How Long Does It Take To Grow A Bonsai Tree

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

Growing a bonsai tree is an ancient art that requires some skill and patience. While this process takes time, many find the art of bonsai a relaxing and even mediation task. Its reward is in the work and in the beautiful miniature giant that this work slowly shapes. If you are interested in creating your own bonsai tree, one of the first questions you are likely to ask yourself is “how long does it take to grow a bonsai tree?”

Bonsai trees need to grow for an average of five years before you can begin to prune and modify your tree in the bonsai traditions. It normally takes another five to ten years for your bonsai tree to reach full maturity. The tree type, pot and soil used, bonsai skills, and other factors can increase or decrease the amount of time it takes a bonsai to grow.

The art of bonsai may seem elusive and difficult to pressure, but if you have time and patience then you should be able to grow a beautiful bonsai tree. One thing that you need to know before you start growing a bonsai tree is that just like with all things that grow, there are variables. If you want to know how quickly your tree will grow you should understand how quickly bonsais grow on average, and then understand the variables that can change how quickly the tree will grow.

How Quickly Do Bonsai Trees Grow

Bonsai trees grow like all trees, in that they are always growing. This means that a bonsai tree, in reality, will grow until it dies. But that is not really what most people are asking when they ask “how quickly does a bonsai grow?” Instead, people usually mean how long does it take for a bonsai tree to reach maturity. Also, people want to know how long they have to wait until their bonsai tree will start taking on its bonsai attributes that we know and love from the ancient Japanese tree tradition.

In general, from the moment a tree pops out of the soil, it will take between 5 to 10 years of stunting before the tree has reached a perceived adulthood. After the tree has matured to this level, this is when you can start shaping and training it more with wires and such.If you purchase your bonsai as a sapling or and even older tree that has already been stunted, you will need to wait much less than if you decide to grow a tree from seed.

There are many variables that can change how long it takes a bonsai tree to grow. Still, regardless of the tree type or other factors, it normally takes a bare minimum of three years before your bonsai has grown to a point where you can start shaping it.

Five Factors That Can Affect Bonsai Tree Growth

1. At What Stage Did You Purchase The Bonsai Tree

It is universally understood that growing a plant from seed takes longer than growing it once it has already rooted. Bonsai are no exception. It is quite common to purchase a bonsai tree that is already rooted and has already begun the stunting process. These trees can be purchased from boutiques and bonsai experts. They will take less time to grow than if you try to grow on from seed (there is also a higher success rate).

2. The Type Of Tree

The type of bonsai tree you grow can also have a major impact on how long your bonsai will take to grow. While the average bonsai tree will reach its full maturity within 10 to 15 years, there are some trees that mature faster. Some, on the other hand, can take up to 30 years to fully mature. Maple, Chinese Juniper and Jade trees are all known to grow a bit later than normal. One of these three types might be a good option if you are hoping to have a tree mature faster.

3. Your Bonsai Skills

Perhaps the biggest factor when it comes to how quickly a bonsai will grow, and if it will grow at all, are your bonsai and gardening skills. These plants require care and maintenance. A neglected plant will struggle. Even if the struggle does not kill it, it can reshape it and also slow down its growth.

4. Your Location And Climate

Your climate, and where the tree is located can also impact how quickly it grows. Make sure you understand the plant you are working with, and put it in the most ideal conditions as possible. Make sure it is at the right temperature and gets enough sun and water. Tropical bonsai trees that are subject to cold weather may stop growing until the temperature increases.

5. Materials Used

The type of materials you use to maintain your bonsai tree can also impact how quickly it will grow. Everything from the soil to the pot can impact the tree and how happy, healthy and quick to adapt. Make sure you do your research and give thought to these decisions. Remember that all tree types are different, and there is no one universal material or solution for all types of bonsai trees.

Tips To Help You Grow Bonsai Trees To Adulthood Faster

Try A Nutrient Rich Fertilizer

Your plant needs to be watered, but it also needs to be fed. Having a nutrient rich fertilizer mixed in with your soil ensures that your bonsai tree has all the nutrition it needs to thrive and grow as much and as quickly as possible.

Perfect The Repotting & Trimming Techniques

At the end of the day, the better you are at trimming, maintaining and repotting your bonsai tree, the more healthy it will be. Continue to work hard at getting better at the art of bonsai. Part of the beauty of maintaining your tree is that you continue to learn and grow just as the tree grows.

If you want your bonsai to grow faster, see what techniques you can work on that help promote tree growth.

Pick A Bigger Pot

A larger pot can help your tree grow more, especially if it is struggling. A larger pot allows for more soil, fertilizer and nutrients. You might be trying to stunt the growth in height of the plant, but a larger pot can make sure the plant has time to grow, and quickly.

Try Pruning For More Light Efficiency

Many plants can benefit from pruning. It helps make sure the light is hitting the plant in ideal places, and allows it to grow in the right direction to reach its full potential. Bonsai trees are no exception. See how you can possibly trim or prune your plant to maximize light exposure and promote growth in the desired direction.

Start With The Right Soil

You also need to make sure you are using the right and best soil for your bonsai tree. Trees grow in all sorts of climates and conditions. One soil might be perfect for one type of tree, while it could potentially kill another. Make sure you pay attention to the ideal soil types for your specific species of bonsai tree. This will ensure it grows healthy and in a natural way.

Final Thoughts On How Long It Takes For A Bonsai To Grow

Bonsai trees are definitely an investment. Sometimes they are an investment in money and materials. But they are always an investment in time. It takes an average of 5 years of growing and stunting for a bonsai to have enough time to begin performing most bonsai tasks like trimming and wiring. On average it takes between 10 to 15 years before a bonsai tree is fully grown.

There are several factors that impact how long it will take to grow your bonsai. The type of tree, your climate, when you bought the bonsai tree (as a seed or sapling) can all have an impact. Remember that each bonsai is unique, and often owning a bonsai tree is about the process as much as it is about the end result.

Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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