Are Bonsai Trees Illegal? ( Revealed!)

The Bonsai trees are not a newly introduced concept in botany. It has its roots in 700 AD in china.  But, are bonsai trees illegal? The plant protection department in the US bans bonsai trees because of their environmental concerns. 

In UK and Canada, there is no restriction on growing bonsai trees. However, Australia holds a few regulations on the growing and ownership of bonsai trees.

The Chinese People called this the art of Pun Sai. The Chinese artists introduced the bonsai as the artistic representation of full sizes trees grown in beautiful ceramic pots.

The ancient Chinese and Japanese used special techniques to grow a living tree or shrub in a dwarf-sized pot. Some people also consider that this art belongs to the Japanese, as the bonsai is a Japanese word meaning tree in a ceramic pot.

Therefore, there is no restriction on growing and owning Bonsai plants in China and Japan. However, other countries have their own laws regarding Bonsai plants.

Are Bonsai trees illegal in the US?

Different states of the US hold variable laws related to the ownership and cultivation of the Bonsai trees. However, most states in the US consider it illegal and cruel to grow bonsai trees. 

In Florida, they banned picking the bonsai plants from wild habitats. In California, you can import bonsai plants from other countries but can not grow them locally. 


California state does not classify the Bonsai plants as utterly illegal. However, they do not allow the import of bonsai plants.

You can grow your bonsai plants using local seeds or shrubs in the area. However, the import is applicable only to non agricultural plants.


Texas state holds a similar rule. They allow only specific species of plants to be grown as bonsai.

Temperature and environmental conditions have a major role in plant selection. Usually, Texas supports the growth of plants like pines, Chinese elm, and Carmona.


It is the most flexible state in terms of the growth and cultivation of bonsai trees. You can grow any specie in Florida. However, you can not collect the bonsai trees from the wild.

The state does not allow harming the local naturally grown plants to convert them into bonsai. However, you can grow your bonsai tree using seeds or importing plants.

Are Bonsai trees illegal in the UK? 

Growing bonsai trees is not illegal in the UK, and you do not need any permit to own or cultivate a bonsai tree in the UK. However, they provide specific guidelines for the care and growth of bonsai trees in the UK.

The UK government does not allow the frequent cultivation of bonsai trees on a large scale. You can bring only 7 to 8 bonsai plants without a permit.

Are Bonsai trees illegal in Canada? 

In Canada, it is illegal to import plants that are not regulated by the plant protection act. Therefore, they do not allow the import of some bonsai trees.

Are Bonsai trees illegal in Australia? 

The Rules and regulations regarding plant cultivation in residential areas vary from state to state in Australia. It is not illegal to own or grow a bonsai tree in Australia.

However, you might need a specific license and recognized dealer to get a bonsai plant in Australia.


Different parts of the world hold different laws for the growth and protection of bonsai trees. Some people consider bonsai an unnatural way of growing plants, and it harms the environment.

The bonsai plants can hold some pets and parasites as well. However, despite having cons, the bonsai remains an artistic way of growing trees in the house.

Research References

  1. Bader, Jann. The African Bonsai Collection: An Illustrated Guide. New Africa Books, 2001.
  2. Barr, Michael D. “The bonsai under the banyan tree: democracy and democratisation in Singapore.” Democratization 21.1 (2014): 29-48.
  3. Asking yard Bonsai Tree Laws – Are They Illegal In Some States Or Countries?

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