Bonsai is a popular Japanese art style that involves growing miniature trees in pots that imitate the height and appearance of whole-size plants. Most people grow this tree to help with meditation and exercise their imagination and commitment. Research shows that the Bonsai Market is expected to grow at a rate of 4.10% between the time period of 2020 and 2027. This increase in growth is because of the increase in demand for the tree.

More and more people have started to prefer bonsai plants in their homes as they need less space. They can grow greenery in your home while ensuring low maintenance costs and fewer usages of water. Interacting with them on a physical, mental, and emotional level can help improve the quality of your life. This is also the reason why, in the forecast period of 2020 to 2027, the bonsai market is expected to grow significantly.

It is also known that visual exposure of plants can help in reducing the occurrences of dry coughs and sore throats, maintain blood pressure, and decrease stress which further increases the growth opportunities for the bonsai market. There are some restraints that might hinder the growth of bonsai in the US in 2021 – destroyed plants and dried withers. Read on to learn more about bonsai trends and how their growth is expected to be in 2021:

A popular pastime

There are an ample amount of business opportunities in Bonsai exporting. In 2008, the total Japanese exports reached 5.2 billion yen and the number has only grown since. In the year 2010, Vietnam accounted for about 60% of all the total exports of bonsai trees, followed by Hong Kong and China. The reason why Vietnam is at the top position in the bonsai export market is its relatively lax phytosanitary measures.

Bonsai is not about just planting a shrub in a pot. Instead, they recreate a natural scene in a pot which means the tree that is growing several meters high has to be cultivated in a way that matches the size of your pot. In terms of height, it can be anywhere between a few centimeters to about 1 meter. However, bonsai trees are living things. And no matter how hard you try training them into the desired shape, it is possible to see buds shooting or branches growing in unexpected places. This is why you have to observe their form and nurture them over years. You have to prune them while considering several factors like water, fertilizer, sunlight, etc. With all these efforts, the tree will be able to take the form that you had envisaged and this is the real charm of bonsai trees.

Some popular trends of Bonsai in the US

Mini Bonsai

Some believe that the Bonsai tree is difficult to cultivate and is a hobby for the older and rich generation. But, in the past few years, the number of youngsters interested in the miniature Bonsai has increased. These trees are only 10 to 20 centimeters in height. Such trees come into the category of small Bonsai and have been known as ‘mini-Bonsai’.

Just like regular Bonsai, there are several types of mini-Bonsai trees in terms of foliage and fruits. There are some that have leaves that change color during the autumn season. Some mini bonsai trees produce fresh green leaves. Some people place them on their window sills or tables to enjoy them. It is an affordable plant that can be easily purchased through mail order. In the past few years, it has become increasingly popular amongst students, salaried workers, etc.

Indoor vs outdoor

There are two categories of bonsai trees – indoor and outdoor. The indoor bonsai trees are created through tropical plants capable of tolerating lower indoor light levels. You can grow them with indoor grow light or a bright sunny window. During mild seasons, you can move them outdoors, but they must remain indoors during the cold weather.

Cold hardy specimens are used for creating outdoor bonsai. These trees have to be kept outside most of the year or year-round, depending on the location. Most of the trees are crafted from woody plants like maples, junipers, elms, and crabapples. Even though such woody plants are able to tolerate indoor conditions for small time periods, they might develop psychological or pest issues if they are kept indoors for too long under low light conditions. However, it is possible to grow these specimens indoors for longer periods with favorable indoor environmental conditions and supplemental grow lights.

Mature vs starter

Based on how they are trained or will be trained, bonsai plants can be broken down into two categories. The starter bonsai plants are the young saplings or seedlings that have to be pruned and wire trained as they grow. It will take years before you could turn your starter plant into a successful bonsai. However, this is still an attractive option for beginners as it provides them with a less intimidating option for learning the craft.

The second type is the mature bonsai plants that are “trained up” versus “trained down”. These wild-collected specimens or larger nursery plants will have to endure significant reduction and root pruning along with branch removal to reach the desired form. It is trickier to cultivate mature specimens as it takes more time for the plans to get adjusted to the new and smaller environment. It is considered to be a challenge for experienced bonsai enthusiasts.

Recycle and repurpose

When it comes to bonsai plants, one person’s trash can be another’s treasure. This especially works with plants that are headed to the write-off sheet and have seen better days. Either older or starter plants that have lost their luster and are misshapen are a great opportunity for bonsai plant enthusiasts.

It is important to note that some of the grand bonsai specimens at the expert shows were just mature plants from the wild. Many of them are old plant specimens that are down to only a couple of living limbs. It is possible to market some non-landscape-worthy plants in the spirit of repurposing them as bonsai specimens. Such nursery rejects have been transformed into beautiful bonsai specimens by experts.

Micro bonsai

Almost all the segments of garden retail have been infiltrated by the ‘mini’ trend. Terrariums are not reduced to the size of your wearable jewelry and fair gardens are now rebranded as miniature gardens. The bonsai plant is not immune to this trend. But, the good news is that the result is affordable and ultra-cute. Not a lot of people know about the art of ‘Cho-mini bonsai’. Also known as micro-bonsai, it involves creating bonsai plants that are smaller than a thimble. To pot these small tree seedlings or other tiny plants like succulents, you have to use tiny pottery. The Cho-mini bonsai plants have become quite popular among youngsters. These plants are almost irresistible to people who only have a small window sill for housing their bonsai plant collection.


This is another trendy technique on the rise. In this, instead of planting the specimen in a pot, the roots are wrapped in a ball of moss and dense soil and bound together using a fishing line or a thin thread. There is some clay in the soil for molding the ball into a mound or an appropriate shape. It is possible to create moss-ball bonsai with outdoor woodies as well as indoor tropicals.

Pottery trends

In recent times, it seems like there is a renaissance happening for bonsai pots. There are mass-produced and less traditional bonsai pot options on nursery shelves. But, there are also a lot of handmade pottery options available. The reason for this can be the supply chain problem or a shift in aesthetics and customer demand or both. People have even started to make their own pots at home for their bonsai trees.

Historically, using decorative pots for bonsai was frowned upon as it drew attention from the intended natural scene and the plant specimen. However, in the past few years, more creative bonsai pots have become acceptable as well as desirable. There is an annual bonsai pot exhibition and competition organized by the National Bonsai Foundation. All the entries are displayed at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum in the summer at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. For people who love to create their own pots, it is worth checking out the entries.

When it comes to determining the quality of the bonsai tree, there are four key factors to consider – the strength and stability of the root spread, the balance of the branches, the grace with which the trunk tapers upwards, and the simulation of maturity and age. In other words, a bonsai plant’s value is determined by how well you can refine the aesthetic feeling of the plant subtly while respecting its natural, innate essence. The practice of growing bonsai trees has a spiritual aspect to it like the appreciation of nature’s beauty. That is why it has become quite popular in the United States. It is not an exaggeration to say that it embodies the unique sense of mind and beauty perfectly.