How much is a real bonsai tree

Bonsai prices - Bonsai Empire

So how do you put a price tag on a bonsai? What are they worth, what price makes sense for an individual tree? In this article we investigate the variables that are important and we look at a few examples of Bonsai for sale.

The price of a Bonsai tree; what to look at

Prices of Bonsai trees tend to vary widely from shop to shop and from country to country. Cheap Bonsai are available at garden centers around the world for around $20, but the availability of high quality Bonsai trees is much more limited. And trees of the highest quality (very old trees that have been kept for generations, often in Japan) are very rare.

With strict import restrictions the flow of these quality trees from Japan to the US and Europe is limited. Most tree species need to be bare-rooted and quarantined for months (even years). The bare rooting is a high risk for old trees, only few tree species can withstand this. Simple economics; with limited availability, prices go up.

How much can a Bonsai tree cost? The most expensive Bonsai tree is this centuries old Pine, sold for 1.3 million dollar at the International Bonsai Convention in Takamatsu, Japan. For some more examples check our blog post about the most expensive Bonsai tree.

But let's focus first on the cheap and medium-quality material first. The price of a Bonsai depends on several factors, most noteworthy age and design.

How much is a Bonsai tree? Age and history

Bonsai trees are often considered to be old, expensive and impossible to keep alive. Simplifying things a little bit, we can say that the more mature a Bonsai looks, the higher its price is. The most expensive Bonsai are all old trees and have been kept in pots for generations, also see this blog post about the Oldest Bonsai trees. Maturity can only be achieved with optimal care over the course of decades, even centuries. Hence, age is a good indicator of the value of a Bonsai tree.

Design and tapering of the trunk

Most cheap Bonsai trees are grown in China. Here they grow them from cuttings to plants of up to 6ft (2m) tall, in just 3-5 years time. When the trunks have grown thick enough the 6ft (2m) tall plant is chopped to just a few inches, after which another year is spend to allow the tree to grow a few new branches. Letting a tree grow tall and then chopping it is the fast way to get a thick trunk, but obviously, the scar will always be visible. The trunk will also have no tapering.

The price of Bonsai depends a lot on how much time is invested in that specific tree. The fast way of growing Bonsai is cheap, but the result is not attractive. The combination of a thick trunk with tapering is expensive, as it takes much more time to grow (we explain how this works in the Bonsai trunk article). Conclusion: a thick trunk, with attractive tapering, can only be achieved over many years of work. Therefore, its expensive.

Pot & tree species

Bonsai pots come in many prices and this depends largely on its age. Old antique pots from China and Japan can cost thousands of dollars, if they would be for sale. New factory made pots from China cost less than a dollar. Prices of new, but handmade, pots vary widely. Continue reading about Bonsai pots.

Finally, some tree species are rare or more difficult to grow, and therefore more expensive.

Bonsai price examples, from expensive to cheap

Priceless... A remarkable tree which is well known for its extremely high age; the tree is reported to be over 800 years old and should be worth at least $400,000.

Not for sale, and will never be. This tree has been trained into a Bonsai for almost 400 years, the result of 6 generations of hard work and patience by the Yamaki family. But what makes it really special is that it was in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb fell in 1945; the tree survived and was later donated to the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum in Washington (read more about the Yamaki Pine).

Still an expensive Bonsai tree, but much more affordable than the examples above. This one was for sale at around $90,000. The tree is old and has a spectacular trunk, which explains why it is so expensive. Image courtesy by S-Cube.

Ficus tree before and after its styling. This is material much cheaper because the plant is younger and widely available; this plant can be purchased for around $60. Also check our Bonsai trees for sale article (a list of Bonsai stores worldwide).

How Much Does a Bonsai Tree Cost? – BigBoyPlants

So you want to get into Bonsai, but how much does a bonsai tree cost? How much can you expect to add to your monthly bills if you want to get into this often deemed costly hobby? These are some extremely valid questions, that we both as Business and Accounting majors, had too. Now, let’s get into everything you can expect cost/price related to bonsai trees.

On average, you can expect a bonsai tree to cost you around $100. This price includes the bonsai tree itself, as well as the kit which come with trimmers, wire, fertilizer, pot, and soil. Keep in mind these are averages, which will go up or down depending on the quality of the bonsai tree (and its elements) you want to have. 

This is, again, an average. A one-size-fits-all approach to costs related to growing a bonsai tree. Let’s dig deeper into the nitty gritty. 

Table of Contents

How Much Does a Bonsai Tree cost?

During our research we found the following quote which I think makes a great point. 

“This question could be compared to: how much does an average painting cost?” 

This analogy is not only great because it explains the dangers of an overgeneralization, but it also reminds us that bonsai tree care is ultimately an art form.

What this means is that you will be able to find a bonsai tree for as little as $10 dollars in some nurseries or up to $500 at some others, not including world-famous bonsai trees. It all depends on several elements that you should take into consideration when deciding which tree to choose.  

Credits: Casa del Bonsai

Some aspects you should consider regarding the tree itself are a) age, b) size, c) shape d) health e) foliage and f) rarity of species.

Regarding the bonsai pot, consider a) the style of the pot, b) the soil and drainage quality and c) the decorations it has (some have functioning fountains). 

As a rule of thumb, the more the better. This means, the older, the bigger, the rarer shaped, the healthier, the more foliage, the rarer species, the more beautiful the pot, the better soil and drainage quality and the more decorations, the more expensive.

The good news is that this artform allows you to decide how much you want to spend, and upgrade (if you wish) as you go. Now let’s take a look at an average Joe or Jane.

How Much Does an Average Bonsai Cost?

Let’s say you are a bonsai beginner, or merely a bonsai amateur. You are looking to dab into this lifestyle, but aren’t ready to splurge $1000 dollars right away. That’s perfectly fine. 

The good news is that bonsai trees can cost as much as you want to invest in them, there is something for everyone around. You will be able to find a tree from $10 dollars, up to $500 dollars in any given nursery. So many factors play a part here, but let’s make a couple of assumptions in order to be able to give you a straight-up price. 

Credits: Casa del Bonsai

Let’s say you are starting out. In order to do it, you’ll want a good, healthy tree, from an average species in terms of rarity, an average pot, an average size (around 5 inches tall or 15 cm) and approximately 5-6 years old. This tree should cost you around $40-$70 dollars. 

If you add the bonsai tree kit (trimmers, wire, watering can, fertilizer) all in average quality, then you can ramp up the price by around $30-$40 dollars to a total of $70-$110 dollars for a quality bonsai tree to start with. 

However, this is an average, there are many factors that will affect it, so be on the lookout for the following things to determine the right price to pay.  

Factors to Consider That Affect the Price

Tree Species

The rarer the species, the more expensive the tree will be. “Rare” is a bit subjective, but it can be brought down to either a) difficulty in growth b) rare in terms of history & age c) rare in regards to the location or d) rare in terms of design. 

Difficulty of Growth

Some species are notoriously difficult to grow (for instance Pines or Tamarinds), which means that more effort was put into helping it grow, which in turn, increases the price. 

Source: BoredPanda


This is especially true for a pre-grown bonsai tree, especially if you live in a place where the tree doesn’t naturally grow there. As you can imagine, the fact that the tree is alive must’ve taken a considerable amount of effort and patience to grow, so this will definitely rack up the price. 

Age and Provenance (History) of the Bonsai

Some trees are literally hundreds of years old and have been passed along generations – this will certainly drive up the price. Some other trees, like the previously mentioned Atomic Tree, have rich history like having survived the Hiroshima bombing, which definitely make it near invaluable. 

This rule applies to more “normal” trees too. The older the pre-grown tree is, the more work someone has invested in it before you, the more expensive it will be. 

Design of the Bonsai

As a rule of thumb, the more intricate the design, the more expensive it can be. There are a handful of designs that bonsai masters can apply to their leafy friend, but some of the most complex are the Kengai, Han-Kengai, and Ikadabuki. 

For example this Kengai (Cascading):

Source: Pinterest

These designs require a good amount of work both from the bonsai master to follow and pursue his vision, as well as a good amount of work put in by the bonsai tree too in order to stay healthy during a somewhat unnatural process. 

The Trunk

Bonsais are meant to mimic trees in their natural habitat, which generally, due to many years of growth, have a pretty thick trunk in order to keep its balance and distribute the minerals to every part of the system.

However, in a bonsai, achieving a thick trunk is much harder to produce, but is of course, highly desired. There are several tips and trick you can follow in order to try to get a thick trunk, but if you aim to do it quickly and carelessly, it will generally scar the tree forever. 


As with bonsais, you can have your fair distribution of styles of bonsai pots. If you want to lowball it, you can find bonsai pots for as low as $10 that are mass-produced anywhere.

If you want to go mid-range but personalized, then you can expect to pay from $50-$150 dollars for a hand-made pot. If you want to go all in, then invest in a beautiful antique and handmade pot brought from Japan that’s one of a kind, those will certainly cost a couple hundred dollars.

If you include decorations as well, there are intricate bonsai pots that include functioning water fountains and mini-buddhas you can take for your own.  

How Much Does a Bonsai Tree Kit Cost?

Bonsai Maintenance Kit

A typical beginners maintenance bonsai tree kit can cost you around $30 dollars. This bonsai kit should include trimmers, wire, and pot. 

A more advanced maintenance bonsai kit will be around $50-$60 dollars, which will include several trimmers (around 7), wires, rake (for the soil), and broom. 

Bonsai Tree Kit

There are some beginners bonsai kits which include the bonsai tree too! These will cost around $35 which include a pre-grown 4-5 year old tree, inside a pot, some trimmers and a fertilizer. 

There are other bonsai kits that include the same as the pre-grown tree, but instead of the tree, some 3-4 types of seeds too. These will cost you around $25 dollars. 

How Much Can a Bonsai Tree cost?

Let’s talk about money. In short, bonsai trees can be worth a whole lot. The most expensive ever sold bonsai tree is an Old Pine that was sold in the International Bonsai Convention in Japan for an incredible 1.3 million dollars. 

There are other bonsai trees like the one below that was sold for 90,000 dollars, the primary reasons being the very special shape of its tree trunk. This brings back the point that it is difficult to apply a generalization on how much a bonsai tree can be worth, since it is really a case by case basis. Every tree is it’s own world and has its own story which can make it incredibly valuable.

Source: BonsaiEmpire

For instance, remember the Atomic Tree? (the tree that survived the Hiroshima bombing and was gifted to the US from Japan?). This tree’s price is most likely invaluable. There will never be a specific price to pay for it, unless someone decides it’s worth the amount of money. 

Why are Bonsai Trees so Expensive

The main reason why bonsai trees are so expensive is time. Each individual tree not only requires a large amount of time to grow, but also, bonsai experts take decades to shape their tree into their ideal form. Also, bonsai is a traditional artform that is taught through generations and trees are often passed along through generations too. Consider the oldest bonsai trees are over 800 years old.  

<If you want to learn about how long it takes to grow a bonsai tree, check out our guide here>

How many activities that you’re learning take years, or even decades to properly show the results of what you’re doing? 

To illustrate what we mean, let’s use guitar learning as an example. Let’s use guitar for example. When you first start off, you’ll be less than good. But when hours go by, and days go by, you’ll start noticing the impact of your practice right then and there. With this positive feedback loop, you want to keep going.

Now let’s go back to bonsai. The changes you make today might have an impact in months or even years if you’re talking about major changes to your friend. This means that bonsais take time, and they require patience. And this costs money. 

Here is a nice video from Tech Insider explaining the same concept:

This is why it’s always important to remember that bonsai trees are better off being seen as artform, or sculpture. So to pile on to this question consider: how many “sculptures” are done on a living being that can react in unexpected ways? This takes dedication, perseverance and talent. 

How much maintenance does a bonsai tree need?

Different types of bonsai trees require different levels of maintenance. For example, some bonsai species only need to be repotted every few years, while others need to be repotted every few months.

Fertilizing is also important, some bonsai trees need to be fertilized monthly, while others only need to be fertilized once or twice a year.

Pruning is another important maintenance task for bonsai trees. Many bonsai trees will periodically lose leaves or branches, and it’s important to prune them back to keep the tree healthy and looking aesthetically pleasing. In addition, bonsai trees often need to be wired in order to maintain their shape.

Bonsai prices - Bonsai Empire

How much does a bonsai tree cost?

Material Information

Bonsai are living works of art, some famous trees are hundreds of years old. These trees are priceless, and when they are sold, they are very expensive. At the same time, you can purchase bonsai at your local garden center for just a few dollars.

So, how is a bonsai valued? What do they cost, what price is reasonable for a particular tree? In this article, we will look at the important components of the price of a bonsai and a few examples of bonsai for sale.

Bonsai prices to look out for

Bonsai prices usually vary greatly from shop to shop and country to country. Garden centers around the world sell very cheap trees (about $20), but higher quality trees are much rarer. And trees of the highest quality (very old, grown for many generations, most often in Japan) are very rare.

With strict import restrictions, the supply of these quality trees from Japan to the US and Europe is limited. When imported, most tree species must be transported bare-rooted and kept in quarantine for months (or even years). Root exposure poses high risks for older trees, and few tree species can tolerate it. Simple economics: limited supply leads to higher prices.

However, let's first consider the case of cheap material and medium quality material. The price of a bonsai depends on several factors, the most significant of which are the age and design of the tree.

How much does a bonsai tree cost? Age and history

It is often believed that bonsai trees are old, expensive and impossible to keep alive. If we simplify a little, we can conclude that the older the bonsai looks, the more it costs. The most valuable trees known to us (see illustrations) have all grown very large and been kept in containers for several generations of their owners.

Tree design and stem taper

The cheapest bonsai trees are grown in China. Here they grow from cuttings to a height of 2 m in just 3-5 years. When the trunks are thick enough, the plant is cut to a stump only a few centimeters high, after which several branches are grown on the tree over the next year. Letting the tree grow tall and then shortening it a lot is a quick way to get a thick trunk, but obviously this cut will always be visible and the trunk will not be tapered.

The price of a bonsai depends on how much time is invested in each particular tree. The quick way to grow bonsai is cheap, but the result is not very attractive. A thick stem with taper is expensive because it takes much longer to create.

Conclusion: a thick barrel with an attractive taper can only be obtained after many years of work, so it is expensive.

Container and wood view

Bonsai containers come in different price ranges, and this largely depends on their age. When sold, old ancient pots from China and Japan can fetch thousands of dollars. New factory-made pots from China cost less than a dollar. Prices for new pots, but made by hand, vary greatly.

Finally, some types of trees are rarer or more difficult to form into bonsai and therefore more expensive.

Bonsai trees and their price tag (bonsai price)

Examples of bonsai prices, from expensive to cheap

The most expensive bonsai tree is this centuries-old pine, sold at the International Bonsai Convention in Takamatsu, Japan for US$1.3 million.

Priceless bonsai... Wonderful tree well known for its very old age; according to some sources, it is more than 800 years old.

This tree is not for sale and will never be sold. This tree has been shaped as a bonsai tree for almost 400 years and is the result of the hard work and patience of six generations of the Yamaki family. However, it is especially important that it was in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb fell on the city in 1945. The tree survived and was later donated to the National Bonsai and Penging Museum in Washington DC (image courtesy of the museum).

Also an expensive bonsai tree, but much cheaper than the examples above. It was sold for around $90,000 (bonsai price). The tree is old and has an impressive trunk, which explains the high price level. Image courtesy of S-Cube.

Ficus before and after its formation. The source material is much cheaper due to its young age; this plant can be purchased for approximately US$60. Also check out our article on bonsai for sale (list of bonsai stores).

How to start growing bonsai? | Sport on BUSINESS Online

to bookmarks
  • #Press releases

Indoor plants create a special atmosphere in the house. They cannot be compared to flowers that are cut. Flowering buds in a vase quickly wither and therefore do not leave people the opportunity to start caring for the plant, turning a hobby into a real art. You can complement the interior of the house with indoor plants - plant bonsai. This is an exotic plant that the Japanese began to grow a long time ago. Now it is popular all over the world, and plant exhibitions are held at home. Let's figure out how to grow bonsai at home and how high the probability is that the mini-tree will wither. Bonsai is translated from Japanese as "tree on a tray." There are several types of mini plants. Before you buy a bonsai, you must choose the style of the tree. The cost of the plant itself depends on the style of care. Popular styles of bonsai: "tree in the wind", "cascade", "half-cascade", "struck by lightning", "broom tree", "raft".


Some indoor flowers are not picky about care. What can not be said about bonsai. Trying to plant a flower is still worth it. You can start growing bonsai from cuttings. Cuttings are small pieces of twigs cut off from the mother plant. You can not take a diseased donor tree, because such a cutting will wither. The plant that serves as a donor must be healthy and annual. The cutting itself should not exceed 10 cm, there should be few branches. A large number of branches can be the reason why the tree did not take root. Two weeks after planting in the ground, it is necessary to remove the lower branches. If there are no new bonsai branches, then this action must be postponed. For bonsai, you do not need to choose a beautiful pot, this accessory should be nondescript. At the initial stage, it is enough to buy a plastic pot. Cuttings are sold without roots. If not treated with a solution before planting, the plant may die. It is necessary to prepare a solution based on hormones. Indoor flowers are best planted in June. Coniferous plants should be transplanted no later than autumn. There is another way to grow a Japanese small tree. Growing bonsai from seeds is even more difficult, because the seeds come from China (you need to wait until the package arrives). The type of mini-tree may not match the description.

Learn more