How to water Bonsai when on vacation?

Although keeping a Bonsai tree is not the most demanding hobby one can have, it sure has some requirements that make it very hard to think otherwise: failure to meet these requirements will endanger the life of your plant. One of such requirements is meeting up with their daily water demands, especially when you are keeping a water-loving Bonsai tree like the willow Bonsai. 

This can be exceptionally hard for a grower with a busy daily schedule or one planning a vacation with his family. Fortunately enough, there are several ways to keep your Bonsai tree watered if you fall in the category of any of these growers, but not everyone has access to such information. This article contains detailed information on how to water Bonsai when on vacation, so you may want to read to the end. 

Watering bonsai trees on vacation.

How to water Bonsai trees when on vacation

Before I dive into details, I would like to inform you that the best way to keep your Bonsai tree alive when you are away is to ask your neighbor to help you water your tree in your absence. If that is impossible, you can resort to any of the methods suggested below. 

  1. Use a damp newspaper to cover the pot 

One of the ways to keep your Bonsai tree watered while away is by covering the bottom and top of your Bonsai tree container with a wet newspaper and wrapping the covered layers in a plastic bag tightly tied at the top. This will help keep the soil of your tree moisturized while you enjoy your stay far away from home. 

Note: Please understand that this method is a short-term solution as the newspaper is bound to dry up eventually, and if this happens without any other source of water, your plant may die. 

  1. Submerge the root of your Bonsai tree in water 

I know you are surprised to see this as one of the solutions, but it can do the magic for you. Surely, submerging your Bonsai plant will make your tree susceptible to root rot, but this isn’t an infection that develops instantaneously: it takes some time. Standing your plant in the water while you are away will help you keep your tree watered. 

With that said, you should also understand that this method is highly risky and only advisable if you will be away only for a few days (2 days max). 

On your return, remove your plant from the body of water and allow it to drain thoroughly, then transfer immediately to a dry spot. 

  1. Make use of the automatic watering system

If you can’t find someone to help you with your watering, the next best option you can go for is the automatic watering system. With this method, you can provide your tree with the exact water it needs for its daily survival. Here is all you have to know about the system. 

What is an automatic watering system? 

This is a container with the capacity to store enough water with a connection route to supply the stored water to where it is needed. 

How does automatic bonsai watering system work? 

To utilize the automatic system, connect it to your Bonsai tree with a wick which will serve as the watering channel. 

Using the automatic watering system 

  1. Pour enough good-quality water inside the container. The best water to use is rainwater. If this is not available, you can also use mineral water. 
  2. Soak the wick in a body of water so that it’s both ends can be completely wet. 
  3. Using tweezers or a flat knife, connect the wick to the Bonsai pot through a drainage hole. Be careful when carrying it out to avoid tampering with the root of the plant. 
  4. Position the Bonsai tree gently above the automatic watering system. 
  5. Put the system in a setting that will keep your plant wet until your arrival. A key way to achieve this is to try out several settings before you go on your trip. 

Can you overwater a Bonsai tree? 

Yes, you can overwater a Bonsai tree. When you use poor draining soil for your Bonsai, overwatering is likely to occur because the soil of your tree will be holding on to water when it is supposed to drain away. You should avoid overwatering because it may affect the health of your plant. 

Can I water Bonsai tree with tap water? 

Yes, you can water it with tap water. If the tap water is safe for you to drink, it should also be safe for your Bonsai tree. If you are still worried about the chlorine content of your tap water, try to collect the water inside an open container and leave it for at least a 24hrs for the chlorine to evaporate before wetting your plant with it. 

How many times should I water my Bonsai? 

The truth is, there’s no general rule to applying water to Bonsai trees as their water requirements differ from species to species. However, most Bonsai trees will require access to water at least once a week. Therefore, whenever you notice that the top soil of your tree is dry, make sure it is adequately watered. 

How long can you leave a Bonsai tree without watering it? 

Leaving your Bonsai tree for a long time without adequate water will negatively impact their health. If you must leave your Bonsai tree without water, the survival threshold of your plant is a maximum of 10 days. Depriving your plant water beyond this threshold can kill them. 

Should I leave Bonsai sitting in a water tray? 

No, it would help if you didn’t leave your Bonsai sitting in a water tray. Even though your plant may require ample water every day, it is not advisable to leave them sitting in a body of water as this can lead to overwatering. Overwatering can cause root rot. An infection that may lead to the death of your tree. 

Can you travel with a Bonsai tree? 

Yes, you can travel with a Bonsai tree. The US Transport Security administration allows the transportation of plants between countries. Your Bonsai tree can be taken along with you in a checked bag or as carry-on luggage. 

Nevertheless, you might want to check with the appropriate local authority in your state before traveling with your plant because some states have rules regulating bringing in or taking out of the state. 

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