Ultimate Guide to Growing Bonsai Trees Indoors


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Have you been searching for a guide for growing bonsai trees indoors? Well, great news! The ultimate guide to growing bonsai trees indoors is right here! This article is full of information pertaining to growing directly from seed, all the way up to the amount of water and light your growing indoor bonsai will need!

Maintenance and care are crucial in growing a bonsai tree indoors. Every tree species will need specific care; this article will teach you the basics that all bonsai trees need, including pruning and wiring.

Growing Bonsai Trees Indoors

The first step to growing your bonsai tree is to figure out which tree species suits your needs and climate. Growing bonsai indoors limits your options to subtropical trees due to their ability to survive indoors. However, you can choose a tropical tree to mimic the environment they need to thrive indoors. Once you’ve found a species that works for you, you’ll need to acquire seeds!

Growing Bonsai Indoors from Seeds

Growing from seed is the less expensive way of creating your unique bonsai. However, this method tends to progress at a snail’s pace. It generally takes around 2-5 years before a bonsai tree is mature enough to be styled, so you might want to do this as a side project.

1. Prep Your Container

Get started by applying a layer of a coarse, water-draining substrate, like lava rock or grit, to the container you want your bonsai to grow in.

2. Add Soil

Next, add a layer of standard bonsai soil to the container.

3. Acquire Your Seeds

Purchase or collect tree seeds and check if they require stratification. Whether or not stratification is needed depends on the tree species you choose.

4. Place the Seeds

Place the seeds on the soil and leave some room between the tree seeds. Sizeable tree seeds tend to require more space to grow.

5. Add More Soil

Add another inch of standard Bonsai soil on top of the seeds.

6. Compact the Soil

Use your fingers to help compact the soil tightly together.

7. Water Your Tree

Finally, water thoroughly. Continuously keep the seedbed slightly moist but never soaked.

8. Wait for Your New Tree

Wait about a year before repotting the seedlings in individual pots. And then wait at least one more year before pruning or wiring.

Bonsai Tree Maintenance

Now that you know how to grow your bonsai tree indoors, how do you maintain it properly?

Shaping and Styling

When your tree is mature enough, you can start pruning and wiring. Pruning and wiring are the creative and fun parts of growing bonsai, but it’s also the most challenging part. It can take decades to master the art of bonsai. Luckily, you can learn the basics of bonsai without difficulty.


Pruning is a crucial practice used to shape trees and keep them miniature. The best time to prune your tree is during Spring, although this is dependent on the type of tree you have. Make sure to buy a good pair of concave cutters to make pruning thicker branches easier. They create a more hollowed wound that heals much better than those made by standard branch cutters.

When two tree branches are the same height on the tree trunk, cut one, and keep the other. If you have a branch with bizarre twists and turns or notice disproportionately thick branches at the top of the tree, it is best to cut them as the purpose of bonsai is to have a realistic but miniature version of the tree.


Another essential technique to shape bonsai trees is called wiring. By carefully wrapping anodized aluminum, or annealed copper, around bonsai branches, you can bend and shape them to your will. Wiring can be applied year-round, but make sure to remove the wire promptly before it starts digging into branches that grow thicker.

Indoor Bonsai Tree Care

Caring for an indoor bonsai is significantly different from caring for usual houseplants. The most significant difference is that bonsai trees are planted in small pots and have limited storage for nutrients and water. More importantly, tropical trees are accustomed to receiving a lot of light and high humidity, climates that are challenging to replicate in a home.

Guide to Growing Bonsai Trees Indoors

Depending on the species of bonsai tree you have, you may have to care for it slightly differently. Some may need more light, while some may need less. Be sure you know what kind of tree you have to ensure you’re giving it the proper care. The following list contains different things that all bonsai need to thrive.

1. Light

The main problem with keeping a tropical Bonsai tree indoors is that the sunlight is limited indoors. Bonsai will not die immediately, but growth will decrease and weaken the plant over time. That’s why it is best to place your tree in the brightest location. When growing bonsai inside a south-facing window is optimal placement for your tree. Although, even when you have a south-facing window, the light intensity may still be too low. You can supplement the lack of light with artificial lighting to help your tree. Sub-tropical trees will do perfectly fine indoors, though they generally need a good amount of light and relatively high humidity.

2. Humidity

Another issue with keeping a Bonsai tree indoors is that the tree needs relatively high humidity, much higher than the conditions of your home. You can increase the humidity near your Bonsai tree by placing it on a humidity tray filled with water and by misting your tree a few times a day. You can also circulate air from outdoors by opening a window during the day.

3. Watering and Fertilizing

How much and how often you should water a bonsai depends on a wide range of factors, such as tree species, pot size, soil mixture, and climate. Since bonsai trees are placed in such small pots, they tend to dry up quickly, so it is crucial to water your bonsai when needed. However, over-watering can result in root rot. Root rot is one of the leading causes of death for most bonsai.

Choosing the right soil mixture for your bonsai and re-potting regularly is crucial to keeping your tree healthy. Most bonsai need to be repotted every 2 years to make sure the trees don’t become pot-bound, making it harder to soak up and store water. An essential rule for watering is to keep a close eye on your tree and soil and water, when necessary, rather than watering once a day or on a schedule. Water your bonsai thoroughly to make sure the soil absorbs water properly.

Besides watering and repotting, fertilization is another significant thing to keep in mind. Small pots with little space limit water and nutrient retention. Fertilizing regularly in the tree’s growing season is essential to guarantee your tree stays healthy and thrives. Again, the amount and frequency with which you fertilize your bonsai depend on the tree species you have.

4. Temperature

Tropical tree species need relatively high temperatures throughout the year. Meanwhile, subtropical bonsai trees can withstand somewhat lower temperatures and generally thrive when they enjoy a winter season with temperatures well below that of the standard room temperature.

Growing Bonsai Trees Indoors – The Wrap-up

Most bonsai trees are unable to thrive indoors. However, it is possible to grow and raise one indoors with the correct care. Choose one that can thrive in your home environment or do your best to mimic the outdoor environment it likes if you choose a tropical tree instead of a subtropical one.


We advise that you choose your bonsai based on your taste and whether you want to place it indoors or outdoors. If you plan on growing indoors, the most popular tree species are Ficus and Carmona trees.

Bonsai is no crueler than trimming your hedges or mowing your lawn. Bonsai techniques like pruning, wiring, and repotting are essential to ensuring a plant’s health. More importantly, bonsai are grown with tons of affection, patience, and care. They often outlive trees growing in nature.

If properly cared for, bonsai can outlive fully grown trees in nature. Some bonsai trees are over 800 years old. These were passed on from father to son over generations in the bonsai nurseries in Japan.

You should not water on a fixed schedule. Keep a close eye on the topsoil, and when you see that the tree is drying out slightly, water it. When you water your bonsai, do so thoroughly to ensure that the entire root mass is moist but not soaked. Forgetting to water is an immediate problem. Too much water can lead to problems in the long run. So, monitor your bonsai and water when necessary.


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