My wife bought me a bonsai but as I am a beginner with it I have no idea where to go or start.

Currently I had been putting it outside for sun for four hours and then bringing back inside because that was what the lady that sold it to her told us to do. The tips of the top leaves however began to turn a light green color. I bought it a grow light as Google said it could have been from lack of light.

Now I think the roots may be exposed from over watering. Should I add more soil? What type of soil should I use if I need to?

Plus the leaves are now starting to look whiteish. Is that from overhead watering? Sorry for the many questions in one but I just want to care for this bonsai properly and ensure it lives its best life it can. I added pictures as well for visual aid. Thank you everyone in advanced!

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  • 3
    The lighter green tips look like normal new growth, to me. i.e. new growth is normally a lighter green that will darken in time.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Feb 18 at 22:12

2 Answers 2


Have an artist friend, if not a gardener, pinch any new growth that throws the trained shape off.

Here is one approach to pruning for shape:

Pinching guideline

Ideally, use fingers to literally pinch the new growth so no scarring remains as the bonsai heals. If you wait until green growth mature to brown, you may leave stubs.

The idea of carrying plants in every day is shockingly extra work.

The plant is very healthy, the soil and roots are fine, the bunnies are kitsch.


Never bring bonsais indoors, and don't use lights. Conifers are temperate climate trees. They need to follow the rhythm of the seasons, including winters.

Pruning strategy depends on your long term plans. Right now it has a skinny trunk, sometimes referred to despairingly as "twig in pot". If you prune the foliage on all branches, it will never develop a substantial trunk. If you want a thick trunk, and a plant that looks like a bonsai (in 15 years) pick one branch to eventually sacrifice and NEVER prune it. That branch will eventually grow huge but it will nourish the rest of the plant and grow the trunk thick. When you sacrifice it (in 15 years) the thick trunk will contrast the delicate sculpting you have done with the remaining branches.

  • While that's true, potted trees are more exposed to freezing the roots. It probably makes sense to bury the pot in leaf mulch late in the fall, or to put the bonsai in a cold frame for winter. This will give it the chill hours it needs without risking freezing the roots.
    – Escoce
    Commented May 21 at 19:56

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