Japanese Bonsai Tree (A Complete Care Guide)

Many cultivate bonsai trees to explore their imagination and bring a lucrative outlook to their home environment. But growing the bonsai as you desire is tough without proper care and maintenance. 

However, you have to take care of your bonsai tree based on its spices. Otherwise, your efforts will go in vain. In this post, we like to share a detailed overview and caring process about Japanese bonsai trees.  

Get in touch with us till the end to learn Japanese black pine bonsai care. 

Overview Of The Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Tree

  • Common name – Japanese black pine
  • Scientific name – Pinus thunbergii
  • Year of Invention – Around the 1920s
  • Country of origin – Coastal areas of Japan and South Korea 
  • Hardiness zones – USDA 5 to 8
  • Sun exposure – Full
  • Seed length – Up to 18 cm long
  • Plant length – From 20 feet (6 meters) to  100 feet (30.5 meters)
  • Plant width – From 4 feet (1.21 meters) to  25 feet (7.62 meters)
  • Soil requirement – Sandy loam or ph 5 to 6.5
  • Pruning requirement – No/Light pruning
  • Types of leaves –  Small needle-shaped
  • Preferred temperature –  (-60°  to -50° C)
  • Weather that can’t tolerate – (-11° C)
  • Bloom season – Spring 
  • The color of flowers – Inconspicuous

Japanese Bonsai Tree Care Guidelines

This quick overview of Japanese bonsai trees will just tell you the basics. But it’s quite impossible to properly take care of a bonsai with the information to grow it exclusively. Here’s the detailed guideline to grow the black pine bonsai and bring a lucrative structure to it. 

Ideal Placement And Position

Japanese Black Pine trees mostly need full sun exposure or at least 6 hours a day. Such outdoor spaces as backyard, lawn, or garden are the ideal placement for this tree. Since the bonsai roots are sensitive, the midday sun’s excessive high temperature may burn the roots in the container. 

You have to carefully position the tree container to protect it from summer’s scorching sun exposure. However, the proper air circulation helps the tree to relax in the heavy sunlight. Ensure the tree gets enough air when the sun is shining. 

How to understand that my tree gets enough sunlight? Yes, it’s a millionaire question for you as a beginner bonsai enthusiast.

The answer is noticing the leaves’ color of your bonsai tree. If the leaves are lighter green, you have to understand that the tree gets enough sunlight. 

But if the leaves are deep green or lush, it indicates the tree won’t get enough light or placed in the part or full shade space. 

In that case, repositioning your bonsai container to ensure enough sunlight with proper air circulation is a must. 

Suitable Temperature And Humidity

Since the Japanese Black Pine bonsai tree is extremely hardy, its preferable Hardiness zone is from five to eight. It can’t tolerate cold weather, especially under 10° F. The needles of the tree will turn dry and brown at this temperature. 

You have to keep your eyes to identify the tree’s potential problems like borers, blight, root root, rust, and scales on the tree in winter or cold weather. It’ll help you to take immediate action against all those to ensure your tree’s better development. 

You shouldn’t prune the tree at this time, as humidity fosters fungal diseases in the tree. 


Japanese Black Pine trees’ water requirement depends on their age. If the tree is younger, its early first-year water requirement is a full 1 inch every week. Short droughts are tolerable when the tree is a little bit established and developed. 

Water pH level from 5.5 and 6.5 is excellent for watering the Japanese black pine bonsai. You can water the tree every two weeks, depending on the weather. After heavy rainfall, don’t irrigate the tree. 

However, a sound drainage system should be ensured in the container to protect the root from rotten due to extra moisture. On the other hand, if you don’t manage time to regularly water the tree for your hectic schedule, use a humidity tray on the container filled with stones to keep the roots cool for shorter watering. Know more about bonsai watering

Fertilizer Instructions

The black pine trees won’t require too much fertilizer if the soil can provide enough nutrition. But, if the soil is poor and fails, you have to use fertilizer on your potted bonsai. Middle Spring and early Fall are the right time to apply fertilizer to your Japanese black pine bonsai tree. 

But, your head is turning by thinking about which fertilizer is best and when to use it. Solid organic fertilizer and Bio Gold are the best fertilizer for black pine trees. Every 4-week interval of fertilizer application is suitable before needling, and then you should stop. When the secondary candle growth is hardened, you should again apply in early to late autumn. 


Basically, pruning isn’t essential for a healthy Japanese black pine tree. But if you want to grow the tree as a bonsai, you can prune it based on your taste and choice, as there is no hard and fast rule for pruning. 

Autumn to early spring is the right time to prune the tree. Early to mid-summer is also great for candle pruning. Here’s more pruning techniques

Potting and Repotting

Selecting repotting time, soil, pot, and replacement area are the most crucial factors in repotting a bonsai tree. It’s also true for Japanese black pine trees. 

Generally, the Japanese black pine trees’ local climate or weather determines the best time to repot. The tree won’t like to rearrange its root each time you report it. Spring is the season to report a black pine bonsai tree before its buds start to swell. 

Usually, you have to use akadama and pumice soil at the 50/50 percentage to prepare reporting soils. But using slightly more grit soil for younger trees and more akadama soil for older trees is the best. 

You have to select a pot to repot your tree, which is specious. So that the roots of the tree get enough room to spread. The drainage system of the pot is also considerable, as the drain holes help to pass the excess water from the pot to protect the tree’s roots from rot. 

Placement after reporting the tree is also essential for helping the tree to re-establish itself. Place the pot in a shady area for at least 3-4 weeks until the tree is re-established. Check how to repot a bonsai to know detailed information about this process.

Pests and Diseases

In most cases, Japanese black pine bonsai trees are problem free and aren’t prone to pest and insect attacks. But sometimes, they can be affected by very few pests like Nantucket tip moths, sawflies, bark beetles, etc. However, fungal diseases like various rusts and cankers can affect the tree. 

Avoiding wet weather pruning is effective in preventing easy fungi transmission. Spraying pesticides and herbicides like neem oil effectively kills these pests and fungi to keep the tree healthy. 


Seeds and grafting are the two most popular ways to propagate Japanese black pine bonsai trees. Early spring is the best time for seed propagation, and there is a systematic way to follow. 

  1. Soak the black pine seeds for around two days. 
  2. At this time, the seeds will be germinated. 
  3. Discard the seeds floating over the water, as they aren’t worthwhile for germination. 
  4. Then sow the seeds in a pot with the right soil mixture. 

Where To Buy the Best Japanese Bonsai tree?

You can buy the Japanese bonsai tree from your nearest nurseries if they are known for providing authentic bonsai trees. But, if there is no nursery in your locality, online purchasing is the best solution. 

Japanese Bonsai Tree Price

A bonsai tree’s price is determined depending on various factors. The tree’s age, height, width, appearance, health, pot, and many other things are considered, so there is no fixed price for bonsai trees.  

However, based on these factors, a Japanese black pine bonsai tree will cost you around $10-$100. Even if you want to purchase Japanese bonsai tree seeds, the price will be lower.  


Are Japanese bonsais usually grown in containers outdoors?

Yes, Japanese bonsais are usually grown in containers outdoors as they are outdoor plants. Full sun exposure, mid to high temperature, and excellent air circulation are the preconditions to cultivate Japanese bonsai trees. 

What is the Japanese black pine growth rate?

The annual growth rate of a 10+ years old Japanese black pine bonsai tree is 12″ to 15″ or (30 to 37 cm). A mature tree’s height can be 12′ to 15′ feet (4 to 5 m), and the width can be 20′ feet (6 m). 

How long do Japanese black pine trees live?

The healthy Japanese black pine trees may live up to 150 years with proper care and maintenance. But any time, the tree can die for improper placement, soil, drainage, watering, and many more. 

Can you grow Japanese bonsai indoors?

No, it’s not the best practice to grow Japanese bonsai indoors, as they are outdoor species. 

Final Words 

The Japanese bonsai tree, especially the black pine, is a great species to cultivate for beginners as it requires less expertise to care for. You can successfully grow the tree with little effort and time. 

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