Japanese Pine Bonsai Information


The Japanese black pine tree, scientific name Pinus thunbergii, is an excellent candidate for bonsai. The needles easily reduce in size and the growth pattern of the tree makes it adaptable to many styles the bonsai grower might want to try.

Natural Growth Habit

The Japanese black pine is native to Japan where it grows in poor soils in full sun to a height of 75 to 80 feet. The needles are about 5 to 7 inches long.

Traditional Bonsai

Japanese black pine is considered to be a traditional tree for bonsai. It is suitable for all the traditional styles of bonsai except for the broom style.


Japanese black pines don't liked to be pruned, wired and repotted within 12 months of each other. Make sure one year passed between each event.


Repot every two to five years in the spring time. Japanese black pines do not like soggy soil so use a quick draining mix with a little soil from the previous pot to inoculate it with beneficial micorrhiza.


Place the tree in full sun and mulch roots during the coldest months. Let the soil dry out between watering. Occasional good airflow is beneficial.


  • Japanese Black Pine
  • PINUS species/ PINES

Who Can Help

  • National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
Keywords: pinus thunbergii, wiring bonsai, bonsai care

About this Author

Brian Albert has been in the publishing industry since 1999. He is an expert in horticulture, with a focus on aquatics and tropical plants like orchids. He has successfully run an aquatic plant business for the last five years. Albert's writing experience includes the Greater Portland Aquarium Society newsletter and politics coverage for a variety of online journals.