how long do bonsai trees live

How Long Do Bonsai Trees Live? 7 Affecting Factors

Bonsai trees are exotic trees that typically have an unusual shape. This is precisely what makes them appealing for use in the home and garden. You might purchase them completely established or start them from seed. But how long do bonsai trees live? We conducted a study to get an answer to this issue.

What are Bonsai Trees?

Bonsai trees are not ordinary trees. A bonsai plant is a small imitation of a large tree that grows naturally. It can be grown inside, in a small pot, in a little space. Many bonsai tree species can survive for hundreds of years! One such example is the ficus bonsai tree at the Crespi Bonsai Museum in Parabiago, Italy. It’s thought to be more than a thousand years old.

pictures of a bonsai tree
pictures of a bonsai tree

The truth is, the term “bonsai” does not relate to any specific species of tree, but rather to a type of art. It has Chinese origins, but the Japanese improved the techniques and established their own style. The literal translation of “bon-sai” in Japanese is “planted in a container,” according to Bonsai Empire. As a result, bonsai trees are typically grown in small pots instead of directly on the ground. That is one method of preventing the plant from growing to the size of a conventional tree.

How Long Do Bonsai Trees Live?

So, how long do bonsai trees live? A bonsai tree’s longevity is most directly tied to the amount of attention it receives, and thus the tree’s general health. A prevalent misconception is that since they are little, they have a shorter lifespan. In truth, they survive at least as long, if not longer, as ‘regular’ size trees. The better their care, the longer they live. Based on how well you care for your tree, it might be dead in five months, or it could live for 1000 years. Bonsai trees are genetically similar to trees discovered in nature; for example, a Ficus bonsai is absolutely similar to a Ficus naturally present in South Asia. They truly resemble small versions of trees!

As a result, you would anticipate a bonsai tree to survive for the identical amount of time as the species of tree is designed to live. However, because they receive a better amount of care than a tree in nature, they can be cultivated to live for much longer. Constant care and attention ensure that the root system is always renewed, the foliage is strong, has adequate nutrients, is in ideal growing conditions, and is usually disease-free. According to one study, bonsai trees live 25% longer than other trees of the same kind!

A bonsai tree’s life does not have a set end date. It isn’t like they reach 50 and begin to die off gradually. The tree might live for several hundred years if it is robust, strong, and disease-free.

do plants have a lifespan
do plants have a lifespan

Factors Affecting How Long Do Bonsai Trees Live

The fact that the trees are little does not imply that they will not live for a long period. Bonsai trees can survive for several months over several hundred years. The most important aspect of determining how long do bonsai trees live is how well you cared for it.

Bonsai trees are simply smaller replicas of larger trees. As a result, they have the same probability as other trees of living for the same length of time. However, when cultivated indoors, they are less vulnerable to disease and other natural elements. Bonsai trees are also given additional attention, which might extend their lives.

While the level of care they are given is the most important aspect in determining how long a bonsai tree lives, there are additional factors to consider. Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.

trees can live forever.
trees can live forever.

Amount of Care

By no means are bonsai trees low-maintenance. They are intended to be sculpted and kept tiny. As a result, they require virtually continual maintenance in order to keep their form and live a healthy and long life.

The Sun and Water

Keep in mind that bonsai trees are not a specific species of tree. They are instead small versions of a wide range of trees. As a result, they require the same amount of sunshine and frequency of watering as larger trees of the same type. The first step in discovering how long do bonsai trees live is to identify its species.

When you know the species, you might provide your tree with the appropriate amount of sunlight and water. You don’t have to water your bonsai tree daily but keeping a watering plan might help keep your tree hydrated. Trees begin to perish when they become very dry.

how to make bonsai tree
how to make bonsai tree

Tree Varieties

With careful care, certain bonsai species, like the Ficus, might live for generations. Others, like the Juniper, live for only about 50 years.

The age of your bonsai tree is also a consideration. A younger tree will typically live longer than an elder tree. This is due to the fact that younger trees are always growing and haven’t yet reached their full capacity. Older trees might be approaching the end of their normal lifespan and might not have many more years to live.

Diseases and Pests

While bonsai trees are vulnerable to the same pests and illnesses indoors as they are outside, they may still be harmed. If there are other plants in your home, any pests or problems that they have an impact your bonsai if it is maintained close by. Keep an eye out for signs of insects or diseases on each of your plants and cure them as quickly as possible.

mini tree with a mature look
mini tree with a mature look

Pets and Children

Pets and children may also have an influence on the condition of your bonsai tree. They usually do not cause difficulties on deliberately, but it is a good idea to maintain the tree away from them to avoid any accidents.

Your pets, for example, could eat or urinate themselves on your tree. Children who are curious about the tree might want to touch and play with it as well. If you’re not careful, these factors can have an impact on how long your tree survives.

Repotting and Pruning

Finally, you must repot your bonsai tree. Yes, if you maintain them clipped and shaped, they will stay little, but they will expand in size, particularly in the first few years. Your bonsai may outgrow its pot, which may hinder with future development and nutrient absorption. If your tree is not in the right size pot, it won’t thrive and may die.

smallest tree in the world
smallest tree in the world

Sheer Luck

Bonsai trees can only live for a long period if they are lucky. Even with proper maintenance and living circumstances, bonsais are susceptible to illnesses and pests. Without your best efforts, there is a potential that your tree will become diseased.

The chances of your tree living are also affected by how it was cultivated and where you bought it. It may not sprout if you attempted to raise it from seed. When it was already established, where you obtained it from could be an influence as well, relying upon how well the tree was cared for prior to your acquisition.

How Can You Tell How Old A Bonsai Tree Is?

Most trees may be aged by cutting their trunks and calculating the number of rings in their trunk. You may not want to do that with a bonsai tree since it will kill the tree you’ve worked extremely hard to maintain. Fortunately, there is another technique to determine the age of your bonsai tree without having to cut it down. However, you must first determine whatever species of bonsai tree you have. Follow these instructions if you know the species.

1 year old bonsai tree
1 year old bonsai tree

Take a measuring tape and wrap it all around your bonsai tree at 1.5 inches from ground. This is the measurement of your circumference. 3.14 times the circumference measurement (pi). It will tell you the diameter of the tree and how long do bonsai trees live.

Search online for the growth factor of the native trees you have. Simply Google the species you’re looking for followed by “growth factor” to acquire a number value. To determine the age of your tree, multiply the diameter by the growth factor. You may also utilize a tree age calculator to determine the age of your tree if you identify the species.

How Long Can Bonsai Trees Live – FAQs

How old is the oldest bonsai tree in the world?

The oldest bonsai tree in the world may be seen in the Crespi Bonsai Museum in Milan, Italy. This is a ficus bonsai that is over 1,000 years old and is about ten feet tall. It’s also in the world’s biggest bonsai pot. Another noteworthy bonsai is approximately 400 years old. It is a Japanese white pine bonsai that was located in the vicinity of Hiroshima, Japan, when the atomic bomb was detonated during World War II. The tree escaped despite severe devastation all surrounding it and is currently housed in the United States National Arboretum.

what plants live the longest
what plants live the longest

How big do bonsai trees get?

Bonsai plants grow in a variety of sizes which depends on how long do bonsai trees live. Some are little, standing as little as 6 inches tall (15 cm). Others can reach heights of more than 3 feet (0.9 m). A smaller bonsai plant will also need more water, soil, and sunshine than a larger one.

How much are bonsai trees worth?

A new bonsai tree from any nearby site will cost around $25 on average. However, bonsai trees have indeed been sold for more than a million us dollars in some cases. The age of the tree, its health, and the pot it is in all play a role in determining the price of a bonsai.

What are the oldest plants in the world?

Australia has found the world’s largest and oldest known live plant. Posidonia australis is an old and extremely hardy seagrass discovered in Shark Bay, Western Australia. It is at least 4,500 years old and stretches across 180 kilometers of shallow ocean.

bonsai tree in the wild
bonsai tree in the wild

Why are bonsai trees so expensive?

Years of re-potting, pruning, wiring, and grafting have stifled the tree’s growth, and the plants must be checked on and frequently watered every day. The abilities required to raise these trees have a significant impact on their worth.

Are bonsai trees good luck?

Bonsai simply means “planted in a container” in Japanese, and the plant is said to bring good fortune and harmony. They claim that if you get bonsai trees as gifts rather than purchasing them yourself, fortune will smile twice as brightly on you.

Where do bonsai trees grow?

Bonsai trees, unlike some other types of plants, are not endemic to any single place. They thrive in temperate climates such as Japan and China. They are generally grown in the western United States. Some of them are naturally wild.

how much are bonsai trees
how much are bonsai trees

What is the most expensive bonsai tree in the world?

The world’s most costly tree is now Japan’s oldest pine bonsai tree, which itself was bought for $1.2 million at the International Bonsai Convention in Takamatsu, Japan.

In Summary

So, how long do bonsai trees live? If properly cared for, bonsai trees can survive for hundreds of years. There is no reason why a bonsai tree cannot live 25% longer than the same species found in nature when using age-old practices. The exact number of years a bonsai will live varies on a variety of conditions, and because different species die at various ages, there is no set expiration date for bonsai.


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