.


Also, winter is a good time to get some bonsai chores completed. Being able to see the winter silhouette, it may be the best time to prune and wire deciduous trees. It's also a good time to work on your pines, junipers and azaleas. However, after any major work is performed, don't allow your tree to refreeze. NOTE: do not root prune or repot your tree in the winter! 

Inside the cold house
Our cold house
 Examples of some natural occurrences in our hardiness zone 6b-7a.
Satsuki azalea experiencing inner foliage yellowing and leaf drop 
 Winter bronzing of Dwarf Boxwood 
 Winter bronzing of Chinese juniper 

If you need help with any of your bonsai chores, Yellowdog Bonsai can provide all the necessary services to keep your bonsai healthy and thriving. Contact Bob at or 267-679-4929

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