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Why Is My Bonsai Tree Losing Leaves – 4 Expert Reasons!

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Is your favorite Bonsai tree losing leaves and making you worried about what can be the reason?

Are you wondering why is my Bonsai tree losing leaves and if it will ever revive back? If this is the scenario, you don’t have to panic because you are not alone.

A Bonsai tree can take years of care and attention to grow and style. It is common for the person to panic and ask for help if the tree is not doing well.

But you don’t have to worry because the Bonsai can revive if treated on time.

Bonsai tree without leaves—why is my bonsai tree losing leaves
Why is my Bonsai tree losing leaves? – Image via Ying-Ying Lin.

How Do I Know My Bonsai Tree Is Sick?

Most plants give off clear signs when they are not doing well.

Some plants drop their leaves, while others show some color changes. You have to regularly look for indicators to check whether your plant is doing well or not. Keep reading if you want to find the common reasons behind why your Bonsai tree is losing leaves and how to revive it.

Before moving on, you need to know that a Bonsai tree planted outdoors can have different issues as compared to the Bonsai planted indoors.

Here we will discuss the reasons behind the loss of Bonsai leaves in both categories.

Indoor Bonsai Plant

Bonsai trees generally like temperate climates for their plantation.

Usually, they are planted outdoors in containers, but some species, including tropical and subtropical ones, can grow indoors if provided with the proper care requirements.

  • Some species, including Juniper Bonsai, can grow indoors and outdoors with ideal light, humidity, temperature, and water.
  • So, a gardener needs to know if the leaf fall is due to the plant location or other reasons.
  • Typically, the tropical species planted indoors require a temperature level between 15°C and 27°C. The temperature should remain between these limits throughout the year.
  • On the other hand, the subtropical species can be planted at a relatively lower temperature below room temperature.
  • Bonsai trees planted indoors should get adequate indirect sunlight during the daytime.

Most of the time, the indoor Bonsai lacks enough sunlight, water, and improper soil conditions that result in the falling of Bonsai leaves.

Outdoor Bonsai Plant

Temperate species commonly thrive in outdoor conditions.

  • It consists of deciduous species along with other evergreen ones.
  • In the case of deciduous species, it is typical for the Bonsai plant to lose its leaves in autumn or winter. If it occurs during other seasons, it might be due to any other reason.
  • The selection of specie to be planted outdoors depends majorly on the climatic conditions of that location.
  • For the Mediterranean climate, the species that can tolerate frosts, such as Chinese elm, Chinese privet, olive, and pomegranate, should be selected.
  • If winters are cold enough, try planting species like Trident maples and Japanese maples that can surpass winter dormancy when grown outdoors.

Why is my Bonsai tree losing leaves, you say? Let’s take a look!

Why Is My Bonsai Tree Losing Leaves?

After identifying if your Bonsai tree is correctly planted, the next step is to find out what is causing the plant leaves to drop.

Here are some of the common reasons discussed in detail:

1. Inadequate Sunlight

Bonsai plants are sun-loving plants.

Even if they are planted indoors, they need sunlight for their proper growth. Make sure your plant is getting enough sunlight during the daytime and is not shaded by anything else.

Although insufficient sunlight will not kill your plant, it might cause the growth to slow down, which can cause the leaves to drop.

Also, if you try pruning such a plant, the leaves are unlikely to grow back.

At the same time, if the plant gets too much sunlight, it might result in massive nodes and internodes growth.

This can also cause the plant to lose its leaves, subject to pests and infections.

2. Root Bound

As Bonsai plants are categorized as miniature plants, they are usually planted in smaller pots.

No matter where they are planted, they require no less care than other plants.

While watering your Bonsai plant, if you notice that the plant absorbs water too quickly or does not absorb it at all, there is a high chance that your plant might be suffering from rootbound.

It is a condition in which the roots of your plant become disrupted, and they cannot absorb the water and nutrients properly.

That’s why this plant is more susceptible to drying up or retaining extra moisture (depending upon the drainage), which can cause the falling of leaves in Bonsai plants.

3. Underwatering or Overwatering

Different varieties of Bonsai plants have different watering requirements according to their climate, environment, and surroundings.

The water level required by the Bonsai plant varies throughout the year.

Usually, indoor plants require more water as compared to those planted outside due to indoor heating or cooling systems and lack of moisture.

Dry soil can result in the falling of leaves within a few days. Indoor plants are at a greater risk than Bonsai trees planted outdoors.

On the other hand, overwatering your plants is also a common problem where gardeners who are passionate about their plants end up watering them more than required.

This develops root rot in a plant, and its health starts deteriorating.

So, extra moisture can be the reason for your Bonsai to lose its leaves.

4. Pests and Diseases

If you have just planted your Bonsai tree or repotted it and it has started to lose its leaves, there is a chance that it might be due to pests and diseases.

Common diseases that can attack the plant include root rot, rust, black spot, galls, and powdery mildew.

Pests include aphids, vine weevils, root aphids, spider mites, and many more.

That would be all!

Here’s a professional YouTube video for Bonsai tree care:

Why is my Bonsai tree losing leaves? | Bonsai tree care – YouTube

Now, let’s head toward the conclusion!


This article solves your problems by answering your question about why is my Bonsai tree losing leaves.

Now start looking for the possible cause damaging your plant’s health.

Once you know the cause, look after your plant, and don’t leave it unattended ever again. Make arrangements so your Bonsai can start flourishing once again!