The price of a bonsai tree can vary greatly from very affordable to extremely expensive.
In general, prices for normal coniferous bonsai range from $25 to $450, deciduous bonsai from $20 to $150, flowering and fruit bonsai from $30 to $350, and indoor bonsai from $15 to $400. Prices for Japanese maple bonsai trees range from $60 to $2000.
The cost of different types of bonsai trees
Bonsai trees come in a wide variety of types and styles, each with its own unique characteristics and beauty. The cost of a bonsai tree can vary greatly depending on the type of tree, its age, and its level of training.
To give you an idea of the price range, here are some specific examples of the cost of different types of bonsai trees with the price range. These numbers came from the following reputable bonsai stores online that I researched in January 2023: Bonsai Boy, Bonsai Outlet, and Eastern Leaf.
Coniferous bonsai trees
Coniferous bonsai trees include tree species such as pine, juniper, and spruce. According to my survey, prices for coniferous bonsai range from $25 to $450. Some of the higher-priced ones (trained by bonsai artists, etc.) range from $750 to $2100.
Deciduous bonsai trees
Deciduous bonsai trees include Japanese maple, elm, and redwood. Japanese maples are more pricy than others.
According to my survey, prices for deciduous bonsai trees other than Japanese maples range from $20 to $150. Prices for Japanese maple bonsai trees range from $60 to $2000.
Flowering and fruit bonsai trees
Flowering and fruit bonsai trees include azaleas, Fukien tea, and lemon. According to my survey, prices for flowering and fruit bonsai trees range from $30 to $350. Some of the higher-priced ones range from $500 to $2500.
Indoor bonsai trees
Indoor bonsai trees include ficus and jade. According to my survey, prices for indoor bonsai trees range from $15 to $400. Some of the higher-priced ones range from $500 to $2500.
It is important to note that my research is just a reference and the prices might vary depending on different factors such as season, availability, and demand.
Factors that affect the price of bonsai trees
The cost of a bonsai tree can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. Some of the main factors that affect the price of a bonsai tree include:
- Type of tree
- Level of training
- Price of the bonsai pot
The age of the bonsai tree is the most influential factor in its price. Younger bonsai trees are usually less expensive than older trees that have been trained for many years.
Type of tree
Different types of bonsai trees have different prices. For example, Japanese maple bonsai is more expensive than juniper bonsai.
Level of training
Bonsai trees that have been trained for many years and are fully shaped are more expensive than pre-bonsai trees or those that are just starting their training.
The price of the bonsai pot also affects a bonsai tree’s price. Bonsai trees that are planted in elegant, more artistic pots are more expensive than those that are planted in clay pots.
There are more factors that affect the price of a bonsai tree. If you are interested, please check the following post.
Where to find affordable bonsai trees
While bonsai trees can be a bit pricey, there are a number of ways to find affordable bonsai trees. Here are a few tips.
Visit local nurseries
Many local nurseries carry a selection of bonsai trees at varying price points. You can often find less expensive bonsai trees that are just starting their training, as well as affordable bonsai trees that are less popular species but you may find interesting to grow.
You may also find trees that have some problems (scars, odd shaping, etc.). These trees are often sold at a discount because of those problems but scars may heal naturally over time or shapes can be corrected after you purchase them. Be careful, though, not to buy unhealthy ones because discounted trees with problems may include those that are diseased.
Also, bonsai nurseries and shops offer sales on bonsai trees at least at a certain time of the year. Keep an eye out for these deals to save money on your bonsai purchase.
Buy in off-season
Winter is the off-season for bonsai trees. Except for coniferous trees, all bonsai trees shad leaves and are dormant in winter.
Buying bonsai trees during the off-season can be a great way to save money, as bonsai shops and nurseries will often reduce prices on trees when people are less interested in buying. Some of them may also offer off-season sales which can be a great opportunity to buy bonsai trees at a discounted price.
Buying in winter at local shops or nurseries has the added benefit of ensuring the trees you buy can tolerate the coldness of your region.
Grow your own bonsai
One of the most affordable ways to get a bonsai tree is to grow your own bonsai from pre-bonsai material. It may be challenging if you are a beginner bonsai grower but it is really fun to create a bonsai tree from scratch. You can find a ton of tutorials that are helpful online.
Join a Bonsai club or group
Joining a bonsai club or group can help you to get in touch with other bonsai enthusiasts, who might be willing to help you with finding bonsai trees at a lower price.
The cost of maintaining bonsai trees
While the initial cost of a bonsai tree is an important factor to consider, it is also important to think about the cost of maintaining it over time. Proper care and maintenance are essential for keeping a bonsai tree healthy and beautiful.
The cost of maintaining bonsai trees includes costs for repotting such as soil, fertilizers, tools, and other supplies, as well as costs for regular pruning and shaping. But these do not have to be expensive.
The tools you need to start will cost you less than $50 and the cost of maintaining a bonsai tree is less than $100 a year. You can, of course, buy expensive pruning shears or antique bonsai pots but those are not necessary to grow bonsai trees healthy and good-looking.
If you are interested to know more about the details of the maintenance cost, the following post might be helpful.
The cost of bonsai trees in Japan
Bonsai is a traditional art form that was perfected in Japan and thus has a long history and cultural significance in the country. As in the US, the cost of bonsai trees in Japan can vary greatly depending on their age, level of training and the type of tree.
It is worth noting that bonsai trees in Japan are not so much considered decorative items but more a piece of art. As such, prices can be very high, especially for high-end bonsai trees which are often made by renowned bonsai masters.
Low-end bonsai trees
Low-end bonsai trees are usually young bonsai trees that have not been trained for long. They can typically be found for around $5 to $150 in Japan.
This young Japanese black pine bonsai I bought last year was 650 yen ($5). It is probably a few years old and at a very early stage of training as a bonsai tree.
Mid-range bonsai trees
Mid-range bonsai trees are those that have been trained for about 10 years or more and have a more refined appearance as bonsai. They can typically be found for around $150 to $1000 in Japan.
This Japanese maple bonsai is 80,000 yen ($620). It has a thick trunk, an interesting curvature, and multiple branches that will be filled with beautiful leaves come spring.
High-end bonsai trees
High-end bonsai trees are those that have been trained for decades and are mature enough to be fully shaped. They can typically be found for $1000 or $5000 in Japan.
This Japanese black pine bonsai is 380,000 yen ($2950). This tree must be more than 50 years old, very well-shaped, and with good surface roots that hold the soil strongly.
Masterpiece bonsai trees are those that are considered to be masterpieces and are true works of art. They can typically be found for $5000 or more in Japan.
This Japanese shimpaku juniper is 2.3 million yen ($17,800). The shari, dead white wood, flowing dramatically at the center of the trunk, is like a sculpture that contrasts beautifully with the green of the foliage.