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Japanese Pagoda ( sophora japonica) as bonsai

also called "The Chinese Scholar"

Japanese pagoda

This is a nice tree for bonsai. It can grow under normal conditions to 65 feet tall. It will bloom a white or blue/violet pea like flower after about 10 to 15 years old. It is a deciduous tree so it will lose its leaves and needs to be wintered. It does well in full sunlight and partial shade. This tree has been characterized as being an excellent specimen for bonsai.


Watering Your Bonsai: You should water regularly and keep the soil moist even soaking down the soil regularly. Watering can be difficult to explain because of variations in plants sizes, types and soils. But here are some general guidelines:

Stick your finger in the soil checking for moisture. And keep the soil pretty moist. If it is dry then you definitely have to water and you should sometimes water a mature plant by totally soaking it in water. You can do this by filling up a sink with a few inches of water and putting the potted plant right in the water. This allows the water to soak up through the drainage hole and soak the soil completely.

As a bonsai gets older or if it is in a small pot it may be absolutely necessary to water it every day during the growing season. This is because there is very little soil in the container and there is very little water retention.

Watering is a bit of a skill that you learn. You watch and monitor your bonsai over time and over the course of a day after you watered it. You will get a good sense of what good watering is. Whatever you do never let it dry out!

Sunlight : Japanese Pagoda can take full sunlight but not immediately when you take it home. You should give it partial sunlight so it can adjust. Eventually it will do very well in full sunlight.

Fertilizing: Normal fertilizing rules apply. Typically you never use a regular fertilizer like you would use on vegetables or flowers. You should use a fertilizer specifically made for bonsai. This can be a liquid added to water or pellets. Typically fertilize every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer and once a month with the pellets. Decrease this frequency as the growing season ends and don't fertilize while the tree is wintering.

A japanese pagoda

Here is a Japanese pagoda that is one year old. It is still in the initial growing stage and it has had very little pruning/trimming and no wiring yet.


Japanese pagoda

Japanese Pagoda Tree 10 Seeds - Sophora - Bonsai


Bonsai Boy's Japanese Dwarf Pagoda Holly Ilex Crenata dwarf Pagoda

  • 7 years old, 9" tall
  • Flowering bonsai tree




Propagating from Seed:

Scarifying Japanese Pagoda

This picture shows a couple of Japanese Pagoda seeds that are being scarified. (scratching them with a needle or pin to make germination easier). I have successfully germinated these seeds by both planting them directly in soil and by planting them in layers of wet paper towels as shown.

They have been characterized as being slow to germinate so you have to be patient with them.



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