Don’s Expert Answers: browning leaves on bonsai

Question From:
Solara Zwaneveld in Tighes Hill, Newcastle New South Wales

Nature of problem:
browning leaves on bonsai

Type of Plant (if known):
Conifer (golden dwarf?)

Symptoms of Plant Illness (please try NOT to diagnose your problems yourself):
browning leaves & slight white spots – mould?

Soil Type (e.g. sandy, clay or loam) OR Potting Mix Type:
potting mix & gravel combined

How often do you water the plant:
every 2 days on hot summer days

How many hours of sunlight does the plant get each day:

How long since you planted it:
2 years

Have you fertilised? If so, with what and when:
Yes with Seasol & slow release fertiliser

Is the plant indoors or outdoors:

Is the plant in a pot or in the ground:
In a shallow pot

What other treatments have you given the plant:
Pyrethrum. Close examination for spider mites.

Upload photo if available:

Other Comments:
Plant has slowly been getting duller leaves. Showed good active growth through spring, summer and autumn. Started browning slowly about a month ago – particularly in one area near the top. Has spread to other areas as well. Brown appears to be more common near the base of branches, still leaving a green tip.

For last 6 months or so, have noticed white spots. Presumed to be a fungus, but didnt seem to be harming the plant, so did not treat.


Hi Solara,

The poor little plant just needs repotting into a larger bonsai pot. I can’t see enough of it to know if it is worth saving, however. Get some new potting mix and a pot about 5cm larger than the old pot. Repot it in August. Good luck. Don