Skip to Content

Why Do Bonsai Trees Grow So Slow? | What’s the Best Answer

Why Do Bonsai Trees Grow So Slow? | What's the Best Answer

Why do bonsai trees grow so slow? One of the main reasons is that bonsai trees are pruned. This makes them smaller and more compact, which also slows their growth rate down considerably.

The best time to do this type of pruning is in early spring before new growth occurs. If you’re interested in growing your own bonsai tree, here are some tips for doing it right!

Bonsai Growth ( Why do bonsai trees grow so slow? )

The slow growth of Bonsai trees is a result of the way they are cared for. In order to keep the tree small, it must be regularly trimmed and trained. This process is time-consuming and requires patience. It can take many years for a Bonsai tree to reach its full size.

Bonsai trees are also susceptible to pests and diseases, which can further slow their growth. To protect them, it is important to keep them in a warm, sunny location and to use proper care and maintenance techniques.

With proper care, Bonsai trees can thrive for many years. Their slow growth makes them a popular choice for collectors and enthusiasts who appreciate their unique beauty.

Bonsai History

The art of Bonsai began in China over 1,000 years ago. It was introduced to Japan in the 600s, where it flourished and developed into its own unique style.

Bonsai trees are miniature versions of full-size trees. They are typically grown in pots and can be shaped and trimmed to create a variety of different styles.

Bonsai trees are popular for their small size and intricate shapes. They make a beautiful addition to any home or garden and can be enjoyed for many years. With proper care, they can even live for hundreds of years.

There are a few things that make bonsai unique from other plants.

  • Firstly, the size of the tree is restricted by the pot; it is impossible to grow a large bonsai.
  • Secondly, bonsai must be styled in a way that replicates trees found in nature. This means that branches are pruned and wires are used to create new shapes; it can take many years for a tree to grow into its final shape.
  • Thirdly, bonsai must be watered and fertilized regularly in order to maintain its health; disregarding these basic needs will result in the death of the tree.
  • Finally, bonsai require a lot of sunlight and fresh air; placing a bonsai in a dark or enclosed area will stunt its growth.

Purpose of Bonsai

The purpose of bonsai is to grow small, decorative plants. The art goes back thousands of years and can be found in China, Japan, Vietnam, Okinawa, Korea, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Australia and the United States. Growing different varieties of plants in a pot creates what looks to be a full-size tree landscape.

How its created

The first step in creating a bonsai is to select a healthy specimen from the wild. The tree should be sturdy with a straight trunk and good branching. It is important to choose a species of tree that will be suitable for bonsai cultivation. Some trees are better suited for bonsai than others. For example, conifers are generally better suited for bonsai than deciduous trees, as they are more tolerant of root and pot restriction.

The next step is to reduce the size of the tree by trimming its roots. The roots are trimmed using a sharp knife or scissors until they are the desired size. This is done in order to restrict the growth of the tree and induce it to grow in a compact form.

The branches of the tree are then trained to grow in the desired direction. This is done by bending them and wiring them into position. Wires are used to hold the branches in place while they grow into their new position. The wires are then removed once the branches have taken the desired shape.

Pruning is also necessary in order to maintain the shape of the tree. Dead or unwanted branches are removed, and the overall shape of the tree is maintained.

Why Do Bonsai Trees Grow So Slow? | What's the Best Answer

There are many different styles of bonsai, each with its own unique characteristics. Some of the most popular styles include:

• The formal upright style – Upright style is the way to go if you’re looking for a traditional bonsai that will be passed down from one generation to the next.

• The slanting style – A favorite form of many because it has been used in Japan for centuries.

• The cascade – A dramatic, heavy planting that seems to spill over the edge of the pot.

• The semi-cascade – Similar to the cascade, but less dramatic, with a more gradual slope from top to bottom.

• The windswept style – A tree that seems battered by the wind.

• The literati or brushwood style – Named for its resemblance to Chinese calligraphy, this style features a single trunk that tapers as it reaches toward the sky.

• The group planting – A combination of two or more plantings that are designed to present an air of wildness and grandeur.

• The informal upright style – A style with an asymmetrical appearance, usually with the trunk growing off center. This style is favored by many enthusiasts because it’s so easy to create.

• The broom style – This broom-shaped planting appears as if it is about to sweep everything away in one grand gesture.

• The root-over-rock style – A gnarled, exposed root system is closely associated with bonsai. It is often used to suggest great age and wisdom.

• The forest – An ambitious planting of two or more trees in a single container.

• The twin-trunk style – A tree that has two equally sized trunks growing from the soil at the same time.

Different styles of bonsai can be quite beautiful, and add a touch of elegance to any room. Bonsai cultivation is an art that takes many years to master, but the results are well worth the effort. With a little practice, you too can create a miniature masterpiece that will be admired by all.

Why Do Bonsai Trees Grow So Slow? | What's the Best Answer

Tips for Bonsai Beginners

  • Soil is one of the most important ingredients for growing a healthy bonsai.
  • Fertilize your tree regularly to help it grow strong and healthy.
  • Repot your tree every two or three years, using fresh soil each time.
  • Prune and shape your tree as needed to keep it looking its best.
  • Be patient – it can take many years to create a beautiful bonsai.

Techniques in Trimming and Training Bonsai

There are several techniques that can be used in trimming and training bonsai. The most common techniques are described below.

  • Pruning: Pruning is the process of removing unwanted branches from the tree. It is necessary in order to maintain the shape of the tree and remove dead or diseased branches. Pruning should be done regularly, especially during the growing season.
  • Wiring: Wiring is a technique that is used to bend branches into desired positions. Wires are attached to the branches with pliers and then twisted to hold them in place. The wires are left in place until the branches have taken the desired shape, after which they are removed.
  • Bending: Branches can be bent into position by using your hands or clamping mechanisms such as woodworking vises. Bending the branches is a good way to reduce the stress on new and emerging growth.
  • Breaking: Some branches may need to be forced into position using a breaking mechanism. A breaking mechanism is any method that can be used to bend a branch into place, such as tying it down with wire or rope. This technique should only be used on branches that are too stiff to bend by hand. It should not be used on branches older than one year, as it leaves unsightly scars and blemishes in the bark of the tree due to excess friction and pressure applied by the breaking mechanism.
  • Splicing: Splicing is a process of cutting small wedges out of a branch and then wiring the wedges back into place. This is done in order to lengthen a branch or induce new growth.
  • Grafting: Grafting is a process of attaching a branch from one tree to another. It is often used to join two different species of trees together. Grafting is used to create unique bonsai specimens with interesting shapes and textures.
  • Pinching: Pinching is the process of removing the tips of young branches in order to restrict their growth. Pinching should be done regularly during the growing season in order to maintain the desired shape of the tree.

What Mistakes to Avoid?

The best way of telling what has been done right in bonsai, is to look at some examples. The more effort that has gone into the plant being displayed, then the higher it will generally score.

It does not have to be perfect or even very good at all, for a Bonsai Concours entrant – it just has to show promise and each piece of work should be judged on an individual basis.

What is important here is that you try and avoid the following:

  1. Putting your tree(s) into inappropriate pots. This can include anything from trying to force a deciduous species into an unsuitably shallow pot (eg Elm), to putting a coniferous species too deep in its pot (eg Juniper). If in doubt, ask a more experienced grower or bonsai professional for their opinion.
  2. Watering your tree(s) in an incorrect way. Incorrect watering is probably the most common mistake made when growing bonsai and goes hand in hand with inappropriate pot choice. In particular, trees should never sit in water for prolonged periods. Not only does this create the wrong conditions for root growth, but it can also cause problems with so-called ‘root rot’ fungus (Fusarium oxysporum).
  3. Inappropriate soil composition is another big mistake that many enthusiasts make – particularly if they are beginning to grow their first bonsai from seed or cutting/graft. A classic beginner’s mistake is to use a soil mix that is too heavy and compact, which will quickly lead to problems with drainage and root rot.
  4. Applying too much or too little fertilizer. This is another common mistake, particularly if you are new to growing bonsai. The key is to find a good quality fertilizer and to apply it in the correct quantity at the correct time of year. Fertilizing too often or using the wrong type of fertilizer can be very damaging to your tree(s).
  5. Pruning your tree(s) in the wrong way. Pruning is an essential part of bonsai cultivation and should be done with care and precision. If done incorrectly, it can have dire consequences for the health of your bonsai.
  6. Defoliating or removing leaves in the wrong way. This mistake is often made by enthusiasts who are trying to ‘improve’ their trees through excessive defoliation. The result can be a scorched leaf, which will quickly die back and leave the tree weakened.
  7. Re-potting your bonsai in an incorrect way. This mistake is often made when novice enthusiasts attempt (or pretend) to do root work on their own trees. Root work should always be carried out very carefully, using correct tools and techniques to avoid damage to the delicate feeder roots that feed your bonsai with essential nutrients from the soil. If done incorrectly, re-potting can easily kill your tree.
  8. Not giving your tree(s) the correct amount of light. This mistake is often made by enthusiasts who keep their bonsai indoors, rather than outdoors in the correct position where they can receive the right amount of natural light. Not only will this stunt the growth of your tree, but it can also cause leaf scorching and other problems.
  9. Developing bad habits! One of the biggest dangers when growing bonsai is developing bad habits that are difficult to break. These can include things like over-watering, over-fertilizing, root pruning etc. If you are not careful, these bad habits can quickly damage or even kill your tree.

By following the advice given above, you can help to avoid some of the most common mistakes made by novice bonsai enthusiasts and improve your chances of success with this fascinating art form.

Why Do Bonsai Trees Grow So Slow? | What's the Best Answer

Now that we have covered some of the most common mistakes made by novice enthusiasts, let’s take a look at some of the essential tips for success:

  1. Choose the right tree for your skill level and experience.
  2. Pot your tree in an appropriate pot size and shape.
  3. Water your tree correctly using good quality water and avoid over-watering.
  4. Fertilize your tree using a good quality fertilizer at the correct time of year.
  5. Pruning should be carried out with care and precision.
  6. Defoliating or removing leaves should only be done in the correct way.
  7. Re-pot your tree using correct tools and techniques.
  8. Give your tree the correct amount of light – both natural and artificial.
  9. Avoid developing bad habits!

By following these tips, you will give yourself the best chance of success when growing bonsai trees. Good luck!

Why Do Bonsai Trees Grow So Slow? | What's the Best Answer


Bonsai is used to restrict tree growth by potting and trimming. That’s the reasons why bonsai trees grow slow. Follow the tips and steps in order to properly grow your bonsai tree and avoid common beginner’s mistakes. Remember, the most important thing is to have patience when growing bonsai!