I have three bonsai seedlings that are just about 3 months old. They are Norway spruces and appear to be doing well but I was wondering if maybe I need to add more soil (particularly for the third one, see second screenshot). After watering them for some time it looks like the soil level as dropped and I’m worried that if it’s too low the roots/stems might not build a solid enough foundation in the soil. Bonsai Seedlings third bonsai

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    I advice to put them outside so they can get a bit stronger by more sunlight and wind.
    – benn
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 13:24
  • I feel like this windowsill gets a lot of sunlight but I hadn’t considered wind being a factor. I wanted to keep them inside just bc in NYC the weather has been pretty gnarly at times and I don’t want squirrels or what not getting to them. I can try to make an enclosure to ensure they can be outside without being susceptible to harsh weather/wildlife conditions
    – Matt Croak
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


It looks as if the third one has had some soil washed aside around the base of the seedling so that some fine roots are visible. You can certainly top that up to cover any roots, but not so much it causes a raised level around the stem. When you water, do it with a gentle stream, preferably trickled slowly all over the soil so this doesn't happen again.

  • Thanks! I was also wondering how much I should pack the soil? I feel like maybe the first time I didn’t pack it down enough so after I watered it the soil kind of collapsed more.
    – Matt Croak
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 12:30
  • It depends on how "open" the compost was when you filled the pot, and how dry it was. One way is to fill the pot with compost, then before planting anything put it in a bigger container and fill the outer container (not the pot) with water to a bit higher than the soil level. Wait for the water to saturate the compost right through, then remove the pot and let it drain and dry before planting. The surface tension of the water will consolidate the compost as it dries. If the soil level ends up too low, top up the compost and repeat.
    – alephzero
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 13:49

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