Bonsai growing is an art form that incorporates both ancient tradition and beauty. According to several bonsai enthusiasts, the real art of bonsai is in its shape. When you are a beginner in bonsai cultivation, you are probably fascinated by the size and shape of these trees. However, it takes a lot of discipline and determination to create the perfect miniature tree. In this article, we will take a closer look at how big a bonsai tree can get.

Biggest Bonsai Trees

The biggest bonsai trees grow up to a height of around eighty inches in height. These bonsai are common in Japanese imperial gardens since they take years to cultivate. These bonsai trees can’t be moved by one person and instead need at least three people! However, note that this dimension is not set in stone, and you could always grow a taller bonsai tree if you wish.

Smallest Bonsai Trees

The smallest bonsai trees are commonly referred to as poppy seed-sized trees. They are considered an artfully designed seedling because they rarely get taller than three inches. You can lift these trees with two fingers. However, the smallest bonsai trees need a lot of care and attention. You should exercise a lot of caution when pruning and repotting the small bonsai trees.

Bonsai Size Classifications

The bonsai size classifications were originally based on how many hands you would need to move the miniature tree and pot. According to the ranking, these trees can either be one-handed, three-handed, two-handed and so on. The three primary bonsai size classifications are miniature, medium, and large.

Now, each of the classifications has subcategories with exact hand requirements and measurements. In this section, we will highlight these subcategories to help you get a better understanding of bonsai size classification. Note that these categories may not fit every bonsai out there.

Miniature Bonsai

1. Keshitsubo

The smallest bonsai trees are classified under this subcategory. It consists of tiny bonsai trees that can be lifted using two fingers. Ranging between 1 to 3 inches, the Keshitsubo tree makes a beautiful decorative element in any home.

2. Shito

Also referred to as the fingertip size, the Shito tree grows between 2 to 4 inches. In some areas, they are known as thimble bonsai since they are small enough to fit into pots the size of thimbles. There are several techniques incorporated in the creation of this miniature tree.

3. Mame

Growing between 3 to 6 inches, the Mame only requires a single hand to move around. Most of the time, this miniature tree has a larger pot than the Shito bonsai.

4. Komono

With a height of between 6 to 10 inches, the komono bonsai is the largest bonsai that you could move with a single hand. They are equally known as the small generic bonsai.

Medium Bonsai

1. Katade-mochi

This miniature tree has a height of between 10 to 18 inches, making it quite easy to handle. This is a popular size among many bonsai cultivators, especially beginners. Working with this medium bonsai is quite straightforward.

2. Chumono/Chiu

With time, Chiu and Chumono have become interchangeable since they are both considered two-handed trees. These bonsai have a height ranging between 16 to 36 inches.

Large Bonsai

1. Omono/dai

These are the smallest varieties in the large bonsai size category. Growing to a height of 30 to 48 inches, they require four hands to lift.

2. Hachi-Uye

The Hachi-Uye are generally large and need six hands to move. They can reach a height of between 40 to 60 inches making them quite fascinating.

3. Imperial

Considered the most majestic bonsai trees, the imperial bonsai has a height of 60 to 80 inches. You need eight hands to move these trees.


The size of a bonsai is dictated by the gardener: you! You can decide on the best size for you by considering factors such as care and pruning. Since training a bonsai can be rather challenging, you need to exercise a lot of patience and determination. The good news is that bonsai sizes are not set in stone, which means that you can always experiment.