How Long Do Bonsai Trees Live?

How Long Do Bonsai Trees Live?

We love bonsai trees and we think that a bonsai tree is a fine addition to any home or office.

However, if you’re wondering whether your bonsai tree is going to last long enough to justify the expense?

We’ve got some good news for you. Bonsai trees live a very long time, indeed.

In fact, some of the oldest bonsai trees have been around for far longer than any human being alive today.


Seriously, How Long Does A Bonsai Tree Live?

The oldest bonsai trees are over 1,000 years old! Well, at least, in theory, they are.

We could only find a single bonsai tree that had cracked ten centuries but we’re fairly confident that if one bonsai tree has lived that long there are other bonsai trees that have achieved a similar lifespan and just haven’t made the record books.


A Ficus Bonsai Is the Oldest Bonsai Tree In The World

The oldest bonsai tree in the world is a Ficus bonsai tree (a Ficus retusa linn, to be precise) and this bonsai tree lives in Italy in the Crespi Bonsai Museum in Milan.

It’s quite a bit bigger than the kind of bonsai trees we’d recommend for your home office desk. In fact, it wouldn’t fit on your desk at all as it’s 10 feet tall and has a network of aerial routes that would definitely interfere with your ability to get work done.

It is over 1,000 years old but it only arrived in Italy back in 1986. This was because the original keeper of this tree needed somebody to take care of it for them.

It holds another record among outdoor bonsai trees and that is it is planted in the biggest bonsai pot in history, and that pot was made especially for this bonsai plant and was fired as a single piece!

There are many bonsai trees at the museum, nearly 200, in fact, but this is definitely the crown jewel among all the bonsai species that they have on display.


The Million Dollar Bonsai

If you tried to buy the oldest bonsai tree of all time, you would be politely turned away and told that there’s not enough money in the world for it.

However, an 800-year old bonsai pine is the oldest of the bonsai trees to have come to auction and that fetched an incredible sum of $1.3 million dollars.

The older that your bonsai tree is (including indoor bonsai trees) the more that it is worth.

We’ve got a lovely 50-year-old juniper bonsai tree in the house and even that would fetch a pretty penny if we wanted to part with it.


The Pine Of The Phoenix Bonsai

This is a huge bonsai and it’s kept at the Akao Herb and Rose Garden in Japan. It is 60 feet tall and 30 feet wide and definitely not an indoor bonsai tree.

It’s among the largest of all bonsai plants anywhere in the world and nearly every bonsai enthusiast longs to see it.

It is thought to be, at least, 600 years old.


Tokugawa’s Pine Bonsai

Bonsai tree care doesn’t get much better than that provided by emperors for their trees.

This one lives in the Tokyo Imperial Palace collection and has been designated a national treasure of Japan.

It’s also 500 years old and was once the property of the Tokugawa Dynasty!


Masuru Yamaki’s Bonsai Tree

It’s a mark of how long bonsai trees can live that this tree survived the blast at Hiroshima!

Yes, while it was just a few miles away from where the US forces dropped that weapon of mass destruction, the tree lived through it.

In fact, it’s still alive today and was presented, unironically, to the United States national arboretum as a 200th birthday gift for the founding of the United States.

Today, it symbolizes peace and endurance of spirit.


I’m Just Planting My Bonsai What Is Its Life Expectancy?

How long a tree will live for is rather down to the particular species and ensuring it is given the proper care.

All bonsai trees can live for many, many years, and while there’s no guarantee your tree will stay in good health for long enough to join the oldest trees or survive an atomic bomb, if you pay attention to the location (they need good soil), nurture them, maintain them and then pass it on to someone else who will care for it at the right time? You can certainly expect your bonsai to endure for longer than you do!

Check out these handy apps for learning more about caring for any plant!


Final Notes

Good bonsai artists chose the right tree species and they know how long bonsai trees live and they’re good at getting real longevity out of their trees.

The secret of long life for a tree is as you’d expect – being cared for over generations.

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