Light Requirements for Indoor Bonsai Trees

| August 2, 2013 | 0 Comments

Providing light for your indoor bonsai tree is not always as straightforward as it would seem. Simply placing your plant on a windowsill is not always best practice for bonsai tree care. So we’ve collated some helpful tips to help sort the light requirements for your indoor bonsai tree.

Source: Google Images

Source: Google Images

Leaves need sufficient light to photosynthesize and nourish the plant with sugars however different plants do require varying amounts of sunlight. You should always consider the natural habitat of your bonsai species and how exposed they are to sunlight in the wild before choosing the location of your tree.

For example pines and junipers that naturally reside on exposed mountain sides characteristically tolerate full sun, in shady conditions a pine or juniper bonsai tree will struggle. Even if it is located close to a wall the tree will grow quickly on the sunny side but will struggle on the shaded.

Source: Google Images

Source: Google Images

At the other end of the spectrum if a maple or an azalea (plants from woodland margins and valleys) is exposed, the shaded side will produce more vigorous, healthier growth. Another interesting point to note for maples (pictured right) is that they generally hold their color for longer if kept in semi-shade but if it receives full sun in autumn it’s seasonal colors will be greatly intensified.

So what are the best lighting conditions for your indoor bonsai tree? It is impossible to provide the perfect conditions and replicate a species habitat, but finding a solution that pleases and maintains your bonsai is not usually too difficult to find. A sunny corner is a good way forward or using shade netting over a window can allow you to mitigate the amount of light your bonsai tree will receive.

Also good practice is to turn your bonsai tree 90 degrees every few days so all areas of foliage can receive an equal amount of light. A point to remember is that your bonsai will most likely not die from receiving too much or too little sunlight but it will certainly tell you when they are struggling.

Tropical and subtropical bonsai enjoy a position close to a sunny window where they can benefit from avoiding direct UV rays intensified by glass.

Tropical and subtropical bonsai enjoy a position close to a sunny window where they can benefit from avoiding direct UV rays intensified by glass.

It is a good idea to supplement natural light in the winter with artificial light for a few hours a day, preferably in the morning before sunrise, and in the evening after sundown. Fluorescent lights that use daylight and warm light ranges are best and should be suspended between 10-30 inches above the plants.

List of indoor bonsai tree light requirements

Note: to convert lux to footcandles (the unit of illumination) multiply by 0.4. One lux = 1 lumen/square meter. One footcandle = 1 lumen/square foot.

Lux Requirement
Adenium obesum1000
Aralia sieboldii1000
Araucaria heterophylla800
Ardisia crenata1000
Aucuba japonica800
Bougainvillea glabra2000
Buxus harlandii800
Calliandra brevipes2000
Camellia japonica1000
Carmona microphylla1000
Casuarina equisetifolia1500
Cissus rhombifolia800
Citrus microcarpa2000
Cocos nucifera1000
Coffea arabica 1500
Crassula arborescens1000
Cupressus macrocarpa1000
Eugenia 1500
Euphorbia balsamifera2000
Euphorbia pulcherrima2000
Ficus benjamina1000
Ficus bejamina 'Lucy','Natascha'1000
Ficus buxifolia2000
Ficus virens2000
Ficus carica1500
Ficus neriifolia2000
Ficus panda800
Ficus pumila1000
Ficus religiosa, F. virens2000
Ficus retusa, F. natalensis1000
Ficus rubiginosa1000
Fortunella hindsii2000
Gardenia jasminoides1000
Grevillea robusta1500
Hedera helix1000
Helxinia 1000
Jacaranda mimosifolia1500
Jacobinia carnea1000
Lagerstroemia indica2000
Lantana camara2000
Lonicera nitida800
Malpighia coccigera1500
Murraya paniculata1000
Myricaria cauliflora1500
Myrtus communis1000
Olea europaea1000
Passiflora carnea1000
Pellionia repens800
Pistacia vera1000
Pittosporum tobira500
Podocarpus macrophyllus800
Polyscias fruticosa1500
Portulacaria afra1000
Psidium guajava2000
Punica granatum1500
Rosmarinus officinalis1000
Sageretia theezans1000
Samanea saman2000
Schefflera actinophylla800
Serissa foetida1000
Ulmus parvifolia1000

Light requirements from Bonsai in Your Home by Paul Lesniewicz

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Category: Bonsai Tree Care, Indoor Bonsai Trees

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