If you want a strikingly beautiful bonsai, the Japanese White Pine is it. This
dense tree can grow upwards to 50-foot tall in the wild but when trained, it
becomes a magnificent bonsai. The Japanese White Pine is irregularly shaped. It
has a wonderful spread and broad but flattened canopy. The needles of this tree
are twisted and stiff with blue/green tufts on the tips. Considered a classic
bonsai, the Japanese White Pine is beautiful, hardy, and a perfect choice for
both beginners and advanced bonsai growers.
As a member of the Pinaceae family, the Japanese White Pine needs full sun and
somewhat cool climates. One of the most important things to remember about the
Japanese White Pine is that it must have good drainage. For feeding, we
recommend you feed this tree in early to late spring monthly. Then toward late
fall to early winter, a slow-acting fertilizer is needed. The best solution is
20/20/20, which of course would depend on the acidity of your soil mix.
For pruning the Japanese White Pine, this should be done gradually to help
develop a strong root system. In late fall, you can prune and wire the branches,
leaving the wire on for six to eight months but no more. Then in the spring, you
will need to pinch off any new shoots to about one-third their length. About
every one to two years, all of the new shoots should be removed, but only if the
tree is well fed and healthy.
To propagate the Japanese White Pine, you can use seeds or layering. For
repotting, this should be performed every two to three years for the younger
trees and three to five years for more mature trees. Typically, you would want
to repot this bonsai in the springtime, just prior to the candles opening.
However, you can also repot in late summer or early fall, once the temperatures
Since the five-needle pine is very rugged, you probably want to use a durable,
rectangular container. In addition, the pines will need a deep root system,
especially, if grown outdoors where it would be faced with windy conditions. As
a conifer tree, the Japanese White Pine actually grows because of a symbiotic
fungus found in the rootball. If the fungus were not present, the tree would
likely die. Therefore, this type of bonsai should never be bare rooted.