I got this bonsai from my friend about 2 months ago. I do not know what type of bonsai it is so I don't know how much about taking care of it. About 6 weeks ago, I forgot to water the tree so it went very dry. I watered it regularly but it seemed to do worse, its leaves dried up and the soil stays moist all the time (as if the plant was not using the water). About 2 weeks ago I noticed that there was some king of mold on the tree trunk.

What should I do to save the tree? Can the bonsai even be saved?

I do not know how to save this bonsai, anyone please help, it has dry curled up leaves, a few of them are yellow, there is some kind of mold on the trunk

  • Do a scratch test near the base and see it it's alive. Looks grim.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 19:58

1 Answer 1


Yeah, hate to give you bad news but this guy is toast. Why Bonsai does not come with instructions is irresponsible. Bonsai are just like a new pet. Constant attention.

Because of the limited root mass Bonsai need watering pretty much every single day. Usually the entire pot gets immersed in water. When the roots are healthy they suck up all the water so that air gets back into the soil and there is no chance of rot.

This guy died. Roots died. You keep watering with no drainage and there will be fungus, mold that thrives with high moisture.

Really upsets me to see this. And believe me we see this all of the time on this site. People are always getting these, sometimes very expensive and very old Bonsai as gifts. No instructions, no species and 99% of the time they die. That is my own statistic. Just as if you left a new puppy behind with no food or water. Come back and it is dead.

Friends who give these for gifts should be Bonsai experts that at least know you expect the responsibility as well as welcoming the responsibility. They should give instructions. Pay for a class in Bonsai. Otherwise, shoot, a plant that has been created by man, has lived 5, 10, 50 or more years is destined to die in the hands of a newbie. Not fair to the newbie. Not at all! Nor the plant.

I am sorry. Kind of hard to tell what species it was, doesn't matter now.

  • 1
    I think stormy is right. If it makes you feel better this doesn't look like a bonsai. I see this all the time, on here and in stores. They take a small plant, put it in a bonsai looking pot and call it bonsai. Search bonsai and look at examples. A bonsai is a cultivated plant that looks like a very old tree. They don't go into the bonsai pots till they fairly close to their final shape. This looks like a bush in a bonsai pot. Sorry about your plant.
    – Dalton
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 17:08
  • Sad that we are unable to rely on retailers to care about what it is they sell. Thanks, Dalton! There is no way a plant that hasn't been trained, root pruned to be able to thrive in a Bonsai pot with no drainage.
    – stormy
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 22:53

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