Japanese Pine


Of the 110 pine species, the Japanese Pines are the ones most commonly used. Being local to Japan, China and Korea. Japanese Pines have been used for centuries as ornamental trees and Bonsai.

Japanese Pines enjoy the full sun during the growing months and need to be "winterized" in Canada for our colder season. When not given enough sunlight, these Pines will grow longer needles, to maintain short needle growth, choose a location with full sun. Pines also do not like to be in moist soil. Similar to most Bonsai, a well-draining soil consisting mainly of non-organic substrate is ideal. (Boons Mix - 1/3 Akadama, 1/3 Pumice and 1/3 Lava Rock is highly recommended). Fertilization of the PInes is recommended during the whole growing season and even a little during the dormancy period. 

The Japanese Pines most often found in Bonsai are:

  • Japanese Black Pine - Pinus Thunbergii

Growing on the coastal regions, the black pine grows beautiful needle leaves in clumps of two. It is also the hardiest of the pines, tolerating winds, storms, salt and water in its natural habitat. The Japanese Black Pine grows a dark, flaky bark and becomes more graceful and weathered with age. Specimens of this variety regularly sell at auctions for over USD 5000.

If it's a coniferous outdoor tree you are after, look no further than the Japanese Black Pine. 

  • Japanese White Pine - Pinus Parviflora

The Japanese White Pine only grows one flush a year, unlike the Black & Red pines, which grow two. So Artists need to be careful not to prune too much off the Bonsai. Making this a great slow-growing specimen. The Japanese White Pine is a little more susceptible to infections and disease and must be monitored regularly. Its natural movement in the trunk and beautiful needle clusters make this a very rewarding Bonsai. 

  • Japanese Red Pine - Pinus Densiflora

Similar growth patterns to the Black Pine, but with more delicate and slender growth. This Pine is similar to the Scots Pine. Although very common in Asia, the Japanese Red Pine is not commonly used in North American Bonsai design. As such, it is not often grown in nurseries around Canada and the US, making it a little harder to find. 

These are not seeds - But Actual Bonsai Tree

Please see our Choosing a Bonsai page, for the age and dimensions regarding the different stages of our Bonsai (Baby, Young, & Mature).

Soil (Substrate)

Bonsai soils are usually a mixture of organic potting compost (Pine Bark or Forest Floor), Akadamapumice, lava rock in varying amounts. 

It is important for the soil have good water retention while also draining well, along with very good aeration. The quality of the soil directly affects the health, size and growth of your tree. One of the worst things you can do to your tree is plant it in regular garden soil. Garden soil hardens when it drys and can often lead to a disadvantage when growing a Bonsai. 

Soil mixtures can be purchased here, but given their weight and cost of shipping, you can also easily make your own. 


Depending on the type of Bonsai you're growing, here are the general formulas for successful mixtures. 

Deciduous Tree (Leafy and looses leafs in the fall)

50% Akadama

20% Pumice

20% Lava Rock

10% Potting Compost


Coniferous Tree (Evergreen like Juniper, Cedar)

1/3 Akadama

1/3 Pumice

1/3 Lava Rock


If you are not able to check on your Bonsai's moisture levels daily, add more Akadama to the mix. 

Given how these soils erode over time, repotting every 2-3 years is required. 


Here are some suitable replacements if you cannot find the recommended types of soil.

  • Akadama - fine fired or baked clays, some even recommend cat litter as a substitute. 
  • Pumice - fine crushed aggregates, expanded shale and vermiculite.
  • Lava Rock - This can be replaced with fine gravel or you can also look into purchasing a larger lava rock at a hardware or gardening centre and crushing it. 



One of the best and easiest ways to fertilize your Bonsai, is to add a liquid fertilizer mix when water your Bonsai's once a month during the spring/summer. If your Bonsai looses leaves in the winter there is no need to fertilize it then. If you have a coniferous tree, fertilizing the tree once in the beginning of winter and once in the middle of winter should be sufficient.


Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
Bojan Markovic (North Bay, CA)

Japanese Pine

Xuanbo Liu (Dartmouth, CA)
Much better than expected

Tree arrived in good health, well wrapped, but the most important thing is how big the tree is. I ordered a young pine but the height of the tree is about 1.3ft

Paul Lai (Fort McMurray, CA)
Reliable store

This is Paul from Alberta, l bought two Japanese black pine 2 weeks ago, now I found 2 black pine are looked different , Why one is long leaves and the other is short leaves, Please! Let me know please!

Donna Reid (Burlington, CA)
Beautiful tree

Received a young pine. Healthy and ready for training next spring. Impressive back buds and several branches to choose from for design.
Carefully packaged for shipping.
The Bonsaistore cares about it’s trees
Highly recommended

Grant McCallum (Surrey, CA)
Japanese black pines

Excellent, absolutely excellent quality trees
Packaging very professional both pines had multiple long extending candles and arrived in perfect condition.
Trees have lots of options for styling, growing strongly and most importantly have strong and multiple basal trunk buds for rapid trunk development options.

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