How To Grow A Marijuana Bonsai Tree

We never thought we’d be writing about a marijuana bonsai tree for the site. When the idea of cannabis comes up, the last thing we would have associated it with is a bonsai. However, now that it’s legal to grow these trees in some States and countries, it appears as if some creative individuals are actually cultivating these.

So now, growing a marijuana bonsai tree is actually a real thing. Since it’s specifically trending right now, we decided to do some extensive research into the matter and see how many people are actually doing so and how it can be done. Here are our findings.

Marijuana Bonsai Tree

Can you grow cannabis into a bonsai tree?

Basically, you can grow any tree or large bush into a bonsai, as long as it’s a miniature version developed in a pot. From what we’ve seen others do online, it seems you can actually grow a marijuana bonsai tree. There are a few styles that work well with the cannabis plant, and you can still get a decent harvest.

Should you grow a cannabis plant into a bonsai is a question you should be asking. While you’ll still be able to cultivate towards a harvest, the small trees don’t really look appealing when compared to traditional bonsai trees. Of course, there are ways to develop the marijuana bonsai tree without worrying about the harvest, especially if you’re sensitive to the scent the flower gives off. Those that love marijuana in any form will definitely enjoy developing a bonsai tree.

How to grow a marijuana bonsai tree

While we have an extensive bonsai tree care guide you can review, we don’t think the same rules apply when it comes to growing a cannabis bonsai tree. There are some extra precautions you’ll need to take, and the harvest isn’t the same as removing fruit and eating them.

So, here are the steps for how to grow a marijuana bonsai tree.

Step 1: Preparing the Pot

When we say preparing the pot, we’re having a small play on words, of course, referring to the cannabis and the bonsai container. However, this first step mainly deals with the latter. There’s a special way you need to prepare it before you plant the small tree so that you’re ready for the next steps. 

You need to find a pot that’s easy to drill into. Plastic containers usually do well in this regard, but we’re sure you wouldn’t want that for your marijuana bonsai tree. We recommend you go for wooden material, as it will look fantastic, and it’s easy to make holes with a strong electric drill.

Now, drill the holes on the upper sides of the pot. You can make three holes on either side so you can play around with styling ideas when the time comes. If you want to make more holes later once you’ve planted your cannabis plant, that’s also possible.

If the pot doesn’t have any drainage holes, we recommend you make those too. Ideally, you should buy a container that already has these, but that’s not always possible. The most beautiful wooden pots sometimes are lacking in this department, so you’ll need to become creative.

We also recommend placing some drainage stones at the bottom of the pot so that the water can drain more easily. You can now place your soil of choice that’s suitable for the strain your using for your marijuana bonsai tree. 

Marijuana Bonsai Tree

Step 2: Training the Marijuana Bonsai Tree

With the pot prepared, it’s time to insert your cannabis plant. You also need one to two wooden stakes, depending on how you’d like to style your marijuana bonsai tree. Place the first stake with the trunk and roots into the soil alongside each other, and you’re going to end up winding the stem around the stake.

If you went for the single-stake approach, start winding the trunk around it gently. Don’t be too forceful, as it may snap the wood. Remember to have the stake in the right position for your style. If you’re aiming for a formal upright, it needs to be perpendicular to the soil. A slanting style will need it to be at an angle. You get the point.

We recommend a double-stake approach so the trunk winds up as it grows. It gives the marijuana bonsai tree an elegant appearance, and you can work better with branches you want to train in the next step. The idea is to wind the trunk around both stake, twisting it between them on the way up.

Another method you can use to train the cannabis tree trunk is by braiding two trees together. You’ll still need a stake for stability when you’re done twisting the stems together, but you’ll have two harvests at the end of the growing season. It’s pretty much the same approach as braiding a money tree trunk.

The final step is to tie the trunk at different levels to the holes you drilled before. You can also use twine if you’re worried about the wire cutting into the delicate wood.

Marijuana Bonsai Tree

Step 3: Training Specific Branches

This step focuses more on the style you want to grow your marijuana bonsai tree in, but it focuses on the branches. The cannabis strains grow differently, so it will largely depend on which one you’ve chosen to bonsai. Still, you can use this step for any of them once you know which design you want.

Basically, you’ll use the extra holes in your pot to tie the branches and keep them in place. Make sure the wire is slightly loose so that the cannabis bonsai still has some room to grow. It needs to feel free to move without too much restriction, but you also need it firm enough to show it how to grow.

You can train the branches in so many different ways. For example, you can make them grow parallel to the soil so that you can cultivate various tiers. It’s also ideal for the literati bonsai style, which goes against most traditional rules. 

Another way you can train the branches is to make a marijuana cascade bonsai style. It’s slightly tricker, but you’ll have overhanging branches that dip down for more of a flaring appearance. You’ll need to wire from the outside, and you may even need to employ some small weights. No matter how you achieve it, it will look stunning to anyone that beholds it.

Marijuana Bonsai Tree

Step 4: Pruning the Foliage

As a bonsai enthusiast, you’ll know that most bonsais need some pruning to keep the shape and style you’re aiming for. The same applies to growing a marijuana bonsai tree, but the rules change slightly. You see, the more you prune, the slower the cannabis tree develops.

Here’s the approach we recommend. Remove any branches you don’t want as soon as you reach this step. Only attach wires to the branches you want to keep. Make sure there’s enough space between the main branches to promote air circulation and let the sun reach all the leaves.

As the tree grows, new branches will appear. If you don’t want them where they’re growing, just nip them off with your fingers or pruners. It’s essential that you control the stems that appear so that they don’t ruin the bonsai style you’re cultivating. Also, you don’t want too many branches, as it may ruin a quality harvest or overburden your bonsai.

It’s better to remove unwanted branches as early as possible. If you let them grow out and decide to prune them at a later stage, it will slow down the growth of the rest of the marijuana bonsai tree. It’s also essential that you keep the leaves under control, but we don’t think you’ll need to do much pruning there. Perhaps you’ll just need to neaten the branches now and again.

Step 5: Harvest Time

If all goes according to plan, you’ll eventually see flowers on your marijuana bonsai tree. They form first as pre-flowers between the trunk and the branch, which is how you’ll identify when the blooming period starts. 

If you watch the flower develop and you see what looks like small balls appear, those are pollen sacs on the males. As they develop, you’ll notice they look like hanging bananas, but they will look different for various strains. For those actually wanting to harvest cannabis from the bonsai tree, this won’t be what you’re looking for. Don’t throw the bonsai away, though, as you can use these male parts as mulch for other bonsais.

The female marijuana bonsai tree is the one that produces the weed that people enjoy smoking. The flower has a slightly different appearance. There are pistils that reach upwards, which look like fine hair-like arrows pointing to the sky. Leave these to grow until they become a creamy white color, as that’s the best time to harvest them.

Since our purpose is only to show you how to grow your cannabis bonsai tree, we’ll leave our guide right there. You can research further if you want to know how to cure and prepare the actual weed.

When did the marijuana bonsai tree start trending?

We’ve been watching the trending topics in the United States for a few months now. While the Satsuki Azalea and Juniper bonsais have been rising for the last few weeks, the marijuana bonsai tree has suddenly appeared as a trending subject matter for the first time in 2022. 

From what we can tell, it’s a result of two aspects. The first is that cannabis is legal if a few States, so people are more comfortable growing them at home. There have been a few commercials and articles appearing online lately about the health benefits of cannabis, which we think could also be a reason.

The second is due to the bonsai industry spiking in sales over the last year. We’ve received an official forecast report that shows it will continue to grow over the next five years, and we’re already seeing some hint of it happening. We feel that the combination of the rising passion for bonsais and cannabis becoming legal is why everyone is suddenly wondering how to grow a marijuana bonsai tree.

Don’t worry; we’ll be making a summary of the global bonsai industry forecast in the next week. There’s a lot to cover.

Which stains to use for the marijuana bonsai

We’re sure marijuana lovers will find a way to turn any cannabis tree into a bonsai. There’s no reason you can’t, but we feel there are specific strains more suited to the short height of a bonsai tree. We’ll summarise the ones we recommend here, but we’ll also supply a detailed article on strains and why they’re suitable for this Japanese art.

Here are our quick recommendations for strains to use for a marijuana bonsai tree:

  • Critical Kush: This strain has an indica:sativa ratio of 80:20. It grows a decent volume of THC, which is completely relaxing. It doesn’t grow too high, but it produces dense, bush foliage that looks stunning as a bonsai.
  • White Widow: Here’s another indica hybrid that does well. The THC is much higher, and it has rich green leaves that look stunning on a bonsai tree. Be sure to develop a few branches.
  • Daniel LaRusso: Ok, so we placed this strain here as a reference to the Karate Kid movies that made the bonsai tree so famous in the United States. While it’s more of a joke placement, you can grow it in a formal upright style with a few branches on the side.

Final thoughts

We’ll mark this day as one where we wrote an article on a topic we never ever considered for the Bonsai Alchemist. It’s hard to believe that we’ve reached a point where a marijuana bonsai tree is even considered. Times are changing, and we’re changing with it. We hope you succeed with growing these, and please show us some pics if you do manage to.

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Shaun has two passions in life that combine into an extravagant show on Bonsai Alchemist. The one is for writing and the second bonsais. He’s been writing fantasy and horror novels since 2000, while also creating online content since 2015. He’s involved with writing for films and games. Finally, he’s also the owner of a book publishing company.

He received his first bonsai as a gift in 2009 and has been growing several species in his quiet home in South Africa. He prefers propagating new life instead of buying bonsais at the store. His son and daughter share his love for nature, while his wife stares on at her introverted hermit husband.


Shaun M Jooste


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