How to Repot Bonsai

Discover how easy it is to repot bonsai. Easy instructions for repotting bonsai trees. When to repot your bonsai plant. Repotting a bonsai that has become root bound.



Ceramic Bonsai Pot - Oval 7.0

Buy This Ceramic Bonsai Pot - Oval 7.0" x 5.5" x 2.375"


Plan on repotting bonsai trees (older trees which grow more slowly) every 2 or 3 years. Fast growing bonsai species and young plants will need repotting each year.

Prune the tree's roots and refresh the bonsai tree soil

at this time. Place the tree back into the same bonsai pot or into a new bonsai tree pot of the same size or slightly larger if the tree has put on enough top growth to warrant it.

When to Repot Your Bonsai Plant

Water/Stone Landscape Scene Ceramic Bonsai Pot - 8

Water/Stone Landscape Scene Ceramic Bonsai Pot - 8" x 6"

Early spring, before new growth begins, is the best time to report most bonsai species. You may repot a bonsai tree which is kept indoors year round at any time of year.

Repot bonsai when the root ball is nearly all root and no soil. If you think it may be time, slip the tree out of the pot and have a look at the roots.

How to Repot Bonsai

Ceramic Bonsai Pot - Unglazed Round

Ceramic Bonsai Pot - Unglazed Round

  • If you are transferring the tree into a new bonsai pot, place plastic or wire mesh over the drainage holes to keep the bonsai soil in the dish. Use a loop of bonsai wire to keep the mesh in place.

  • If you are using a shallow bonsai pot and you are afraid of the tree toppling in high wind, slip a length of wire up through the drainage holes. Leave 2 long tails. You will use them to secure the tree in the pot once it has been potted.

  • If you are using a plastic bonsai pot and you want to weigh it down, or if the pot seems deep in relationship to the size of the root ball; place a layer of pebbles in the bottom. The pebbles will increase the pot's drainage and weight.

  • Spread some bonsai potting soil over the mesh or gravel or what have you. Then place the bonsai on top of this, spreading the freshly pruned roots (see Bonsai Pruning for bonsai root pruning instructions) out evenly. Use the wire tails to secure the root ball.

  • Now cover the roots and wire with fresh soil. Tamp the pot on the potting table to settle the soil into any empty spaces and use a small bonsai brush to grade the soil away from the bonsai's trunk at a gentle slope.

  • Last, moisten the soil gently but thoroughly. Keep the tree out of high wind or full sun for a few weeks. If it normally enjoys a full sun exposure, move it back into full sun gradually, over a period of days, to avoid burning it.
  • Repotting a bonsai that has become root bound.

    Ceramic Bonsai Pot - Rectangle 7.0

    Buy This Ceramic Bonsai Pot - Rectangle 7.0" x 5.5" x 2.5"

    Run a knife around the inside of the pot to pry the roots off. Once you've got it out of the old pot, take a chopstick and comb the roots away from the center of the root ball.

    It is best not to disturb the center of the root mass. Just comb the outer roots free. Them use bonsai scissors to trim away the outer one third to one half of the root ball.

    Be sure to remove any damaged or dead roots.



    More Bonsai Basics

    Buy Bonsai Trees, Pots, Tools & Supplies - Bonsai Store

    Bouganivillea Bonsai Tree Care

    Indoor Bonsai Care Tips

    Go from Repot Bonsai to Bonsai Watering Instructions

    Go from Repot Bonsai to Plant Guides Home Page