Japanese Hornbeam


Japanese Hornbeam: The Japanese Hornbeam (Carpinus japonica) is a deciduous tree native to Japan. Although similar to the Beech tree, Hornbeams are a separate species and are very hardy and tolerant, making them a great choice as a Bonsai. Hornbeams can withstand a little neglect while continuing to happily grow in a container. Making it a great outdoor starter tree that is very easy to grow and succeed with as a Bonsai. Hornbeams are prized for their gnarly bark when they start maturing. 


Japanese Hornbeam can be placed in mid-day shade and tolerate full sun. They are one of the first species to come out of dormancy and one of the last that needs to be winterized.  


  1. Japanese Hornbeam like well-draining soil that is not left to dry. During warmer days with plenty of sun, watering daily is recommended. 
  2. Japanese Hornbeam needs to be winterized during the winter, and the soil should be kept minimally moist. 

  • Training: Japanese Hornbeam take well to directional pruning and can be wired in fall throughout the winter. Having alternating buds makes this a genuinely great Bonsai to develop good ramification. 

  • Repotting: young Japanese Hornbeam requires repotting every other year. Mature Japanese Hornbeam can be repotted every 3-5 years. 


BABY: 10"-16" tall, comes in a 4" grower's pot. 

YOUNG: 12"-24" tall, comes in a 6" grower's pot. 


These are not seeds - But an Actual Living 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 4 reviews
John Tofflemire (Belleville, CA)
Nice little stick

Arrived well packed and watered. Some buds on branches.

Jim Bird (Bracebridge, CA)
Hornbeam order

Ordered two Japanese Hornbeams. The order was processed and shipped in timely fashion.Young trees look great, lots of buds .Cant wait to get them growing!Thanks BonsaiStore.co.

florentin racovitan (Vaudreuil-Dorion, CA)
Japanese Hornbeam

The picture accurately represents the plant that I received ( rooted cutting).
The plant arrived in very good condition and the price was reasonable for both plant and shipping.
I would probably buy more from this vendor, if and when I’ll find something of interest.

Dr. Robert Smale (Keswick, CA)
Nice Young Bonsai

The tree arrived a few weeks back. It was nicely packaged. Seems thus far to be thriving in my kitchen window. Look forward to ordering a few others I have in back order soon. Thanks.

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