How Fast Do Bonsai Trees Grow?

With how many species of trees there are, it's no surprise that each kind has its own unique growth rate. Do you want to plant a Bonsai tree in your garden but don't know how long it will take to mature? We're here to bring you the answer.

Bonsai trees are a slow to moderate-growing species. Typically, Bonsai trees grow at a rate of 12 to 18 inches per year and can take up to 15 years to grow to full size. That said, it usually takes around four years for a Bonsai to be ready for styling, so this will take some time.

As we begin, we will cover all things Bonsai trees and discuss how to grow them. Whether you want to take up a new hobby or have Bonsais in your garden, we've got you covered. With that said, let's dive right into this post!

Tiny bonsai tree, How Fast Do Bonsai Trees Grow?


Do Bonsai Trees Grow Quickly?

A Bonsai's growth rate depends on how well you care for them. As we mentioned, this tree species is not considered fast-growing, but it might surprise you in ideal conditions.

That said, Bonsai trees will typically grow between 12 and 18 inches per year, usually taking about four years before you can style them. Every tree is different, but in general, Bonsai does require some patience.

Is Growing A Bonsai Tree Hard?

Bonsai in white pot on black background

Although Bonsai trees are gorgeous to look at, they can be tough to grow and maintain. Bonsai has a reputation for being finicky, hard to manage, and susceptible to disease, so growing one isn't usually easy.

Of course, with the right amount of sun, water, and care, you can certainly grow a healthy, strong Bonsai tree.

How Long Does It Take To Grow A Bonsai Tree From Seed?

Generally, growing a Bonsai tree from seed will take much longer than procuring an established plant. Timeline-wise, expect your tree to take between five and ten years to get big enough to style.

With that said, growing Bonsai from seeds is a great way to watch your tree grow from the beginning, but it isn't for the faint of heart. Luckily, there are helpful Bonsai growing kits that come with everything you need to grow a strong, healthy tree.

Planter's Choice Bonsai Starter Kit

This Bonsai starter kit comes with four types of seeds, four biodegradable pots, plant markers, and a comprehensive growing guide.

Follow this link to see it on Amazon.

Can Bonsai Trees Grow Indoors?

For those wanting to grow their Bonsai indoors, we think this is a great idea. Selecting the right species for your indoor growing conditions, you can certainly grow a Bonsai inside.

The Ficus Bonsai species tends to thrive indoors and is a beautiful addition to any space. Generally, as long as your Bonsai tree gets plenty of sunlight and attention, it will do well inside your home.

Brussel's Live Golden Gate Ficus Indoor Bonsai Tree

This live Ficus Bonsai does well indoors, will come four years old, measures five to eight inches tall, and comes with a decorative container.

View this live Bonsai on Amazon here.

How Do You Speed Up Bonsai Growth?

When it comes to speeding up how fast your Bonsai tree grows, there are a few ways to do this. First, make sure your tree is in a bright, warm location that gets at least four hours of direct sunlight per day.

rassula or money tree.One potted bonsai plan

Second, make sure to keep your tree's soil moist at all times because Bonsai grow fastest when wet. Finally, fertilize your Bonsai tree every three weeks during its growing season, which begins in the early spring and lasts until the end of fall.

What Type Of Fertilizer Should You Use On A Bonsai Tree?

Ideally, you should use a balanced liquid fertilizer with nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium on your Bonsai tree. Regardless of whether your tree is indoors or outside, it is important not to overuse your fertilizer so you don't shock your tree's roots.

Like we covered, it is always a good idea to regularly fertilize your tree if you want it to grow faster.

Houseplant Resource Center Bonsai Tree Food

This liquid Bonsai fertilizer has nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium, is eight ounces, and works on indoor/outdoor trees.

See it on Amazon here.

How Long Do Bonsai Trees Live?

In ideal conditions, a Bonsai tree can live for over 100 years. Although these trees can be difficult to take care of, some Bonsai's have even been recorded to live for centuries at a time.

The current oldest living Bonsai tree is the Crespi Ficus, located in the Crespi Bonsai Museum in Milan, Italy, and is said to be over 1000 years old.

What Bonsai Species Lives The Longest?

When it comes to which Bonsai species will live the longest, we found that the Ficus Bonsai tends to outlast the others. Like we covered above, this species holds the current record for oldest Bonsai and is a favorite among tree lovers.

That said, Cedar, Cypress, and Pine Bonsai species are also known to live very long and are all beautiful tree options for your home or garden.

Are Bonsai Trees Hard To Keep Alive?

Bonsai Tree Of Jade Tree

Generally, Bonsai trees shouldn't be hard to keep alive if you follow their growing instructions. Bonsai trees, in particular, prefer to experience all four seasons, so an outdoor tree will probably grow faster and live longer than one inside.

Of course, regardless of where you plant your tree, keeping its soil moist and placing it somewhere with good sunlight is extremely important.

Can You Save A Dying Bonsai?

If your Bonsai tree starts to die, there are some ways to try and save it. To start:

  1. Prune any dead sections from your tree.
  2. Check the top and inside of your tree's foliage to see if any green is left.
  3. Remove your Bonsai from its pot and prune any dead sections from its roots.
  4. Place your Bonsai tree in a clean bowl of water, fully submerging its root system.
  5. Clean your tree's current container with mild dish soap to remove any bacteria or pests.
  6. Repot your Bonsai in fresh soil and place it in a bright, sunny location.
  7. Keep your tree moist, and make sure to keep an eye out for new growth.

How To Grow A Bonsai Tree From A Cutting

For those wanting to expand their Bonsai garden, growing a tree from a cutting is relatively easy. To do this, prune a branch from your current Bonsai at a 45-degree angle using sharp twig shears.

Next, place your cutting about one inch into the soil and water them thoroughly. Keep the soil moist for the next few weeks, and you should start to notice new growth on your cuttings.

MOFOPAKOO Bonsai Tree Tools Kit

This tool kit has sharp twig shears, pruning scissors, root pick tweezers, Bonsai wires and cutters, and a convenient carrying case.

Check out this Bonsai kit on Amazon here.

Can You Make A Bonsai Out Of Any Tree?

In general, as long as you use a perennial wood tree or shrub, you should be able to Bonsai. A common misconception about Bonsai trees is that they are a specific species, while Bonsai is actually the practice of shaping and styling a tree to stay miniature.

That said, in actuality, any tree can be Bonsai, but perennial wood trees and shrubs will be the easiest to shape and style.

Do Bonsai Trees Need Full Sun?

a hand holding a bonsai plant

Sun-wise, Bonsai trees do need between five and six hours of direct sunlight per day, regardless of their location. Even if your tree is indoors, it needs to be somewhere with plenty of light so that it can grow properly.

Ideally, you should also place your Bonsai tree outside during the warmer months of May through September and then bring it back inside for the wintertime. Although there are indoor Bonsai trees, we suggest keeping them outside when the weather is warm if you want your tree to grow faster.

Can A Bonsai Tree Live Without Sun?

Like most plants, Bonsai trees will need the sun to live and grow. If your home or office doesn't get much or any sunlight at all, Bonsai might not be the best idea for you.

With that said, if your space does get at least a few hours of sunlight per day, you might be able to grow a healthy Bonsai as long as you keep it watered and fertilized. 

To Wrap Things Up

Tiny bonsai tree, How Fast Do Bonsai Trees Grow?

Whether you want to get into Bonsai or are curious about it, it is essential to figure out how fast your tree will grow. We found that Bonsai trees are slow to moderate growing, usually taking four years to develop enough to style.

When it comes to their annual growth rate, we found Bonsai trees will usually grow between 12 and 18 inches per year. That said, Bonsai trees do best in bright, warm locations and grow fastest if their soil is kept moist. Regardless, remember to plant your Bonsai somewhere with six to eight hours of sun per day, and don't be afraid to fertilize it during its growing season.

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