Bonsai Care: How Much Sun Does a Bonsai Tree Need
As a bonsai owner you might be wondering how much sun does a bonsai tree need? There is a common misconception that due to their smaller size, bonsai don’t need as much sunlight. The truth, however, is that just like with other trees, sunlight is essential for the growth of your bonsai. Without the needed amount of sunlight, a bonsai tree will weaken, wither and eventually die.
If you’re eager to find out more about bonsai care and get answers to the most common questions such as “Do bonsai trees need sun?” or “How much sun does a bonsai tree need?”, then you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn more about taking care of your bonsai’s light requirements.
Do Bonsai Trees Need Direct Sunlight?
Because bonsai trees are so petite, beginner bonsai enthusiasts might be wondering, do bonsai trees need sun? The short answer is – yes. Just like every other plant, bonsai trees need sunlight in order to grow and thrive. Most popular species of bonsai trees benefit largely from direct sunlight, but there are a few shade loving species.
How Much Sun Does a Bonsai Tree Need?
How much sun does a bonsai tree need will entirely depend on the species of tree you are growing. Most types of bonsai like to receive between five to six hours of sun during the day, whether indoors or outdoors.
Additionally, all bonsai trees love to be kept outdoors during the warmer months between May and September, although there are species which can be kept inside during the whole year.
Can Bonsai Trees Survive Without Sunlight?
Certain types of bonsai can survive in low-light environments. Some bonsai can tolerate a low exposure to sunlight for a few months in autumn and winter, specifically ones which go dormant during this period.
If your house is north-facing and there aren’t many appropriate spots to keep an indoor bonsai, you can also look into artificial grow lights to keep your tree happy. Grow lights emit the same UV light that the sun does which can help your bonsai thrive.
Low-Light Bonsai Trees
Tropical and subtropical bonsai tree species can usually survive in spaces with low or artificial lights. Although these trees normally need a decent amount of light exposure, they thrive in an indoor environment due to the fact that they do well in warm and humid places.
If you live in a place where there’s drastic temperature differences between seasons, which makes it hard to have outdoor bonsai trees, then indoor trees are a great option to consider. Here are some of the best bonsai trees that can survive with low light exposure:
Signs of Light Deprivation in Bonsai
Light deprivation can be a massive issue for your bonsai trees. While bonsai have similar light requirements to full-size trees, they are a lot more sensitive compared to their full-size counterparts. A lack of sunlight can affect a bonsai much faster.
Light deprivation can normally occur when an outdoor tree is brought indoors. As your bonsai adjusts to lower light levels it’s normal to notice some changes, but it’s also essential to know the signs that indicate your tree needs more sunlight. Those include:
- Long, leggy branches and big leaves
Two of the alarming signs that your bonsai might need more sunlight include leggy branches and bigger foliage. Both of those are an indicator that your bonsai is trying to reach the source of light.
If you notice this happening to your tree, the best thing to do is move it to a sunnier light or supplement it with a growth light.
- Mouldy soil
A lack of sunlight means your bonsai needs less water, as its growth is slowed down. It also means water isn’t evaporating from the soil as fast which makes it easier for mould to form on top of the soil.
Mouldy soil is another sign that your tree needs more sunlight. The UV-light from the sun is effective in killing mould so moving your bonsai closer to a window can easily solve this problem.
- Pest and diseases
When weakened by a lack of sunlight, your bonsai is more susceptible to different diseases and pest infestations. Be sure your bonsai is getting enough light in order to keep it healthy.
If your bonsai is suffering from a disease or pests, make sure to deal with the problem in an appropriate way, but also ensure your tree get enough sun.
Where to Place Your Bonsai Tree?
Areas near windows are the best place to keep a bonsai as it allows the tree to catch full sun during the day. In autumn, winter and spring this is incredibly beneficial, but in summer you want to be careful as it might get too hot and sunny.
If you notice your tree getting yellow spots or its leaves starting to wither then you should try moving it away from any windows and into a shadier corner in the room.
Be wary of placing your bonsai too far away from light, though. When placed in a spot with no sunlight coming through your bonsai’s growth will be slowed down.
Hopefully, we have answered your questions about the light needs of your bonsai. Now that you have a better understanding, you can confidently purchase the perfect bonsai tree for you. Check out our bonsai accessories as well to equip yourself with everything you need to keep your trees healthy.