Can You Make a Bonsai Tree Grow Faster? Useful Tricks From Indoor Gardening Experts

Eager to see faster growth for your bonsai? Here's what you need to know about the growing process, according to the pros

A bonsai tree in a pot
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're wondering how long it takes to grow a bonsai tree, you may be surprised to know that its growth is never finished!People who cultivate bonsais can spend a lifetime growing it, but how long until you get to enjoy the fruits of all that labor?

'Typically, a bonsai reaches initial maturity after 10-15 years and then full maturity at closer to 30 years in age,' says Kat Aul Cervoni, landscape designer and founder of Staghorn NYC and The Cultivation by Kat. 'Remember, it's a long game with bonsai and well-tended ones can live well over a hundred years.'

The good thing is, that there are a few tricks you can implement to accelerate their growth. We asked experts to offer ideas on bonsai container gardening and this is what they had to say.

How long does take for a bonsai tree to grow?

A bonsai plant on a console

(Image credit: Pankaj Anand. Studio credit Ravi Vazirani Design Studio)

'The growth rate of your bonsai depends both on it's care and more importantly on its species,' says Kat Aul Cervoni. 'Bonsai with the fastest growth rates are white pine and maple. You should anticipate a growth rate of 1-6 inches a year, though this depends on the species. Some will be much more.'

Remember that when it comes to caring for bonsai trees, you need a fair bit of patience and far-sightedness. 'Bonsai trees, when cared for properly, can live for generations,' says Reese L Robins, a gardening expert at Just Pure Gardening. 'The lifespan of a bonsai largely depends on factors such as species, care regimen, and environmental conditions. While common species of bonsai trees live between 10 to 50 years, some bonsai species, like junipers, can live for over 500 years with meticulous care and maintenance.'

How can you encourage faster growth?

azalea bonsai tree

(Image credit: Gina Kelly/Alamy Stock Photo)

Amongst the best trees to grow in pots, bonsais have a beautiful, sculptural look and can last several generations.

While it's hard to rush a bonsai's growth, the best way to achieve a faster growth rate is to choose a fast-growing species such as maple, white pine, or jade. 'In addition, be diligent with watering and fertilizing and overall care will help your bonsai put on growth more quickly,' says Kat.

Reese explains several ways in which a bonsai's growth can be accelerated.

1. Ensure your bonsai receives enough sunlight, ideally 5-6 hours daily, to fuel photosynthesis and promote robust growth.

2. Provide a nutrient-rich soil mix tailored specifically for your bonsai tree species, supplemented with balanced fertilizer during the growing season.

3. Regular pruning and training techniques, such as wiring and pinching, stimulate new growth and refine the tree's shape.

4. Maintaining optimal environmental conditions, including proper watering and humidity levels, promotes robust growth and overall bonsai health.

3 bonsai trees to purchase and cultivate

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast).  Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.