Why Is Bonsai Such an Expensive Hobby? (Five Reasons)

Bonsai is a popular art that has existed for centuries, but caring for the small bonsai trees is expensive.

If you are a gardening enthusiast or looking for something special, bonsai will make your home aesthetically appealing and valuable.

Nevertheless, you are probably concerned about the high price of bonsai.

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So, Why Is Bonsai Such an Expensive Hobby?

How expensive a bonsai tree is is reflected in the type of the tree, the tree’s age, and the labor needed to maintain the tree alive. The youngest bonsai trees and the most common types raised on a nursery or farm are the cheapest. Elder bonsai trees gotten from the wild are scarce and usually more costly for their matured look and tapering trunk.

Additional materials and bonsai tools such as pots also increase the overall cost of bonsai as a hobby. The cost of bonsai can range from around $100 to thousands of dollars up to millions. However, bonsai can be far more rewarding than most hobbies, with benefits that last a lifetime. Read on for more insight on why bonsai is an expensive hobby.

What Factors Affect the Cost of Bonsai?

There are several reasons why Bonsai Trees are not the cheapest plants.

While you might look at the smallest and youngest of these trees and think you are in no way spending $50 for them, the price is relatively reasonable considering the history of the bonsai tree and what it takes in acquiring and maintaining them.

Here are some reasons why bonsai can be very expensive.

1. The Type Of Tree

A bonsai does not refer to a single type of tree different from most individuals’ beliefs.

Bonsai refers to the practice of offering a plant with proper care while still managing the growth, hence maintaining it in a miniaturized state.

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There are a wide variety of Bonsai tree types, and some types can have hundreds of different species.

Some bonsai trees are more available and commonly bought for this art than others.

Some of the popular Bonsai trees include;

  • Azalea Bonsai
  • Ficus Bonsai
  • Cedar Bonsai
  • Oak Bonsai
  • Cherry Blossom Bonsai
  • Chinese Elm Bonsai

Usually, you can find the prevalent and young Bonsai trees such as Fukien Tea Bonsai Tree, Jaboticaba, and Ginseng Grafted Ficus at a low price of around $50 to &75.

Nevertheless, the scarcer and elder tree is a lot more costly, going for up to thousands of dollars.

The Juniper Bonsai tree is among the costliest trees for its rarest element and one of the eldest in existence.

2. The Age Of The Tree

The type and age of the Bonsai tree go hand in hand when it comes to the cost of the tree.

Bonsai trees can exist for up to a century, but today’s oldest is more than 1000 years old.

Since the plants have a long lifespan and are highly likely to be cared for over generations in a single-family, their age significantly affects their price.

While the type of the bonsai tree will affect the price, the older the tree, the higher the overall cost.

Therefore, if you want a bonsai tree that is years old, you will have to pay a massive amount for it.

For example, during the International Bonsai Convention, the most expensive Bonsai tree was a centuries-old Pine traded for $1.3 million in Takamatsu, Japan.

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend millions on a bonsai tree.

Depending on your budget and preference, you can buy a cheap one in its younger years and take care of it or invest in a relatively older one.

You can also regain your initial expenditure by selling the tree at some point in your lifetime.

3. A Cultural Significance

One of the unique things about Bonsai trees is their cultural origin.

The Bonsai originates from China, and their manipulation and maintenance are believed to be one of the oldest horticultural quests in history since being used by the Chinese for Penjing in the Han Dynasty.

If you are not familiar with Penjing, this refers to ancient Chinese art that uses plants to create miniature landscapes.

The craft then spread to Japan, where it was more refined to become the art of Bonsai care that we all know today.

These trees are not ordinary spider plants that any beginner can hang in their window.

Bonsai plants are even considered sacred in Japanese and Chinese culture.

A bonsai tree symbolizes good luck, harmony, and peace.

Some owners respect the plant and the sacred meanings by shaping it artistically to the finest details to create a story that provokes an emotion from viewers.

Therefore, buying a Bonsai plant is expensive as owning and caring for it cannot be compared to caring for the common houseplants.

It is a form of ritual that only the most artistic and passionate plant lovers accept.

4. Where You Buy The Bonsai Tree

The origin of acquisition is another factor that influences the overall cost of the bonsai tree.

You can either get the tree from the wild or a farm/nursery and the country of origin.

When it comes to wild bonsai trees, they can be several feet tall, while they usually live in a miniaturized form via careful manipulation and maintenance by humans.

However, while it is uncommon to keep wild bonsai trees in the miniaturized state due to the natural forces, they rarely occur.

This makes the wild bonsai tree much more costly than the bonsai trees grown in nurseries or farms in bulk.

When it comes to the world of origin where you get your Bonsai tree, it can affect the cost of the bonsai tree.

If your bonsai trees originate from Japan, China, Thailand, or Indonesia, they will be more expensive as the trees are often the epitome of Bonsai and the top quality. A

lso, if you are shipping the bonsai tree internationally, the importation fee is expensive because the tree will require special care and equipment during the voyage.

5. Materials, Tools, And Other Maintenance Costs

Other factors such as materials, tools, and treatment costs also contribute to the ongoing cost of bonsai. To start with, bonsai trees are grown in pots.

While the type of pot you choose depends on your budget and preference, most people opt to purchase pricier options such as the antique pots from China and Japan to make the Bonsai aesthetically impressive.

More so, to properly care for the bonsai trees, you will require proper tools whose cost can make the overall hobby expensive.

The basic bonsai toolset for bonsai include; hooks, rakes, shears, blades, scoops, pliers, knives, and wire, and their cost will depend on their quality.

Last but not least, bonsai plants are natural plants and can get ill like any other. However, bonsai trees are highly susceptible to death due to slight illnesses like mold.

The cost of treatment can hence build up to find the best cure, especially if it is a recurring problem.

Bottom Line

Hopefully, you now understand why bonsai is such an expensive hobby.

If you are considering buying a Bonsai tree are put off by the expensive cost, keep in mind that the bonsai plant requires attentive and delicate daily care, has deep symbolism, and can be a creative outlet for you to blend your artistic expressions and love of plants.

So if you are passionate about it, begin your bonsai venture!

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