Watering a Jade Bonsai*


I recently purchased a Bonsai tree that I believe is a jade variety, (it has small round leaves).
The leaves are falling off even though they are not turning colour or drying first. I have read conflicting articles about watering. Some say to immerse in water, others say to spray. What is the best way to water, and how often in winter as well as summer? Thanks


According to Allen Roffey, creator of the Bonsai Primer website, leaf fall on bonsai is caused by overwatering or lack of light. He also cautions that some leaf fall is quite natural.

Your bonsai soil should be kept evenly moist at all times. This may mean twice a day at some times or every other day at others. You may want to establish a schedule for watering but only add additional water if the soil feels dry. Overwatering will cause root rot resulting in heavy leaf drop.

Different watering methods can prove effective. The online Bonsai Care Guide from the Ma-Ke Bonsai School & Nursery recommends a 3 pass method using a fine shower: the first pass saturates the surface soil so the water doesn’t just flow out of the pot, the second pass moistens the soil down to the roots and the third pass adds some residual moisture. A fine shower can be achieved by using a watering can with a ‘rose’ attachment on the spout which creates a shower rather than a single stream of water.

Jade plants (Crassula ovata) make excellent bonsai and do tolerate some overwatering. They need lots of light – ideally a south facing window or as much sunlight as you can manage.

If you’d like to read more about bonsai care, I’m including a link below.