How Long Do Mini Bonsai Trees Live?


If you are thinking a life span of a mini bonsai tree should be short as it is so tiny, you are wrong.

Mini bonsai trees can live more than 100 years if taken care of properly.  Most mini bonsai trees typically age around 50 to 60 years.  The difficulty of lasting them long lies in keeping their miniature size: below 8 inches.

How Long Do Mini Bonsai Trees Live?

How long do normal bonsai trees live?

The longevity of a bonsai tree, not specifically a miniature one, depends mainly on;

  • species and
  • care it receives.

A normal bonsai tree can live hundreds of years with care and one of the oldest bonsai trees in Japan is a 1000-year-old spruce.

1000-year-old spruce in Bonsai Art Museum in Japan

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How long do mini bonsai trees live?

Mini bonsai trees can live more than 100 years if they are taken care of properly.

The difficulty of lasting them long lies in keeping their miniature size.  Even with the precision care, mini bonsai trees can outgrow their intended size: below 8 inches.  The tree can live longer but it is no longer a mini bonsai but a normal bonsai tree.

The oldest mini bonsai trees

There is no record keeping as to which mini bonsai trees lived for how long but there are some photograph books that feature mini bonsai trees.

One of these is a photo book of the mini bonsai trees collection owned by Akiko Matsudaira, the granddaughter of one of the Tokugawa Shogunate (reigned Japan between 1600 to 1870), who died in 1976.

She and her husband owned about 80 mini bonsai trees and the oldest tree is 120-year-old sandalwood.  It is true that coniferous trees live longer as tree species but some of the oldest mini bonsai trees in her collection are deciduous and flower trees.

120-year-old sandalwood

120-year-old sandalwood mini bonsai tree

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Species: Sandalwood

Tree height: 7 inches

Age: 120 years

110-year-old ficus

110-year-old ficus nipponia

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Species: Ficus nipponia

Tree height: 4.3 inches

Age: 110 years

100-year-old Japanese maple tree

100-year-old Japanese maple tree

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Species: Japanese maple tree

Tree height: 4.7 inches

Age: 100 years

85-year-old azalea

85-year-old azalea

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Species: Azalea

Tree height: 8 inches

Age: 85 years

75-year-old silverberry

75-year-old silverberry

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Species: Silverberry

Tree height: 3 inches

Age: 75 years


Reference (in Japanese)

Nippon Bosani Association, “Shohin Bonsai”, Sanseido, 1974.  (Link here)

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