A one-question quiz for everyone—

You see a bonsai that appears to have moist soil, but the growing shoots are drooping. 

What’s going on? How do you correct it?

We’ll take a look at the answers in two weeks!




  1. Fred says:

    To much water in the soil.
    Put the pot on a side and let it drain.

  2. Cheryl says:

    Drooping new foliage indicates probable root rot. If soil is damp, examine soil to see if possibly some soil is damp but water is bypassing the main root ball. If moist throughout, resist the temptation do not water! Allow soil to dry a little beyond what you would normally do. Foliage should improve. If it does not improve, consider repotting and examing roots or try a chemical meant for root rot. I just got a new one – Subdue MAXX (active ingredient Mefenoxame) recommended by Rodney Clemmons that I am going to try.

    If water is bypassing the main root ball, it probably also needs repotting as it probably wasn’t potted well at the last potting or it simply needs repotting.

    This is my experience for what it is worth.

    • Darryl says:

      You said that if water is bypassing the root ball, it probably wasn’t potted well previously. I’m wondering if you can expound on that though.

      I’ve had this happen to several of my plants (Ok, nearly all of them) this summer. I’m relatively new to Bonsai, and would like to know what I’m doing wrong with the potting.

  3. Brett says:

    I get this every spring with new growth on my hornbeams and as a beginer was very concerned. But discussing it with my bonsai nurseryman a few years ago he said it was normal. They do it every year and continue to be healthy. I grow them out of zone in temps that reach 45 deg celcious in the middle summer so they would quickly die if they where not in good health. Although this issue is there in spring with temps in the 20’s

  4. chris says:

    In my opinion it could be a couple of things. If watering is applied correctly it may be a spike in the temperature and the tender new growth does not have the moisture in its stem structure. Solution is to put in shade during middle of day.

    Second, if soil moisture “appears” to be ok on the surface it may in fact not be receiving a complete watering below the surface. Solution is to water once and then water again in five minutes.

  5. Al Polito says:

    Sounds like root rot to me too. Or some kind of sudden shock to the roots such that the plant can no longer draw moisture.

    Or it could be temperature related. Since you didn’t mention weather, I’m assuming it’s not a factor.

  6. Ed Imholt says:

    Maybe the tree was from a hotter climate and the upper part of the soil dried out daily which did not allow for roots to form in the upper part. With no roots in the upper part of the soil then it would remain moist where as the soil in the lower portion of the soil would dry out quicker. First glance at the top of the soil would show you that the tree does not need water, but the lower portion of the soil is dry and cause the shoots to wilt.

  7. Good job, i recently came across your blog and have been reading along.. I should just give up and take lessons from you

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