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Are Bonsai Trees Real Trees?

When you look at a bonsai tree, you see a tiny tree usually shaped to look a certain way. 

Needless to say, these trees don’t always appear entirely natural. 

That being the case, I wouldn’t blame anyone for wondering whether or not bonsai trees are real trees.

Yes, Bonsai trees are real, live trees. 

The way a person cares for them and grows them makes them look the way they do. 

Thus, they are not fake plants that come looking a certain way. 

If a bonsai tree were fake, it would not be able to grow as it does. 

In this article, we’ll explore what a bonsai tree is and why they are, in fact, real trees. 

What Is a Bonsai Tree?

First of all, contrary to what some people may think, there is not a type of tree known as a “bonsai” tree. 

Bonsais are not their own species of tree, like pine or cedar. 

Instead, many different types of trees can become bonsai trees. 

Some bonsais are juniper trees, others are Fukien tea trees, and still, others are different species.

A bonsai tree is just a tree that someone has cared for and grown in a certain way to make it small and specifically shaped. 

Therefore, bonsai trees are not fake trees. 

They are real trees grown using particular methods to achieve their appearance, and people can create bonsais from just about any natural species of tree.

Why Do Bonsais Have a Special Shape?

If you know anything about bonsai, you understand that the bonsai grower must trim their tree constantly. 

Yet, even if you don’t know much about bonsai, you’ve probably at least seen them in popular media, so you’ll know that they often have a unique shape.

And the reason that bonsais usually look different than regular trees is that people trim them into a particular shape. 

Bonsais don’t maintain their shape because they are fake. 

Instead, a person must constantly trim the tree to look a certain way. 

Why Are Bonsais So Small?

Many people wonder why bonsais are so small, and it leads some to believe that bonsais are fake trees. 

Because how could a bonsai tree be a real tree when it is so tiny? 

Aren’t real trees big? 

Well, the truth isn’t quite as simple as all that. 

Trees actually grow within the limits of their habitat.

In other words, a tree only grows as big as the environment allows it

Most trees grow large because they live outside, with lots of dirt for their roots to spread out in and with lots of unregulated sunlight and water. 

Therefore, they can grow large.

But as you may know, people usually grow bonsais indoors, and usually in pots. 

Thus, the amount of space the tree has to grow its roots is much smaller, and by extension, the size the tree grows to is much smaller than a tree outside would be.

This limit on their environment is why bonsai trees are so small. 

They are still real trees, though. 

Bonsais are just trees that have grown to a smaller overall size since they have limited root space.

Could a Bonsai Grow Into a Regular-Sized Tree?

Yes, bonsai trees are genetically identical to their larger counterparts. 

But, if you were to take a bonsai out of its pot and plant it in the ground, it might not grow into an average-sized tree. 

Typically, if the bonsai is young and you suddenly give it more room to grow, it will become as large as any other tree of its species. 

Yet, an older bonsai may not grow much bigger if you put it in the ground. 

However, overall, a bonsai could grow into a regular-sized tree. 


Bonsai trees are absolutely real trees. 

They require care, water, nutrients, and soil to grow. 

Bonsais only look different from regular trees because the people who grow them limit their size and trim them into a distinct shape.

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