Growing bonsai from Seed

“Misho” is the Japanese term for bonsai trees grown from seed.

Growing bonsai from seed is something that bring me lots of enjoyment. It is however a process that takes a lot of time. Growing a tree to the size that there is enough of a trunk to look convincing as a bonsai just isn’t done in a few short years. A decade is easily spent just growing a trunk. And to get a tree that starts to get characteristic of a mature tree such as rough bark and flowers 10-15 years is very normal too.

If you are looking for an old tree and want results quickly, then growing from seed is not for you. You are then better of going to a nursery or taking a look in the neighbors’ garden to dig up that 40 year old shrub in their backyard.

Two collected Carpinus
Two collected Carpinus

If on the other hand you are thinking about growing bonsai from seed and do not mind taking a decade or more to getting something to show for it, than these are the basic steps involved:

  1. Decide upon the species, size and style for your bonsai
  2. Buy or collect seed
  3. Getting seed to germinate
    For seed to germinate, you need to break the dormancy. Dormancy is a state of very low biological activity allowing seeds to survive winter, or several years of bad circumstances. The longer seeds have been stored, the harder it can be to break dormancy. Read about breaking dormancy here
  4. Decide upon the route to develop your tree
    1. In the ground
    1. In a pot
  5. Work on the roots to develop a good nebari
  6. Building a trunk and taper for your bonsai
  7. Annual maintenance and pruning
Zelkova and malus prepre bonsai
Zelkova and malus prepre bonsai

Each of these topics can be made complex enough to cover many pages of information. As such they are split in separate posts. Follow the website for updates!

One Comment on “Growing bonsai from Seed”

  1. Great article on seed propagation. I now have five Ponderosa trees that are four years old. they have been wired since they were three and starting to make great Bonsai. Very twisty trunk . nice needle foliage and starting to get amazing bark. Only a few hundred years to go
    Don’t let seeds slow growth stop you from trying as there is always meaningful to grow a tree from seed
    just be patient and be prepared to wait. I have some trees that took two years to sprout and now they are two inches tall, very exciting also have some Ponderosa trees that are over 150 years old.
    KEEP GROWING and loving bonsai.

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