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Can Bonsai Trees Grow Outside?

Bonsai trees are quite hardy, and you can grow them outside with relatively little hassle. 

Many people believe you can only grow bonsai trees indoors since that is where we usually see them. 

However, bonsais are not actually a tree species. 

Instead, bonsai is just an art form conducted on trees, which means many tree species can be “bonsai” trees.

Thus, you can create a bonsai tree outside by pruning your tree of choice into a bonsai. 

Now, this information may sound confusing, but in this article, we will explain in detail why you can grow a bonsai outside and whether it is a good idea to do so. 

What Is a Bonsai Tree?

As I mentioned before, there’s no such thing as a bonsai species of tree. 

A bonsai tree is just a tree that a person has pruned to have a particular aesthetic look. 

If you did not prune these trees, they would grow just like they would elsewhere.

And this, of course, means you can expect just about any type of bonsai tree to be capable of growing comfortably outdoors. 

After all, trees are an inherent part of nature and the outside: there’s actually no tree species that can’t grow outside. 

What Type of Tree Species Are Commonly Used for Bonsai?

There are several tree species that people commonly use for bonsai. 

The list includes but is not limited to:

  • Pine
  • Juniper
  • Fukien Tea
  • Azalea
  • Maple
  • Wisteria
  • Pomegranate
  • Mulberry
  • Crab Apple
  • Cotoneaster

Naturally, all of these trees have different traits, and their needs while growing outdoors may vary to some extent, but there’s no doubt that you can grow all of them outdoors. 

Each of these tree species can grow into a large, stalwart tree if you plant them outside and let them get plenty of sunlight and water.

Then, to make them into a bonsai tree, you’ll need to prune them a particular way. 

Should You Plant Bonsai Trees Outside?

There’s nothing stopping you from planting a bonsai tree outside, but if you actually intend for that tree to be a traditional bonsai, planting the tree outside might not be the best move.

When a bonsai tree is in a pot indoors, you limit its natural growth. 

They only get the water and light you provide them, so controlling their growth is easy. 

On top of that, being in a pot means the tree can only grow its roots so far, so the trunks and branches will stay pretty small.

But when you plant a bonsai tree outside, it has plenty of space, and you can’t regulate its water and light as easily. 

You could still trim and prune it to make it a bonsai tree, but it would probably take a lot more work since the tree would be growing much larger than it would if it were indoors.


A bonsai is not a species of tree. 

Instead, it’s just a certain type of art in which you prune a tree to keep it small and in a certain shape. 

Thus, there are many tree species used for bonsai, and you can plant all of them outdoors if you wish.

However, keep in mind that a tree will grow much larger when it is outside since it will have access to water, sunlight, and space that you can’t easily regulate. 

So, while you can plant a bonsai tree outside, growing your tree outdoors might make it challenging to ensure it remains a bonsai tree.

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