Do bonsai need direct sunlight?

The answer to this question depends upon what plant has been used for the bonsai, so there is no one correct answer. Many different plants may be used for bonsai. Generally however, it is safe to say avoid direct sunlight. Bright, indirect lighting is sufficient. The bonsai plant is not in a natural environment nor in best growing conditions. Due to the very confined pot which stunts the plant, bonsai need more attention than other houseplants, with careful attention to both watering and lighting. The stunted environment in itself causes some stress to the plant . Direct light may actually cause the plant more stress and may cause the plant to dry quickly and excessively. As far as watering, try this: submerge pot (only if with drainage holes) in lukewarm water up to the top of the container. Allow to soak submerged until bubbling stops (just a few minutes). Remove the pot and drain then redisplay. Watering in this way allows the plant to soak up only what it needs, and excess is drained away. Repeat when soil a 1/2" below the surface feels dry. You'll actually water less often this way. All good bonsai should be in pots with drainage holes. If you have one without drainage holes, consider re-potting. Until then, water frequently and lightly. Over watering kills more bonsai plants than does anything else.