Aqua Bonsai: Using Hydroponics to Grow Bonsai in Water

  • By: Josh Koop
  • Date: February 8, 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.
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Water bonsai trees are a unique and ancient kind of horticulture. If you’re looking to add some greenery and tranquillity to your house, this might be it. The procedure is similar to growing a bonsai in soil , only it does not require soil. But, what is a water bonsai? And is it even possible to grow bonsai trees underwater?

Water bonsai, more appropriately known as aqua bonsai, uses a hydroponics-style growth system. The roots are exposed since it lacks typical soil. Water bonsai trees are grown hydroponically in a container filled with water, nutritional solution, and rocks rather than in soil like outdoor bonsai plants.

Using hydroponics to grow aqua bonsai is a ground-breaking method. You can make your own miniature rainforest anywhere by influencing light, nutrients, and water. The only thing standing between you and an underwater bonsai garden is the know-how and equipment necessary to get it started. This blog includes all that and more.

What Is Hydroponics?

The term “hydroponics” is derived from the ancient Greek words “hydro” (water) and “ponics” (work). Here, water allows plants to develop quickly. Simply put, hydroponics is a way of raising plants. But here, a nutrient-rich water-based solution is used rather than soil.

Currently, hydroponics has become an alluring method for bonsai growers. While hydroponics can be used to grow bonsai trees, some considerations must be taken into account. These considerations include factors involving the growth of the bonsai .

The benefits of using hydroponics include:

  • Faster growth: In this system, plants have a better chance of receiving nutrients. Thus they grow better.
  • Fewer resources: Hydroponic farming uses less water than regular farming because it is contained, and there is less water lost through the process
  • Less interference: Plants grow easily in a controlled environment. There are no weeds, pests, or diseases. This is because the plants aren’t grown in soil. An insecticide isn’t needed as much. 

All of these benefits make hydroponics excellent for growing your bonsai fast. And the best thing is, once your bonsai is fully grown you could even transfer it to a beautiful bonsai pot. Many modern bonsai artists are making use of this technique for faster bonsai growth

Why Be Interested In Water Bonsai?

Aqua bonsai are miniature trees cultivated in water rather than soil, comparable to hydroponic plants. They are grown as an aesthetic expression and frequently as an indoor houseplant. 

In contrast, most hydroponic plants are produced for flowers and other purposes. Nowadays, many people keep aqua bonsai trees since it’s easy and doesn’t require much maintenance.

This method of growing bonsai trees was found by Masahiko Kimura. He is referred to as the “magician” of the bonsai world. 

A vase, bowl, or anything that can contain it is necessary to get started. You also need a few tiny plants. You can’t use regular water to fill the container.

On the other hand, hydroponics allows you to grow your plants in water without damaging them. This system allows you to feed your plants through the water instead of soil.

Because aqua bonsai trees don’t require soil to thrive, they may be placed almost anywhere. You may pick from several containers or construct your own using various materials from your local craft shop. You’ll also need a nutrient-rich solution and fertilizer. You can get it online or from any fish store.

Aqua bonsai trees are an alternative to typical growth methods . Therefore, they may be grown both indoors and outdoors. Because they’re low-maintenance and require little effort, they’re popular as workplace, studio, and restaurant decorations.

Since aqua bonsai is a successful way to grow plants without soil, other ways to grow plants without soil can be used. This includes deep water culture and nutrient film techniques.

Aqua bonsai can be classified into two types.

  •  Classical – Traditional small, symmetrical, and condensed look.
  • Naturalistic – Asymmetrical and unstructured. Like a bonsai in the wild.

A water bonsai can be a source of oxygen indoors. If everyone begins keeping water bonsai trees in their homes, it can help reduce the rising household air pollution.

Since they have low maintenance, even if you don’t have a talent for growing plants, they can bring a bit of nature into your indoor life.

Growing Your Own Aqua Bonsai

To develop an aqua bonsai tree, you don’t need to be a skilled gardener or bonsai artist. If you can maintain a tabletop garden, a few houseplants, or a fish tank in your home, you’ll most likely be able to nurture one effectively.

Creating an aqua bonsai is fairly simple because there’s no need for special tools. You have to find a suitable container and fill it up with water at least three inches deep. It can be more depending on your tree species’ needs. 

Choosing The Container

The container can be an aquarium tank with aeration pumps. This will provide the plants with oxygen when they’re underwater for a long period of time. You may also use regular tap water, but ensure it is filtered through reverse osmosis systems.

Plant size and container size should be proportional. If you have a small tank, you’ll want to choose small plants. Pay attention to the pH levels of your water. It should be around 6.5-7.5.

Choosing The Right Plant

Choosing the right plants is vital because not all plants will work well with water bonsai . So do your research. Ficus, crassula, ginkgo, etc. are some of the best bonsai trees to grow in a hydroponic system.

Supplies Needed

Make sure you have the right supplies. In addition to plants, you’ll need a watertight container, gravel, and soil. Use rocks and stones to decorate the base of your container and support the plant. Make sure they are clean.

Transfer Your Bonsai To A New Container When Needed

Transfer your plant into a larger container if it has outgrown its pot and there isn’t enough room for new roots. As aqua bonsai trees are fragile, care should be taken when replacing them.

If you don’t know when to transfer your bonsai it’s pretty simple to detect. Especially for aqua bonsai. If you see the roots circling around the container’s wall and wrapping onto themselves then your bonsai definitely needs repotting. 

Provide Proper Care

Keep your Aqua Bonsai in a sunny setting . Because these trees require a lot of light to thrive. If you don’t have such a location in your home, acquire a pair of direct-light desk lights and place them near your tree.

Make sure to change the water regularly. This is essential for keeping your plants healthy and thriving. Replace the water and nutrients once a week. Use fertilizer to provide your plants with the nutrients they need.

If your aqua bonsai has mud, it usually doesn’t need repotting. If the soil becomes compact or begins to dissolve, you may wish to renew it every few years.

Check your plant’s roots often and inspect them for any signs of damage. A bad root would appear mushy. You may chop off the bad root. 


Although bonsai art is a thousand-year-old art form , it is constantly changing and inventing new approaches to growing the plant. The advent of the so-called “Aqua Bonsai” is swiftly gaining popularity among bonsai enthusiasts.

By now, you know what is a water bonsai and how to grow it. Hydroponics is a good option if you like the aesthetic of a bonsai tree but don’t have the time to maintain it. I hope this article has inspired you to try your hands on a water bonsai.