How Long Does A Bonsai Tree Live For?

Although bonsai trees are famed for being so hard to look after, you hear stories about them living for hundreds of years. I decided to do some research into how long a bonsai tree lives for…

Bonsai trees can live for hundreds of years. Currently the oldest known bonsai tree is over 1000 years old. Due to the constant care and maintenance done to bonsai trees, they typically live 25% longer than a tree of the same species living in nature. Let’s find out why… 


How Long Do Bonsai Trees Live?

Bonsai trees lifespans are mainly down to the care and health of the tree, not the fact it’s grown in a small pot. Depending on how the tree is cared for, it could be dead within 5 months or it could grow for 1000 years. The trees used for bonsai are the exact same as the trees grown out in nature, a Ficus bonsai is genetically identical to a Ficus found naturally in South Asia.

It’s for that reason that you would expect a bonsai tree to live for the same amount of time as the species of tree is meant to live for. But, do bonsai trees live for longer? Yes, bonsai trees get a huge amount of care and routine maintenance compared to the trees growing out in nature. This means the root system is always rejuvenated, the foliage is healthy, it has enough nutrients, perfect growing conditions and usually free of disease. There is a study showing that bonsai trees will live on average 25% longer than a tree of the same species!

There is no real expiration date on the life of a bonsai tree. It’s not like they get to 50 years of age and start slowly dying off. As long as the tree remains healthy, vigorous and disease free it can live for hundreds of years!


Factors That Decide How Long A Bonsai Will Live For

There are a huge amount of factors that go into dictating how long a bonsai tree will live. Like any other living being, it needs to get the right care, over a long period of time. Trees that get the wrong care or absolutely none, will not live for long. Whereas bonsai that get the proper care, combined with not getting any disease, will surely live for hundreds of years. Some of these factors dictating how long a bonsai tree will live for include:

  • The species – Some species tend to live for longer than others.
  • The environment  – Bonsai trees need to be grown in the perfect conditions to stay healthy and promote strong growth.
  • The general care – These trees require constant watering, pruning, repotting and pest maintenance to ensure they live a long time, without this care it will not live long.
  • A bit of luck – Some bonsai can get diseases that can be as serious as to kill the tree. Rightly some diseases such as root rot are brought on by bad care, but some are slightly more random.
Photo From BonsaiEmpire

This bonsai tree, said to be around 400 years old is one of the rarest in the world. Besides the fact it has survived for centuries, this White Pine also survived the Hiroshima disaster, making it truly one of the most breathtaking bonsai.  This tree is living proof that bonsai can still outlive their species out in nature, given the proper care. It’s a goal of mine to actually fly to see this tree in person at some point over the next few years, I haven’t seen a bonsai with such an amazing story before.

The Oldest Bonsai Tree

Photo By bonsaidilettante

This is currently thought to be the oldest bonsai tree in the world! This Ficus is sitting at over 1000 years old, which is truly incredible. I have compiled a list of the 8 oldest bonsai trees, which you might find fascinating! Just because this Ficus has made it to over 1000 years old, doesn’t mean mine will, nor yours. This tree would have been cared for, nurtured and treated amazingly to make it to the age it has! It currently sits in the Crespi Bonsai Museum. It’s said that this tree was originally under the care of Chinese Bonsai Masters, before being passed onto a Japanese Master by the name of Shotaro Kawahara.

Final Thoughts

Bonsai trees can live for hundreds of years if cultivated properly. Using the age old techniques, there is no reason a bonsai tree will not live 25% longer than the exact same species out in nature. The exact amount of time a bonsai will live depends on a huge amount of factors and all species are said to die at different ages, so there is no exact expiration date on bonsai.

Let me know how old the oldest bonsai in your collection is!


Related Articles – How To Grow A Bonsai Tree / How To Make A Bonsai Tree Grow Faster 







Recent Content