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How Long Can Bonsai Go Without Water?

If you are new to bonsai, you may have some pretty understandable questions, such as “how long can a bonsai go without water?” 

After all, the art of bonsai is pretty complex and delicate, so it’s essential to be aware of such crucial factors to get the ideal tree.

Because many different species can become bonsai trees, there is no universal amount of time a bonsai tree can go without water. 

However, the average time a tree can survive without water is two weeks.

But, you should know that several other factors can affect how often you should water your bonsai. 

In this article, we’ll look at different elements, like species and environment, that can help you decide when you’ll need to water your bonsai

How Long Can a Bonsai Go Without Water?

First of all, you should know that there is no such thing as a “bonsai” species of tree. 

There are actually many different species that can become bonsai trees.

Naturally, this means there is no universal constant as to how often you’ll need to water a bonsai tree. 

After all, different trees have different needs. 

And the species of the bonsai tree in question may determine how often you need to water it, more so than any other factor.

Yet, of course, many species that have become popular as bonsai trees have done so because they are easy to take care of and do not require constant attention. 

Thus, most species of tree that people use for bonsai can go without water for roughly two weeks. 

If conditions around the tree are absolutely ideal, they might be able to live without water for three weeks.

But, you should definitely research the particular type of tree you are using as a bonsai and check how often you’ll need to water it. 

That’s the best way to ensure you get an accurate idea of how often to water your bonsai.

How to Tell When to Water Your Bonsai

Unfortunately, taking care of trees is not an exact science. 

You just don’t have a nifty little meter or clock that tells you the exact time you’ll need to water a tree.

So, you often have to make an educated guess.

That being the case, there are ways for you to make an informed guess as to when your bonsai needs water, and you can usually do that by feeling the soil. 

Thus, if you are unsure if it is time to water your bonsai, stick your finger into the soil, about half an inch deep. 

This soil should be fairly moist.

If the soil at that depth is dry, it’s probably a good time to water your bonsai. 

However, it’s essential to remember that this is a general rule of thumb and may not be the most accurate way to judge when you should water your bonsai. 

Still, this method can be pretty useful in determining when your tree needs a drink. 

Home Conditions Make a Difference

How long your bonsai can survive between waterings depends a lot on the conditions the bonsai tree has to put up within your house. 

As you may imagine, if your home is full of hot, dry air, you may need to water the bonsai rather frequently. 

So, generally speaking, you don’t want the humidity in the surrounding environment to be too low. 

And some parts of your home may be more humid than others, so try to pick a relatively humid spot for your bonsai tree.

How Often Should You Water a Bonsai for Optimum Health?

Earlier, I said that a bonsai could go without water for two weeks on average and even three in some cases. 

But just because that’s how long a bonsai can go without water does not mean that’s how long you should actually wait to water it under normal circumstances. 

Your bonsai may survive without water for two or three weeks, but you typically still want to water it every four to seven days if you want the tree to be healthy and not have any problems. 

You certainly wouldn’t want to water it only once every two weeks, or the tree could start to look sickly.

Overall, bonsai trees need regular water to stay healthy and strong.

Below are some of the most common bonsai species and some guidelines about when you should water them. 

Ficus Bonsai 

Ficus bonsais prefer moist soil, so you should check its dirt every day to ensure the top layer is still damp. 

Overall, you should never allow the soil of a ficus bonsai to get any more than slightly dry. 

Juniper Bonsai 

Normally, you’ll need to water a juniper bonsai every two or three days. 

However, if you live in a particularly wet climate, you may only need to water it once a week. 

Japanese Maple Bonsai 

In the first month after planting, you should water your Japanese maple every two or three days. 

Yet, after a month, you will only need to water it once a week or more often if the soil gets dry.


Many species of trees can be bonsais, meaning you may need to water different bonsai trees at different rates. 

Therefore, you should research the needs of the particular species of tree you own.

Yet, generally speaking, a bonsai tree can survive for up to two weeks without water before it starts suffering adverse effects. 

However, if the environment the tree exists in is particularly suitable for the tree, it may be able to go as long as three weeks without water. 

You should strive to water your bonsai about every four to seven days, though, to ensure the plant stays healthy and beautiful.

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