How to Grow Bonsai Trees From Scratch


Bonsai trees originated in China, but the Japanese made them popular. The word bonsai means to grow a plant in a tray. Bonsai trees that are planted and shaped can be purchased, but making them from scratch provides a strong sense of accomplishment and pride. It takes time to grow bonsai trees from scratch, but the rewards are worthwhile, particularly since the tree can be formed exactly as desired.

Step 1

Plant in a container that has drainage holes but not so many that the pot won't retain some of the water. Plant in a planter that is deep (3 inches minimum) enough to hold soil for the roots to grow.

Step 2

Distribute soil evenly in the container. Add the plant to the soil, making sure to cover all the roots.

Step 3

Shape the tree by adding wire, using aluminum anodized wire if possible. Wrap the wire around the thickest part of the branch or trunk toward the smaller end. Bend and hold the branches in the desired shape and direction.

Step 4

Trim roots of the tree. Separate the roots with a root hook and break off the extra soil. Clip the longer roots as well as the ones growing downward.

Step 5

Remove the wire when the branches attain the desired shape. Do this before the tree has grown so much that the wire is cutting into the branches.

Things You'll Need

  • Planter
  • Plant or seeds
  • Soil
  • Wire
  • Garden clippers
  • Root hook


  • "101 Essential Bonsai Tips"; Harry Tomlinson; 1996
  • "Bonsai in Your Home"; Paul Lesniewics; 1996
  • "Bonsai: The Art of Growing and Keeping Miniature Trees"; Peter Chan; 1985
Keywords: grow bonsai tree, make bonsai tree, create bonsai tree

About this Author

Rebecca Moore has been a writer since 1994. She has been published on Associated Content, Suite101, eHow and numerous print magazines. Moore attended Living Word Bible College and Leeward Community College. Moore enjoys spending time at garden shops and botanical gardens and experimenting with hydroponics and square foot gardening.