Caudex Bonsai: How to Keep Them Healthy

Care and maintenance of Caudex Bonsai is simple and straightforward. They are easy to keep at home, in your office or outdoors. Follow the tips below to ensure that your bonsai plants grow in a healthy environment.
A litlle caudex bonsai.

Caudex bonsai is a relatively small genus of bonsai plants known for their thick and gnarled trunks. Most caudex bonsai plants are native to the Mediterranean, Africa, and Asia. These low-maintenance plants can be grown indoors or outdoors as a focal point in any garden. They can grow up to five feet tall in a regular pot. These plants have many qualities that make them an exciting addition to your plant collection. However, you must be careful with their care and provide the appropriate environment to ensure they thrive.

So, how do you care for caudex bonsai plants? First, these plants need plenty of sunlight. They should be placed in an area with lots of natural light or near a window to receive at least six hours of sunlight daily. However, direct sunlight should be avoided since it can cause severe sunburn. These plants can survive with little or no water since they are adapted to growing in desert areas. You should only water your caudex bonsai plant once a week. The plants require fertilizer to be applied steadily in relatively low dosages. Consider using water-soluble fertilizer and only apply it once a month. Caudex bonsai plants need regular pruning and trimming to maintain their shape.

This blog post discusses everything you need to know about caudex bonsai care and how to keep your plant happy. Read on to learn more.

Ideal Placement

If you live in an area with a relatively warm climate, you can grow your caudex bonsai plants outdoors throughout the year. These plants love heat and have no problem staying outdoors, even on hot afternoons.

However, if you live in a temperate climate, you should consider growing them in your backyard from spring through fall and provide them with some shade on the hottest days.

A caudex bonsai plant in a pot.
These plants love heat and have no problem staying outdoors, even on hot afternoons.

Remember that the ideal temperature for these succulents is 40 degrees Fahrenheit at night to 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Anything below 40 degrees Fahrenheit can lead to irreversible damage.

Therefore, you should consider bringing them indoors when temperatures start dropping massively. But treat them for insects and other pests before you get them indoors.

Once indoors, these plants will need much light to survive the cold weather. Consider positioning them on a south-facing window where they can enjoy some sunlight.

If sunlight is insufficient, consider growing them under artificial grow lights. Don’t worry if your plant sheds leaves over the cold season. This is normal if you don’t live in a typical tropical climate.

When you take your caudex bonsai plant outdoors after winter, ensure you do it progressively, allowing the plant to adjust to the sunlight outside slowly.

That way, your plant won’t suffer sudden shock due to overexposure to intense sunlight.

Watering Requirements

Caudex bonsai plants are drought-tolerant and can survive long periods without water. But they still need some regular watering to stay healthy.

Water them every 10-14 days by allowing the soil to drain entirely between watering sessions. You may need to water them more often if you live in hot regions.

You can tell if your plant needs water when its leaves turn brown and feel crunchy.

If you live in an area with much rainfall, consider raising the pot off the ground so the excess water won’t damage your plants’ roots. Also, avoid splashing the leaves with water since it can cause rot.

A person watering the bonsai.
Avoid watering in the afternoon when the sun is at its peak.

The best time to water your caudex bonsai plants is in the morning or after work. The goal is to avoid wetting them at night since they require full sun exposure to stay healthy.

If you cannot water them early in the morning, consider watering in the evening when the evaporation rate is relatively low. Avoid watering in the afternoon when the sun is at its peak.

You must also use a suitable watering method to achieve better results.

Water at the base of the plant using a thin stream of water instead of overhead watering since it can lead to leaf-spotting and other issues.

Light and Temperature Requirements

As mentioned earlier, keeping your caudex bonsai plants outdoors all year long if you live in a tropical climate.

Otherwise, you must bring it indoors when the cold season kicks in and back outdoors during the active growing season (spring and summer).

These plants usually prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. Your plant will be okay if the nighttime temperatures don’t drop 40 degrees Fahrenheit below.

Consider positioning your plant on a south-facing window when you bring it indoors.

Avoid placing it near a chilly north-facing window because the results could be catastrophic. Position it on a west or east-facing window if you don’t have a south-facing one.

Consider using artificial grow lights if you live in an area that doesn’t receive plenty of sunlight.

However, you must be careful when choosing these lights because some emit excess light that may overheat your plants.

If you need help with this, consider consulting a professional who can recommend the proper lighting setup for your particular bonsai plant.

Doing so will help ensure that your caudex bonsai plants receive enough light during winter and stay healthy all year round.

Fertilization Requirements

Like other succulents, caudex bonsai plants don’t require much fertilization. Feeding your plants with a balanced fertilizer every three months should be enough to keep them in good shape.

A 10-10-10 fertilizer works well for these plants, but you can also use an organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion.

A caudex bonsai soil.
Avoid using too much fertilizer.

Dilute the solution to half the recommended strength before pouring it around the base of your plant when fertilizing.

Avoid using too much fertilizer since it can cause your plants to become over-fertilized, which is never good.

Pruning and Trimming

Caudex bonsai plants need regular pruning and trimming to maintain their shape and form. Prune every two months or so, depending on the size of your plant.

Use sharp shears or scissors when pruning since dull ones can damage the branches severely. You can also use thinning shears to reduce the size of your bonsai plant’s canopy and give it a more compact shape.

Be sure to remove the dead or spotted leaves as soon as you spot them since they can cause massive problems.

Potting and Repotting

Consider repotting your caudex bonsai plants every two or three years. The best time to repot your plant is late spring or mid-summer when the plant is actively growing.

Wait until the potting mix is completely dry before you repot your caudex bonsai plant. Gently remove it from the pot along with some soil around its roots.

A caudex bonsai repotting.
You should consider choosing a pot about two-thirds as wide as the height of your plant.

Carefully rinse the soil off the plant’s roots, then prune them. To do this, remove about one-quarter of them from the sides and bottom of the plant.

These plants tend to thrive in relatively shallow pots. So, you should consider choosing a pot about two-thirds as wide as the height of your plant.

For instance, a four-inches wide and four inches deep pot should be enough if your bonsai is six inches tall.

Once you have selected the correct pot size for repotting, fill it with a high-quality succulent soil mix. Leave about an inch or two of space between the top of the soil mix and the pot’s rim.

Finally, water your plant thoroughly after repotting it, and place it in a sunny area. Doing so will help your caudex bonsai plants thrive in their new homes.


Most caudex bonsai plants can be propagated through seed germination or stem cuttings. Before you begin, select a healthy plant showing no disease or damage.

If you are propagating through seed germination, keep the soil moist but not soggy at all times and place the seeds in a warm area that receives plenty of sunlight.

If you are propagating through stem cuttings, look for a healthy stem and ensure it’s free of disease or pests.

Carefully snip off the stem’s top part with clean scissors, then place it in moist soil. Keep the cutting in an area with direct sunlight and wait for new leaves to grow.

Pests and Diseases

Caudex bonsai plants are generally healthy succulents that rarely suffer from pests or diseases. However, it’s still important to be vigilant and inspect your plants regularly for any signs of illness.

If you spot pests such as mealybugs or scale insects, treat them immediately with an insecticidal soap spray.

If the problem persists despite treatment, consider repotting your caudex bonsai plant and replacing the soil with a fresh mix.

It’s still important to be vigilant and inspect your plants regularly for any signs of illness.

If you notice any fungal or bacterial diseases, immediately prune out the affected areas and treat the plant with a fungicide or bactericide.

Doing so will help ensure your caudex bonsai plants remain healthy for years.

You can also use neem oil to control pests and diseases naturally. Neem oil is a natural insecticide that can be safely used on caudex bonsai plants without damaging them.

Final Thoughts

Caudex bonsai plants are an exciting and unique addition to any succulent garden. They require minimal care and attention since they’re pretty hardy.

With the proper lighting, fertilization, pruning, potting, and propagation practices, you can be sure that your caudex bonsai plants will thrive and stay healthy for many years.

Last update on 2024-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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