Is Your Bonsai Tree Old? How to Find Out Bonsai Tree Age

Your bonsai. Miniature. Mighty. Ancient? We all wonder how long these tiny trees have held stories in their bark. Today, let’s be detectives! Uncover the clues, whispered in wrinkles and branches, to guess your bonsai’s age.

how Long Can A Bonsai Tree Live:

The life span of a bonsai tree varies with the species of tree. The oldest living bonsai tree, The Ficus retusa Linn is believed to be over 1000 years old. It is on display at Crespi Bonsai Museum in Italy.

bonsai tree age

While the life span of a Bonsai tree cannot be accurately defined there are many factors that will play a key role.

An important point to consider is that technically, Bonsai trees do not die; they just outgrow their containers and become too large for the pot.

This simply means that with proper care and maintenance, a Bonsai tree can outlive its owner! The bonsai trees that are available for purchase are usually between 10 and 15 years old. They range in size from 6 to 12 inches tall when they arrive at the garden center.

The tree, in its container, will survive only as long as you take care of the bonsai. If you are attentive and caring, the bonsai will thrive and live a long life. If the care is neglected, the bonsai might die within a few months or years.

How to Find out Bonsai Tree Age:

Finding out the age of a bonsai tree is challenging because unlike other trees you can not cut the trunk and find out the number of rings, which is the normal procedure in tree age calculation. So we have to find an alternative route to calculate the bonsai age.

One of the most common ways to find the bonsai tree age is to first figure out the diameter of the trunk and then multiply that with the growth factor.

Here is what you have to do:

  • The first step in figuring out how old your bonsai tree is is to measure the circumference of the tree. Use a caliper like this to get an accurate measurement.
  • Once you have the circumference measured you can use the formula to find out the diameter of the tree. Diameter of the tree = circumference / 3.14
  • The next thing is to find out the growth factor for this particular tree species. There are a ton of online resources for this so finding out the growth rate for your tree should not be a problem.
  • Now that we have both the diameter and the growth factor we can calculate the approximate age of your bonsai tree. The age of the bonsai tree = Diameter of the Tree X Growth rate of the species.

For example,

Say your Bonsai’s trunk measures 3 inches in diameter, and the growth factor for that species is 5.

The equation would look like this:

3 x 5 = 15;

Therefore your tree is approximately 15 years old.

Please remember this method can give you only an approximation of the actual age of the bonsai. Many factors can affect the circumference of the tree and therefore the actual calculation.

The quality of the soil where the bonsai has been grown, the number of nutrients and water it received, competition, etc can have an effect on the width of the trunk and the total calculation of its age.

Final Words:

With each new wrinkle, your bonsai’s story grows deeper. Its age, a secret whispered in the wind. But here’s the truth: time matters less than the joy it brings. So listen, learn, and love your miniature marvel. Every leaf, every knot, a testament to beauty and strength.