Apple Bonsai Progression (2015 – Now)

This is my Apple tree that I started from seed and I am trying to grow as bonsai and I will be going through its progression below.

It is still has a lot of development, but I still think it’s coming along nicely.

If you want to watch it in video format, you can watch the YouTube playlist below. The videos show the progression every month throughout the year, sort of like a time lapse.

Just be aware some of my earlier videos are not the best quality, but just like my trees, the quality slowly improves over time, so stick with them and they both get a little better towards the end.

Apple trees, also known as Malus trees are a small deciduous tree grown for their fruit and can be a great tree for bonsai. You can read more about their suitability in – Is An Apple A Good Tree For Bonsai?


In March of 2015 I ate an apple and then germinated the seeds. Annoyingly I can’t remember what variety of apple it was.

Germinated Apple Seed

I did the usual trick of wrapping the seeds in a damp paper towel, put them in a plastic bag and placed in them in the fridge. About 10 days later they started to sprout so I took them out of the fridge and potted them up.

Spring 2015

I germinated a couple of seeds, but I just let one grow on, which is the tree I still have now. Once it was a little bigger I up potted it. I didn’t disturb the roots, I just slipped into a slightly larger pot

Late Summer 2015

After potting it up I just left it to grow for the rest of the year.


In the spring of 2016 I repotted the tree in spring into a bigger pot.

I also added some wire …well string.

Late Spring 2016

One string pulled the branch of to the side, so it wasn’t growing so vertically, then the second wire bent the shape of the tree, pulling the top down.

This isn’t an attempt to grow an S shape. This was an attempt to get some of the side branches and lower growth to now be higher up, and facing upwards, so that they might start growing more strongly. Once these shoot started to become stronger I would cut the tree back so that these would be the leaders. 

I wanted to add movement and it also made the original top, now like a strong growing side branch, that I could also use as a sacrifice branch


In the spring of 2017 I repotted the tree again. As you can see the roots are pretty messy, the repot allowed me to try and deal with them, but you have to take these things slowly and develop your roots over time. 

The roots in 2017

It was then left alone for the rest of the year to just  grow.

I annoying don’t have many pictures from this time, but the green lines I’ve drawn on show some of the lower branches that started to grow strongly and become the new leaders.

Spring 2017

At some point in 2017 I cut the tree back (at the red line) so that these green branches where the only branches left.


I didn’t do anything in 2018. It was just left to grow all year.

Summer 2018

Those two long branches and the movement i had created where great, but I wanted more thickness on the trunk.

It’s hard to get good thickness in a small pot, basically you have to let the tree grow as much as possible and it will start to get thicker.

 A tree can only grow so much in a small pot, which is why growing in the ground is the best option for thickness, as there are no restrictions.

I didn’t have that option, but I think my tree did pretty well given the circumstances.  


I had planned to leave the tree for another year to grow wild, but I had to move house.

In order to transport the tree i needed to prune it to make it smaller. So I took it back hard in early 2019.

Early 2019
Early Spring 2019

The tree actually exploded with growth in spring, just before I moved. I also didn’t repot it as I wanted it to have as much energy as possible as I knew the move was going to be stressful for it.

Spring 2019

It actually had been growing inside up until this point and when I moved house it needed to go outside. This was both because I didn’t have space inside, and really this species should be outside in my climate.

It really struggled when it first went outside. The leaves fell off and it looked very unwell and I was a little worried that it might actually die.

Then in august it started to shoot again. Finally!  It was a real relief to see it grow again and I was very happy it pulled through.

Summer 2019

After it was put outside, I didn’t do any work on it. It was left all year to just recover.


In early 2022 I pruned the tree back to get it ready for spring.

Roots in 2020

I then repotted it in spring as the new buds started to swell. I actually put it in a small bonsai training pot. It probably could have done with being in a bigger pot, but I didn’t have much space.

Spring 2020

It was then left to grow out and get strong for the rest of the year.

Summer 2020
Autumn 2020


2021 started as most years do with a hard prune to get the tree ready for its spring growth.

Early 2021
Early 2021 (after pruning)

I didn’t repot the tree this year, so it was left to push out new growth in spring and then I trimmed it back again in early summer.

Spring 2021

It had actually pushed out a lot of new crazy growth by the end of summer but left alone and it was allowed to grow freely for the rest of the year.

Summer 2021
Autumn 2021


In 2022 I started the year by pruning it back and then when it started to bud out in spring, I repotted it.

Early 2022

Roots in 2022

The root ball is looking much better now after a couple of years of work. It is also starting to be quite flat and is also very radial, roots are growing out from all directions which is actually creating a nice little bit of trunk flair at the base of the trunk.

After the repot it was left to grow and push out its new growth in spring.

Spring 2022

This is where we are with this tree.

I think the plan going forward will be much more of the same. It will be pruned back in summer and then probably left to grow out for the rest of the year.

If you also have an apple and are wondering how I look after it, you can read my Apple Bonsai Tree Care Guide