I just purchased a Bonsai. The person in the gardening center told me the tree was alive and well to just water it very little right now in the winter months. She put it in a bag and after I got it in my car, it's needles began to fall off. This is my first bonsai tree. Is it dead or is it supposed to loose it's needles in the winter months?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Juniper Bonsai are actually grown for outdoor locations. They are not meant to live indoors. When the temperatures are below freezing they are placed indoors to winter over and should remain dormant during the winter months.
For the winter months the Bonsai should have a well ventilated and bright location with temperatures between 25 and 45 degrees F.
The plant can be misted occasionally and placed on a tray of pebbles.
Water the plant occasionally to keep the soil and roots from drying out completely.
When the temperatures warm to at least 40 degrees F, it can be placed outdoors in a sunny location.
Direct morning sun and filtered afternoon sunshine is best.
Check the Bonsai every day for water. Push down about 1/2" into the soil, if it feels dry, water by letting the pot sit in water for 5 to 10 min. Then allow to drain.
During the growing period you can fertilize every 2 weeks, until it's growth slows in late summer. Then feed once a month until winter dormancy.
Purchasing a book about Bonsai pruning will help you with that.