How long does it take to grow a bonsai tree

Published On: March 15, 20240 Comments on How long does it take to grow a bonsai treeTags: Last Updated: March 15, 20244.2 min read

Bonsai trees are a great decoration in every home or garden but there are a lot of fakes on the market nowadays. Growing a genuine bonsai tree takes time and you can’t skip steps if you want a perfect bonsai tree. If you want to grow a bonsai tree from the seed then you’ll need at least 15 years but the time depends of the species of the tree. When you know all the factors you’ll be able to accurately tell how long does it take to grow your favorite bonsai tree.

young bonsai tree

In this article we’ll explain all the steps to growing a perfect bonsai tree and the time needed for each step.

Types of bonsai trees

The first thing you’ll need to decide is whether you’ll grow an indoor or outdoor bonsai tree. Indoor trees must be in a temperate room with lot of light and you’ll need to water them regularly. If the room is too warm or the light is not sufficient your bonsai tree will struggle or even parish. Outdoor bonsai trees must be in the area with a lot of sun but that doesn’t apply if you live in an area with hot climate. During warm summers it is best that you place your bonsai tree in the shade. If you live in an area with cold winters then you need to bring your bonsai trees indoors during the winter. Generally outdoor bonsai trees take longer to grow so if you want to grow your bonsai tree faster keep him indoors and keep the climate conditions perfect all the time.

Generally you can make bonsai tree from any regular tree species but there are only few species that look good as bonsai trees. The most popular bonsai species are: Ficus bonsai tree, Chinese elm bonsai and Juniper bonsai. Ficus bonsai has glossy green leaves and it is perfect for warmer climate. Chinese elm bonsai has small leathery leaves and it is good both for warm and cold climate. Juniper bonsai is a strong resilient type and it is perfect for areas with cold winters.

Germinate bonsai seeds

One of the hardest parts of growing a perfect bonsai tree is germinating seeds. If you don’t germinate the seeds correctly you will wait forever to grow your bonsai tree. First thing you need to do i to scarify your seeds. Only few types of bonsai seeds don’t require scarification but you don’t have to worry about it because you can’t ruin the seeds with scarification. Scarification is a simple process. All you need to do is to put the seeds in the refrigerator for at least three days.

After scarification plant your seeds in the container which is filled with at least 2 inches of soil. Water it generously and put it in a warm and sunny place outside. If you doing this indoors place the container close to the some sort of heat source to speed up the process. Keep the soil moist at all times but don’t make mud. Misting few times a day should be enough. Wait a week or so for seeds to sprout. Don’t stop watering and don’t fertilize the soil. Fertilization is allowed only when the plant has two set of leaves.

pruning bonsai tree

Pruning bonsai trees

The true art of growing bonsai trees is the art of pruning. Pruning makes the difference between regular trees and bonsai trees. With proper pruning you’ll make your bonsai masterpiece but pruning mistakes will ruin your entire project. Pruning bonsai trees is an art that you need to master and you’ll probably make a few mistakes in the process. Your goal is to create a miniature replica of the actual tree and keep the shape of the tree. There is no real guide to pruning bonsai trees because every tree is different but you need to follow some basic rules:

  1. If you have two branches of the same height on the tree trunk, cut one, and keep the other.
  2. Remove all branches with unnatural twist and turns.
  3. Remove all disproportionately thick branches at the top of the tree.
wiring bonsai tree

Shaping bonsai trees

The most important technique when shaping bonsai trees is wiring. You need to carefully wrap anodized aluminum or annealed copper around the branches to shape them as you want. You need to monitor the growth of the branches and remove the wires if they start to grow into the branches. Wiring and removing wires will be a process that will last until your bonsai tree is fully formed.


Now when you’ve learned the basics of growing and shaping bonsai trees, you can start your first bonsai project. Growing bonsai trees takes time and you need to be careful and patient but the end results will be amazing. Don’t be scared to start your first bonsai project and send us images of your progress.

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