Bonsai plant food information! find out how to feed your Bonsai!

Welcome to Part 1 of our bonsai plant food and fertiliser guide!

You want to know about bonsai food and fertilisers?

Glad we can help!

This 2 Part guide will teach you how to feed your bonsai, when to feed them and the different types of fertiliser you will need. Everything you need to know is right here!

Although Bonsai is a natural art, well, almost........ you will need to employ a little chemical help in your endeavours! Without it, your Zen experience will diminish!

In the wild, trees grow vigorously due to naturally evolving soil, gaining strength from decaying plant and other organic matter. In your pot, at home, you cannot replicate this as your bonsai's environment will be controlled. There is a lack of organic matter to naturally feed your tree, so, you have to employ the use of bonsai plant food!

You may have read our tree guides and our information on repotting and soils, and realised that there is a need for bonsai plant food, particularly throughout growing seasons and after a repot. Also, make sure you have read some care instructions and our Care Guide!

We'll start by considering that successful feeding of bonsai is not an exact science, and is a delicate balance between too little and too much. What is a correct dosage? How do you know what too little or too much is?

Read on................

Giving your tree too much bonsai plant food can be deadly. If you hyperfeed your bonsai with liquid or solid bonsai plant food, you will promote plasmolysis - the opposite of osmosis. Instead of normal osmosis, where water travels from the soil to the tree, water will travel from the roots to the soil.

In order for osmosis to occur, there needs to be a higher concentration of salts and minerals in the roots than the soil; water will seek out higher concentrations. Hyperfeeding will increase salt and mineral levels in the soil, often above the levels in the roots, increasing plasmolysis and water loss in the tree.

You will often know when your tree in going through plasmolysis as the leaves will become dull in colour, limp and eventually begin dying. If you suspect that you have overfed your tree, immerse the entire pot in water, up to the trunk overnight to allow the fertiliser to become eradicated.

The other facet of overfeeding to watch out for....... actually, for this example we should use the term excessive feeding........ is unruly growth. Bonsai plant food will promote growth. The more food, the more growth. Your tree will become unruly and out of control very quickly, and if the branches thicken too much they will become less malleable for shaping, so stay on top of it!

So, thats the scientific way of explaining overfeeding, lets continue!

Underfeeding can also be a problem.

Your bonsai will need to be fed to promote growth and to remain strong and vigorous. without food, much like us humans, your bonsai will become weak and will lack nutrients it requires to fight disease and infection throughout winter.

Also, by underfeeding you will inhibit your bonsai's growth and disallow maturity. This wastes your time and can add years of torment to the process!

Lets look at some bonsai plant food basic do's and don'ts!


• Use food (fertiliser) at the start of Spring through autumn

• Use small doses at frequent intervals, rather than high doses and longer intervals

• Feed older trees less than younger trees. In bonsai, youth describes trees less than 10 years old

• Keep an eye on your tree for signs of overfeeding


• Feed deciduous trees until their leaves become harder. Feeding when they are weaker will burn them

• Use fertiliser during Winter

• Feed your bonsai before, during or straight after flowering. A month either side is best

• Feed freshly repotted bonsai until they begin growing strongly again

• Feed a sick tree. fertilising will make it worse

As you can probably tell, the most important point to remember is..........

do not overfeed!

Now you understand the basic points of bonsai plant food and feeding, continue onto Part 2 of our Feeding guide to learn which fertilisers to use! You will also find products you can buy directly here!

Or, leave bonsai plant food and head back to Bonsai Care 2!