Japan, Himeji, Himeji Koko-en Gardens, pond with Koi Carps

How to care for a niwaki pine

Although the Japanese term niwaki encompasses all shaped trees in general, you have to adapt the care according to the specific type. This article deals with pines.


To thrive, a pine needs to be located on a sunny spot. Therefore, whether you want to plant it in a garden or in a container or a pot, strictly stick to this rule. In a shade or semi-shade, the tree will not thrive and can even die.

Shaped niwaki trees are outdoors trees and therefore you should only exceptionally take them indoors and only for a maximum of 24 hours. Also, when doing so (for a family celebration, meditation, friends gathering), the difference in the indoor and outdoor temperature should not exceed 5°C.


Plant in a container: this tree needs a regular watering from spring to autumn with a frequency depending on the weather. You also need to water the tree in winter but only when the root ball is not frozen. If it is, only water the tree after the ball defrosts, otherwise it is of no use. Frost cannot harm a plant but dry conditions can.

You need to water the whole root ball. Just misting the plant without actually watering is refreshing but totally insufficient.

Plant planted in the ground: the year the pine was planted, water it regularly all year. Do not forget to water it in winter. After a year, which is a time necessary for forming proper roots, water the plant as needed. The frequency and amount depend on the location of the tree and hydrological conditions of the location. Therefore, there is no exact manual on how often to water the plants.


Any theories that trees in a pot or shaped plants do not need any fertilizers are false. Pines need to be fertilized at least twice a year – in spring and autumn.

Pests and disease control

Trees produced by Niwaki s.r.o. Olešná are inspected by the State Phytosanitary Administration and regularly treated against fungi diseases and insect pests. After purchasing them, their protection is solely in your hand. Please pay attention to their regular checks and preventive pests spraying as needed. Alternatively get in touch with a professional gardener, they will be happy to help.

Further shaping

Similarly to small and large bonsai, niwaki trees also require regular care that must include appropriate pruning and shaping. If you do not have enough experience with these, please contact a gardener in your neighbourhood or search the internet for your nearest specialist that carries out such works.


Trees planted in the ground outdoors do not require any special care except autumn fertilization and watering before the soil freezes. Only if you plant your tree in autumn, it is recommended to protect the root ball with a suitable mulch.

If you grow your niwaki on a balcony or terrace, it is necessary to pay attention to them before winter. The procedure is basically the same as for other pot plants and you can store them for example at a cool and light place (such as a cold greenhouse). Regularly check if they need water during the winter!

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