5 reasons why does my bonsai tree smell?

What happens if you smell an unpleasant odor in the morning, I felt it, and I found what spreads this odor. It was my bonsai tree, and I wondered why does my bonsai tree smell. Finally, I identified the cause.

Why does my bonsai tree smell? Root rot, spoiled soil due to lack of drainage, manure you used, or fungus growing on the tree can cause this odor. The smell can also result from stagnant pooling water and sign for you to Demonstrate that your bonsai tree is up to die because of a root virus.

Dou you like to know why my bonsai tree smell was one of the above reasons, and I found great solutions to all the above problems. Let’s get rid of your problems, so read further.

Why do bonsai trees emit smell?

Through this guide, you can reveal why bonsai trees smell and all the details follow describes the reason for the odder emitting from bonsai.

In general, several factors contribute to the smell of bonsai trees, all of which are ominous signs for bonsai health. So keep in mind if you feel a smell from your bonsai tree, you have to pay more attention to it.

Trees can emit various smells such as good smells and bad smells, but we consider bad odder emitting from bonsai trees. The smell of bonsai trees varies with multiple things.

Mainly, The bad odor of bonsai trees varies with the Type of bonsai tree, Type of the pot it lives and the Type of water. However, the reasons for the bonsai tree’s smell or bad odder are the same for each tree.

As you read earlier, there are various reasons for the bad smell of bonsai trees and up right now, let us discuss one by one and solutions for those problems.

Root rot can cause the smell of bonsai trees.

There may be an odor from the bonsai tree that tells you that the tree is in trouble with root rot. This can happen cause of many reasons. Causes such as low drainage and low aeration can severely affect root rot and bonsai odor.

Bonsai trees are subjected to root prune occasionally, so they do not have a strong root system after pruned up to one year. So bonsai roots do not have the ability of drought-tolerant and moisture tolerant.

If the new baby roots feel too much moisture, all the roots will begin to rot, causing moisture. The main purpose of the roots is to absorb water. But the new roots do not absorb much, and the overflow water causes the bonsai roots to rot.

When roots start to rot, some bacteria begin to grow on spoiling roots and they digest roots. Cause of this, Bacterial activation gases like Sulphur dioxide and ammonia are released.

So the smell of the bonsai tree you feel is the gases released by the digestion of the bacteria growing in your trees. This is how root rot causes the smell of bonsai trees.

Spoiled soil can cause the smell of bonsai.

If you feel odder from your bonsai tree, it can because of spoiled soil. Mainly bonsai soils recommended by nurseries do not spoil. But sometimes, there can be faults with your selection or the way you reused bonsai soil.

Suppose you reused bonsai, reed “How to reuse bonsai soil” to learn the correct way of reusing bonsai. In addition, bonsai soil can spoil the cause of various reasons. Mainly the reason is lack of drainage.

Bonsai trees need a good drainage facility, and bonsai gardeners have developed bonsai soil to give optimum bonsai tree conditions. Bonsai soil has the ability to retain the required moisture in it and release unwanted water.

But if you use the wrong soil, bonsai soil does not release water, and soil starts to spoil. As well, spoil can begin because of pooled water in the bonsai pot for a time.

Mainly pooling happens because of less drainage facility of the bonsai pot. Bonsai pots do need drainage holes to keep bonsai trees healthy.

When bonsai soil feels more moisture for an extended period, it causes mold to grow on the soil. Then Slowly, they grow, and bacteria begin to grow on them. Bacterias start to digest nutrients and mold in the soil, and they produce those gases I mentioned earlier.

So if you feel a smell from your bonsai tree, it can because of spoiled soil in your bonsai pot. So check the soil and replace them.

How to know if bonsai soil is spoiled?

You know that bonsai soil is spoil because of excess water and lack of drainage. As well there are few methods to find if the soil is spoiled. Let’s take those into a list.

  • Odder emit from the soil
  • molds grow on the bonsai soil
  • The upper surface is wet
  • The lower layer is muddy ( you can find it by sinking a finger into the soil )

With all the above signs, you can know if your bonsai soil is starting to spoil. So if you found anything above mentioned, re-pot your bonsai with new soil.

How to prevent soil spoil?

You can use a recommended bonsai soil for your bonsai trees and use a bonsai pot with drainage holes. There must be enough drainage holes on the bonsai pot. You can also keep a routine to water your bonsai trees and always give optimum sunlight to your bonsai trees.

Manure can cause the smell of bonsai.

Several manure types can be used for bonsai trees; some are organic, and others are chemical. Many bonsai growers use chemical fertilizers, and it is easy to find and use.

It is not a matter whether what type you use for your bonsai trees. If the manure is not suitable to use, it emits a bad smell. So always keep attention to the deadline of the manure.

On the other hand, many fertilizers contain ammonia and Sulphur; when they react with water, they produce ammonia dioxide and Sulphur dioxide with bad smells.

So always water your bonsai trees in a routine and use fertilizers recommended from nurseries. At last check, the fertilizer before adds it with your bonsai tree.

Root virus or Fungus on trees can cause the smell of bonsai.

Root virus mainly can cause for odder of bonsai, and some fungus also Causes for the smell. But do you know how is this happen?
Mainly Fungus on bonsai trees is a result of less sunlight on the tree.

The Fungus starts to grow on living bodies when they have required moisture and cold. So if you over water the bonsai tree and if it in a shady place for a long time, Fungus start to grow on it.

There are various types of Fungus, and more of them release bad odder when they do their digestion and re-production. So Fungus and bacteria can cause the smell of bonsai.

Then, on the other hand, root virus takes place when we consider bonsai smell. Various types of viruses affect the growth of bonsai roots. Mainly these viruses are transmitted to bonsai plants from nurseries and other plants.

Root virus stops the growing of bonsai roots, and they start to kill the baby roots from the bottom. And those dead roots start to spoil, and they produce a bad smell. so the smell of bonsai can happen due to root fungus, Bacteria’s and viruses

Stagnant pooling water can also cause the bonsai smell.

You can understand what this chapter is about by the topic. Yes, it is about pooling water, but there are some special things to discuss.

First of all, bonsai trees need good drainage facilities, so bonsai gardeners use bonsai soil to plant bonsai trees. As well bonsai pot is an essential factor when we talk about stagnant pooling water.

Pooling water mainly causes due to lack of drainage facility of the bonsai pot and secondly due to overwatering. When water is collected in a bonsai pot, they start to stagnant it because of bacterial growth in it.

Various bacteria do like to grow in a wet environment, so bacteria grow in stagnant water, and many of them emit gases. So as you know, those bacteria also emit gases with bad odor, and it is the smell you feel from a bonsai tree.

Is it harmful to the health of the tree?

Of course, stagnant pooling water damages bonsai trees in various ways. As you already know, bonsai trees do need good drainage facility and aeration. But if the water is collected in a bonsai pot, both of those facilities are restricted. So how a bonsai tree can grow healthy?

So, stagnant pooling water is bad for bonsai trees, mainly root rot and root viruses also start because of stagnant water.

How to avoid

You can make drainage holes on the bonsai pot to avoid pooling water. As well, make a routine to water your plant and give appropriate sunlight to your bonsai tree. Lastly, keep an eye on your bonsai tree. If you do, your bonsai tree will live longer.

What to do if your bonsai tree smells?

The smell of your bonsai tree is a result of your less attention to it. But you can revive your bonsai tree. If you are not late, you can save your bonsai tree’s life.

Mainly all of the above things happen because of water and moisture. Bonsai trees need drainage facilities and aeration, so you have to make drainage holes on your bonsai pot. It may help you avoid many difficulties and diseases with your bonsai tree.

And if you feel any smell from the bonsai tree, first of all, grab the tree from the soil and check roots well; if they are wet or contain slim, they are on the way to rot. So clean the roots and re-plant in a new pot with soil.


As well if you feel the smell from your bonsai tree, always re-pot your bonsai, use new soil, and do not reuse bonsai soil without proper preparation. Last use pots with drainage holes.

Proper attention can decide the lifespan of your bonsai tree. And Reuse bonsai soil in a proper way, as well-read about drainage holes of a bonsai pot.