Podocarpus Buddhist Pine Bonsai Care

The Podocarpus is an evergreen tree with stiff, thick foliage similar to Yew trees and an upright growth habit. The most commonly found species used in bonsai is Podocarpus Microphylla. Podocarpus Buddhist Pine Bonsai Care for these evergreen oriental bonsai trees.

In the wild it forms a stately tree commonly around forty feet high but with the capacity to get taller than this. When growing in full sun the foliage is very dense though it also grows in shaded positions.

It is found throughout Japan, China and other parts of eastern Asia.

In bonsai it a most frequently found in the informal upright style and in small groups. It also lends itself to formal upright, slanting, semi-cascade, twin-trunk, triple-truck and clasped to rock.



A sunny position is good but will also grow in semi-shade. All bonsai trees prefer a location out of strong wind. Podocarpus are not fully frost hardy. Winter protection is required under glass.


Hard to grow in a normal room or office setting, where it dislikes the dryness of the air. Misting the tree will help but it is difficult to stop the foliage from drying out. Will grow in a conservatory or sunny porch, where you should move it outside when frosts cease from the year. Watering

Water daily in summer, keep the soil moist at other times.


Feed once a month from spring to autumn. The tree also benefits from an application of chelated iron once or twice a year.


The tree extends shoots of lighter green foliage when growing. These can be cut or pinched back to a few new leaves after first being allowed to extend for 7 to 10cm. This will encourage back-budding along the branches and therefore tighter growth. Old, yellow leaves can be removed to keep the tree looking fresh. You can also remove older green leaves to allow light into the canopy. Snip them off with scissors, leaving a very small stub.

At the base of each leaf, there is a tiny bud. Getting these to grow is key to gaining ramification (twiggy-bushiness.)

Branches can we wired with ease. Older trees can be brittle so care is required.


Podocarpus grow slowly and repotting is required only about every 3-4 years, Used a general bonsai soil mix. Do not remove a large amount of roots in one go, only about 10-20% of the root mass.