cherry tree bonsai

Cherry Blossom (Prunus) Bonsai Tree: How To Grow and Care

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In Japan, there is a longstanding tradition of watching and admiring the appearance of the cherry blossom tree. Also known as Sakura, this cherry blossom tradition has been around for many centuries. As a result, bonsai cultivation of cherry blossom trees is also popular in Japan.

You don’t have to live in Japan in order to appreciate this bonsai tree’s beauty. In fact, this is one of the most popular bonsai specimens for growers in other parts of the world, too. Caring for one of these plants is easy – here’s what any bonsai enthusiasts need to do.

Interesting Facts about Cherry Blossom Bonsai

Height: 15 inches

Width: 10 inches

Sunlight: Full sunlight 

Flowering Time Length: Spring

Lifespan: 30-40 years

Scientific name: Prunus serrulata

Types of Cherry Blossom

cherry tree bonsai
Photo by T.Kiya | Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

There are more than 420 varieties of the cherry blossom bonsai species. Prunus serrulata is the most popular. Found in the Prunus species, the cherry blossom bonsai (Prunus serrulata) is not only native to Japan but can also be found in China and Korea, too. 

Other plants in the Prunus tree species include Yoshino cherry (Prunus × yedoensis), fuji cherry (Prunus incisa), Kanzan cherry (Prunus ‘Kanzan’), Higan cherry (Prunus subhirtella), etc

Cherry blossom bonsai is the most inspiring for its beauty. It produces gorgeous blossoms in the early spring that fall to the ground and create a gorgeous backdrop of pink. This plant is also known as Japanese cherry blossom bonsai, east Asian cherry blossom bonsai, and oriental cherry blossom bonsai.

Growing Cherry Blossom Bonsai from Seed or By Propagation

Cherry blossom bonsai can be grown both from seed as well as by propagation. If you plan to grow it from seed, you don’t need to worry about selecting certain seeds that are bonsai-specific. Any cherry blossom tree seed will die. It can take several weeks for your seeds to germinate.

If you grow your cherry blossom bonsai from cuttings, you will need to use the cuttings from another tree. This saves you time as you don’t need to wait for the seeds to germinate. However, settings don’t have taproots, so they can lack some stability. 

How To Care for Cherry Blossom Bonsai


The cherry blossom bonsai requires lots of sun with minimal wind. A location that gets full sun is ideal. 

Ideally, you should allow it to go dormant during the winter months for at least three months. It’s important to keep it cool at this time, although it will also need to be protected from frost. A spot like a cold garage is the perfect choice. 


This cherry bonsai specimen is not that picky when it comes to water. Just make sure you water often and as needed.

The cherry trees should never be allowed to dry out completely. Don’t water too much, because that can cause root rot and other problems.

If you are growing your plant in direct sunlight, you will need to water more often. When water begins to leak from the bottom of the container, you’ll know you have sufficient water.


A well-draining bonsai soil mix is essential for optimal root health. A mixture of akadama (volcanic clay), pumice, and kiryu (lava rock) is a popular choice. Ensure the pot has adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.

Temperature and Humidity

Cherry blossom bonsai appreciate moderate temperatures, ideally ranging between 50°F and 75°F (10°C and 24°C). During winter, they require a cool dormancy period of around 3 months with temperatures between 40°F and 50°F (4°C and 10°C). Protect your bonsai from sudden temperature drops and drafts.

Humidity is equally important for your miniature cherry tree. Aim for moderate to high humidity levels, especially during the spring and summer months when it’s actively growing. You can achieve this by placing your bonsai on a pebble tray filled with water, misting the leaves regularly, or using a humidifier.


During the growing season (spring and summer), fertilize your cherry blossom bonsai once a month with a diluted liquid fertilizer specifically formulated for bonsai trees. Avoid overfertilizing, as this can damage the roots.

In winter, when the tree is dormant, fertilizer application should be stopped.

Potting and Repotting 

You can repot your cherry blossom bonsai once every two to three years. Put it in a well-draining potting mix when you are finished. Organic soil is your best option. Late winter is the best time to repot, as the miniature trees will have stopped flowering. Potting the plant will help the plant develop more compact, vigorous roots. 

Pruning a Cherry Blossom  Bonsai

You only need to prune your sakura bonsai tree every so often. This should be done just to maintain a small size but you should wait until all of the cherry blossoms have dropped from the plant. When you prune a bonsai, just cut back a bit of fresh growth but avoid removing all new growth. 

Pests and Diseases

There aren’t many diseases that you will need to worry about when it comes to caring for your Japanese flowering cherry. However, you should watch out for caterpillars, aphids, and spider mites, all of which can be quite destructive.

Though rare, some diseases you will need to be aware of are peach leaf curl, blossom wilt, and taphrina wiesneri.

Where to Buy Cherry Blossom Bonsai

You can purchase a cherry blossom bonsai plant online. You can also buy seeds from just about any local or online seed shop, too. This will let you fully control the growth of your plant. 


Are cherry blossom bonsai plants indoor or outdoor?

Cherry blossom bonsai plants can be both indoor and outdoor, depending on the specific species and the climate in which they are grown. Some varieties may thrive better outdoors, while others can be cultivated successfully as indoor bonsai.

Are Japanese cherry blossom trees hard to grow?

No, Japanese cherry blossom trees, also known as sakura trees, are generally not considered difficult to grow. They are adaptable and can thrive in various soil conditions, but ensuring the right environment, proper care, and adequate sunlight are essential for their optimal growth and blooming.

Are cherry blossom trees low maintenance?

Yes, cherry blossom bonsai trees are relatively low maintenance once established. However, they do require regular watering, proper pruning to maintain shape, and protection from pests or diseases. Providing the appropriate care will help ensure the health and longevity of the tree.

Do you need 2 cherry blossom trees?

No, it’s not strictly necessary to have two cherry blossom trees, as most varieties are self-pollinating. However, having multiple trees in close proximity can enhance cross-pollination, potentially resulting in more abundant and diverse blossoms.

Up Next: Cherry Blossom Meaning and Symbolism

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