bald cypress bonsai

Bald Cypress (Taxodium Distichum) Bonsai: A Beginner’s Guide

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Native to the southern portions of the United States as well as areas in Guatemala and Mexico, the Bald Cypress bonsai is one of the most illustrious bonsai specimens you can grow at home. It is occasionally planted in parks, where it rarely reaches its full height of 100 feet.

In fact, this plant likes the more confined conditions of bonsai growth, and as long as you provide it with the right care, it can live for hundreds of years. 

Interesting Facts about Bald Cypress Bonsai

Height: 29”

Width: 22”

Sunlight: Full sunlight 

Flowering Time Length: Does not flower

Lifespan: Up to 1000 years or more!

Scientific name: Taxodium distichum

Types of Taxodium Distichum

Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) is a deciduous conifer with reddish-brown bark that is fibrous at first and later becomes furrowed and pale. It has needle-like foliage that is a soft, pale-green color. A hardy plant, it looks a lot like the Dawn Redwood but is a superior bonsai species

There is only one type of Bald Cypress bonsai, a bonsai cultivar of the standard-sized Bald Cypress tree. This long-lived deciduous tree is known by many names, including swamp cypress, bald cypress, tidewater red cypress, gulf cypress, red cypress, and white cypress. 

The plant is often confused with the Mediterranean Cypress. The main difference between the two? Bald Cypress is native to North and Central America, while the former is found in the Mediterranean Region. 

Growing Bald Cypress Bonsai from Seed or By Propagation

Bald Cypress bonsai can be propagated from both seeds and cuttings. Whichever method you choose should yield good results. 

How To Care for Bald Cypress Bonsai


Bald Cypress bonsai requires in full sun to partial shade, preferably receiving at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. Therefore, you should plant the Bald Cypress in direct sunlight during its growing season.

If you live in naturally warm climates, you may be able to get away with growing the plant outside year-round. However, protecting it from extreme cold temperatures by keeping the Bald Cypress bonsai tree inside. It cannot tolerate low temperatures and will not do well with any amount of frost, even when grown in a container.


You really can’t overwater the Bald Cypress bonsai – this plant loves being wet! If you aren’t vigilant about watering on a regular basis, you can always grow this bonsai plant in a pot that is placed inside a shallow saucer filled with water. 

You won’t have to water quite as often in the early winter as you will in the summer. During the growing season, water once a day. In the winter, you can get away with it once every few months, as the leaves will have fallen. However, you should make sure you never let the plant dry out at any point throughout the year. 


You can use any kind of liquid fertilizer on your Bald Cypress bonsai. Ideally, it should be a fertilizer that is well-balanced. Fertilize any time from spring to autumn, ideally about once a week or once every two weeks. Check the dosing instructions on your specific fertilizer for more information. 

You don’t need to rely on synthetic fertilizers, either – a liquid compost tea or another organic option is also acceptable. 

Potting and Repotting 

You will need to repot your Bald Cypress bonsai about once every two years. You should repot young trees more often on this schedule, although old trees can be repotted every three to five years. 

Repotting serves several benefits. Not only can you get your Bald Cypress bonsai trees into better soil that is more balanced and well-draining (which it prefers) but you can also loosen up its compacted roots.

Young trees, in particular, are prone to become rootbound as the developing root ball pushes itself upward inside the pot. Additionally, consider paying attention to the root mass during repotting to ensure healthy growth and prevent overcrowding. Make sure the pot you choose has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape.

Well draining soil is a must for the bald cypress trees. Since it likes to be watered so frequently, it is easy for waterlogged soil to lead to root rot. Therefore, you will want to use a ready-mixed potting soil that is designed specifically for bald Cypress bonsai. This will save you time and money.

Pruning a Bald Cypress Bonsai

Ready to prune your Bald Cypress bonsai? The plant is best pruned once its shoots begin to produce lateral ramification. Prune too soon, and your shoots will die back in the fall. However, if you prune in early spring, you’ll likely have good results. 

You’ll notice lots of new buds on the trunk, forks, and branches during the early spring growing period. You can get rid of any buds that don’t add to the overall aesthetic of the tree.

You can shape young twigs into a desirable form by wiring them up, but remove any older branches, as they can become brittle and stiff. Additionally, consider root pruning to maintain a healthy root system and encourage optimal growth.

Pests and Diseases

Bald Cypress bonsai is immune to most diseases and pests. You can keep your plant healthy by providing it with the level of care it needs, as described above. 

Where to Buy Bald Cypress Bonsai

Bald Cypress bonsai can be purchased from many nurseries and plant distributors, including common shops like Amazon. It is usually sold as a starter tree up to 10 years old. It is often shipped with no foliage, during its dormant stage in the fall and winter.


Can cypress bonsai grow indoors?

Cypress bonsai can grow indoors temporarily, but they thrive best outdoors where they can receive proper sunlight and airflow.

What soil mix for bald cypress bonsai?

For bald cypress bonsai, a soil mix containing components like akadama, pumice, and lava rock provides good drainage and aeration, mimicking their natural growing conditions.

Why is my cypress bonsai turning brown?

Cypress bonsai turning brown may indicate issues such as overwatering, underwatering, inadequate sunlight, pests, or diseases. Adjusting watering practices, ensuring proper light exposure, and inspecting for pests or diseases can help address the problem.

Can bald cypress grow from cuttings?

Yes, Bald cypress can be propagated from cuttings taken from semi-hardwood or hardwood stems. Rooting hormone and a well-draining soil mix can aid in successful propagation.

*Photo by Feverpitch/depositphotos

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