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My Bonsai is dying and I don't know what to do!

Hey guys. I am new to this website and caring for a Bonsai that I believe is a Chinese Elm. I had read some earlier posts saying to lightly scratch at the stalk of the tree. So I had tried that, and it is still green, so it must be alive still. All of the leaves are brown and shriveled, except one. I have not trimmed it, so would cause this? I have been watering it every day, and keeping it outside for the past 3 days now, because I thought it would help, but the poor thing isn't getting ANY better. When I got the plant, I had received a small pamphlet saying that this Bonsai is an outdoor plant, but I had made a choice to keep it in my room during the week, but take it out on the weekends. I watered it every other day because it was winter, making the tree dormant. Nothing I do seems to be helping my Bonsai, and I'm wondering if fertilizer or anything like that would help. If any of you brilliant people have any idea what is wrong with my plant and how I could help it, I could really use the advice!


Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2661
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Welcome to helpful gardener. I think you want to do all of the following.

Amend your profile with at least a USDA zone (and maybe province).

Check the care forums here, and use a chop-stick (or large splinter) to test soil for dryness.

At this late date about you could do that might be more hurtful is to fertilize..

garmy yo
Cool Member
Posts: 76
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:19 pm
Location: Longmont, Colorado

You are probably watering it to death. And plants like a consistent environment.
Put it near a bright, indirect lit window and leave it alone except to water it only when needed. You can tell by either the pot feels light (when you water it, water it thoroughly, and lift it to get a sense of how much it weighs when full) or stick a chopstick in it to check the moisture level at the bottom.
If it survives it will do it on it's own, without all your attempts to save it.

User avatar
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Yes indeed. Never water bonsai on a schedule. Water when it needs it, which will be different amounts of time depending on heat, humidity, how actively it is growing, etc.

But every day or every other day sounds like way too much, depending on the soil it is in. True bonsai soil is very mineral and gritty, very free draining. But for some reason bonsais are frequently sold in regular potting soil, very peat moss heavy and very moisture holding.

There is a ton of good information here about bonsai soil, watering, and other care. Do some reading.

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