What are the different Bonsai sizes and what do they mean?

Bonsai trees are small, ornamental trees that are popular among plant enthusiasts. These miniature trees are often grown in containers and are trained to remain small through various pruning techniques.


The History of Bonsai Trees Being Small


Growing bonsai trees dates back thousands of years in the Chinese and Japanese cultures. The art and practice of growing bonsai trees are called bonsai. And the Japanese word bonsai means "planted in a container". But the earliest account recorded of this art was in 700 AD when the Chinese started pun-sai or pen-jing, which uses special techniques of growing miniature or dwarf trees in containers or pots.


Bonsai trees were originally grown for their aesthetic value and were considered works of art. Today, bonsai trees are still grown for their beauty, but they are also popular among plant enthusiasts who enjoy the challenge of caring for these miniature trees.


What Are the Different Bonsai Size Classifications


Bonsai trees come in all shapes and sizes, but they are typically classified into seven main size categories: Keishi, Shito, Mame, Shohin, Kifu Sho, Chu, and Dai.


Keishi Bonsai


Keishi is the smallest size classification of bonsai, measuring just 1 inch (2.5 cm) in height. These thumb-sized trees are very delicate and difficult to grow, so they are often only seen in shows and displays.


Shito Bonsai


Shito bonsai is a very small bonsai measuring 3 inches (7.5 cm) in height. This type of bonsai is not usually suitable for long-term growth and is displayed on shows.


Mame Bonsai


Mame bonsai are considered mini, with trees typically grown up to 6 inches (15 cm). These tiny trees are perfect for those who want to enjoy the beauty of bonsai without caring for a large plant.


Shohin Bonsai


Shohin bonsai is slightly larger than Mame, with trees typically grown up to 8 inches (20 cm). Most of the domestic bonsai trees are Shohin. They are relatively easy to care for, making them a good choice for beginners.


Kifu Sho Bonsai


Kufi Sho bonsai is a medium-sized bonsai typically grown up to 16 inches (40.5 cm). It is a popular choice for bonsai enthusiasts because it is easy to care for and versatile.


Chuhin Bonsai


Chuhin bonsai is second to the largest bonsai, with trees typically grown up to 24 inches (61 cm). They require more care than their smaller counterparts, but they are well worth the effort.


Dai Bonsai


Dai bonsai is the largest bonsai that is typically grown up to 40 inches (101.5 cm) and requires four hands to move the bonsai. They are often the centrepiece of a bonsai collection and are highly prized by collectors.


Why Bonsai Trees Small


There are a few reasons why bonsai trees are small. First, bonsai trees are often grown in shallow pots. This restricts their root growth, which in turn keeps the tree small. Second, bonsai trees are pruned (trimmed and shaped) regularly. This also helps to keep them small.


Can Big Bonsai Trees Still Be Called Bonsai


The answer to the first question is a bit more complicated than you might think. The word bonsai means "tray planting" or "pot planting". So technically, any plant grown in a pot or tray can be considered a bonsai.


If you are referring to a tree that meets the general definition of bonsai, then yes, it can still be called bonsai. However, if you specifically refer to the dwarf, aesthetically shaped bonsai, a big tree would not typically be called bonsai.


Will Bonsai Trees Stay Small If Taken Out Of the Pot


Bonsai trees are often grown in pots to keep their size small. However, if you take a bonsai tree out of its pot, it will no longer be restricted in size and eventually grow to its full potential. So, if you're looking to keep your bonsai tree small, you'll need to keep it in its pot.




If you are looking for a unique and beautiful addition to your home, a bonsai tree may be a perfect choice. With a little bit of care and patience, you can grow a miniature tree that will add charm and elegance to your space.


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1 comment

Excellent ! I have learned a few more things about bonsai.

Miguel BH December 21, 2023

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