August 25, 2021

Sakura Bonsai – Cherry Blossom Bonsai Tree Ulitmate Guide

The sakura bonsai is a type of traditional Japanese bonsai tree. Sakura are the most popular species for this type of plant and can be found in many colors, including pink, white, red, purple and black.

The sakura bonsai trees were originally cultivated to celebrate the blossom season that occurs annually in Japan during April.

In addition to their beauty as a flowering plant, these trees also have long been used for medicinal purposes throughout Asia; they have been shown to help with coughs and colds as well as reducing fevers.

They are also said to improve heart health by lowering cholesterol levels due to the high amounts of Vitamin C contained in them from all those flowers!

Japanese Bonsai Cherry Tree – the common name for a Sakura Bonsai Tree

The art of bonsai, with its exquisite miniature trees carefully cultivated in pots, has captured the hearts and imaginations of people worldwide. Among the various species of bonsai, one stands out not only for its sheer beauty but also for its deep cultural and symbolic significance—the Sakura Bonsai, often referred to as the Japanese Bonsai Cherry Tree.

Sakura Bonsai: A Symbol of Japan

The word “Sakura” in Japanese translates to “cherry blossoms,” and these delicate pink and white flowers hold a special place in the hearts of the Japanese people. Sakura blossoms are celebrated annually during the cherry blossom season, known as “Hanami,” a time when friends and families gather to appreciate the ephemeral beauty of these flowers.

Sakura trees in their natural state can grow quite large, but through the art of bonsai, they are transformed into miniature marvels, allowing enthusiasts to enjoy their stunning blossoms on a small scale. The Sakura Bonsai represents not just the beauty of nature but also the artistry and patience of bonsai cultivation.

Cultivating a Sakura Bonsai

Cultivating a Sakura Bonsai is a labor of love that requires attention to detail, dedication, and an understanding of the tree’s specific needs. Here are some key considerations for growing and caring for a Sakura Bonsai:

1. Species Selection: The most common species used for Sakura Bonsai is Prunus serrulata, also known as the Japanese Flowering Cherry. This species is renowned for its stunning spring blossoms. Other cherry tree varieties, like Prunus incisa (Fuji Cherry) and Prunus subhirtella (Higan Cherry), can also be used for bonsai.

2. Soil and Pot Selection: Sakura Bonsai trees thrive in well-draining bonsai soil, which is often a mixture of akadama, pumice, and lava rock. The choice of a suitable pot or container is also crucial, as it impacts the tree’s growth and aesthetics.

3. Sunlight: Sakura Bonsai trees require a significant amount of sunlight to thrive. They do best in full sun, where they can receive at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Adequate sunlight is essential for healthy growth and prolific flowering.

4. Watering: Proper watering is essential for the health of Sakura Bonsai. They prefer slightly moist soil but should not be waterlogged. Water thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry, and ensure that the pot has good drainage.

5. Pruning and Shaping: Regular pruning and shaping are necessary to maintain the desired form and aesthetics of the Sakura Bonsai. Pruning is often done after flowering to remove spent blossoms and maintain the tree’s shape.

6. Fertilizing: Sakura Bonsai trees benefit from regular fertilization during the growing season (spring and summer) to support vigorous growth and abundant flowering. Balanced bonsai fertilizers are often used.

7. Winter Protection: During the winter months, it’s important to protect Sakura Bonsai from freezing temperatures. This can be achieved by bringing them indoors or placing them in a sheltered location.

Symbolism of Sakura Bonsai

The Sakura Bonsai carries deep cultural symbolism in Japan and beyond. Cherry blossoms are associated with the transient and ephemeral nature of life, symbolizing the fleeting beauty of youth and the impermanence of all things. They serve as a reminder to appreciate the present moment and the beauty that surrounds us.

In Japanese culture, the annual cherry blossom viewing tradition, known as Hanami, is a time for reflection and celebration. It brings people together to appreciate the blossoms’ beauty, reinforcing the importance of community and togetherness.

Can you bonsai a sakura tree?

The answer is it depends.

There are certain requirements that will have to be met in order for you to successfully bonsai a sakura tree.

However, if these things can be controlled then there is no reason that you cannot grow your own cherry blossom bonsai tree from seed!  Just remember that they typically require a lot of care and attention.

Sakura Bonsai Tree Requirements

For your cherry blossom bonsai tree to flourish you will need to meet all the following conditions:

-You must have full, bright sunlight for at least six hours per day

-Water the seed regularly and keep it moist (but not wet).

-There is a need to protect it from cold or freezing temperatures (including drafts) and keep the root zone temperature between 50F-85F

-They do not like strong wind at all so make sure you have a sheltered location.

-And lastly, pollination is required for sakura bonsai trees to bear fruit.

What are the Best Types of Sakura Seed for Bonsai Tree Cultivation?

As mentioned, you can grow a sakura bonsai tree from the seed of any kind of cherry blossom.  But some species produce better results than others if you want to create a bonsai with flowers!

Some types that are known to work well include:

-Prunus serrulata – one of the most popular and commonly used in bonsai cultivation, it has a very beautiful white flower with pink edges.  They are small and grow almost anywhere.

-Prunus ‘Shirotae’ – this variety is very striking as it has pure white flowers.  The petals are very small but the flowering period is long and it produces a lot of fruit.

Are sakura bonsai real?

Yes, all of the above are very real!

Sakura bonsai trees have been growing and flourishing in Japan since the 17th century!

They started out as an ornamental type of tree but today they can be found in many homes all across the country.

Also called Japanese flowering apricot or Japanese apricot, the sakura bonsai is a popular choice for good reason.

So if you have the right conditions in your home then yes, you too can grow a beautiful and unique sakura bonsai tree just like the ones found in Japan!

What is a sakura tree and how does it differ from other trees ?

Sakura, also known as cherry blossoms, are flowers that grow on trees during the springtime.

They only grow in regions of Japan and China and have been important parts of Japanese culture for many years.

The most common flowering trees include the sakura and the ume tree, but both these types are now being cultivated into bonsai form for Japanese people worldwide to appreciate.

The difference between cherry blossom and sakura bonsais is that the sakura bonsai are specially grown to their smaller size.

Sakura trees, just like other plants, grow to a certain height and then stop.

In order for Japanese farmers to cultivate these delicate flowers into bonsais, they have to keep them small through the careful cultivation of pruning and potting techniques.

How do you grow a sakura bonsai?

People often ask ‘how do you grow a sakura bonsai tree?’ The answer is that it takes lots of attention and careful cultivation techniques.

If you are looking to try your hand at growing one yourself, make sure that your location has full, bright light for up to six hours per day and that the temperature stays between 50F and 85F.

You will also need to water and fertilize regularly, keep it sheltered, and pollinate if you want to get fruit!

Sakura bonsais are a beautiful sight to behold in their mature form of about one foot tall.

However there is an art to growing them properly which takes years of trial and error to perfect.

If you are looking for a bonsai that you can easily and quickly grow, try growing an indoor ficus bonsai tree which is simple but rewarding!

Can a sakura bonsai be grown from seed?

Yes, a sakura bonsai can be grown from seed just like any other type of bonsai.  The seeds will need to be removed from a ripe fruit and then soaked for 24 hours in warm water.

After they have soaked, you can plant them and cover the pot with plastic until they sprout.

However, sakura bonsai trees grown from seed are not considered true bonsais because their trunks and branches will be more prominent than those of a ‘true’ bonsai.

Also, growing a sakura bonsai from seed can take years of patience and dedication.

Next you have to place the seeds on top of moist soil or moss about one inch deep with good drainage.

Do not water the seeds after you plant them, but make sure to keep them moist.  You will want to transplant the seedlings when they are two months old and have developed their first set of leaves.

It is possible to grow a sakura bonsai from seed, but it can take a long time and does not produce the desired effects that would be seen in a true sakura bonsai.

It is always best to start with already-established plants if possible.

Understanding Sakura Bonsai Watering Needs

The first step in watering your Sakura Bonsai tree effectively is understanding its unique requirements. Like all Bonsai trees, Sakura Bonsai has distinct needs when it comes to water, and these needs can vary depending on factors such as the tree’s age, size, environment, and the season.

1. Soil and Pot Selection: The type of soil and pot in which your Sakura Bonsai is planted plays a crucial role in determining its watering needs. Well-draining Bonsai soil is essential to prevent waterlogged roots, which can lead to root rot. The pot should have drainage holes to allow excess water to escape.

2. Seasonal Variations: Sakura Bonsai trees experience changes in their water requirements throughout the year. In spring and summer, when they are actively growing and flowering, they generally need more water. In fall and winter, when they are dormant, their water requirements decrease significantly.

3. Cues from the Soil: One of the most reliable indicators of when to water your Sakura Bonsai is the condition of the soil. When the top layer of soil begins to feel slightly dry to the touch, it’s time to water. However, avoid waiting until the soil is bone-dry, as this can stress the tree.

The Art of Sakura Bonsai Watering

Now that you have a foundation of understanding, let’s delve into the practical aspects of watering your Sakura Bonsai tree effectively.

1. The Gentle Approach: When watering your Sakura Bonsai, it’s essential to be gentle and deliberate. Use a watering can with a fine rose attachment or a misting spray bottle to distribute water evenly. Avoid using a strong stream of water, as it can dislodge the soil and damage delicate roots.

2. Thorough Soaking: When you water your Sakura Bonsai, aim to thoroughly soak the soil. Water until you see excess water draining from the bottom of the pot. This ensures that the entire root system receives moisture, promoting healthy growth.

3. Avoid Overwatering: Overwatering is a common mistake in Bonsai care. It can lead to root rot, which is detrimental to the health of your Sakura Bonsai. Always err on the side of underwatering rather than overwatering. If you’re uncertain about when to water, it’s better to wait a day or two and check the soil again.

4. Time of Day: The time of day you choose to water your Sakura Bonsai can also impact its health. Watering in the morning is generally recommended, as it allows excess moisture on the leaves to evaporate during the day, reducing the risk of fungal diseases.

5. Humidity Considerations: Sakura Bonsai trees benefit from a slightly more humid environment. You can increase humidity by misting the leaves regularly or placing a humidity tray filled with water and pebbles near the tree.

6. Monitoring and Adjusting: Finally, it’s crucial to monitor your Sakura Bonsai closely and adjust your watering routine based on its specific needs. Be attentive to the tree’s response to your watering practices. Healthy, vibrant foliage and consistent growth are signs that you’re meeting its hydration requirements.

Are there varieties of sakura bonsais?

Yes, there are many different types of sakura bonsais including weeping trees, variegated leaves, and more.

However, the most popular choice worldwide is the Japanese flowering apricot tree because they can grow to just under one foot tall and do not require much direct sunlight.

Sakura bonsais are a truly wonderful sight to behold in both their full-sized state as well as when they have been cultivated into miniature forms.

How big do sakura bonsais get?

Sakura trees that are cultivated into bonsais will reach about one foot tall in maturity

How to care for your sakura bonsai trees

As with any bonsai, watering is very important.

The soil should be kept damp, but not wet at all times.  Water the sakura bonsai only when needed and make sure to water about three-quarters of an inch below the surface. During the summer months, these plants require more watering than in the wintertime.

Sakura bonsais should be re-potted every two years, but this will depend on the size of the pot and how much soil is in it.

Your local garden center can help you choose a new pot or give recommendations if you require them.

Re-potting should happen at the beginning of autumn, just as the temperature is starting to drop. This will give your bonsai plenty of time to recover from the process before the cold winter weather hits.

Follow these steps and you can have your very own sakura bonsai tree growing in no time!

Selecting the Best Soil for a Sakura Bonsai Tree

sakura bonsai tree

Cultivating a Sakura Bonsai tree, known for its delicate and captivating cherry blossoms, requires careful attention to its soil composition. The right soil not only provides essential nutrients but also ensures proper drainage and aeration, crucial for the health and vitality of your bonsai. In this guide, we’ll explore the characteristics of the best soil for a Sakura Bonsai tree and why it is essential for the tree’s well-being.

1. Well-Draining Soil:

Perhaps the most critical aspect of bonsai soil, including that for Sakura Bonsai, is its ability to drain excess water effectively. Bonsai trees, including cherry blossoms, are planted in shallow pots, leaving limited space for water to accumulate. If the soil retains too much moisture, it can lead to root rot, suffocating the tree’s roots and causing it to wither.

The best soil for Sakura Bonsai trees is well-draining, allowing water to pass through and preventing waterlogged conditions. This promotes healthy root development and reduces the risk of fungal diseases. Well-draining soil typically consists of a mix of organic and inorganic components, creating an ideal balance.

2. Particle Size Gradation:

The ideal Sakura Bonsai soil should have a particle size gradation, meaning it contains a mix of different-sized particles. This gradation enhances the soil’s aeration and drainage properties. The primary components typically include:

  • Akadama: A type of Japanese clay granule, akadama is a popular choice for bonsai soil. It retains moisture while still allowing excess water to drain. It also provides essential minerals to the tree.
  • Pumice: Pumice is a lightweight volcanic rock that helps improve soil aeration. It prevents compaction of the soil, ensuring that the roots have access to oxygen.
  • Lava Rock: Lava rock, like pumice, aids in aeration and drainage. It also provides stability to the soil structure.
  • Organic Matter: While inorganic components dominate bonsai soil, a small amount of organic matter, such as decomposed bark or peat moss, can be added to improve water retention and nutrient availability.

3. pH Balance:

Maintaining the correct pH level is crucial for Sakura Bonsai health. Most bonsai, including cherry blossoms, prefer a slightly acidic to neutral pH range. Soil with a pH level around 6.0 to 7.0 is generally suitable. A proper pH level ensures that the tree can absorb essential nutrients from the soil, promoting vigorous growth and vibrant blossoms.

4. Nutrient Retention:

While Sakura Bonsai soil should provide excellent drainage, it should also retain essential nutrients for the tree’s nourishment. The soil mix should strike a balance between draining excess water and holding onto vital minerals and nutrients. This balance ensures that the tree has access to the nutrients it needs for healthy growth and the development of beautiful blossoms.

5. Sifting and Preparation:

Preparing the soil mix for your Sakura Bonsai involves sifting and mixing the various components to achieve the desired particle size gradation. This ensures that the soil is well-aerated and well-draining. Many bonsai enthusiasts sift their soil components to remove dust and fine particles, resulting in a more effective soil mixture.

Selecting the Right Fertilizer for Your Sakura Bonsai Tree

Fertilizing your Sakura Bonsai tree is an essential aspect of its care, as it provides the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and the development of those iconic cherry blossoms. However, choosing the right fertilizer can be a bit complex due to the specific needs of bonsai trees, including Sakuras. In this guide, we will explore the key considerations for selecting the best fertilizer for your Sakura Bonsai and how to use it effectively.

Understanding Sakura Bonsai Nutritional Needs

Before diving into fertilizer selection, it’s essential to understand the nutritional requirements of your Sakura Bonsai tree. Like all plants, bonsai trees require a balanced diet of essential nutrients to thrive. The primary nutrients needed by Sakura Bonsai are:

  1. Nitrogen (N): Essential for promoting foliage growth and overall vigor.
  2. Phosphorus (P): Aids in root development, flowering, and fruiting.
  3. Potassium (K): Enhances overall health, disease resistance, and hardiness.

These nutrients are typically represented on fertilizer labels as N-P-K ratios, indicating the relative proportions of each nutrient in the product. For example, a fertilizer labeled as 10-20-10 contains 10% nitrogen, 20% phosphorus, and 10% potassium.

Selecting the Right Fertilizer Type

When choosing a fertilizer for your Sakura Bonsai tree, you have several options:

  1. Granular Slow-Release Fertilizer: This type of fertilizer releases nutrients gradually over an extended period, typically several months. Slow-release fertilizers are convenient for bonsai enthusiasts because they require less frequent application. Look for a balanced N-P-K ratio suitable for your Sakura Bonsai’s growth stage.
  2. Liquid Fertilizer: Liquid fertilizers provide nutrients quickly and are often used during the growing season when your Sakura Bonsai is most active. They are applied by diluting the liquid in water and watering your bonsai with the solution. Liquid fertilizers are particularly useful for fine-tuning nutrient delivery.
  3. Organic Fertilizer: Some bonsai enthusiasts prefer organic fertilizers, as they release nutrients slowly and improve soil structure. Organic options include compost, fish emulsion, and seaweed extracts. While organic fertilizers offer a natural approach, their N-P-K ratios may vary, so it’s essential to select one suitable for your Sakura Bonsai’s needs.

Considerations for Fertilizing Sakura Bonsai

Now that you understand the basics of fertilizer types and the essential nutrients, let’s delve into the considerations specific to fertilizing Sakura Bonsai:

1. Seasonal Timing: Sakura Bonsai trees have distinct seasonal growth patterns. Fertilize your bonsai primarily during the growing season, which corresponds to spring and summer. During these months, your tree is actively putting out new growth and forming flower buds for the following year’s blossoms. Reduce or cease fertilization during the dormant winter months.

2. Balanced Ratios: Choose a fertilizer with a balanced N-P-K ratio. For example, a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 fertilizer is suitable for most stages of your Sakura Bonsai’s development. During the growing season, you may lean slightly more towards nitrogen (N) to promote foliage growth.

3. Dilution and Frequency: If you opt for liquid fertilizer, dilute it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s generally better to use a weaker solution more frequently than a strong solution infrequently. This approach prevents the risk of overfertilization, which can harm your bonsai.

4. Application Method: Apply fertilizer evenly across the entire root zone of your Sakura Bonsai. Water the tree after fertilizing to ensure the nutrients are distributed through the soil. Avoid concentrating fertilizer near the trunk or on the surface of the soil, as this can lead to root burn.

5. Organic vs. Inorganic: The choice between organic and inorganic fertilizers is a matter of personal preference and the specific needs of your Sakura Bonsai. Both types can be effective if used correctly. Organic fertilizers contribute to soil health over time but may release nutrients more slowly. Inorganic fertilizers provide quicker nutrient uptake.

Wiring a Sakura Bonsai Tree: Considerations and Best Practices

Wiring is a common technique used in the art of bonsai to shape and style trees, including the iconic Sakura Bonsai, which boasts its stunning cherry blossoms. However, when it comes to wiring a Sakura Bonsai tree, there are specific considerations and best practices to ensure the health and longevity of your tree. In this guide, we will explore whether it’s advisable to wire a Sakura Bonsai tree and how to do it correctly.

The Art of Wiring in Bonsai

Wiring is a fundamental tool in the arsenal of bonsai enthusiasts, allowing them to manipulate the branches and trunks of trees to achieve desired shapes and styles. When applied skillfully, wiring can help create the graceful, windswept forms and balanced proportions that make bonsai trees so captivating.

However, it’s important to remember that wiring should be done with care and consideration, as improper or excessive wiring can harm your Sakura Bonsai tree. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

1. Timing Matters: The best time to wire your Sakura Bonsai tree is during the late winter to early spring, just before the tree begins its new growth cycle. At this time, the branches are still flexible but haven’t fully hardened, making them more responsive to shaping.

2. Avoid Wiring During Flowering: It’s generally best to avoid wiring your Sakura Bonsai tree while it is in bloom or about to bloom. Disturbing the branches and blossoms during this time can disrupt the delicate beauty of the cherry blossoms.

3. Choose the Right Wire: Selecting the appropriate wire is crucial for successful wiring. Bonsai wire comes in various thicknesses, and the choice depends on the size and flexibility of the branches you intend to shape. Copper and aluminum wires are common choices, with copper being more pliable and often preferred for deciduous trees like the Sakura Bonsai.

4. Wiring Techniques: There are two primary wiring techniques used in bonsai:

  • Primary Wiring: This involves shaping the primary branches and trunk. You wrap the wire around the branch or trunk in a spiral fashion, gently bending it to the desired position. Ensure that the wire is snug but not too tight to avoid damaging the bark.
  • Secondary Wiring: Secondary wiring focuses on refining and fine-tuning the smaller branches. It is often done after primary wiring to achieve more intricate details in the tree’s design.

5. Wire Removal: Wiring is not a permanent solution. It’s essential to remove the wire before it starts cutting into the bark, which can cause scarring and damage to the tree. Check the wire periodically to ensure it’s not becoming too tight, and remove it once the branches have set in their desired positions.

6. Gentle Handling: When working with your Sakura Bonsai tree, handle it with care. Avoid putting excessive pressure on the branches, as they can be brittle, especially during certain seasons.

7. Pruning and Wiring Combo: Often, wiring and pruning go hand in hand. You may need to prune certain branches before or after wiring to achieve your desired aesthetic.

8. Patience is Key: Bonsai is an art of patience. Don’t rush the wiring process, and be prepared to make adjustments over time as the tree continues to grow and develop.

How long does it take to grow a sakura bonsai?

Growing a sakura bonsai is very easy as long as you follow the right steps.  All it will take to grow yours is time and patience!

It can take anywhere from five to ten years for these trees to grow into their small bonsai size, it all depends on which species you chose and how well you care for them.

Sakura bonsai are slow growers so be prepared to wait a long time before you can enjoy your own flowering tree indoors!

Where can you buy a Sakura Bonsai in the US or Canada?

All Green Thumb Bonsai is a full service bonsai nursery located in Sacramento, California.

They specialize in growing and selling high-quality sakura trees to customers all over the United States.

They can ship anywhere from California up to Canada for only $40 plus they offer free shipping on all orders regardless of size. Visit their website for more information: All Green Thumb Bonsai

Bonsai Boy of New York provides a great online buying experience. Their reputation is first class.


Sakura bonsai is a time honored tradition in Japan, dating back to the 8th century. Japanese people believe that by replanting and nurturing these trees they are able to recreate nature’s beauty. If you have any interest in this art form, be sure to visit one of our local nurseries or online retailers who carry sakura bonsais for sale!

Check out more about caring for a bonsai here

About the author 

Greg Reed

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