Before buying a Bonsai, you should always check the plant for damage or root rot. Closely inspect the bark, leaves and limbs for scratches, rips or breaks. You should also look for areas where breakage may have occurred previously, to check for signs of rot if the damaged area has not healed thoroughly. If you notice a slimy area, avoid the plant, because this can be a sign of rot.
You should also check the roots for any sign of rot. You can do this by carefully poking your finger into the soil. If the soil feels Ã¢â‚¬Å“mushyÃ¢â‚¬Â or slimy then the plant may have root rot. Ask the seller if he or she can show you the roots by carefully removing the plant from the pot. If they decline to do this, then select another Bonsai unless you are confident in your abilities to handle root rot if the plant has damaged roots.
If the leaves on the Bonsai are yellow or brown and crackly, this could be a sign of under watering. Check the soil, and if it seems overly dry then the roots could be delicate due to them drying out completely. If you notice signs of yellow leaves and very dry soil, avoid purchasing the Bonsai because it’s not a very healthy plant.