Can You Plant Bonsai Tree In The Ground? – All You Need To Know

Many newcomers in the indoor gardening scene have a misconception that bonsai trees are only indoor plants. Most of the beautiful bonsai plants are always outdoor plants.

Bonsai trees will easily field grown in the outdoor environment compared to the indoor environment. You are more likely to do a lot to keep the bonsai healthy while they are indoors.

You should know that you can perfectly plant a bonsai tree in the outdoor environment. The bonsai is more likely to survive and stay healthy given the right amount of care.

You should remember that a bonsai tree is similar to other trees. The only difference is that a bonsai is modified to a given shape, usually achieved through pruning.

Upon providing space and nutrients to a bonsai tree, it will resume its growth as a healthy tree. The bonsai will grow to its normal size if it goes untrimmed!

Some factors will determine if your bonsai will be a regular tree if planted in the ground and left to grow. The bonsai is then expected to have bigger trunks and branches.

If you want a bonsai with thick trunks, you should plant your bonsai in the ground and later transplant it to a pot or into a terrarium.

Best Bonsai Trees For Planting In The Ground And Later Transplant Into A Pot Or A Terrarium

There are some excellent examples of bonsai that you can plant in the ground and later transplant into a pot or a terrarium.

Some of the best species of bonsai trees for growing in the ground are:

  • Juniper
  • Fukien Tea
  • Pine
  • Maple
  • Azalea
  • Crab Apple
  • Cotoneaster
  • Mulberry
  • Wisteria
  • Pomegranate


Juniper, when planted in the ground, will grow taller. The trunk will also thicken after a short time.

You can choose to let your Juniper grow on the ground and become a big tree. If you find the trunk to be big enough, you can transplant it into a pot or into a terrarium.

Fukien Tea

Fukien tea will always have a faster growth as compared to other bonsai when planted in the ground.

Within five years, just from a tiny seed, Fukien tea will be a mature tree with thick trunks and branches if left untrimmed.

Factors To Consider When Growing Bonsai In The Ground

There are several factors to consider when trying to make your bonsai grow to a bigger tree. Some of the factors include:

  • Trimming
  • Watering
  • Space
  • Age


Indoor bonsai are always regulated through trimming. When you stop trimming your bonsai tree planted in the ground, it will grow to its normal size.

The bonsai will have larger branches and trunks. It will be similar to other regular trees in terms of their size.


Bonsai trees will always prefer soil conditions with drainage and proper aeration. This will force you to water your bonsai tree planted in the ground continually.

Indoor bonsai are always planted into a pot or a terrarium. This denies them the ability to self-regulate, so you will have to care for them consistently. The more you water your plant, the faster the growth.


Indoor bonsai are always deprived of the freedom to extend their roots since they are potted. The pot or the terrarium is always shallow, making the plant remain small.

If you leave your bonsai in the wild, it will have the ability to extend its roots. The bonsai will be larger. You will notice thicker roots and trunks. With time it will be a big tree.


You may choose to plant a bonsai seed in the ground or plant a smaller bonsai tree. A seed of a young bonsai tree stands a chance to grow a full root system and later extend to a big tree.

If you choose a mature tree, it’s unlikely to grow larger roots because it has reached its maximum length.

A potted bonsai, when transplanted in the ground, has low chances of recovery. Some of the bonsai trees may even die.

You may provide all the described conditions, but a bonsai tree may still end up dying. You may need to research the plant requirements since they vary from type to type.

You need to check on the weather, bonsai species, and how you may hasten the growth of the root system.

Bonsai tree with lush green leaves perched on a rock, exemplifying the art of bonsai which may transition to ground planting.

What To Expect Immediately After Planting A Bonsai Tree In The Ground

Bonsai are just similar to common trees. The only difference is that they are regulated through potting and shaping to remain small and become more beautiful.

The removal of new growing parts cripples growth. This hinders growth and keeps the plant short.

So, what happens when you plant the bonsai in open ground and stop trimming it? If you did exactly that, you would realize that the bonsai would grow into a huge tree!

You need to stop everything, such as potting, wires, and trimming, to reveal the bonsai’s real nature.

Bonsai will stop growing because they are either potted or placed into a terrarium. This will not give them room to develop their roots. Most of the indoor bonsai are also trimmed.

Cutting off new growing parts discourages the plant from becoming bigger. The bonsai will grow to its normal size if you stop all the regulations.

Why Are Bonsai Initially Planted In The Ground Before Potting?

Have you ever visited any agro vets? If so, you will realize that the bonsai are initially planted in the ground before being transplanted into a pot or a terrarium.

Many indoor gardeners also prefer growing a young bonsai plant in the ground.

The main reason for this is that the ground provides the bonsai with enough space, thus escalating its growth.

The tree will quickly develop thick and massive trunks. This is faster when compared to a potted bonsai.

Planting a young bonsai plant in a pot will slow down its growth. The roots will lack adequate space, thus prohibiting new growth.

Many bonsai enthusiasts love bonsai with thick trunks. Potting a bonsai will only delay the whole process.

You don’t need to misquote this and think that only bonsai trees with thick trunks are beautiful.

Some people prefer thinner bonsai because they exhibit a feminine look. One of the best examples is the Japanese maple tree.

Can A Natural Tree Planted Outdoor Become A Bonsai?

Do you have a tree growing in the ground that you want to turn to become a bonsai? Well, it’s possible to make the tree become a bonsai, but not all trees may be suitable.

You only need to realize earlier enough that there are several steps to accomplish this. You will need to follow several factors to make the tree a full bonsai.

There is a need to keep in mind that not all trees growing in the ground will be ideal for this practice. Some will not make it.

Here are some of the features or criteria for choosing the best tree to convert into a bonsai:

  • Young trees
  • Compatible species
  • Compatible tree sizes
Sculpted tree with distinct branches and a sparse canopy, symbolizing a mature bonsai's potential adaptability to being planted in the ground.

Young Trees

You will have to consider the age of the tree while converting it into a bonsai. Sapling is the best for a bonsai tree.

Though trees vary, some may develop roots so fast. These are not good options for bonsai. Some trees may be too old. Regularly trimming a mature tree may kill it.

Compatible Species

Did you know that some trees can die if you try to trim their roots and branches?

Trimming is what makes up a bonsai. If the tree is quite hardcore, then you may proceed with attempting to turn it into a Bonsai. Always do your research before trying to turn a tree into a Bonsai.

Compatible Tree Sizes

With many numbers of saplings ideal for bonsai, some are not. You need to narrow it down to trees with a shape that can be easily trimmed.

You need to carefully examine the trunk, roots, branches, and leaves. Keep off trees that possess narrow trunks.

If you realize that the available trees lack the qualifications of becoming a bonsai, then you can plant a new one. Be sure that within a short time, it will be worth a bonsai.

Best Plant Species That Can Complement A Bonsai

Several plant species can complement your bonsai. You can choose one of the ornamental grasses that are available in a variety of colors. You are more likely to love their seed heads.

Another option is bamboo. Bamboo always looks great. Make sure they don’t take over your garden.

Another choice you may go for is Japanese maples. You will surely love their different colors and leaf shapes. You only need to plant Japanese maples in an area out of the strong wind.


If you choose to leave the bonsai untrimmed, not potted and left in the ground to grow, it will become a mature tree.

Bonsai is the art of styling a tree to look beautiful and restrict its growth, and if you are a tree enthusiast, a Bonsai tree will definitely be a beautiful addition to your home or garden.

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