Bonsai Pine Trees

bonsai pine trees

Welcome to our Bonsai Pine Trees Guide!

Did you know that pines have been around for over 100 million years? We can all agree that this is a long, long time!

In fact, the Cone Pine, if grown right, can live for thousands of years!

Obviously it won't matter to you if your Pine is still living when future generations are whizzing around in spaceships, but at least you can leave a living part of you to future generations!

Bonsai Pine trees are certainly the King of Bonsai. They are admired by Japanese artists and produce an unbelievable aesthetic appeal.

Pines take longer than most other species to grow, but when you begin to see your desired changes take place, the satisfaction and pride increase exponentially!

In general, Pines look amazing with thick trunks and balanced foliage pads. The foliage itself is needlelike and requires much attention, particularly around pruning, but more on that later.

Pines hate shade and will take better in acid-rich soil.

Here are the best species to produce Bonsai Pine Trees:

• Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris)

• Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii)

• Japanese White Pine (Pinus parviflora)

• Japanese Red Pine (Pinus densiflora)

• Mugo Pine (Pinus Mugo)

The most popular Bonsai Pine trees are the Scotch and Japanese Black.

General Care

• Pines like airy, open spaces in which to grow with lots of light.

• Water your Pine well from Spring through Summer (normal watering regime)

• Do not allow the needles to get too long (2cm is too long, prune back to about 3/4 centimetre)

Lets have a look at how to grow a Pine!

Growing From Seed

• Acquire your seeds from a Bonsai dealer, a garden centre, or online

• Plant your seeds in a growing bed/box

• When your tree develops and roots are present, transfer your Pine into a pot/container

• Where possible, add Mycorrhiza to the loam-based compost mix. You will find this bacteria on the base of trees or on rotting pine needle matter. This will aid the strength and growth of your Pine

• Ensure you are careful when transferring your Pine from bed to box and ensure sufficient aftercare to avoid pests and disease. Do not remove more than 20% of the roots. You can do this when the tree is more established and non-vulnerable

• Follow basic Bonsai Care instructions

Growing From The Wild

• Remember to keep as much good root and soil as possible when digging up a candidate

•Protect newly acquired Pines from wind and cold to prevent the needles from drying out

• Use bottom heat if possible to get your new Pine through it's traumatic period

•Bury the root ball in your box (hopefully a bottom heat box) and use acquired soil and your loam-based mix.

• Do not prune anything other than dead foliage. The tree will need all it's strength!

• Be vigilant and watch for pests and disease

• After a year transfer your Pine into a pot/container

Want more help? Read out article on repotting and how to take Wild Bonsai!


Bonsai Pine trees tend to grow out of control, and, due to their fragile nature, you have to be careful when you prune them.

Timing is everything!

• If you have a Pine that has grown out of control, maybe from the wild etc, do not implement your restyling plan until the middle of Spring. allow your Pine time to heal wounds and grow healthy shoots before Winter!

• Prune away dead foliage in mid Spring.

• When your tree is vigorous, prune back branches, removing two thirds of the foliage, in mid-Spring ( have in mind your own specifications, click here to get some ideas)

• Prune every 1-2 years if your tree is in early stages of development. This will encourage dense foliage growth along the branches. When the tree is thick and full of life, branches will have new shoots along the bare branch. Prune back two thirds of the density and wait until buds appear along the branches. Cut back the branches

• Remove downward pointing needles. Downard pointing needles will disrupt your clean aesthetic lines

• To remove needles, pinch two thirds off using your thumb and forefinger

For our Pruning Guide click here!


•Pines do not require a large feeding schedule

• Use a low nitrogen feed

• Feed once a fortnight in the growing season


• Pines are well suited to styles including Formal Upright, Informal Upright, Coiled, Windswept and Twin-Trunk

• Pines (particularly the Scotch Pine) can spread quite quickly. Wire will damage the bark so ensure you watch the Pine's progress!

Wire as normal

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