Bonsai Tree Placement

The vast majority of bonsai species are best grown outside. For some reason, due to misinformation, newcomers to bonsai believe that bonsai are an exception from normal trees and therefore they believe that their bonsai can live inside. That is not the case. Just like an ordinary tree, your bonsai needs sun, air and natural climate cycles. 

The exact position of your bonsai tree comes down to the type of tree. If the bonsai is a conifer (pine, juniper, spruce, larch, etc) then it is best placed outside where it will receive full sun. This would be somewhere where your bonsai receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sun each day. Be mindful of smaller bonsai placed in full sun as they may dry out if not watered through warmer months.

If the tree is sensitive to full sun (Maples or Azaleas) then the bonsai is best placed in an area that receives morning or late afternoon sun. A place that might be ideal is a patio, under a tree, or anywhere that isn't full sun or full shade.

Beware of strong wind! Don’t keep your bonsai on a high surface where it may be knocked off. Make sure to check the weather forecast daily so you can protect your bonsai against extremes such as hot, cold, & windy conditions. Rather than bringing your bonsai indoors during extreme conditions, place your tree in a sheltered outdoor position like a patio. If your bonsai starts to decline in health, do not bring it inside! Instead, reach out to us or your local bonsai club for assistance. 

 

 

Indoor & Outdoor Bonsai

A tree itself is not an indoor or outdoor bonsai. The term indoor & outdoor is to differentiate the two places a bonsai tree can grow based on your climate. A tree will grow always grow well in its native climate. If you grow a bonsai that is not native to your country (such as a ficus for example) and your country has a colder climate, then the ficus will need to live inside because it is too cold outside for it. You can probably see now that no tree is really an ‘indoor' type of bonsai, you are really just mimicking the trees natural climate by placing the tree indoors. Always check if a bonsai prefers to be kept outdoors or indoors when deciding to purchase a bonsai. If the bonsai will be kept indoors, place the tree in a bright position where it will get at least a few hours of direct sun each day and adequate airflow from a window. A frequent misting is always appreciated too. Do not place a non-indoor species of tree inside because you think there might be enough light for it. It may take weeks, or months, but without the correct climate cycles your bonsai will eventually die. Below shows an example of good indoor placement for an indoor bonsai tree. It is not right against the window but it will still receive some direct sunlight and plenty of indirect light. The bonsai will need to be rotated if there is only one direction of light as seen here.




Displaying Outdoor Bonsai, Inside

 

It is great to enjoy your bonsai tree inside from time to time. It is important that you don't do this too frequently though as it will affect the health of your bonsai. Place the bonsai in a relatively well lit area of your home which is near but not in front of a window. For up to 3 days (absolute maximum) you can display your bonsai here. Be sure to check the soil for moisture and you can even mist the foliage. After 3 days, place the bonsai back outside for at least another month or two before being brought back inside. Bonsai are trees after all, and so they enjoy being kept outside for the majority of the time (unless they're an indoor species such as Ficus). Trees that appear weak or sick should not be displayed inside. 


 

Key Points

  • Know your bonsai’s requirements (sun, shade, etc.)
  • Keep your bonsai out of weather extremes.
  • Keep your bonsai on a secure place out of the way of young children and pets.
  • If you live in an area that snows keep frost tender trees under shelter during this time
  • Find out if your bonsai tree lives better inside or outside.
  • Don't bring your bonsai inside if its sick