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Which Bonsai Tree Grows The Fastest? (12 Species)

Are you looking for a fast-growing bonsai tree to complement your home or garden?

Don’t want to wait forever for your bonsai to be ready to shape and prune?

Well, there isn’t really one single species of bonsai that will grow the fastest. 

But, some will grow faster than others. 

Typically, those that shoot up the fastest are trees with vast root systems, which allow for rapid growth. 

A few of the fastest-growing species of bonsais include the weeping willow, Japanese maple, redwood, and juniper. 

Continue reading to discover the fastest-growing bonsai trees and how to cultivate these beautiful plants efficiently.

How Long Does it Take to Grow a Bonsai Tree?

It’s best to set yourself some realistic expectations from the beginning. 

This article covers the fastest-growing bonsai trees, but we’re still talking about years of nurturing. 

Many bonsais require at least 10 to 15 years of solid commitment to mature and flourish. 

The bare minimum is around four to five years, which is the result you can expect from a fast-growing bonsai. 

Which Bonsai Tree Grows the Fastest?

Bonsais are ornamental, dwarf varieties of trees, which are famous in feng shui for their ability to bring life energy to a room. 

And growing a bonsai is a slow art that takes time and patience. 

But if you’re looking to speed up the process, here are some of the fastest-growing bonsai trees.

Arborvitae Green Giant

As the name suggests, this “giant” can grow 3 to 4 feet (0.9-1.2 m) every year, making it a tricky species to cultivate. 

However, if you want a fast-growing tree, this is one of your best choices.


The boxwood may be one of the most popular types of tree for bonsai on this list. 

Boxwoods are popular because they are easy to grow and don’t require the same care and attention as many other bonsai species.

In addition, they are quick growing, comparatively, and do well with minimal input from their grower. 

These trees grow to a total height of between 1 and 3 feet (0.3-0.9 m), making them ideal for small spaces.

Chinese Banyan

A relative of the ficus tree, the Chinese banyan is a fast-growing bonsai that you can shape into a low-hanging treelike structure with aerial roots. 

This species has a striking appearance that is easy to maintain through seed and leaf cutting.

Japanese Maple

The Japanese maple is among the fastest-growing bonsai trees, though it is not the most resilient. 

This maple requires plenty of sunlight throughout the day and the right soil to provide optimum nutrition.

Japanese maples do not do well in the winter, so it’s best to bring them indoors at this time to protect them against the harsh climate.


A juniper bonsai can grow up to 4 inches (10 cm) every year – a high-speed growth rate compared to other species. 

This tree does best with well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight.

But bear in mind that the juniper doesn’t like cold conditions. 

Thus, keeping them inside during the cold months is likely your best option.

Leyland Cypress

If you want an easy, fast-growing bonsai, look no further than the Leyland cypress. 

This hardy tree can grow in various climates and soil variations, and people often use them as wind walls.

However, you’ll want to cultivate a medium-sized Leyland cypress as their rapid growth can be challenging to control. 

In addition, remember that this species is far more short-lived than many of the other plants on this list. 

The Leyland cypress reaches the end of its life cycle between 20 and 25 years after planting.

Quaking Aspen

Abundant throughout the mountainous regions of the western USA, the quaking aspen has a considerable growth speed. 

Yet, don’t forget that the main contributing factor to how fast the tree shoots up is the amount of sunlight it gets each day. 

So you’ll want to ensure plenty of natural light for the fast growth you desire.

Red Maple

The red maple is a deciduous tree abundant throughout central and eastern areas of North America. 

With a fast-growing speed, these trees can reach over 100 feet (30 m) tall. 

You just need to provide your red maple with high-quality, nutritious soil for the best results.

In addition, keep in mind that high amounts of water and sunlight throughout at least half of the day encourage growth. 

The red maple will grow extremely quickly if you care for it well.


In their native habitats, redwood trees can grow bigger than 320 feet (98 m) and are among the tallest plants in existence. 

Dawn redwood and coastal redwood are the two species best suited for bonsai cultivation.

The dawn redwood is a deciduous tree native to China, while the evergreen coastal redwood resides in California. 

Both of these species have a complex roots system, making them more suitable as large-scale bonsai trees.

River Birch

As the name suggests, the river birch prefers areas that are damp and full of moisture. 

Compared to other tree species, this birch is particularly fast-growing and can reach heights of 80 feet (24 m) in the wild. 

They prefer to be close to a water source and will often position themselves near rivers and other water bodies when they grow in the wild. 

So, of course, the water supply is the primary factor in how fast this plant will grow.

Water Jasmine

This tree is an excellent choice for people who want a fast-growing plant that is quite spectacular. 

The water jasmine can grow up to 10 feet (3 m) tall, with most of its growth taking place over the first year.

The other perk of cultivating a water jasmine is that you can take care of one without much hassle. 

Even if you’re a beginner to bonsai, you can grow a water jasmine reasonably quickly. 

The only downside is this plant does not enjoy being outdoors, but it makes a perfect indoor plant.

Weeping Willow

The weeping willow is the most appropriate of the more than 100 species of the willow tree to cultivate for bonsai. 

In their native habitats, these impressive plants can grow up to 82 feet (25 m) tall and live for 100 years.

If you provide a weeping willow with optimum conditions for nourishment, you’ll create a tree to outlive you.

What Do I Need to Take Into Consideration With a Fast-Growing Bonsai?

If you’ve chosen to cultivate a fast-growing bonsai, you need to consider the size of your pot

These plants’ growth speed and complex root systems make them unsuitable as small bonsai trees.

Thus, you’ll want a medium or large pot to cultivate these plants.

Why Do Some Bonsai Trees Grow Faster Than Others?

Like all living things, different species have different growth rates and requirements. 

But, most of the tree species on this list are evergreens, meaning they have a vast root system, allowing faster growth.

With wide roots, a tree can absorb a more significant amount of water and nutrients in less time than its leafy counterparts. 

In addition, the hardiness of these species also comes into play. 

If a tree often lives in harsh conditions in the wild, it will speed up growth when its surroundings are favorable.

How Do I Speed Up Bonsai Growth?

First off, it’s worth noting that bonsai tree growing is not an overnight process. 

Cultivating a bonsai tree is a long-term practice that requires dedication and care from its grower. 

However, there are things you can do to accelerate the growth of your bonsai. 

Mainly, if you want to speed up growth, you should: 

  • Use premium quality soil
  • Re-pot the tree often
  • Manage the drainage system efficiently
  • Have a dedicated watering schedule
  • Prune the roots frequently

Just remember, though, that you can’t make a tree grow more quickly than it can. 

But you can nurture it for faster maturation. 

To do so, ensure that your bonsai gets enough water so that the roots have what they need to absorb nutrients from the soil.

And make sure you purchase high-quality soil so that the roots can extract nourishment. 

To help your plant get everything it needs, you should also top the soil up regularly with a slow-release fertilizer.

Finally, prune your tree often to remove dead or dying branches that will sap energy and nutrients from the rest of the tree.

What if I Don’t Have Five Years or More to Cultivate a Bonsai Tree?

Cultivating a tree from scratch is a gratifying process. 

It requires dedicated time and a hefty dose of patience in the short term, but the results are worth the work.

However, if you’re looking to create a bonsai garden in your home and you don’t have five to ten years for these plants to mature, there is an alternative.

You can purchase trees that someone else has already started. 

Doing so may sound like cheating, but it’s not. 

In fact, it’s excellent practice for a novice grower and can provide a fascinating insight into the world of bonsai.

Plus, when you purchase a pre-grown tree, it’s usually around 5 to 7 years old, meaning you can begin pruning and shaping it immediately.

Final Thoughts

Cultivating a bonsai tree is not an overnight process, and you shouldn’t expect your tree to grow in a few weeks. 

The reality is that even the fastest-growing species, such as the juniper bonsai, only have a growth rate of around 4 inches (10 cm) a year and will take at least five years to come to fruition.

The good news, though, is that there are many things you can do to speed up the growth of your tree. 

Thus, it’s not just about choosing the “right” species. 

It’s also about the love, care, and nurturing you bring to that plant.

Therefore, you should provide your bonsai with its optimum conditions, so you can watch it grow and thrive.

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