Scots Pine Bonsai

Doing bonsai is agreed by many to be a time-consuming yet rewarding past-time activity. Bonsai plants take some patience, and getting it right every time may not be an easy feat. To add to that, the different species demand different caring conditions for the best growth. In that sense, bonsai from the pine family is an excellent example of a beautiful tree that will be worth the time and attention spent.

The Scotch pine is an evergreen and coniferous tree native to arid, mountainous environments. Growing a scots pine as a bonsai plant however, is not recommended for beginners. Its growth pattern for instance, is unique and must be understood prior to styling and pruning.

General care guide

A healthy dwarf Scots pine, or any other pine bonsai, is seen in its overall good shape and trunk taper, which result in compact pads and short needles. The shape and trunk taper can be achieved through pinching and pruning. Training a pinus sylvestris begins in autumn, where you would need to remove the tree’s buds, old needles and an autumn pruning.

You need to introduce a balanced growth pattern to the tree, by knowing its strong points and weak points. Removing old needles from the top, which is the common strong point, will allow the nutrients and energy of the tree to flow downward, where the branches are usually weaker. Letting the tree grow freely would result in an unbalanced tree. So remove the buds in the middle of October. On strong branches, remove the strong buds and remove the weak buds from weaker branches.


As a method of training, decandling the scots pine bonsai should be done as gently as pruning. This allows the tree to regulate its strength, especially to the lower and interior branches. Pruning should only be done to resilient areas. If yours is a five-needled pine, it would be best to never remove the whole candle. Pinch back the longest candle and pinch the rest of the candles after a week. Bear in mind that the cut off candle is where new buds will develop the coming year.