I got two bonsai kits and have tried growing from seeds. Both times my sprouts grew to about two inches and then flopped over and died. I watered them daily, kept them in a plastic bag most of the time to keep them moist. It seems I may have drowned them. One of the seedlings was from a red maple. The other was from a black pine.

Here is a shot of how far I got:


What is the correct handling for growing a bonsai from seeds? After sprouts reach a certain height, should I stop watering so much?

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    I've done those kits and I think I know which one you're talking about. It's an awful setup and it's good you're using a pot. What I would do is put each seed in its own cheap plastic pot. Get them started the way you are, but have them in full sun and wind. The wind and sun will make sure they grow stouter as opposed to getting tall and skinny and falling over. Water when it's dry down to a quarter inch. If possible, when they are larger, put them in the ground. They'll grow and thicken much faster. I agree with alephzero that it's probably better to find a grown plant to start with, now. – Dalton Apr 20 '15 at 18:15
  • You should not have 4 sprouts in one pot, you need to choose the strongest and cut out (or attempt to replant) the others. 1 per pot! Likely why they are dying. – Sam Jan 24 '19 at 13:43

They look far too thin and spindly, which probably means they are not getting enough light. If they are indoors, they are probably also too warm in a heated house, and watering "every day" seems much too frequent.

Remember these things are TREES. They can germinate and survive out of doors, in whatever conditions the climate throws at them. They don't appreciate the wrong sort of "tender loving care".

If you are new to Bonsai, starting from seed is doing it the hard way. You would be better buying a small tree that is right size to start training, rather than spending several years getting to that point from seed.


Seedlings can get “damping off” if too damp. Make sure they dry a little between watering especially if it is cold


BonsaiTonight.com is an amazing resource for growing bonsai from seed.

If you search this site you will find lots of great information.

  • Doesn't really answer the question. Please use links to back your answer, not to substantiate. You can quote sections relevant to the question, or sum it up, and use the links as references. Thanks for your contributions! – J. Musser Dec 16 '14 at 22:35
  • Thank you for the links. It is helpful but I am asking specifically once the seeds start growing is there any change in watering or care to make sure they don't die off after a couple weeks. The most I've managed is 2-3 weeks after sprouting and then they die :( – jroyce Dec 18 '14 at 16:44
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    Could you summarize some of the info frome these links? We prefer that answers aren't solely links as they tend to become less useful when they rot. Thanks! – wax eagle Dec 22 '14 at 20:49

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