How long does it take to grow a bonsai tree?

When you are planning to go into bonsai tree growing, time can be a crucial factor. How long they live, how long it takes to grow a bonsai tree, all these questions come into play. But what you have to remember is growing a bonsai tree is all about patience, and there is no shortcut to that.

Here I will tell you all about the time it takes to grow a bonsai tree. And I will also go through matters such as growing your tree quicker, factors that impact growth duration, and species that grow quickly. So, without wasting more time, let’s get going with it right away.

How long does it take to grow a bonsai tree

How long does it need to grow a proper bonsai tree?

Let me be very clear; it will take some good time to grow a bonsai tree. Now, that’s the reason why being able to grow a proper bonsai tree feels so fulfilling and rewarding. It’s the price of your patience, and it’s worth it for sure.

There are typically three ways you can get a bonsai tree. You can grow it from seed, you can grow a pre-grown bonsai tree, and you can inherit a bonsai tree. These three different ways have their values that let you go through different phases. Confused? Well, let’s clear things up one by one then.

Growing a bonsai tree from seed 

Growing a bonsai tree from seed 
Photo by bonsaisanctum

If you are patient and want to be there throughout the journey of bonsai tree growth, this is where you start. It’s starting from scratch, where you will only have seeds.

Before you decide on going for this, you must know this is the hardest phase to pass with your bonsai tree. You won’t even see a proper tree before 4 to 5 years when you go for this method. It’s also the most fulfilling way of growing a bonsai tree.

Here you will be doing something from scratch, taking the hardest and longest route to do it. This can feel like an achievement and give you much more satisfaction than the other methods.

Growing a pre-grown bonsai tree 

This is the way for those who want to jump right into the fun and get on with the art of bonsai trees. These bonsai trees went through the seeding phase and are usually more than five years old. So, what you get here are bonsai trees that have already taken their complete shape.

Going with this method can be great for you because you start with a grown tree to see what you are dealing with. It’s easier to take care of, and it’s the phase where all the fun is for bonsai cultivation. You still get a journey with your tree when you have it for 10 or 20 years.

Inherit a tree 

Imagine this, you grow a bonsai tree and pass it down to your kids when you get old. That’s pretty much what inheriting a tree is. Or you may get a tree from someone else who has been growing the tree for quite a long time. It’s good, but there are some things here to be aware of.

Before starting with the tree, you must know the condition it is in right now. How much care it got previously or how healthy it is, how much water it is currently, the soil texture, and so forth. After determining all these, you can start with the bonsai yourself and come up with answers.

What answers? Answers like how you should be taking care of the tree and how you will you maintain it. Going through all that will answer all the questions.

Now, among these three ways, which one you go with is up to you. In summary, growing a tree from seed will take at least five years to see promising results. So, you can say it takes five years to grow a bonsai tree from scratch.

Can you speed up the process of growing bonsai trees? 

Well, people will look for ways to speed up the growing process of bonsai trees. There aren’t many things you can do it make the process quicker. If you try to take shortcuts, you may end up with weak trees that may grow quickly but die sooner as well.

So, what’s the solution here, then? The solution is that choosing the right species and following some methods can help you speed up the usual process a little bit. But let me remind you it won’t be any drastic change in the speed. If you want a strong bonsai tree cultivation, you have to give it time, and there is no going around that.

Let’s get through some things that can quicken the process a bit.

Faster growing species 

This is the first step to speed up the process of bonsai tree growth. You have to choose a species of bonsai tree that grows or matures quicker than the other. There are several species like that. Let’s take a quick look at them.

  • Ficus: This species tends to show the quickest growth among all other bonsai tree species. They also have a longer lifespan so that you can get a lot out of this species with proper care.
  • Jade: Here is another species of bonsai tree that has a fast-growing nature. Also, it has a great appealing look to enhance the aesthetics of your home.
  • Japanese white pine: These are great for growing quickly and for a longer time. If you give this tree the best possible care, you will see astonishing results that may last for your whole lifetime.

Aside from these three, you can go for Maple, Junipers, Weeping Willow, or Aspen. These also grow quickly compared to all the other species out there. But for the best growth and longevity, Ficus is the way to go.

Tips on growing a bonsai faster 

Let me tell you, I will not give you some magical tips and tricks to grow your bonsai quicker. These are some caring and maintenance tips that help out in the growth of your bonsai. Also, these are pretty regular care which you should do anyway. Just remember, the better care you take of your tree, the better growth you will see.

1.Using the proper soil 

Since you will be growing a bonsai on a container, you have to make sure you give it the nutrients it needs. Trees get nutrients from the soil, and for the perfect growth of your bonsai, you will need specialized soil. This is what bonsai artists call potting mix.

Getting the right potting mix will help the tree grow from the root. It also helps in holding moisture without clogging the water. And when you water the potting mix properly, they can retain the nutrients very easily, which helps a lot in growth.

2.Repotting and trimming roots 

One maintenance tip many people forget for bonsai trees is trimming the roots. When the bonsai tree starts to grow, its roots will reach the limit at some point. As soon as it reaches that limit, the growth of the tree may completely stop.

That’s why before the roots can reach the limit, you have to trim some of them and allow the tree to grow further. After trimming the roots, you can repot it in the same container or a larger container.

3.Proper pruning 

Pruning makes a huge difference in the growth of your bonsai tree. The contrast of growth between a regular tree and a bonsai tree has a lot to do with pruning.

If you do it properly, you will allow your tree to photosynthesize much better. This eventually helps the tree grow much faster than you can anticipate. So, master the pruning technique before anything else to get the best possible growth in your bonsai tree.

4.Using the right fertilizer 

We, humans, need various nutrients to grow. The ones who take them properly grow quicker, and some grow slower. The case is the same with trees as well. If you provide the necessary nutrients to your tree properly, they will grow quicker.

The best way to provide nutrients is using the right kind of fertilizer. Also, you have to maintain the right amount. You can’t use too much fertilizer because it will surely damage the sensitive parts of the tree. So, you will have to master the use of it over time.

Following these care routines for your bonsai trees should make them grow faster than usual. However, you will still need to be patient till you see the results because growing bonsai trees is all about patience and dealing with time.


To sum up, it shouldn’t matter how long it takes to grow a bonsai tree because it’s not a race. Growing bonsai trees is a journey, and you have to love every part of it. Taking a hard path to complete the journey will feel much more fulfilling than taking shortcuts.

Just remember to take care of your tree the best way possible. It’s not only suitable for a healthy tree. It also helps in quicker growth. So, there is no harm in doing that.  

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