Bonsai Terrarium Care and Management (Space Issues)

  • By: Josh Koop
  • Date: February 11, 2024
  • Time to read: 6 min.
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How you care for a bonsai terrarium depends on the type of bonsai you’re dealing with. Each type has its level of tolerance for humidity, moisture, and even size constraints. So, to care for a bonsai terrarium, you just need to be mindful of a few simple things.

To care for a bonsai terrarium, all you need is the perfect lighting, temperature, and ecosystem in which the trees can develop. Additionally, choosing the ideal terrarium and strategically placing it will give your bonsai trees an overall boost in health and longevity.

Given bonsai trees are very delicate, all you have to do is give your terrarium some time and attention throughout the day. Keep on reading to know more!

The Ultimate Bonsai Terrarium Care Guide

Terrariums are mostly used to store plants indoors that would otherwise not adapt to the regular home atmosphere. So, when a bonsai is properly planted in a terrarium and the terrarium is properly placed in the house, you get to reap the benefit of growing greeneries with minimum effort.

As the idyllic terrarium atmosphere varies for each type of bonsai, you need to create a proper environment suited for your bonsai for it to survive.

That is, a Ficus cannot survive in the same environment as a Bald Cypress, and vice versa.

That’s why taking care of a bonsai terrarium depends on the bonsai you have and whether you meet the following conditions:

The Best Lighting For Bonsai Terrarium

The ideal lighting for your bonsai will depend on the type of bonsai you are growing. While succulent bonsai trees tend to love a high intensity of light, their foliage cousins prefer minimum lighting.

However, all bonsais love to be placed in direct sunlight. Bonsai trees conserve energy from sunlight . Hence, the best option is to let your bonsai grow in natural sunlight. 

For the bonsai terrariums that need a little more intense lighting to survive, just place an extra grow light over them to mimic sunlight. The best grow light to accompany your bonsai: Growing Light, GE Lighting.

Perfect Temperature For Bonsai Terrarium

Drastic temperature changes are not good for bonsai trees. The best possible route to take is to keep your bonsai at a constant temperature .  However, that constant temperature should not be too high or too low, rather, it should be somewhere around room temperature. 

Water Your Terrarium

You have to water your terrarium depending on its drying cycle. Basically, you have to wait till the soil dries out before dampening the soil again.

Meanwhile, you can continue to spray the leaves intermittently. If your bonsai shows signs of wilting, then you’ll know it’s time for a watering session.

For bonsai trees that store water in their leaves or stem, you have to water them heavily every month or every other month, depending on when the soil in the terrarium completely dries out.

For bonsai trees that are on the leafy side, you have to water them lightly every week, making sure the soil is becoming dry between each watering session.

As bonsai love soil moisture, you should store the moisture in the soil by applying a thin layer of grit on top. To water your terrarium, just spray the top layer of the soil with water and gently mist the leaves every once in a while.

Do I Need To Change My Terrarium Or My Bonsai?

Unless your terrarium is displaying some visible damage like cracked glasses or spreading diseases, you don’t need to change your terrarium. See, once a plant adapts to the ecosystem of your terrarium, it would rather stay rooted in that place instead of moving around. 

In the unfortunate case of any of your bonsai dying, just remove that specific tree and place a rock in its place to prohibit the territorial growth of the other trees present.

Trimming And Fertilizing Your Terrarium

Trimming your bonsai will result in better growth of bonsai. And to stop your bonsai from overgrowing its terrarium, you have to keep trimming it. So, a pruning session once in a while will be beneficial for the bonsai.

Additionally, as bonsai terrariums don’t need to grow rapidly, you don’t need to put fertilizer in the soil. You can choose to add fertilizer only if your bonsai seems to lack vigor and is visibly wilting.

It’s better to wait six months to one year before adding fertilizer to your bonsai terrarium.

Perfect Space For Keeping A Bonsai Terrarium

A perfect place to grow your terrarium will be by the window, like on a window ledge. But, you’ll have to keep in mind that a bonsai receiving light from any window will gradually face in that direction.

So, turn your terrarium occasionally to make your bonsai grow normally. 

There are also other factors that come into play here, like overexposure to sunlight. You have to be careful of overexposure to sunlight through glass containers as the glass might magnify light and possibly burn your plants.

Also, make sure to not put closed containers in full sun exposure as your bonsai will be prone to sunburn.

How To Manage The Right Bonsai Terrarium? 

As each type of bonsai prefers a unique growing environment, you should choose the model terrarium based on the needs of the plants you’ll be housing. Bonsai trees that grow in warm, humid environments will thrive in a closed terrarium.

For bonsai trees that thrive in swamps like Bald Cypress, moist soil will work best as it keeps the root of the bonsai wet.

Types Of Terrarium 

There are mostly two types of terrarium: open and closed.  While an open terrarium is like a regular pot, the closed alternative is a glass container (can come with a lid) that traps water inside and increases humidity. 

As closed terrariums trap air and pack in more humidity than any other space, they will work best for bonsai trees that love warm and moist environments and prefer low airflow

And as closed terrariums lock in humidity, they seldom need watering and are easy to maintain.

As open terrariums support good airflow, by letting the air circulate, and don’t lock in high moisture levels, letting the moisture evaporate, they are friendly with dry bonsai trees.

For the best care of your leafy bonsai that need frequent watering, an open terrarium will be the ideal place for them to thrive in. Open spaces are also less prone to disease.

Importance Of Choosing The Right Size Terrarium

To really care for your bonsai, you need to keep it in containers and spaces that will help you manage it better and will keep your bonsai healthy. The right-sized cases can keep your bonsai healthy.

There might be a danger of fungus or diseases building up in your bonsai terrarium. In the case of the former, just a scrap of the top layer of soil is struck by such a fungus. For the latter, it’s better to reach out to a botanist. 

For bonsai trees that grow really fast, like Ficus, a wide or long container will let them grow comfortably. For flowery bonsai trees, you can vase them in comfy, compact containers.

Additionally, for aesthetic purposes, you can opt for dynamic containers that’ll show a beautiful bonsai but make sure it’s one where you can form a sustainable ecosystem.


A bonsai can call your place home only when it feels welcome. Now that you made it to the end of the article, I hope now you know how do you care for a bonsai terrarium.  

Just keep your bonsai terrarium in the ideal conditions suited for it, and see it last a lifetime. Thanks for stopping by!