Just got my first bonsai, have some questions!

Hi everyone,

Just got my first bonsai, all tropical trees, and am thinking about buying this grow light for them. I am afraid that my trees won’t get enough light by the window and have a few questions about grow lights.

  1. How long should I have the light on each day?

  2. Should I hang the grow light above where the trees currently are, so that they get the natural sunlight as well as the artificial light? Or should I move them away from the window and hang the light there?

  3. Do I need to adjust the light to certain settings? I can’t find any good information online about this?

I live in zone 7a, in Southeastern Pennsylvania

Thank you!

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I would leave them near the window and set a timer on you light to come on maybe an hour after sunrise and turn off an hour before sunset. I use this method on my trees in cold storage. It helps the plants keep the normal cycle and be ready for a move outdoors when weather warms up. I have tropicals that I just keep near my windows in the winter and then when the night time temps are above 50 degrees I will slowly acclimate them to the intensity of the sun. I inevitably loose some leaves to sunburn but the trees usually respond with more adaptive growth after. I have found that getting them outside asap and letting them accumulate as much energy as possible before the move back indoors drastically helps them make it through the winter. You may also consider a liquid ORGANIC fertilizer every 2 weeks to help give them some support keeping in mind that tropicals do not go dormant so even with less light they are still expending lots of resources metabolizing. Not like regular outdoor species that experience a slow down of metabolic activity due to not only shorter daylight but also colder temps. Welcome to Mirai, get ready to grow your knowledge to the highest level!


Any bonsai question should include which species you’re working with

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Tiger Bark Ficus
Natal Plum
Ficus b. “Nina” (Drwaf varigated Ficus)
Serrisa Japonica (Star of Thousands)

Extra light is definitely a good idea but you don’t need the fancy expensive ones. Regular LED shop lights will do just as well. I know someone who grows orchids entirely under lights and regularly receives national level awards for her plants. That’s getting them not only to grow well vegetatively, but to bloom at the highest level. She does it with regular LED shop lights. You want something in the 4000k to 5000k range. Put them on a timer and gradually increase the time to help them get ready to go outside when it’s warm enough. I grow my tropicals in my basement under lights in the winter, and they do well. But get them outside when temps are above 50-55. They’ll survive inside year round, but they thrive if when they’re outside. Get a little air movement while they’re inside also.
Welcome and good luck!

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Remember that tropical trees are exposed to 12 hrs light and 12 hrs dark (at the equator). That should give you an idea of how long your lights need to be on. I start putting mine outside during the day when the temp reaches 10C. Then you can stretch this out as the night time temperatures become warmer. A tree needs to be within 24inch of the window to receive enough light and if on a windowsill brought into the room at night if you close curtains. Otherwise it will be sat in the cold trapped behind the curtain.

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