I bought a bonsai maybe ten days ago. The man who sold it to me said that I should check the soil daily and expect to water it every few days. I bought it on a Friday and watered it on the Sunday; today is the Monday of the following week (so eight days after watering) and the soil is still damp to the touch. What gives? The tree doesn't seem to be in any kind of distress -- in fact it seems to be sending up little shoots from the branch ends -- but I was warned that by the time a bonsai is visibly distressed it's already past saving, so I'm concerned that I'm missing something.

What is going on here?


Photo as requested. enter image description here

  • A photo of the plant and its pot might help, but where is this plant being kept - in the house in an unheated room? Outdoors? If its outdoors, what part of the world are you in? Does it have a tray beneath the pot that's capable of holding water?
    – Bamboo
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 10:29
  • 1. Indoors; the room has heat, but we keep it pretty cool. 2. Yes, there's a drip tray. 3. Will post photo tonight.
    – crmdgn
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 11:41
  • @Bamboo See above; photo as requested.
    – crmdgn
    Commented Oct 30, 2019 at 1:19
  • To the previous answer, I would add that it is unlikely you will notice symptoms of distress when these happen is usually too late. The lack of of phenotypic symptoms of stress cannot be used as an indicator of health of the plant while the contrary is true.
    – Rosario
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 19:48

1 Answer 1


I can't tell from the image if there is still any water sitting in the drip tray beneath the plant, but I can see a drop of water on the side of the pot, with evidence that a tiny amount of the soil got washed out when you did water. The soil still looks damp, but hard to be sure from a photograph; either way,the plant currently looks healthy, and does not yet appear to need watering again.

Perhaps, when you watered, some of the water was sitting in the drip tray afterwards,and that is what has kept the soil moist all this time. If you are in the northern hemisphere, the shortening days of winter means the plant is not growing rapidly, which means it isn't using lots of water anyway.

Don't water again until the surface feels a little dry to the touch - when that will happen depends on lots of variables, in particular, room temperature. Guidance on watering bonsais here https://www.bonsaiempire.com/basics/bonsai-care/watering

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