Growing bonsai at home perhaps isn’t as difficult as you may think. Besides the undeniable cuteness, bonsai is the perfect small plant for plant enthusiasts of all ages. They are ever so slightly more delicate compared to your average indoor plant, but with some tender love and care it will thrive.


The art of bonsai started over 900 years ago in China as a hobby for the Royal Family members. Shared with the Western World during the first World War, it was introduced to New Zealand in the last 100 years and has become a popular hobby for plant lovers. Translating to “tree in shallow container” bonsai are grown in pots or small containers and are trained to produce a desired shape through ‘pruning and pinching’. Since your bonsai is a living miniature tree it will only get more beautiful as it matures, just as regular sized trees do. With the right care, your plant will go on to remain healthy, beautiful and of course, miniature for many years to come. Here are our top tips for growing bonsai:

Bonsai Placement

Bonsai thrive outdoors the vast majority of the year. During winter, when nightly lows drop below 5 degrees, it’s time to bring them indoors. Your bonsai loves the morning sun, so it’s best to position the bonsai where it can soak up that morning sun and relax in afternoon shade. When indoors, it’s best to placed on a window sill where it will get enough sunlight to keep healthy.

Watering Bonsai

Watering is the most crucial step to keeping it healthy and happy for years. The soil should never become completely dry so depending on its sun exposure, it may need daily watering. However, this may vary depending on the size of the pot, type of soil and type you own. We recommend using a moisture meter at the beginning to help you discover how much water your plant needs. Also, our knowledgeable staff members at Palmers are there to answer any questions you have.

Growing Bonsai

Fertilising Bonsai

Since your bonsai is growing in such a small amount of soil it is necessary to replenish the soil’s supply of nutrients from time to time. Any general-purpose liquid fertiliser will be perfect, we recommend the Thrive All Purpose Liquid Plant Food from Yates. However because of their miniature size, we suggest that fertilisers should be used at half their recommended strength. Apply your fertiliser at least once a month except during winter.

Pest and Disease Control

Keep in mind that your bonsai is a tree at the end of the day, just in miniature form, so it can be treated for insects and diseases the same as any other tree. However, as with the fertiliser, dilute the strength of any pest or disease control product you use so as to not overwhelm your plant.

Growing Bonsai

So when it comes to growing bonsai, keep the soil from getting dry, keep them out of freezing temperatures, and feed them monthly.

This ‘How To’ Guide has been produced to provide basic information and our experienced staff are available to answer any questions that you may have. Because this guide is of a general nature, neither Palmers nor its staff are responsible for the application of the information, as the contents may need to be modified for individual projects and site applications.