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Bonsai Tree Leaves Turning Yellow – Gardener’s Advice

Bonsai are just normal trees that are trimmed to remain physically small. These trees possess similar characteristics.

Bonsai trees require care and attention as other trees do.

When discussing leaves turning yellow, bonsai are not an exception.

Bonsai are also susceptible to pests, different weather conditions, and perhaps even nutrition.

Bonsai leaves turning yellow is always a major blow to several bonsai enthusiasts. Many always stumble on this problem.


This condition also always makes beginners growing bonsai have sleepless nights.

Many beginners are always disheartened and always conclude that their bonsai is dying and offer very little attention and care.

You need to know that yellowing of leaves may signify several things. One of the main reasons behind leaves yellowing may be natural.

Plants always have yellow leaves, and that’s their nature. Bonsai is no exception being that they are small.

This article will give you all reasons for your bonsai leaves turning yellow and possible solutions to make it healthier.

You only need to dedicate some time to read this and become a mature gardener.

All Possible Reasons For The Yellow Leaves In Your Bonsai

Just as stated earlier, there are several reasons for the yellowing of your bonsai leaves. These reasons may be positive or negative.

Here are some of the possible reasons for the yellowing of bonsai leaves:

  • Stress
  • Underwatering
  • The time of the year
  • Hard trimming
  • Hardwiring
  • The environment
  • Lack of minerals
  • Lack of light
  • Exposer to cold
  • Over-watering


Just like other plants being stressful in some conditions, same to bonsai. There are several reasons for stress in all plants.

Some of the possible reasons that may trigger stress are either a drastic change in weather pattern or transplanting a plant to a new habitat.

Again, if you mishandle the plant during potting, wiring, pruning, and drastic change in temperature may also trigger stress.

When your bonsai is stressed, you can notice that through the yellowing of leaves.


Under-watering is the most likely reason for the yellowing of your bonsai tree. It’s advised to regularly water your potted bonsai.

Many people always skip watering their potted bonsai so much. This will always result in your bonsai leaves turning yellow.

You may also observe some symptoms of under-watering, such as wilting, drying, and maybe crumpling of your bonsai leaves.

Generally, water is one of the essentials of growing plants. Plants have several natural processes that are water-driven. With just a drop in water level, some of these processes will stop.

When these processes stop, plants will be no longer generating food, thus affecting everything in the plant.

The Time Of The Year

It’s a normal occurrence for the plants to drop their yellow leaves at a given time of the year.

When winter knocks, the plants should be dropping their yellow leaves and enter a dormant period.

These leaves will always turn yellow before being able to drop. This is the nature of plants and doesn’t signify any problem.

You will notice this when the temperatures drop to about 15 degrees Celsius. If your bonsai is that of outdoor, you should bring it into the house for about six weeks.

Hard Trimming

Excessive trimming of your bonsai tree will always make its leaves turn yellow. You will be stressing your bonsai tree, and that will make its leaves turn yellow.

You should not trim your bonsai if you realize that its unhealthy. You should only trim healthy bonsai trees. That doesn’t mean that you excessively cut it.

If you just transplanted your bonsai or repotted it, you should not trim it.

Give your bonsai some time to adapt to the new environment.

Keep watering it and position it where it gets enough sunlight before trimming it.

You should also wash your trimming scissors after trimming every plant before proceeding to the next. This will help you control the spread of pests and diseases from one bonsai to another.


When you find it so essential to wire your bonsai, it should be done while the plant is left to grow and removed the same time of growth.

Failing to remove the wire will result in breaking the bonsai bark and making the bonsai have several harmful infections.

You need to continually water your bonsai after wiring and avoid any form of trimming it to avoid any stress for some time.

Failing to do so will make your bonsai stressed; thus, the leaves turning brown.

The Environment

You need to make sure that you are growing your bonsai tree in the most suitable environment. You cannot grow an outdoor bonsai tree in an indoor environment without putting the necessary facilities.

It’s possible to grow any bonsai species in an indoor or outdoor environment. You only need to make sure that you are providing the exact conditions required.

You will be forced to monitor the environment temperature, humidity, and perhaps light, which may, at times, be slightly expensive to carter for.

Bonsai that are grown indoors will always be susceptible to leaves turning yellow as compared to their peers grown in an outdoor environment.

You may try taking your indoor bonsai outside if the leaves are turning yellow. If it’s not because of pests and diseases, then the leaves may become healthy again.

Lack Of Minerals

With just a slight change of minerals in the soil, several trees will react. The health of the tree is more likely to change if the mineral drop with a bigger margin.

Leaves turning yellow are just one of the many symptoms that are likely to be exhibited by your bonsai tree.

You can regulate the mineral levels.

This can be achieved by introducing compatible fertilizers to your bonsai tree.

Lack Of Light

Several bonsai trees always lack sunlight. Many indoor bonsai trees are always placed in positions that they don’t receive any sunlight.

Many of the bonsai trees require a high level of sunlight. You will not provide your bonsai with enough light by just putting it near a window.

Light is one of the primary reasons why your bonsai leaves are turning yellow. You can opt to grow lights if you can’t provide light for your bonsai tree.

Exposer To Cold

You will find many of the bonsai to be very sensitive. With just a minor change in temperature, their growth and development may be altered.

If your bonsai is exposed to cold, then be sure its leaves will soon turn yellow. This is very common among bonsai growers.

Constantly moving your bonsai tree from an air-conditioned room to a warmer outdoor environment may be a reason for the yellow leaves.


If you continuously water your bonsai tree, you will realize that there are dead or yellow leaves at the upper part of new growth.

Yellow or dead leaves at the bottom signify that your bonsai is healthy, while yellow or dead leaves in the upper part of the growth indicate bad news.

You will notice that you are over-watering your bonsai tree if the leaves begin to look yellow and transparent.

How To Avoid And Help Your Bonsai Tree Recover From Yellowing Leaves

There are several solutions for yellowing bonsai leaves. You should not think that your bonsai is dying and watch life escape from it.

You need to give your bonsai a lot of attention and care. Bonsai are not fragile, and they soon they will survive and shine again.

Here are some of the ways to avoid or help your bonsai recover from yellowing leaves:

  • Provide enough light for your bonsai tree
  • Equalize nutrient imbalances
  • Opt to a balanced fertilizer
  • Water your bonsai adequately

Provide Enough Light For Your Bonsai Tree

If you notice that your bonsai lacks enough sunlight, you need to check on how to fulfill that.

You can either leave your bonsai to grow in an outdoor environment, or you can choose grow lights if you have to leave the bonsai indoor.

You should also limit the bonsai movement while searching for light. Constantly moving your bonsai outdoor for sunlight only worsens the situation.

Equalize Nutrient Imbalances

You can stabilize the nutrient quantity by adding more nutrients or reducing the nutrients. Calcium and potassium will be ideal for reducing a given nutrient.

You will accomplish this by conducting a soil test. This will help you know which nutrient is leading to the imbalance.

Opt To A Balanced Fertilizer

All kinds of trees will always require a balanced fertilizer to be introduced regularly. This practice will help attain nutrient balance, thus terminating yellowing leaves.

Water Your Bonsai Adequately

Each bonsai species has its unique water requirements. Your bonsai will always need water regularly for them to be healthy.

Over-watering may result in your bonsai leaves turning yellow. Under-watering will also make your bonsai leaves yellow too.

So, how will you regulate watering your bonsai tree? You should conduct in-depth research on the water consumption of each bonsai you plant.

This will help you understand how to deliver the right amount of water.


Bonsai leaves turning yellow, maybe for several reasons. You need to single out every possible reason until you realize the exact cause.

Bonsai trees are not that fragile as you may think. They will recover if you take good care of them.