How Much Are Bonsai Trees? Factors That Influence Price

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Bonsai trees are beautiful miniature plants grown in pots. They can also be very expensive depending on a variety of factors. But how much are bonsai trees and what do they cost?

Bonsai trees are considered art and collectibles. They can cost anywhere from $20 to thousands of dollars, all the way up to over $1 million dollars.

You can start on your own bonsai collection at home. Here are some tips to help you start growing your own bonsai trees.

If you’ve decided that you would like to add a bonsai tree to your living space, indoor home garden, outside on a balcony, in a yard, or on a porch, you are probably wondering how much of an investment you’ll need to make in your miniature tree.

This article will take a look at the various factors that differentiate cheap bonsai trees from expensive bonsai trees, and finding out how much bonsai trees cost. 

How Much is a Bonsai Tree?

A young, small bonsai tree by itself can cost as little as $20 to thousands and even over $1 million dollars. If you’re just starting out, you may want to look at a bonsai starter kit that will cost less than $50. 

A kit may be a wise choice because it will include the bonsai tree and/or bonsai seeds, but also many of the things required for proper care, such as:

This is an average cost, but much will depend on the tree quality and species that come with your kit. You could easily spend several hundred dollars, $500 to several thousand dollars.

There are a number of reasons why some bonsai trees cost more and the more expensive a tree is, the better. If you are purchasing a bonsai alone, make sure you have the necessary tools or that you acquire them to ensure care and maintenance.

Check out the list of the Most Expensive Bonsai Trees Worldwide.

Factors That Can Change the Bonsai Tree Cost

The following are some factors that can change the price of a bonsai tree:

1. Bonsai Tree Age

The age of a bonsai tree is definitely a factor in how the bonsai is priced. Some of the older, expensive bonsai trees are hundreds of years old and a couple are even over a thousand years old, worth over $1 million dollars for each individual tree.

Younger trees tend to be cheaper than older bonsai. This is because younger trees are easier to grow, maintain, and care for. Older trees require more time, effort, and patience.

The older a tree is, the more work has been invested in it, and the more expensively it will be priced. If you’re starting out with the art of bonsai, you can get a beginners bonsai kit and grow a bonsai from seed.

Learn more about How Long Bonsai Trees Take to Grow and How Long Bonsais Can Live

2. Bonsai Design

Bonsai Tree Species and Varieties

Generally speaking, the more elaborate the design, the more expensive the bonsai might be.

There is a selection of Bonsai designs that a bonsai master may use when cultivating and training a bonsai tree. The Han-Kengai, Ikadabuki, and Kengai are among the most intricate and complex of bonsai designs.

Complicated designs require a great deal of training of the tree itself and work by a bonsai master. Bonsai plants will require care to remain healthy when being trained in a form or shape that is not entirely natural.

3. Bonsai Cultivation and Growth Difficulty

Some tree species are difficult to grow and cultivate as a bonsai. Two examples are the Tamarind and Pine tree species.

So, if you can purchase a Pine bonsai tree, expect it to be more expensive than other tree species. The bonsai grower will have put in more care and effort in its cultivation and growth.

Growing bonsai trees from a seed will take a long time too.

4. Bonsai Location

The bonsai’s location of where it was grown and cultivated can affect prices.

It’s especially true if the bonsai does not grow naturally where you are buying it. This means that much care was taken and time invested so that the tree thrived there in its bonsai form.

5. Bonsai History and Pedigree

If the bonsai has an interesting or colorful history, this too will influence the cost. The better the story and history of the bonsai, the higher the value. 

A bonsai tree like the 400-year-old Yamaki Pine Bonsai Tree that survived the Hiroshima atomic bomb brings a rich history that increases the bonsai’s value.

Yamaki Pine - Most Expensive Bonsai Tree

Check out the Oldest Bonsai Trees.

6. The Bonsai Pot

Bonsai pots can cost very little, even as low as $10. These cheaper pots are mass-produced. Customized, mid-priced handmade bonsai pots may cost you somewhere between $50 and $150.

If your bonsai pot is elaborately decorated or has extras like Buddhas or water fountains that work, expect the price to continue to rise. If you prefer an antique, ancient bonsai pot from Japan, expect to pay several hundred dollars. 

7. Bonsai Tree Species

If you select a rarer species, your bonsai tree will cost more. Rare can mean several things, but most likely will indicate the growth difficulty of the specific tree species. The more difficult a tree is to grow, the fewer of this species will be available.

Rare may also refer to the age, history, design, and perhaps the location of cultivation if the tree does not naturally grow there.

8. Bonsai Tree Trunk

A bonsai is a miniature version of a tree growing outdoors in nature. Trees growing in their natural habitats, are often very tall and have thick trunks that can support height and branches, giving the tree stability.

It is extremely difficult to achieve a thick trunk in a bonsai that is cultivated in a container and kept at such a small size and height for so many years.

Thus, a bonsai trunk’s thickness will influence how expensive the bonsai is. If the trunk is thick and there is no to little scarring, the bonsai will be more valuable. 

What Makes Bonsai Trees So Expensive?

While not all bonsai trees are out of reach when it comes to cost, some are as valuable as a luxury car or a luxury home.

The “Old Pine” Bonsai Tree was sold at Japan’s International Bonsai Convention for a whopping $1.3 million dollars.

Old Pine Tree Takamatsu - Most Expensive Bonsai Tree
The 800-year-old Japanese white pine in Takamatsu Japan in 2012. Source: Setouchi Explorer

Other trees have been priced at $90,000, and some are priceless, like the oldest bonsai tree located in Italy’s Crespi Bonsai Museum at over 1,000 years of age.

These bonsai trees are valued at these exceptionally high prices because of their age and history, together with their design and great care by a bonsai master for generations.

The most famous bonsai trees are more than 800 to 1,000 years old. They’ve lasted much longer than a luxury car or home, and still exhibit an extraordinary beauty that only Mother Nature and expert bonsai masters throughout centuries have been able to offer.

Bonsai Tree Kits

One way to begin bonsai cultivation is through a bonsai tree kit. An inexpensive kit may cost $25 to $30 and will include bonsai seeds, a pot, wire, and trimmers. More advanced kits will cost double and may come with more than one pair of scissors or trimmers, a rake, wire, and a broom.

Kits that come with a pre-grown tree may cost you around $40 or more depending on the tree type and age. They will include the tree in a pot, scissors, and fertilizer.

Another kind of beginner kit will not include a tree but with several types of seeds. This type of kit will cost less as you will need to grow the bonsai from a seed yourself.

How Much Does a Bonsai Tree Cost?

The cost of a bonsai tree is in the eye of the beholder, the potential buyer, and how they value a bonsai. The prices are to be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

There are different ways to measure the value of a bonsai tree. One way is to look at its price tag. Another way is to look at what other people pay for them. A third way is to look at the amount of time and money that went into creating the bonsai.

If you want to buy a bonsai tree, you should understand how much it is worth before making any purchase. You might find a beautiful bonsai tree that costs hundreds of dollars. However, if you know that the tree has taken decades to create, then you will know that the particular tree is worth thousands of dollars.

You could also find a bonsai tree that is cheap and affordable. However, if you learn that the tree took only a few months to make, then you will value this tree much less than one that took years. 

Bonsais require time, care, dedication, perseverance, economic investment, and above all, patience. These miniature trees are living sculptures, that when cared for, can become a family heirloom passed from one generation to the next.

How Much Bonsai Trees Cost Final Thoughts

All in all, bonsai trees are can be very expensive. It depends on the quality and condition of the tree, where it was grown, who created it, and many other factors.

The art of bonsai can be fun and acts as a stress relief tool. If you are looking for something to do during your free time, you can try growing your own bonsai tree. 

Learn more about bonsai in these articles:

Fast Growing Trees and Plants

Bonsai Boy Plants and Pots

Photo of author

Written by:

Amy Walsh
Amy Walsh is a passionate indoor gardener, deeply engrossed in the world of houseplants and herbs. Her apartment is a lush sanctuary of foliage, reflecting her journey from hobbyist to devoted botanist. She's constantly exploring the latest in smart garden technology, eager to share her insights on nurturing green spaces indoors. Alongside her botanical pursuits, Amy enjoys connecting with nature and friends, continually enriching her lifestyle with greenery and growth.

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