Cottonwood bonsai

Can you bonsai a cottonwood? [ full guide]

As you know bonsai means the miniature structure of a huge tree. Every tree can be grown as a bonsai tree, so cottonwood also can be grown as bonsai.

According to the reports, There are 7 types of identified cottonwood species and with any species, you can make a cottonwood bonsai. All cottonwood species have common requirements that can be fulfilled easily. In America, cottonwood is easy to find and you can start a cottonwood bonsai with seeds.

Cottonwood is a native plant to America and these plants prefer to grow near lakes, canals, and places where there is good moisture. Also, these cottonwood trees can grow in marshy areas and they want good direct sunlight.

What are the species of cottonwood that can be grown as bonsai?

Species of cottonwood bonsai trees

Here are all the seven founded species of cottonwood trees that can be grown as bonsai trees.

01. Eastern Cottonwood bonsai.

Populus Deltoides( Eastern cottonwood) is native to America and easy to find. However, growing these plants in yards is prohibited because mature trees spread their cotton flowers everywhere.

Many people do not like to make a mess in their gardens with these flowers. because once these flowers fall on the ground it is hard to get rid of them.

But these plants have attractive foliage and evergreen beauty, so an eastern cottonwood bonsai is an attractive little miniature structure.

You can either grow an eastern cottonwood bonsai with a plant by a nursery or you can start your own cottonwood with a cottonwood seed. It is not hard as you think if you follow the correct steps.

There are some considerable things to pay attention to when growing an eastern cottonwood bonsai. Mainly these plants are not like other bonsai plants, Eastern cottonwood has a high growth speed, so it is hard to manage this plant as bonsai.

As well as eastern cottonwood likes to grow in moisturized environments, so when you grow a cottonwood bonsai you have to give those environmental factors.

Here are some other considerable factors to think about when growing eastern cottonwood bonsai,

Normal tree Bonsai Bonsai tree
Foilage DeciduousSame
Native areasNorth Americacan grow anywhere
Mature height of a tree70 – 110 feet1 – 3 feet
SunLight requirementDirect sunlight at least 6 hoursAt least 6 hours of direct sunlight
ZonesZone 3 – Zone 9same zones
Best soilSandy soil with good drainageWell-drained bonsai soil
Growth speedVery fastFast

cottonwood bonsai is a week type of plant and there is a huge chance of damage by cold climates because it has a week root and branch system.

02. Black Cottonwood bonsai

Populus trichocarpa or black cottonwood is not a famous type of plant in bonsai art. Black cottonwood is hard to grow in bonsai pots because of its high speed of growth and widely distributing root system.

As I know few people all around the world have black pine bonsai trees and after much researchers, I have found some stunning details of black cottonwood bonsai.

As eastern cottonwood bonsai, you can either start a black cottonwood bonsai with a nursery or a seed. The considerable thing is giving required environmental conditions.

Black cottonwood is native to the western united states and you can find these trees mainly near rivers, streams lakes, and canals. That distribution proves black cottonwood prefers to grow in moisturized environments.

Normal tree Bonsai Bonsai tree
Foilage  DeciduousSame
Native areasKodiak Island in Alaska
With effort can grow anywhere
Mature height of a tree120 – 160 feet 1 – 3 feet
SunLight requirementFull sunlight up to 6 hoursFull sunlight up to 6 hours
Zones5 to 95 to nine, but not compulsory
Best soilSandy soil with good drainageWell-drained bonsai soil
Growth speedVery fast Very fast ( differ with nutrients )

These black cottonwood trees have an attractive bark made with nice molds on them and their gray color bark. Also, small plants have this mol structure on the stem and it increases the quality of small black cottonwood bonsai trees.

03.Fremont’s Cottonwood bonsai.

Populus fremontii is such a famous cottonwood bonsai tree rather than other cottonwood bonsai trees. This tree also having a high growing speed. Hard to control as a bonsai tree in a pot, but an attractive bonsai tree with stunning beautiful bark.

Mostly distributed near rivers, lakes, and canals. These cottonwood trees prefer to grow in well-moisturized soils and when growing a bonsai tree from Fremont’s cottonwood you have to give good moisturization.

Fremont’s cottonwood is native to North America and you can find these trees around texas to California. You can start Fremont’s cottonwood bonsai from a seed from a mother tree.

Normal tree Bonsai Bonsai tree
Foilage  DeciduousSame
Native areas
California to Texas
With effort can grow anywhere
Mature height of a tree75 – 95 feet 1 – 3 feet
SunLight requirementFull sunlight up to 6 hoursFull sunlight up to 6 hours
Zonesnot specified5 to nine, but not compulsory
Best soilSandy soil with good drainageWell-drained bonsai soil
Growth speedFast Fast ( differ with nutrients )

Also, there are many other bonsai species that you can grow as bonsai trees. Most cottonwood trees are native to America and you can find any species of cottonwood bonsai trees from bonsai nurseries.

Also if you can find cottonwood trees around you, you can start a Cottonwood bonsai tree from a cottonwood seed.

Here are some other cottonwood species that can be grown as bonsai,

  • Lanceleaf Cottonwood
  • Narrowleaf Cottonwood
  • Necklace Cottonwood
  • Swamp Cottonwood

How to bonsai a cottonwood?

First, you need to understand that you are going to start a bonsai tree that people do not normally grow. But if you want you can,

Start a cottonwood bonsai with a seed, lIttle plant, or middle age tree. Find a bonsai pot with good space and plant the cottonwood tree in it. Use well-drained soil which Retains little moisture every day. Keep the plant in a place where it can receive direct sunlight for up to 6 hours a day.

Growing a cottonwood bonsai tree is not hard. These trees have normal requirements that you can fully fill easily.

Mainly, Good drainage soil, Well moisturized soil, Direct sunlight, and water are the basic requirements and anyone can full fill these requirements easily. That’s why growing a cottonwood bonsai tree is not very hard.

As you know these trees are native to North America, but you can grow a cottonwood bonsai tree in any country or state by providing those requirements, and let’s discuss further how to make a cottonwood bonsai tree.

It’s possible to make a cottonwood bonsai from seed, Little plant, or middle age tree. Cottonwood has a high growth speed, so you have to select the best bonsai pot, and also well drainage soil is a significant factor. Moisturised soil throughout the year, direct sunlight for 6 hours per day, Water in a routine.

By providing all the above factors you can have a nice cottonwood bonsai plant.

Start a cottonwood bonsai with seeds.

First of all, to start a cottonwood bonsai with a seed, you want some experience and good patient, because You have to wait a long time period and it can succeed or it can fail.

But let’s give it a try,

You have to find healthy cottonwood seeds to make a healthy bonsai plant. You can buy cottonwood seeds from a bonsai nursery. if you are able to buy you don’t have to bother about the quality of the seeds.

If you are able to find some cottonwood seeds from your garden you can distinguish good seeds from infertile seeds. This is the trick.

Put all collected seeds into the water and let keep them in water for few minutes, After some time good seeds will be sunk in the water vessel and bad seeds will float. Then remove all floating seeds and take sunken seeds to plant. 

Select good seeds and put all of them in a big tray with loamy soil and cover the soil by Straw, and water the seeds two times a day. Keep the moisture in the soil at a constant level. After few days you will be able to find plants coming out from the soil. Time will depend and wait for it.

After you find out plants on the tray keep them In the tray for few more days. Then After few days remove the cottonwood plants carefully and plant them in a small vessel where they can grow slowly, give all the requirements, good sunlight, and water.

Few months later you can plant it in a bonsai pot and you can start molding the cottonwood bonsai tree as you wish.

Planting and caring of cottonwood bonsai

You already know how to take a plant from seed. So further we are going to discuss plants older than 3 months. Cottonwood is a fast-growing species of tree, cottonwood bonsai has the same speed.

So when you planting a cottonwood bonsai tree you have to select the best bonsai pot. Mainly according to the requirements, these plants need little moisture all the time and a good drainage facility to remove exes water.

Select the pot,

As cottonwood has a high growing speed you have to buy a little big bonsai pot. Also, bonsai pots should have enough drainage holes to remove exes water from the soil. Drainage facility is a significant factor for all the bonsai trees.

Select the soil,

Use bonsai soil which has a good drainage facility and also that soil must have the ability to retain a little amount of moisture in the soil. Do not use muddy soil.

Water, Sunlight, and Caring.

Keep the plant in a place where it can reach direct sunlight for 6 hours a day and water the plant in a proper routine. Make sure to keep constant humidity in the soil throughout the year, but do not exceed the moisture.

The main thing is these plants have a tendency to get root rot. The reason for root rot is common as other bonsai trees and read the article about why bonsai roots rot.

Pruning and Re-Potting cottonwood bonsai

Cottonwood bonsai trees have a weak root system, so when pruning roots you have to be very careful. Also when selecting the pot and adding soil you have to be very careful.

When pruning, use sharp scissors to cut roots and make sure to prevent damaging roots. Also when tying plants into the pot be gentle.

After all, these things observe the plant every day and if your plant emits smell it means there is a fault In the tree. So read why do bonsai trees smell.

Is it illegal to plant cottonwood trees?

cottonwood bonsai

In the USA there are some Restrictions have been imposed on growing cottonwood trees. Mainly due to the flowers of this cottonwood trees are trouble to neighborhoods and these flowers make a mess.

Also, cottonwood flowers block air conditioners in houses. So there are some restrictions, but if you grow a cottonwood tree as a bonsai plant it is not illegal to grow

Bonsai plants cant distribute a large number of cotton flowers and so it is not a problem to neighborhoods. So you can have a cottonwood bonsai in your garden.