Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Tree


As one of the 110 species included in the Pinus genus, the Japanese Black Pine bonsai tree is known by the scientific name of Pinus thunbergii. This beautiful plant is characterized by delicate needle-like green leaves that always grow together in pairs.

During springtime, the Japanese Black Pine will produce small reddish flowers. Later, it will also grow small brown cones. This hardy species can tolerate very strong winds and ocean spray. In Japan, the Japanese Black Pine has been one of the most popular plants to use in architecture.

If you are looking for a bonsai tree with striking appearance then the Japanese Black Pine may be the one for you. This is one of the most beautiful pine species of bonsai with characteristic delicate needle-like green leaves that grow in pairs.

The Japanese Black Pine looks lovely as it is but waits till you see its small reddish flowers which usually appear during springtime.

This bonsai tree is not all beauty. It is also one of the hardiest bonsai tree species because it can tolerate almost every unforgiving environment. It can grow and thrive even in areas with strong winds and ocean sprays.

It also grows in nutrient -deficient soils. And because of its hardiness, it has been widely used in architectural designs, outdoor gardens, and presentations.

The Japanese Black Pine is not just found in Japan. This lovely tree is also native to Korea and in north-eastern China. It is known in the wild as a tree with a very striking appearance.

It has an irregularly-shaped gray bark that transforms to black color as the tree matures. Its leaves are richly-colored which makes it a visually-appealing ornamental plant. In the wild, the Japanese Black Pine can grow up to 100 feet.

Scientific/Botanical NamePinus Thunbergii
DescriptionThese pine trees are highly tolerant of poor growing conditions, and thrive in nutrient-starved soils.
PositionJapanese Black Pine trees enjoy full sun and high temperatures, but roots are susceptible to burning in bonsai containers. As such, if it is grown outdoors, the container should be protected from the hot sun. The color of the leaves are a lighter green when the tree is grown in sunny locations, but they are a lush, deep green when the tree is grown in part- or full-shade.
WateringWhile the tree can tolerate mild drought, it is better to keep Japanese Black Pine trees lightly-moist. Excellent drainage should be provided to minimize the potential for root rot. Water that has a pH level in the range between 5.5 and 6.5 is optimal for this tree.
FeedingJapanese Black Pine is unusual in that it does not need to be fertilized. Nevertheless, the bonsai tree appreciates the application of Bio Gold, or something similar, between the middle of spring and early-fall.
Leaf and Branch PruningSignificant pruning of the tree must be carried out between late-fall and early-winter so as to prevent or minimize sap bleeding. After cutting, apply putty cut paste to the edges of the exposed wound. Japanese Black Pines bonsai trees do become stressed from pruning, and they should be kept in the shade for about a month after pruning.
Re-potting & Growing MediumLocal climates will determine the re-potting schedule of Japanese Black Pine trees. Re-potting guidance should be sought from a local bonsai expert. The trees do like to have their roots rearranged each time the tree is re-potted. After re-potting, the tree needs to be placed in a shady location for three or four weeks until it becomes re-established. A soil mixture the 50 percent akadama and 50 percent pumice works best. Younger trees will need slightly more grit in the soil, and older trees will prefer a higher percentage of akadama in the soil.
WiringIf wiring is to be undertaken, it must be carried out in late winter. Sap leakage will occur if wiring is carried out at any other time.
NotesJapanese Black Pine bonsai trees are susceptible to attack by spider mites, but this usually only happens to trees that are not kept in optimal health. Nevertheless, it is advisable to inspect the tree on a weekly basis for spider mites. They appear as specks of red on the needles of the tree.

About The Japanese Black Pine

Native to Korea, Japan and north-eastern China, the Japanese Black Pine is quite striking in appearance. The irregularly shaped gray bark gradually transforms into black bark as it grows older.

Along the branches, the richly colored green leaves grow in needle-like shapes. Over time, the Japanese Black Pine can grow as tall as 100 feet. When kept in bonsai form, it becomes a miniature version of its larger brethren.

Each spring, the Japanese Black Pine produces red, egg-shaped female flowers. The male flowers produced are more of a reddish-yellow color and are mostly found on the branch tips. If users want to start new plants, they can use some of the tree’s seeds. Additionally, they can propagate it using cuttings or grafting techniques.

This sun-loving plant should always be placed in a mixture that contains 50/50 of pumice and akadama. Younger pines will like more pumice and older plants will generally prefer more akadama. No matter what, well-draining soils should be used that are between 5.5 and 6.5 on the pH scale.

General Care For Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

In general, the Japanese Black Pine should be grown outside in full sun. This gorgeous plant can tolerate temperatures that reach above 100 degrees. Just remember—if the plant is kept in the sun all summer, it will transform into a greenish-yellow color.

This effect is perfectly normal, but if a user wants it to attain a different color they will have to put it in partial shade. Another thing to remember is to cover the roots. Although the plant can thrive in sunshine, a shallow pot combined with excessive sunshine can cause the roots to bake. Covering the pot with some kind of material can help the roots to stay protected.

It needs to be regularly watered, but the soil needs to dry out in between watering. This pine tree does not grow well in continuously moist soil. If users have to err with more or less water, choosing to water it a little less is better. It needs to be placed in a soil mixture and pot that promotes proper draining.

During the growing season, the Japanese Black Pine will need to receive extra attention. It will need to be watered and pruned more. Growers should use a sharp knife to do any pruning and put putty cut paste to stymie the wound. Pruning done in early fall often works better since sap bleeding is less of a problem during these months.

If individuals want to give it a more aged look they should bend the branches downward. To thin the leaves, gently pluck the needles that grow underneath and inside of the branches. Once this is done, the fissured bark will be exposed. The Japanese Black Pine can be grown in any bonsai style except broom.

Fertilizing & Repotting

This tree needs to be fertilized every two weeks during the growing season. Use a well-balanced liquid fertilizer for optimal results.

If it needs to be repotted, users should take advantage of a bonsai soil mix that drains quickly. Generally, this tree will not need to be repotted for at least two to five years. Growers can determine its repotting needs based off of the root growth and how old the tree is. If they do have to repot it, they should always be very careful not to remove too much of the tree’s roots.

These roots should be carefully rearranged so they can develop a strong surface root structure. After the tree has finished being repotted, it should be put in only partial sunlight instead of full sun. After three to four weeks have passed, it can be moved back into stronger sunlight.

If the grower wants to promote ramification, they can do this after the growing season is over by trimming the shoots. Winter is also a better time to wire the tree. During other seasons, the tree can suffer from sap leakage and be damaged.


Overall, the Japanese Black Pine is extremely hardy. Ideally, it should be grown in USDA Zones five through eight. During the winter, the bonsai tree will have to be protected from severe winter weather. It is susceptible to minors, root rot, blight, borers, rust and scales so growers should keep an eye out for any potential problems.

Growers should always take time and work slowly to train their tree. Successfully growing a Japanese Black Pine bonsai tree can take years. If growers prune too much at a time, it can cause too much stress for the tree to handle.

After the tree is pruned, it should always be put into partial shade for a couple of weeks to give it time to recover. If all of these steps are followed, users can enjoy having a beautifully, intricate bonsai plant at their disposal.

What will you need to follow this tutorial

  • A Japanese Black Pine tree
    • Many Japanese Black Pine tree bonsai growers purchase a young tree, to begin with. You can purchase Japanese Black Pine trees from online retailers and also from garden sites. If you are lucky, you can also find trees from a local nursery. But always remember that buying a Japanese Black Pine tree is just one way to grow this bonsai tree. You may also grow it from seeds to give you more time to train your tree. Make sure to purchase only from reputable and reliable tree growers and retailers whether online or from local shops.
  • Japanese Black Pine seeds
    • If you want to use grow Japanese Black Pine tree bonsai from seeds then you may do so. You will be able to purchase quality seeds from online seed banks or from local seed shops. But if you have Japanese Black Pine trees and plants growing in your backyard then you can harvest seeds and use these instead of buying seeds.
  • Bonsai Pot
    • When it comes to growing Japanese Black Pine bonsai most growers prefer to follow Japanese tradition. And to be true to Japanese tradition, jade pots are often used. You can purchase bonsai pots or jade pots from online or local bonsai shops. But other than this kind of pot, you may also use other containers to grow bonsai as long as these have good drainage.
  • Balanced fertilizer
    • There are a variety of fertilizers ideal for growing Japanese Black Pine bonsai. Always choose top quality, natural or organic fertilizer. These have natural nutrients that will make your bonsai plants healthy and grow well. You may also make your own formula or use compost or other natural nutrients but keep in mind that these should have complete nutrients for your bonsai plants to benefit.
  • A pair of sharp scissors
    • You need a sharp pair of scissors to prune your Japanese Black Pine. You need scissors to remove dead tree barks and expose the inner bark if you plan to style your Japanese Black Pine this way.
  • Pliers
    • A good pair of pliers will cut wires and bend wires to shape your Japanese Black Pine trees.
  • Clean water
    • You must have clean water to be used on your bonsai trees. You might consider using rainwater or tap water, however, it’s best to check the quality of your water supply first before you use this on your plants. Water for watering your delicate bonsai trees should have a balanced pH to allow plant roots to absorb minerals well.
  • Wire for wiring
    • There are two types of wires commonly used by Japanese Black Pine growers: anodized aluminum and annealed copper wires. Anodized aluminum is for bonsais with soft trunks or for younger trees. Annealed copper wires are for bonsais that have thicker and stronger trunks.
  • Aggregates
    • Adding aggregates to the potting soil will improve drainage and aeration which are needed by bonsai trees and plants. There are a few aggregate rocks that you can use: Akadama, sand with coarse grains, decomposed granite, pumic, turface or diatomite.
  • Bonsai growing soil
    • The type of bonsai growing soil that you will use will depend on the kind of tree that you want to grow. The best soil to use for growing Japanese Black Pine is a sandy clay soil. This kind of soil will hold water and nutrients and will be able to let excess water and nutrients drain away from the roots.

Step by step instructions

1) Understand fast facts about Japanese Black Pine bonsai trees

Growing Japanese Black Pine is no rocket science. It is actually very easy to do so even if you are new to growing and cultivating bonsai trees. This tree is lovely as it is very unique with its amazing features. Despite growing easy it still requires tender loving care so it will grow taller, stronger and resistant to plant health conditions.

You must understand fast facts about Japanese Black Pine trees and learn how to be patient when growing this bonsai.

Bonsai trees like the Japanese Black Pine will be able to grow well when you have good skills and patience. It may take a while for this bonsai tree to grow and to style accordingly. You must be patient when growing a Japanese Black Pine tree. Never overlook instructions and tips coming from people who have grown this kind of bonsai before. Here are some facts about the Japanese Black Pine bonsai tree that can help you out.


The Japanese Black Pine is a highly-tolerant bonsai tree that can thrive even in poor growing conditions. This bonsai tree can thrive in places with high wind and in nutrient-starved soils. And because of these good features, it has become a favorite among new or first-time growers.

This tree is native to Korea, Japan, and North-Eastern China and is widely bred as an ornamental plant because of its striking appearance. It has an irregularly-shaped gray bark that turns into black as this grows older. It has richly-colored green leaves that grow in needle-like shapes. The Japanese Black Pine can grow up to a 100 feet in the wild but with proper care and development, this can become a beautiful, healthy and resilient bonsai plant.

Growing Position

  • The Japanese Black Pine enjoys full sun and high temperatures
  • The Japanese Black Pine roots are susceptible to burning in small containers
  • The Japanese Black Pine container should be protected from the sun when grown outdoors
  • When grown in sunny locations, the leaves are a lighter green
  • When grown in part or full shade, the leaves are in a shade of lush green


  • The Japanese Black Pine can tolerate mild drought
  • The growing soil of Japanese Black Pines should be kept lightly moist
  • The growing pot of Japanese Black Pine bonsai should have adequate drainage


  • The Japanese Black Pine does not need regular feeding
  • But nevertheless, this bonsai will do well with Bio-Gold or something similar
  • Feeding must be done during mid-spring and early-fall
  • Pottery used to plant Japanese Black Pine should have adequate drainage to allow excess fertilizer to drain out

Leaf and Branch Pruning

  • The Japanese Black Pine needs significant pruning
  • Pruning should be done in late spring and early winter to prevent sap bleeding
  • Apply putty cut paste after cutting or pruning the edges of the exposed wound
  • Pruning can stress plants so keep your bonsai plants in the shade for a month
  • Let your plants recover after pruning

Re-potting & Growing Medium

  • The climate where you are located determines when you will repot a Japanese Black Pine
  • The Japanese Black Pine like their roots rearranged each time its repotted
  • Afterwards, the tree needs to be placed in the shade for a month
  • It is recommended that soil mixture with 50% Akadama and 50% pumice be used
  • Young Japanese Black Pines need more grit in the soil
  • Older Japanese Black Pine will prefer a higher percentage of Akadama

Wiring a Japanese Black Pine bonsai

  • Wiring a Japanese Black Pine should be done in late winter
  • Wiring at any other time may result in sap leakage

Important Notes

  • Japanese Black Pine is susceptible to spider mite attacks and diseased trees are very vulnerable
  • Regularly check the leaves of your bonsai tree, especially the underside for spider mites and other pests
  • Inspect your plants as regularly as possible
  • Spider mites appear as specks of red on the needles of the tree

2) Distinguishing Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Trees from other bonsais

Japanese Black Pine bonsai trees have a unique appearance from other bonsai trees. With a scientific name Pinus thunbergii, this tree is very unique because of its delicate needle-like green leaves that grow in pairs. You should see the Japanese Black Pine tree during springtime with its distinct small reddish flowers. These lovely buds will grow into small brown cones as the weather turns colder.

The Japanese Black Pine bonsai is a very hardy tree which is very unique in bonsai plants. This can tolerate very strong winds as well as the salty ocean air. This is one of the most popular bonsai and ornamental plants that are used as a display and is part of Japanese architecture.

During springtime, it is when the Japanese Black Pine shows off its amazing flowers. It is during this time that this tree produces red, egg-shaped female flowers. The male flowers of this tree have a reddish-yellow color and are mostly found along the tips of the branches.

If you want to grow new plants, you can use the seeds from this tree to grow trees. And aside from seeds, this tree also grows through the use of cuttings or by grafting.

4) Purchasing a Japanese Black Pine Tree

When purchasing a Japanese Black Pine tree rely only on reputable growers or retailers. You will find a number of bonsai tree dealers online where you can purchase a healthy Japanese Black Pine tree. You will also be able to find healthy Japanese Black Pine trees ready for refining from a local garden or retailer near you. And even if you purchase online or offline, be smart when choosing a healthy tree.

If you are looking for low-priced bonsais a large garden center is where you must go. You will also find a variety of bonsai plants and accessories from a large garden shop. If you are looking for top quality bonsai trees you will find what you need from specialized shops or dedicated online sites that sell only bonsai plants.

5) Growing Japanese Black Pine Trees from Seeds and Cuttings

Growing Japanese Black Pine trees from seeds could take many years but are nonetheless rewarding. When you cultivating a Japanese Black Pine bonsai from a seed, you will be able to completely control the development and the growth of your Japanese Black Pine at an early stage. Here are a few important things to consider when growing trees from seeds.

Growing trees from seeds facts:

There are no special bonsai tree seeds. Bonsai trees come from regular seeds from regular trees. It is the refining and pruning of a regular tree that gives birth to bonsai trees! If you have a Japanese Black Pine tree in your backyard then you can use its seeds to grow a Japanese Black Pine tree to turn into a bonsai tree.

There are a lot of advantages when growing Japanese Black Pine trees from seeds you have around. You can save a lot of money from buying seeds online or from a local shop. Choosing to grow seeds that came from your own yard makes it easier because you already understand its special needs, the mature size and appearance of the tree and any information about it.

Growing Japanese Black Pine bonsai from seeds

Germinating your Japanese Black Pine seeds should be done before planting these in the soil. Japanese Black Pine will grow well in almost all environments even in unforgiving ones. Germinating seeds will help you tell which seeds are sterile and which ones are fertile. Germinating seeds boost the initial stages of growth of your Japanese Black Pine trees as well.

Germinate your seeds by first placing these in a glass or transparent container of water. Seeds that will float are sterile or viable non-viable and will not germinate. Seeds that sink have viable insides and are fertile. Now that you know which seeds are fertile and which ones are sterile, it’s time to germinate and eventually sow your seeds.

  • Fill a pot with peat seed sowing mix
  • Place the fertile Japanese Black Pine seeds on the surface of the mix. Do not cover this because seeds need light to sprout.
  • Water the soil thoroughly to moisten the soil. Water should run off the sides of the container.
  • Place this outdoors in full sunlight.
  • Keep the soil moist and check this frequently so your soil won’t go dry. This seed will germinate for about 15 to 90 days.
  • By the time the Japanese Black Pine has emerged from the seed and the second set of leaves have sprouted, you may now transplant these seedlings in individual containers.
  • Use a small, shallow bonsai pot for your seedlings. The best planter pot has at least two holes on the sides or at the bottom of the pot.
  • Place a layer of the coarse This layer will help remove excess water and fertilizer from the plant roots. This layer also improves aeration of the soil to allow oxygen to move into the plant roots.
  • Add a layer of regular bonsai potting soil on top of the substrate. You can purchase bonsai soil from any garden center or bonsai accessories store online or offline.
  • Put the seedling on the soil. Make sure to leave room in between seeds so that root systems will be able to develop well. This should be about an inch of soil. Compact the soil with your fingers. Simply press the top of the soil lightly to compact it.
  • Water your young plants and keep the soil slightly moist. Water this at least once a day, after the soil has dried. But no matter what happens, do not over dry the soil.

Growing Japanese Black Pine from cuttings

You can also grow Japanese Black Pine bonsai by using cuttings. This is done by cutting a part of a Japanese Black Pine tree and replanting it. This will reduce the time it takes to wait for your seeds to germinate and to grow to a seedling but it may take a lot of time for cuttings to grow as well. Here is a step by step process on how to harvest cuttings from Japanese Black Pine trees.

  • Harvest cuttings from a healthy Japanese Black Pine tree. The cutting is a healthy stem that has no issues. The tree must not be affected by any condition like dryness, molds, insects or discoloration.
  • Use a sharp knife to harvest the cutting. Use a diagonal cut.
  • Place these in the water ASAP to avoid air pockets from entering the stems of the cutting.
  • Wait till these cuttings develop roots before you plant them.
  • Plant cuttings as soon as these have roots. Plant these in a conducive pot.
  • Water the cuttings daily. Make sure that you keep the soil moist especially during very warm days.
  • The cuttings need to become stronger and develop a strong trunk, branches, and leaves before these are pruned or wired. You may need to wait for three years before you start pruning. But don’t wait till the tree is too old because wiring may only hurt a mature tree.

6) Caring for a Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

Japanese Black Pine Bonsais are very hardy and can endure much pruning and cutting.  The best way to care for this type of bonsai is to make sure that this is wired and pruned well so it can establish itself easily. This is very important whether you grow your bonsai in a pot or directly from the ground.

You must use only natural and organic fertilizer in caring for your Japanese Black Pine bonsai trees. These are free from toxic components which will only do more harm to your bonsai. These will provide natural nutrients which are easier to absorb. You may also use your own formula but take note of the right amounts of nutrients that your Japanese Black Pine needs so it can grow healthy and strong.

Usually, Japanese Black Pine trees are very resilient to weather and disease however it is vulnerable to spider mite attacks. Spider mites are small insects that have voracious appetites. These can bite and suck the leaves of your tree and destroy it ultimately. It’s hard to tell if your tree is affected with spider mites but usually, you can tell by the appearance of white, wispy webs that can cover the leaves and stems.

To properly care for your bonsai, be diligent and inspect for spider mite infestations. Spider mites look like red specks at the underside of leaves. This is usually found here because this area of the leaf is soft and easy to bite through.

Check for spider mite infestations regularly as well as other insects and pests. This may be removed by spraying the leaves with water to remove the mites. Pesticides may also be used but this should be done cautiously.

6) Soil and repotting a Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

One of the best characteristics of Japanese Black Pine bonsai trees is that these can grow and flourish in almost any kind of soil. This can thrive in clay, sand or loamy soil and in free-draining soils. Aggregates should be added to the soil to improve aeration as well as drainage. You may use Akadama, sand with coarse grains, decomposed granite, pumice, turface or diatomite.

The Japanese Black Pine tree will grow and flourish even when its roots are pruned as long as root pruning is done right. As with most bonsai trees, pruning should be done before the leaf buds swell which usually happens during early spring. Young trees should also be repotted during early spring as well. Repotting is necessary to let the young bonsai tree develop improved root systems.

The type of pot for repotting Japanese Black Pines

There are a variety of pots that you can use to repot this bonsai but if you want to follow true Japanese tradition use jade glazed pots. But if you want other pots to use then it’s no problem at all. There is no specific color to use too but if you must pick a color, use one that will highlight the lovely red flowers and green leaves. Glazed pots for bonsai growing are available from local garden supplies or you may purchase online.

Things to consider when choosing a bonsai pot

Consider the drainage of your bonsai pots. Some glazed pots may have fancy colors and designs but don’t be distracted. Focus on adequate drainage for your bonsai trees.

Keep in mind that for large and deep pots about four or more drainage holes should be present under the pot or along the sides. Japanese Black Pine trees can grow even in dry places but would do well when the soil is damp or moist. Drainage holes will improve water drainage plus a lot more.

Drainage holes will prevent nutrient lock in the soil and will allow oxygen to move into the soil to be absorbed by the roots. Drainage holes will help improve root systems of Japanese Black Pine trees.

Your trees need to develop a good root system and this may be accomplished by through the right kind of soil like sandy-clay soil that allows root movement and using a pot with a good drainage system. Drainage holes allow good garden creatures to move into the pot and help in developing healthy Japanese Black Pine trees like earthworms and ladybugs.

7) Watering a Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

Aside from regular watering, this tree should thrive in nutrient-rich soil. If you plan to grow your Japanese Black Pine outdoors, under the sun use a deeper to hold more water or moisture. You may use a shallow pot if you want to grow your bonsai tree indoors.

This tree needs to dry out in between watering. It does not grow well in continuously moist soil.

The Japanese Black Pine bonsai tree has to be planted in a pot with good soil. This is soil with good water drainage and water and nutrient retention. This should be watered daily and more frequently during warm water or when grown outdoors.

Take note that you must not overwater your Japanese Black Pine trees because these could become susceptible to mold growth and development. Water when the soil is dry and never when the soil is moist.

8) Pruning and shaping a Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

The Japanese Black Pine is a strong and resilient tree that can resist consistent cutting, shaping, and pruning. You can immediately start pruning and refining this tree as soon as this has completely acclimated to its growing medium. Be sure to prune leaves and stems only when the plant has regained health if it is under stress or it has just recently recovered from any illness.

During the growing season, the Japanese Black Pine will need extra TLC. It needs to be watered and pruned more often. You can use a sharp knife to prune and after cutting, put putty cut paste to stymie the area. You must prune during early fall since sap bleeding is less likely to happen.

Wiring bonsai trees

Using wires to train branches and to shape the bonsai trunk is one way to style a bonsai tree. A Japanese Black Pine can be styled to any kind except for broom style. Styling has to be started when the tree is still young.

Wiring when the wood is mature is harder to do because the wood is stiff and this could cause severe damage to the trunk or branches as you try to move the hard and stiff branches.

Wiring old wood can cause also lead to fractures within the tree and although these fractures may heal after quite some time, an ugly mark will be left on the fracture site.

Wiring young Japanese Black Pine is a good way to achieve a variety of bonsai tree style or design. It is also important to remember to remove the wire as soon as you have achieved the style you want. As much as possible, the wire should be removed the same season it was attached.

Important wiring techniques

Wiring is a very popular strategy to shape a bonsai tree. You will be able to style and train bonsai trees safely, effectively and quickly by wiring. Wrapping wire around the young branches of a Japanese Black Pine bonsai tree, you will be able to reposition its branches to the shape or style you want.

It will take a few months before the branches are ready and this is according to the style you want as well. There are a number of styles that you can use to shape a Japanese Black Pine tree.

Shakan Bonsai Style

The Shakan bonsai growing style is also called the slanted bonsai tree because it looks like a slanted tree. The trunk protrudes from the soil in a slanted position and the tree straightens out to an outward position with the trunk in a 60-80 degree angle. To create that classic slanting and windswept style, you can use strong wiring which helps control the growth of the main trunk. Wiring may also be used to control the height of each branch. Another way is to apply strong sunlight from one direction only.

Dramatic Fukinagashi

The Dramatic Fukinagashi looks like a windswept head of hair during a storm. This style is s more common than you may think. In this style, the branches and the trunk grow to one side only to recreate the effect of strong blowing wind moving in one direction. Wiring and delicate pruning are used to achieve this style.

Shari Bonsai Style

The Shari Bonsai Style is a style that shaves the bark to keep new growth from appearing. A popular Shari style is a stair effect. Some branches may be long or short in this style and this is mostly achieved by wiring and a lot of pruning. The leaves on the top of the tree create a perfect aesthetic balance. The Shari bonsai style is based actually based on the natural development of some bonsai plants. A bald or barkless area on the trunks usually develops and this is mostly due to harsh weather conditions.

Seki-joju or Rocky Terrain

The Seki-joju or Rocky Terrain style is basically growing bonsai around an obstacle such as a jagged or smooth rock. This also happens naturally when the roots of trees grow underneath and along the sides of nearby rocks. Roots may also crawl around the rock surface as the trunk of the bonsai has formed. The tree will continue to grow in a straight manner despite various obstacles in its path.

Literati Bonsai

The Literati style has a skinny trunk and has a number of curved leaves. Growers and bonsai enthusiasts say that this style depicts the struggle in nature to preserve even the tiniest form of life. There are a few bald spots along the trunk to recreate dead branches in this style. The Literati bonsai style is naturally seen in trees that are located in densely populated tree areas. The trunk is naturally bent and grows crookedly as the tree begins to mature.


This bonsai style is similar to the cascading style. A section of the trunk is grown straight while a branch grows outward and slightly downward. A small area of the trunk is left before the thick branches are located. These grow in different directions. The leaves are low-lying and the plant requires a deeper pot to control and preserve the formation.

You can wire your bonsai plants to train them and you can do this any time of the year. During the growing season or as the tree branches grow thicker and faster, therefore, the wire can cut through the bark which can lead to marks and scars. This is why you must not forget to remove the wire. You must also check your bonsai wire constantly while this is wired, you need to check your tree regularly and remove the wire as soon as the season changes.

The type of wire to  use

There are two kinds of wire to wire a Japanese Black Pine or any bonsai tree. You may use anodized aluminum and annealed copper and there are very striking differences between the two.

Aluminum is safe for deciduous trees while harder and stronger wires like copper are for harder species like conifers and pines. It could be a challenge to wire bonsai if you are new to growing bonsai trees.

Therefore, you must initially use the anodized aluminum wire which easier to use and is readily available anywhere.  Wire for wiring bonsai also comes in a variety of thicknesses. The most commonly used is the 1 mm to 4 mm variety.

To prevent injury to the branch or trunk, you must wrap these with raffia-soaked water. Raffia is palm fiber that you can purchase from garden stores. This will protect branches from damage as a result of bending and moving.

Step by step instructions on how to wire a bonsai

  • Decide if you will use a double or single wiring.
  • Select the thickness of the wire you will use.
  • Take one end of the wire and wrap around the branch you will reposition. Do this at a 45-degree
  • Wrap the wire neatly in line along the branch.
  • Slowly bend branches into position to prevent any damage or injury to your bonsai tree.
  • Use a guy wire to bring down branches which are too high. Wrap a protective material around the branch and place a hook at the end of the wire. Secure the hook and use a thick piece of wire at the end and allow this to hang from the hook.
  • Extend and attach the guy wire to a strong root.
  • Check your tree regularly after attaching wires to Remove the wires as scheduled.
  • After wiring, monitor the growth of your plants. Place it under sunlight and water it every day.

Post-wiring care for your Japanese Black Pine

After wiring your Japanese Black Pine bonsai tree it needs aftercare. Place this in a pot preferably in the shade to allow it to recuperate. Feed your bonsai nutrients to help it recover. Remove the wires on schedule to prevent these from injuring or cutting the tree bark.

Follow the time you need to remove the wires. When removing cut the wires at every turn. Do not recycle the wire you used because this makes it harder to remove the wire.

You will only end up damaging your tree as well. Removing wires at every turn makes it a lot easier to remove the wire. Monitor for plant overall health and let this rest to completely recuperate.

9) How to prevent pests & diseases

Japanese Black Pine bonsai trees are very hardy but are still prone to pests like spider mites. As mentioned, spider mites are small insects with huge appetites. These can bite and suck the nutrients from the leaves of your tree and destroy it. It’s hard to tell if your tree has spider mites but usually, you can tell by the presence of white, wispy webs that can cover the entire body of your plants.

You must be diligent and inspect for spider mite infestations. Check for red specks at the underside of leaves; if you find these then you have spider mites. This is usually found here because this is soft and easy to bite through.

Spider mites may be removed by spraying the leaves with water to remove the mites. This should be done continuously to completely remove these persistent pests. Pesticides may also be used but this should be done cautiously.

Another condition that you must be wary of is root rot which happens when the root is immersed in water for a long time. This may be avoided by using the most suitable soil for bonsai trees like a sandy clay soil which can absorb and drain water well. You must also avoid overwatering your plants and water only when the soil is high and completely dry.

You may also use the help of farmer-friendly creatures like ladybugs and earthworms. Ladybugs will be able to eat and eradicate spider mites and other pest infestations. Earthworms can fortify the soil and keep it aerated to prevent root mold and rotting.


The Japanese Black Pine bonsai tree is a good bonsai tree for beginners and for new growers and there are many reasons why. One, it is a hardy tree and it does not require a lot of work to grow and maintain.

Next, it is truly a beautiful bonsai species and is rewarding to grow Finally; this is one a versatile tree because of its ability to conform to almost all styles. The Japanese Black Pine is a bonsai tree that will be truly worth your while.

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Bonsai Species Care Guide (A-C)
Apple (Clusia rosea)Azalea (Rhododendron indicum)Bahama Berry (Nashia inaguensis)
Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)Bamboo (Nandina domestica)Black Olive (Olea europaea)
Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea glabra)Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)Bromeliad (Bromeliaceae)
Buddha’s Ear (Alocasia cucullata)Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus)Cactus Combo (Carnegiea gigantea)
Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma Capensis)Cedar (Cedrus Libani)Cherry (Prunux x yodoensis)
Cherry Blossom (Prunus serrulata)Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia)Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)
Bonsai Species Care Guide (D-N)
Dogwood (Cornus florida)FicusFicus Ginseng (Ficus retusa)
Fukien Tea (Carmona retusa or Ehretia microphylla)Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)Grapevine (Vitis vinifera)
Green Mound Juniper (Juniperus procumbens)Hibiscus (Hibiscus Sinensis)Himalayan (Cedrus deodara)
Jade (Crassula ovata)Japanese Black Pine (Pinus Thunbergii)Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)
Juniper (Juniperus chinensis)Liquidambar (Liquidambar Styraciflua)Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)
Money Trees (Crassula ovate)Needle Juniper (Juniperus squamata)Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)
Bonsai Species Care Guide (O-Z)
Oak (Quercus)PinePomegranate (Punica Granatum)
Powder Puff (Calliandra schultzei)Privet (Ligustrum lucidum)Pyracantha (Pyracantha Coccinea)
Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostrobides)Rosemary (Rosemarinus Oficinus)Sea Grape (Coccoloba uvifera)
Serissa (Serissa foetida)Trident Maple (Acer buergerianum)Weeping Willow (Salix repens)
Wisteria (Wisteria sp.)Zelkova/Japanese Elm (Zelkova serrata)