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Cannabis Bonsai: A Complete Growing Guide

Cannabis Bonsai: A Complete Growing Guide

Posted in: Small Spaces
December 17, 2021

Love for marijuana is what brings the community together. We fight for our favorite green plant, explore its endless possibilities, and share experiences with our fellow growers and stoners. What if there was another way to appreciate its endless appeal? Enter cannabis bonsai.

Yes, you read that right.

Weed bonsai is a miniature cannabis crop that never grows past several inches tall. Besides decorating your space, these trees provide an easy supply of clone clippings without being too heavy on the resources.

Are you ready for this artistic endeavor that doubles as an assistant on your long-term cultivation journey? Join us as we explore everything you need to know about bonsai weed plants.

Bonsai cannabis plant
Bonsai cannabis plant

What is a weed bonsai tree?

Weed bonsai trees are crops grown using an ancient Asian cultivation technique. The gardening style originated in China and Japan and spread into the modern world, becoming all the rage in the 21st century.

The term bonsai doesn’t refer to a specific species but a growing method for tiny plant development. It translates to ‘plant in a pot,’ meaning that any crop could become bonsai. Conveniently for us, marijuana is the perfect candidate.

The goal of growing weed bonsai is to develop mature, healthy plants. You don’t stunt their inherent development, only apply practices that reduce cannabis to a fraction of its natural size.

For enthusiasts, bonsai is a representation of nature brought to your home. It’s a meeting of practical gardening skills and art into a portable oasis flourishing on your windowsill.

Why grow a marijuana bonsai?

Some people cultivate bonsai weed trees for their intricate beauty. For devotees, it’s a craft to develop with time and dedication. Many believe bonsai brings luck to your home, while others hone their skills until they’re selling them.

If you’re not big on studying this ancient art-turned-cultivation technique, though, a more practical benefit could persuade you.

Canna bonsais are rich in clone clippings. They eliminate the need for a large mother plant for your future weed gardening efforts. Instead, you end up with a short crop providing genetic stability to your entire grow room.

There’s a lot to reap from this practice. Various parts of the community benefit, from small-space gardeners to large-scale cultivators seeking to diversify and cannabis looking for a new hobby.

Weed bonsai bud
Weed bonsai bud

Training techniques to use in your bonsai weed plants

Caring for bonsai pot plants demands a skillful hand with experience in training techniques that keep the crop small and well-organized. We can divide the main approaches into these two categories.

High-stress training

Cultivating cannabis bonsai includes keeping your weed crops short and dedicated to side branching. The main HST technique used to prevent upward growth is called fimming.

Fimming involves pruning the new growth on top of the main stem, similarly as you would with topping. You remove around 80% of the tip once it sprouts, aiming to maintain consistent height and encourage side growth.

This technique sets the stage for bonsai cannabis by ensuring your marijuana plants are short and bushy. To achieve a traditional bonsai appearance, though, you’ll need to combine topping or fimming with low-stress training.

Low-stress training

Marijuana bonsai growers mostly rely on LST methods to achieve the ideal plant height and structure. You’ll bend and tie down the stem and branches with wire, prompting them to grow sideways rather than upward.

How to grow a cannabis bonsai in 4 steps

Start by gathering supplies. You’ll need the following:

  • Small pot
  • Young weed plant
  • Container with soil
  • Soil fertilizer
  • Watering can
  • Small pruning scissors
  • Aluminum or copper wire
  • Wooden stakes
  • Electric drill

Here’s how to grow a bonsai weed plant, one step at a time.

Step #1: Prepare the pot

To start, find a pot suitable for your marijuana bonsai. There are no hard-and-fast rules here—choose the size, material, and style that works with your vision.

Before filling the container with soil, install wire to train your crop and manage its size, shape, and direction. Drill small holes around the pot mouth and insert the wires you’ll use to suspend tree branches.

Next, add lightly fertilized soil, keeping it loose enough to plant your crop, and let the wire pass through it.

Tip: If drilling your container isn’t an option, you can also use tape for this purpose.

Step #2: Plant the cutting

It’s time to introduce your plant into the mix. Choices are everything here, especially if you’re growing cannabis bonsai for cutting purposes. Pick a sturdy, healthy young vegging plant of a strain that you’d like to copy down the line.

Plant your young cannabis and stick a wooden stake next to the main stem. This part is optional, but it helps control branch and stem development for that sleek marijuana bonsai look.

Tip: Don’t insert the stake too deep into the soil to avoid root damage.

Use the wire you weaved through the holes to tie the stem to the stake.

Step #3: Train your canna bonsai

Bonsai cannabis plant training doesn’t need to begin until your crop’s developed three or four nodes. When there’s some extra branching, those drill holes and wires come in handy. 

Envision how you want your grown canna bonsai to look. Once you have a plan, take each branch and gently bend it in the right direction. Use the wire to tie it when it’s in place.

Tip: Be more gentle with vertical branches. Tie those you want to grow horizontally with a bit more force.

Step #4: Prune excess growth

Your weed bonsai tree is now growing in your desired direction, but it’s sprouting more branches than you wanted! That’s normal, and it’s where pruning cannabis comes into play. 

Whenever you notice an unwanted branch or a spot too dense to maintain proper airflow, get your small trimming scissors and carefully remove them. Fim the top section to maintain your desired height and remove fan leaves that seem to be doing more harm than good.

Tip: Some canna bonsai branches need to stay in place. Only cut new sprouts and avoid trimming thick limbs with lots of minor growth.

Leaf pruning
Leaf pruning

How long can a cannabis bonsai tree last?

The lifespan of your cannabis bonsai tree depends on whether it stays in vegging indefinitely or eventually enters flowering.

While in vegging, your marijuana bonsai can last for as long as you work to keep it alive. Maximize longevity by trimming roots, feeding in moderation, and providing optimal conditions. Go for a pure sativa strain, as it degrades more slowly than indica.

With the right conditions, a vegging sativa cannabis bonsai can last for up to six years. The figure is closer to four years for indica.

You can also let your weed bonsai enter flowering after one or multiple seasons (each season that passes reduces potency). After the harvest, your live cannabis plant will likely turn male, reducing the quality of new buds and cuttings.

Which strains are best for weed bonsai? 

Now that you know how to grow cannabis bonsai, let’s discuss the perfect strains for the task.

Technically, any cultivar can become bonsai with enough time and dedication, but why would you struggle with managing the branches of a lanky sativa? These naturally short hybrids make the task much more seamless.

White Widow

White Widow blends the qualities and growth patterns of indica and sativa into one sticky cannabis crop. Its appearance alone qualifies it for the bonsai marijuana role. The appeal doubles when you consider its various resistances and natural resilience against mold.

This short beauty is easy to control with pruning and wires. It’s anything but fussy, sprouting mint-green foliage at a vigorous rate.

White Widow
White Widow
TypeBalanced hybrid
AromaEarth, wood, herbs
EffectsHappy, sleepy, comfortable
Flowering time8–9 weeks
Yield15 oz./m² indoors / 24 oz./plant outdoors
TypeBalanced hybrid

Critical Kush

Critical Kush grows short and bushy. Resisting climate imbalances and most health issues, this bonsai weed doesn’t introduce additional concerns to your task list. Its dense foliage and lateral growth leave options open as you plan and design your cannabis bonsai.

Maintain a good airflow and generously feed your plants. They’ll remain the picture of health for long years ahead.

Critical Kush
Critical Kush
TypeIndica-dominant hybrid
AromaEarth, pine, spice
EffectsRelaxed, dreamy, pain-free
Flowering time7–8 weeks
Yield17–19 oz./m² indoors / 17–19 oz./plant outdoors

Big Bud

If you’re looking to profit from clippings of your cannabis bonsai tree, you can’t go wrong with Big Bud. This indica-dominant high-yielder is robust, stable, and highly resistant to mold, mildew, pests, and disease.

This cultivar is ideal for a more minimalist weed bonsai design, with sparse leaves and multiple bud sites. Its robust branches cooperate with wires and low-stress training, boosting the efficiency of your every action.

Big Bud
Big Bud
TypeIndica-dominant hybrid
AromaFruit, spice, earth
EffectsHappy, creative, calm
Flowering time9 weeks
Yield15–17 oz./m² indoors / 19 oz./plant outdoors


Somango is a tropical strain that adds a bright, fruity twist to your bonsai cannabis. It responds well to training and trimming, providing malleable branches that form sunshine oases in small containers.

Somango thrives in most climates, letting you traverse your cannabis bonsai journey without worrying about common cultivation issues. Crops rarely stretch past three feet in height, minimizing the necessity to trim the top too often.

TypeIndica-dominant hybrid
AromaTropical, mango, incense
EffectsCreative, uplifted, relaxed
Flowering time9 weeks
Yield12–15 oz./m² indoors / 15 oz./plant outdoors
Marijuana bonsai
Marijuana bonsai.

Canna bonsai: The art of weed

In the end, marijuana bonsai has two purposes that make it worth your time and attention:

  • These tiny trees look amazing and serve as an engaging hobby.
  • Bonsai cannabis crops are clipping sources, providing copies of the healthy plant.

Cultivation of weed bonsai trees is a different beast than regular marijuana gardening. It forces you to work on a smaller scale, introducing more discreet changes to your crops.

If you’re ready to get started with your cannabis bonsai, get weed seeds at Homegrown. Pick one of the strains we suggested for a smoother starting point, or investigate the endless options at your disposal.

Stay tuned to our blog for more handy guides on all things cannabis.

About the author: Parker Curtis

Parker Curtis has around a decade of cannabis-growing experience, specialising in soil-less and hydro grows. He’s mastering outdoor, greenhouse, and indoor grows.

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