Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Progression (2020 – Now)

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

It is only young, so it still has a long way to go.

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 Japnese Black pine is an evergreen pine tree, known for its rough dark bark, from which it gets its name. They are very popular trees in bonsai and you can read more about their suitability in Is A Japanese Black Pine A Good Tree For Bonsai?


In 2020 I received the “Grow It Bonsai Kit” which contained seeds, one of which was a Japanese black pine.

I started the kit in spring 2020 and I managed to get one pine to germinate (I think there was only 3 pine seeds in the pack)

Once it started growing it was left alone until about the summer. At this point it was big enough to be planted into its own pot. 

I did nothing to the roots. I just removed the tree from the germination pot and potted it into its own pot. After this it was just left alone to recover.

The tree was started inside, but I had been lowering the light levels to mimic autumn and then I moved the tree into my shed over winter. This would give it some cold, while also protecting it from the coldest weather.


Once the bulk of the winter had passed I brought the tree outside to start its life outside.

Early 2021
Spring 2021
Summer 2021

It exploded with growth in spring and then was allowed to grow all year un touched.

Late 2021


At the start of 2022 I wired the main trunk into a crazy shape. This looks a bit silly now, but in a few years when it thickens it should leave the tree with some cool movement.

Early 2022

Apart from this it was left alone until the end  of spring where I then removed the candles to promote some more branching.

And this is where we are with this tree.

My plan is to let one of the new buds that will start growing soon become a sacrificial branch and while that does it job I will just build the rest of the tree.

If you also have a Japanese black pine and are wondering how I look after it, you can read my Japanese Black Pine Care Guide.