Holm Oak Bonsai Progression (2017 -Now)

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

It is still has a lot of development as it is young, 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.

The Holm Oak is an evergreen oak tree that originates from the Mediterranean area, but can actually now be found across most of Europe.    

The Holm Oak leaves are a similar shape to Holly leaves, which is where it gets its Latin name from Quercus Ilex.

You can read more about their suitability in Is Holm Oak A Good Tree For Bonsai?


I was in northern Italy and walking around when I came across a small holm oak forest.

The path was covered in acorns, so I put a few in my pocket and took them home.

It was spring so I just potted them up straight away and they very quickly germinated.  

I just let them grow and when they were a good size, I split them into individual pots. I didn’t do any real root work, I just pinched the tip of the tap root off and uppotted them.

At this point I had a few, but I have since only kept one, which is the one we will be following throughout.


The tree was left alone all year to grow freely.


I had to move house and I could not take all my trees, so I only took one of these holm oaks with me, which is why I now only had one.

The tree was left alone all year and allowed to just grow. It is a very slow grower.


At the start of 2020 I give the tree its first ever pruning. I was mostly trying to correct a few issues. There were quite a lot of T-branches that would only get worse over time.  

Once the buds started to swell I repotted the tree. This was also the first proper repot for this tree.

It hadn’t filled the pot after 3 years as its very slow growing. I thought there would be more roots, but there was not a lot, but those that where there were decent.

I then left it to recover for the rest of the year, since it’s a very slow to grower.


At the start of 2021 I just give it a very light prune, where I just removed the tips.

It was then left to grow for the rest of the season and was not repotted.

It did well this growing season, but it is still a slow tree.


At the start of 2022 it was left alone. It seems to be healthy enough and didn’t really need a trim.

It was also slow to wake up in spring, which is the norm for this tree.

and that is where we are with this tree.

The plan is to just leave it alone and allow it to do it thing and  then prune it when its needs it. Hopefully explodes over the summer.

If you also have a holm oak and are wondering how I look after it, you can read my Holm Oak Bonsai Care Guide.