How Much Money Are Bonsai Trees Worth?

Maybe you’re looking to buy a bonsai tree, or maybe even make money selling bonsai and you need to know how much money bonsai trees are worth? In this article I aim to show you exactly how much these little trees are worth and how that price point is calculated!

Bonsai trees can be worth anything from $20 to over $1,000,000. The true value of a bonsai tree is valued by looking at…

  • The Age Of The Tree
  • The Pot
  • Species Of Tree
  • Design/Styling Of The Bonsai
  • The Trunk

Keep reading for more information!

What Dictates The Price Of A Bonsai Tree?

It’s hard to answer such a broad question because there are just so many variables involved. Many different factors influence how much a bonsai tree is worth, including…

Age – In simple terms, the older the bonsai tree, the more it’s worth. If I was in possession of two Juniper bonsai trees, the first being 9 years old, with the second being 90 years old, the second will always be worth more money.

Pots – An often overlooked factor is the type of pot that the bonsai tree is sitting in. Ancient bonsai pots will of course be worth a high ticket, whereas a cheap ceramic from your local garden shop will no doubt be worth very little.

If you’re looking to jazz up the look of your bonsai tree, I would definitely look on Home Garden Ornaments. They have some really great pots that I’ve gotten from them before when looking to repot my bonsai. In particular I would recommend their Sahara Duo pots- they look really good and are a great shape for a traditional bonsai pot. Click here to view the Sahara Duo Oval Anthracite+Grey, which is one I’ve bought and loved previously.

I would take this with a pinch of salt because obviously bonsai trees can be repotted relatively easily meaning a tree can be separated from a very expensive pot, so the tree wouldn’t necessarily be selling for a higher ticket.

Species – Of course there are a huge amount of different species of bonsai trees that you can grow, with some being a lot more exotic than something like your standard Chinese Elm. Here you can purchase a Chinese Seiju Elm Bonsai Tree from Bonsai Boy of New York. With that in mind, some species are a lot harder to keep alive than others, generally meaning that those are worth more than the species that are extremely easy to grow.

Design/Styling – A lot of the more expensive bonsai trees that go for sale are absolutely stunning in design, with decades of careful wiring, development and pruning to create what can only be described as a work of art. This is no easy feat and takes an extremely long time to do, if you manage to do it without killing the bonsai, hence why these bonsais are worth a lot of money.

I’ve invested in some great tools myself to keep on top of pruning my bonsai and there are some good websites that offer them for a reasonable price without sacrificing the quality. Read below to see some of my top suggestions.

Traditional Bonsai Shears $21.95
Bonsai Training Wire $9.95
Decorative Volcanic Rock $9.95

Another thing to bear in mind is the scarring of the bonsai tree. When bonsai trees are aggressively pruned or grown in a way such as having a sacrificial branch, they can have quite large for scars that affect the look of the tree. A way in which people get around this problem is to have a front of the bonsai and the back of the bonsai. This way, any scars from previous work and pruning of the bonsai will be at the back of the tree and less visible.

The Trunk – A thick trunk is a very desirable trait in a bonsai tree, however, it isn’t a 5 minute job to achieve this. It takes a huge amount of time and patience to actually achieve this, hence why bonsai trees with a thick trunk tend to be worth more than ones with a thin trunk, like you could buy online for cheap.
If you’re looking at purchasing a bonsai tree with a thicker trunk, Bonsai Boy of New York have many to choose from, however this Ficus Retusa Golden Coin Bonsai is a great option. It’s perfect for indoor use and is extremely user friendly, requiring less care than others might need. Being a Ficus, it’s one of the most tolerant species. Click here to see this one at a really great price of $125.

A thick trunk is relatively hard to achieve as the growth of the bonsai tree is being stunted in a small pot, constricting the roots. There are various ways in which to obtain a thick trunk on a bonsai, however, most of the methods will leave sort of scarring or effect on the tree. If you’re curious about the techniques used to increase trunk thickness, I have produced a pretty thorough article here you might be interested in.

If you are looking to get into the business of growing bonsai trees for a profit, I would just advise against it due to the amount of time required to make any money. You also have to bear in mind that just because a Bonsai tree is old doesn’t actually mean it is worth a whole lot of money depending on the condition of the tree, the species and the other aspects that dictate price, that we spoke about.

I mean sure, there are big farms making a lot of money growing and selling small cheap bonsai trees on a large scale, however, for a small operation, there isn’t too much profit in selling bonsai trees even though they are worth a lot of money in general. With that being said, bonsai is not an art to get into if you are looking for a quick buck. That’s not at all what bonsai is, or will ever be about.

Photo From Bonsaiempire

This bonsai tree has been sold for around the $90,000 mark. Although this isn’t the most expensive bonsai tree by any means, it goes to show how much people are willing to pay for a bonsai tree. The value was based on factors such as the age of the tree, the styling and the incredible trunk design that you don’t see often.

Photo From Bonsaitonight

This is currently one of the most expensive bonsai trees in the world. This beautiful White Pine was selling in 2011 for about 100,000,000 yen, which at the time made this bonsai tree worth about $1.2 million dollars. It’s been reported that on the second day of the ASPAC (In which the bonsai was showcased), it had a sold sign displayed next to it, so it was taken off the market at a very high price.
If you’re interested in getting a White Pine for yourself, Bonsai Boy of New York has a few great options! Click here for their cheaper White Pine, at $69.95. However, if your budget can stretch further, click here for this stunning Japanese Black Pine. It is pricier, at $1,800 and you can definitely see why!

$200,000 Bonsai Tree Video

Final Thoughts

With that being said, there are actually a few ways to earn money from the art of bonsai if that’s something you’re interested in. Here’s an article I’m pretty proud of, in which I break down how to make money from bonsai using some pretty creative gaps in the market.

In conclusion, there’s really no simple answer, in the same way there’s no simple answer to ‘how much is a car worth’. This would of course depend on the model, condition, mileage, brand, year, market value and much more. Nonetheless, I hope this has helped bring you a better understanding of how much bonsai trees are worth and how their valuations are calculated.

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