Bonsai Tree Leaves Turning Brown – Causes And Ways To Revive

The bonsai tree is one of the most popular ornamental plants to grow in the home or office. They are usually much smaller in size than the original version with a nice and attractive appearance.

One of the problems many bonsai tree growers have is brown leaves. This is one of the early warning signs of disease, over-watering or over-pruning.

The process of taking care of a bonsai tree has many problems that you need to pay attention to and overcome leaves, especially the phenomenon of the bonsai tree turning brown.

Let’s find out what causes leaves to turn brown and how to revive a wilted bonsai tree.

5 Reasons For Bonsai Tree Leaves Turning Brown

It is normal for the leaves of a bonsai tree to turn brown with old, decaying leaves or changing seasons. The brown leaves may appear singly and fall off with age.

bonsai tree leaves turning brown

However, if the phenomenon of leaves turns brown at the same time, you need to check the bonsai tree before it gradually dies due to waterlogging, pests, environment, nutrition, or excessive pruning.

1. Overwatering or lack of water

For plants, water is one of the three most important factors to help plants grow and develop. However, watering too much or too little will also affect the growth and disease of plants.

Bonsai trees also need a specific amount of water and a watering schedule to survive and grow. Watering too little will make the bonsai tree not have enough water to nourish the leaves and photosynthesis will cause the leaves to wilt and dry.

However, too much watering also causes the root system of the bonsai tree to become waterlogged, causing the stem and leaves to rot and become soft.

Too much water also inhibits the photosynthesis and oxygen exchange of bonsai trees causing their leaves to turn brown all at once.

You must check the moisture in the soil before watering with a moisture meter or finger. If the ground shows sign of dryness from 1 to 2 knuckles, you need to water to revive the bonsai tree.

If the bonsai tree is getting waterlogged, you need to stop watering, promote drainage from the vents, and place them in a light spot. You can only re-water when the ground is dry and the bonsai tree needs water.

You can refer to some principles when watering plants to avoid wilting and waterlogging of plants.

2. Environmental impact

The environment is one of the factors affecting the brown leaf phenomenon of bonsai trees. Each type of bonsai tree has a different ideal environment to grow and thrive.

Most bonsai trees do not like direct sunlight for many hours. However, many people mistakenly believe that bonsai trees like to live indoors and with little light.

Lack of light will make the photosynthesis process of the bonsai tree difficult and lead to brown leaves. All plants need partial light to promote photosynthesis and keep leaves green.

In addition, the brown leaf phenomenon also often occurs in winter when the weather conditions are harsh. However, environmental influences such as temperature, light, or growing season will recover on their own when corrected.

3. Pests attack bonsai tree

Pests have always been a common problem for plants. Pests such as insects, aphids, and spiders will feed on liquid nutrients in the stems and leaves of the bonsai tree. From there, they will prevent nutrients from nourishing the bonsai tree and cause the stem and leaves to turn brown.

The early signs that may appear are brown spots on the leaves that occur all at once. In particular, insects can suck up the sap of a bonsai tree and cause the whole tree to wither and turn brown.

4. Lack of nutrients

Like any plant, a bonsai tree needs nutrients to grow and develop. The leaves of a bonsai tree can turn yellow at the same time due to a lack of nutrients such as iron, nitrogen, or magnesium.

Bonsai trees also need nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, or nitrogen. Too little of these nutrients will lead to an energy deficit for the entire plant. However, if the bonsai tree’s leaves turn brown uniformly and dry out, it can also be a sign of too much fertilizer.

5. Trimming too much

Excessive and frequent pruning will also cause the bonsai tree to become stressed and the leaves to turn brown. Too much pruning will cause damage to the stem and leaves, affecting the photosynthesis process, and leading to the loss of the green color of the leaves.

How To Revive A Bonsai Tree When The Leaves Are Brown?

To figure out how to fix the leaves of a bonsai tree turning brown, you need to determine the cause of that phenomenon. Here are some notes you need to take to revive a bonsai tree when the leaves turn brown.

1. Water the right way and at the right time

Water at the right time when the soil is dry and lacks moisture. You need to check regularly to water in time when the soil is dry. Water the right amount of water for the size of the plant and pot.

Proper watering includes:

  • You should water in the morning, not at night to limit the wet leaves that make it easy for fungus to grow
  • Water slowly until the water soaks into the soil and drains from the drainage hole in the pot
  • Deep and infrequent watering
  • You should only water when the soil is 1 to 2-inches dry

2. Create ideal living conditions

Bonsai trees also need to receive adequate light every day. Therefore, you need to expose the plant to indirect sunlight for several hours a day. Complete shade can cause the bonsai tree to slowly die.

Place the plant near a window where there is fresh air and indirect light every day. Do not place pots in direct sunlight for many hours as they can burn leaves and wilt.

For the winter, plants that are not cold tolerant tend to turn brown or hibernate. So you don’t need to worry too much about them coming back to life when the temperature is warm again.

3. Eliminate Pests and Fungi

Fungi and aphids can often attack bonsai trees when the temperature is too humid or waterlogged. They can be difficult to spot because they are usually small and attack from within.

It is important that you clean the leaves and stems regularly to get rid of pests and fungi. Use fungicides and insecticides to spray periodically to prevent spores from fungi and pests from growing.

You also need to plant bonsai trees in sunny areas to limit moisture and waterlogging. If the bonsai tree has fungal and pest problems, you need to remove those branches.

In case, your bonsai tree is rotting due to an attack by pests, you need to remove the soil in the pot and clean the pot before replanting.

4. Add fertilizer fully and properly

Fertilizer will help the bonsai tree grow faster and healthier. To help your plants always get enough nutrients, you can use slow-release or liquid fertilizers to ensure nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.

In addition, you should not abuse too much fertilizer at the same time because the leaves of the bonsai tree can burn and turn brown. Make sure the amount of fertilizer is according to the regulations and the actual size of the plant and the amount of soil in the pot.

5. Proper Pruning

Pruning with scissors or sharp objects can stress the bonsai tree and cause damage. You can use your hands to remove old leaves or dead branches instead of scissors.

You need to get the shape you want when growing a bonsai tree to have the right pruning method. Unplanned and frequent pruning will cause stems and leaves to become stressed and discolored.

Also, before pruning, you need to water the bonsai tree to help it relax and get enough water before it can lose water or sap.

The Last Word

The leaves of a bonsai tree turn brown due to many reasons such as improper watering, pests, environmental impacts, poor soil nutrients, or excessive pruning.

For environmental influences such as temperature, light, and growing season, bonsai trees can recover on their own when corrected in time. However, for problems like pests, fertilizers, watering, or pruning, you need to keep these issues in mind.

Make sure the bonsai tree always has enough water, indirect light, fertilizer, and pest removal so that the tree can grow and develop at its best.

We hope that this article will bring a lot of useful information to you. Don’t forget to learn more about the plants here.

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