Cherry Blossom Bonsai: How to Care for This Amazing Beauty

  • By: Josh Koop
  • Date: August 24, 2021
  • Time to read: 11 min.
Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

When you think bonsai tree the chances are the first thing you will imagine is a small tree with bright pink or faded flowers on it.

This is the most iconic bonsai tree in the world and goes hand in hand with the original creators of the bonsai tree and the reason they were first created.

Taking care of your cherry blossom tree will see you having a wonderful tree in your home, but it can be a challenge.

A cherry blossom bonsai is one of the easiest trees to care for, you will need to properly prune its leaves, wire it throughout the growing season, attend to its root growth, and give it water only every second week. It is important to remember when growing a cherry blossom bonsai that it should not be flowering each season, this process can make the small tree tired and cause damage if done at every chance.

The cherry blossom tree in the wild is what gives Japan its famous Sakura blossom season, and the bonsai was created to bring this festival indoors to those who could not enjoy it.

It is loved by many people around the world and will easily grow in most climates, however, there are many ways to grow the tree.

Knowing how to grow it and take care of it is vital to having a healthy cherry blossom in your collection.

Cherry blossom bonsai
Beautiful cherry blossom which has been created bonsai

How to Grow Your Own Cherry Blossom Bonsai Tree?

There are more ways to grow a bonsai from nothing than there possibly should be, with many people seemingly needing nothing more than a half-dead branch to start the growth.

The cherry blossom bonsai might just be able to grow from anything as well, however, two main ways have become accepted for starting a cherry blossom bonsai.

One of the things that are so amazing about the cherry blossom tree however is that it won’t stop growing once it has started.

Many inexperienced bonsai tree owners have to give in and ask for help or plant their cherry blossom bonsai because the tree has started to go out of control.

This should not be considered a full failure as this can happen to any first-time grower, rather it should be used as a learning experience.

Growing From a Seed

A thing to remember is that most trees in the world that has a flower will eventually grow some kind of fruit if it has been germinated properly by wildlife.

Cherry blossom bonsai trees are the same and if the bonsai has been pollinated then it will soon start carrying cherries.

These are fruits that are rather tasty and will have a pleasant taste, but inside will be a seed you must use to grow a new bonsai tree.

To grow a cherry blossom from seed you will need a pot that contains around 30% sandy soil that has been mixed into slightly acidic compost.

The soil must provide good drainage, you should water the seed twice a week, not heavily only enough to make the top layer of soil slightly moist. It will take around 2 to 8 weeks for the tree to start growing.

It will depend heavily on the seed on how long it starts to grow and in the early stages of growing a cherry blossom, it will entirely be about patience.

Growing From Cuttings

If you want to grow your cherry blossom from either the cutting of a root or branch you will be facing a slightly harder battle.

Growing any tree using this method can yield quick results but will also be a bit more of a challenge, and it is recommended not to use a root as this will more than likely fail.

First, you will need a good piece of branch, around half an inch in thickness, that is still green on the inside, it’s best to ask a grower of full cherry trees to give you one of these.

Once you have your branch your battle will begin, you will have to trim the branch down to around 3 inches if you are hoping for a small bonsai.

Trim all the leaves and offshoots from the branch, cut one side with a slight 45-degree angle slit and plant it in some potting soil.

Watering directly after you have planted, keep watering it until signs of life start appearing, usually a few leaves will start to sprout in knots of the branch.

It should be noted that growing from a cutting will require extensive wire training as the branch will be straight.

These are cherry blossoms that will more than likely be harder to trim down and control as the branch will need to be left alone for around a year of full growth before you can start trimming and wiring it.

Receiving a Baby Cherry Blossom Bonsai

This is the most likely way that you will be receiving your cherry blossom tree when you go out to buy one or a friend bought you one as a gift.

Many nurseries around the world have a few cherry blossom bonsai trees that they are selling. This is usually because cherry blossom trees are easier and faster growing than other bonsai trees.

When you receive your new cherry blossom bonsai it is best to let it grow for a few weeks unobstructed.

Allowing it to climatize to the weather in your home or area, just giving it some water, once it has started growing and showing signs of life you should prune off any old leaves.

After you have had the tree for one full seasonal cycle you can continue taking care of the cherry blossom as you would normally care for a bonsai.

Usually, the first thing people want to do is plant their new cherry blossom in a better pot, however, this usually only introduces unwanted stress.

Many bonsai that are sold are either too young to be repotted or have already been repotted at the nursery. Allowing the tree to show its natural signs of wanting to grow is a much better process to follow.

How Long Does it Take to Grow a Cherry Blossom Bonsai Tree?

To grow a cherry blossom bonsai tree from a seed or cutting will usually take between two to three years, this is when the tree can first start showing signs that it wants to bloom.

Many times, this is the first mark that a tree has reached maturity when most owners will be happy about the amount of care that they have given their tree.

While it is a blossoming tree at 3 years it can still take up to 8 years for a cherry blossom tree to reach adulthood.

At this age, the growth of the tree will slow down, and you can more comfortably leave it to grow without having to wire it every season.

Usually, this is the period when the amount of work you need to put into your cherry blossom becomes less, and you can start comfortably leaving it to bloom without having to provide extra nutrients.

Once your tree has reached adulthood at 8 years old you should be pleased to know that most cherry blossom trees live for upwards of 40 years.

With many of the oldest bonsai trees in the world being well over several hundred years old, most of which are cherry blossoms.

Bonsai trees can live much longer than their larger counterparts usually because they are kept cleaner and given fresh dirt constantly.

What Do You Need to Take Care of Your Cherry Blossom Bonsai?

When you are taking care of your cherry blossom you will be left scratching your head, especially with some of the stranger things that you will need to do.

Many first-time owners are horrified to learn about all the requirements of taking care of a bonsai tree, believing that doing any of them would cause the tree to die.

Fortunately, that is not true, and you can easily do quite a few things to have your bonsai grow properly without actually hurting it.

These are the tools, techniques, and maintenance that you will need to do to take care of your cherry blossom bonsai tree.

Sunlight

It should go without saying that all bonsai trees need to be placed in areas where they can get sunlight.

Cherry blossom bonsai enjoy having around 5 to 7 hours of partially shaded sun each day, they are quite sun-loving and will quickly start to wilt if they are not given enough sun.

It should be remembered that bonsai are not like plants, it can take up to three weeks to see whether or not a treatment is working for it.

Watering

Cherry blossom bonsai are quite hardy and can enjoy anything from being watered only once every 4 weeks but should preferably be watered once every 2 weeks.

Cherry trees are easy to overwater and will be slow to show any damage done by giving them too much water.

It should be remembered that as the seasons change to winter in your area you should be watering the plant less.

Fertilizer

Cherry blossom trees enjoy slightly acidic fertilizer that is not too harsh on the root system. This allows the bonsai to enjoy soil that is extremely close to the natural soil it would find in the wild.

Many cherry bonsai owners can find a premixed fertilizer from their local nurseries; however, it is always important to use sterile fertilizer.

If a bag has already been opened you should not then use that fertilizer on your bonsais, rather use them in your garden.

Potting

Cherry blossom bonsai enjoy roots that grow in all directions, breaking soil when they find the pot is no longer big enough.

This allows you to easily grow the bonsai in flatter pots that look quite nice on any table. You should be repotting the cherry blossom every two years, as this ensures that the tree continues to grow happily, without being obstructed by something like a pot wall.

Pruning

Cherry blossoms will grow a lot of leaves, flowers, and fruits once the spring and summer begin.

This will be the most active time for you as a bonsai owner, you will have to trim off any buds that you see might become new unwanted branches, a pinch of leaves, and at times snip off any flower buds that are forming.

This process should only take about one hour and will allow your young tree to focus on growing a stronger trunk and root system.

Wiring

When bonsai owners are talking about training their bonsais few people realize how literal this can be.

To have a bonsai grow properly you will need to focus on how you want it to grow, usually, this involves trimming everything green off the tree and then wiring up the entire tree.

This process is where you bend the trunk and branches every so slightly each season to grow into the shape you need them to be in.

What Are Common Signs That Your Cherry Blossom Bonsai is Unhealthy?

While cherry blossom bonsai are extremely hardy, they can have quite a few things that will damage them to the point they may die.

Some of the most frustrating issues can happen when your cherry blossom, the hardiest of bonsais, starts showing signs of being ill.

Many bonsai owners quickly lose their cool and start doing rash things that permanently damage the tree.

These are some of the common signs that a bonsai is unhealthy and with a bit of advice on how you can easily fix the tree without causing permanent damage.

Just be sure that you do a full search once you know the signs and start having an inkling of what is causing the damage to your cherry blossom.

Dried Trunk

When you see that your cherry blossom has a trunk that looks too dry, sounds hollow, and has some cracks on it you may start running around stressing about what is happening.

This is a sign of two things:

  • You are underwatering your tree
  • It may be getting too much hot sun throughout the day

To solve this simply increase the watering frequency for the tree and move it into a partially shaded area.

Missing Leaves

Missing leaves when the tree should be growing new ones is the surest sign that the tree might be dying and is an indicator of several things.

You should start by checking when was the last time someone trimmed the tree, and then consider taking a look at the root system.

Many cherry blossom trees stop having leaves when their root systems have replaced all the sand in their pots.

Dried Roots

Dried roots are an issue that is usually caused by too much drainage and not enough water.

This can be a lot harder to fix and will require that you dip almost the entire tree in a sink full of water for a few minutes to give it a burst of new growth.

It should be noted that this is an extreme treatment and will make the soil rock hard, which can kill even a cherry blossom if not corrected.

Burst Trunk

A rare occurrence that some cherry blossom tree owners do experience is the trunk of their trees bursting open.

Rarely having any signs of cracking before the trunk splits open to reveal the inside of the tree.

This is caused by overwatering after a long period of drought, the tree experiences rapid growth as it suddenly sucks up all the available water.

To solve this can be challenging, which is why you will need to prevent it from happening by sticking to a strict watering regime.

Molding

A sneaky thing that catches many cherry bonsai tree owners off guard is the sudden appearance of mold at the base of a tree.

This is caused by too much moisture in the ground and will cause your tree to start developing root rot.

It can be tricky to solve this and you will have to consult guides on how to get rid of this pest of all bonsai owners.

Why grow your cherry blossom tree?

After reading all of that you may be wondering why anyone would want to grow a cherry blossom bonsai tree from nothing but a seed.

The honest answer is that it is quite a good tree for a beginner to start growing from scratch as it can be quite forgiving.

If you are unsure about your growing abilities or simply need something beautiful to add to your collection it is a good spot to start.

Some of the best bonsai trees in the world are cherry blossoms, usually because they are handed down generation after generation by bonsai lovers in Japan.

If you want to have a tree that you can do the same with and be safe in knowing that your children won’t let it die, then cherry blossoms are a good place to start.

Apart from that, when a cherry blossom bonsai does bloom it can add a wealth of color to your garden with many bonsai owners lowing to have all their trees bloom at the same time.

When placed next to a bougainvillea and Japanese Wisteria it can make for an amazing burst of color.

Final Thoughts on How to Take Care of a Cherry Blossom Bonsai Tree

Growing a cherry blossom bonsai is quite easy and will teach you all the basics of growing larger more complex bonsai trees without having you pulling out your hearing.

Many bonsai owners love to add the bonsai to their collections and will quickly become the favorite that you always love.

Just be sure that no animals start eating your cherries once they have started forming, some of the animals can be quite feisty when it comes to their sweet supply!

Here are some of my favorite Bonsai Items

Thanks for reading this article, I have a few items I love to use with my bonsai tree care and wanted to share the best options for the core needs for the new bonsai enthusiast!

Best Bonsai For a Beginner – Most of what you find online are starter plants where they are going to be difficult to start and grow successfully. Most beginners like to have a starter plant to work from. I highly suggest looking at Bonsai Boy directly (more options and good prices), or you can look at their inventory from Amazon.

Best Bonsai Tool SetTianBonsai makes the best quality tools for simple bonsai work, if you want tools that will last you they won’t come cheap, make the right investment the first time with these beginner tools on Amazon!

Best Bonsai PotBonsai Boy’s Beige Ceramic Bonsai Pot – The team at Bonsai Boy operates out of New York and has been perfecting bonsai in the US for over 50 years, there is a reason I love and share them, if you want to order directly from Bonsai Boy then click here, or click here to order through Amazon.