Bonsai Light Requirements: Do Bonsai Tree Need Sunlight?

The success of your bonsai tree depends on various factors. Among these factors, lights are very important.

How Much Light Is Needed For A Bonsai Tree:

Bonsai light requirement varies from species to species. But as a general rule, any bonsai should get at least 5 to 6 hours of daily sunlight. If you can’t arrange this for your plant use grow lights.

A south-facing window is the best place for keeping your bonsai tree. Alternatively east or west-facing windows also have potential. If you have only a north-facing window you won’t get much sunlight(unless you live in the southern hemisphere).

Alternatively, you can use grow lights as a light source for bonsai trees. The problem with grow lights is intensity.

A bright artificial light generally works well with bonsai provided you keep the light source close to the tree. The maximum distance from the bonsai to the light source should not be more than 12 inches.

Should You Use Incandescent Light for Bonsai:

People often thought of using incandescent lights as a light source for their bonsai. But this is not a good idea. Incandescent light is too hot for the bonsai. It also has a particular spectrum and is devoid of others. 

Any tree including a bonsai needs a full spectrum of light for efficient growth. So whenever possible use a light source that resembles natural daylight. It might be a bit expensive but a good investment in the long run.

Another problem with incandescent bulbs is that they generate a lot of heat. As the light source is kept close to the bonsai, this excess heat will burn the leaves or stem of the bonsai. So it’s always better to stay away from the incandescent lights.

Which Bonsai Tree Needs How Much Lighting:

Effects of light also differ from types of bonsai trees. Some trees are meant to grow outdoors. No matter what you do they won’t give you the best results inside the house.

Whereas some bonsai trees will do just as good if you take a little bit of care in terms of light and humidity.

Outdoor Bonsai:

Most of the outdoor bonsai trees need to be outside your house for the whole year-round. They need a full year weather-cycle for survival. Overprotecting these plants might actually do more harm than good.

If you are growing an outdoor bonsai, the best place to keep them is outside where they receive full sunlight. Here are some examples of outdoor bonsai trees:

  • Japanese maple
  • Pomegranate
  • Chinese elm

Indoor Bonsai:

There are some species of bonsai trees that grow pretty well in indoor conditions. Generally, subtropical trees do well in indoor conditions.

But with these types of trees, humidity also becomes important. To solve this problem put the bonsai pot on top of a humidity tray like this.

Here are some bonsai trees that are good in indoor conditions:

  • Ficus
  • Sweet plum
  • Jade
  • Fukien tea

So to sum up the whole discussion, Yes bonsai trees need sunlight to do well. However, in the absence of sunlight, you can grow some species of bonsai with artificial grow light that resembles natural daylight.