How Much Sunlight Does a Bonsai Tree Need?


Bonsai trees require an almost obsessive amount of care. Besides the constant pruning, fertilizing and watering, the tree also needs light and a lot of it. Achieving the proper amount of light and the right conditions are important in the successful growing of bonsai trees.

Ultraviolet Light

  • Bonsai trees need a certain amount of bright light to remain healthy and strong. Ultraviolet (UV) rays affect how trees grow, no matter what size they are, so either the tree needs to be placed where natural sunlight can reach it, or grow lamps need to be focused on the tree for around 16 hours each day. Grow lamps are designed to shine with UV rays, so they are not interchangeable with just any kind of bulb.

Compass Directions Matter

  • To properly grow bonsai trees, the tree must be placed where it can receive the most light, which will require a window with either a western, eastern or southern exposure. If the only available light is coming from the north, grow lamps will be required to keep the tree healthy.

Indoor and Outdoor

  • Two types of bonsai tree are grown: indoor and outdoor. These categories are determined the same way they would be for the large version of whatever tree you are growing in miniature. If you live in a mild climate, virtually everything will be an outdoor tree, but in areas with harsher winters, the more exotic trees will require moving indoors. Outdoor bonsai trees can get enough light from the sun, but indoor ones may require assistance from artificial light if there is not enough light coming in from the window.

Lighting During Repotting

  • Bonsai trees will need to be repotted from time to time when their roots get too big for the pot, which is a delicate time for the tree as it is possible to shock the tree while removing it from one pot and replanting it in another. One way to assist the plant in its recovery is to keep the tree out of the bright sun for two weeks after repotting. Ambient light during this transition time is adequate for the health of the tree without giving it more than it can handle.

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