Different teachers recommend different beginner bonsai trees. However, most agree the following plants are some of the best bonsai tree for beginners. If you are a new to bonsai, it is important to understand that when certain plants are recommended, it does not mean all plants in that species are good subjects. There are certain basics to look for when selecting potential bonsai trees (as well as more established bonsai.)
Beginner Bonsai Trees
These are the Best Bonsai tree to Grow for Beginners
1. Juniper Bonsai: Junipers are one of the most popular subjects used as beginner bonsai trees.
They can easily be made into shapes that resemble old pine trees. They also have a bad reputation with many beginners. This is due to many misconceptions, as the plant itself is not difficult. First, Juniper is not an indoor plant! Other beginner mistakes include root pruning at the wrong time of year and over watering.
There are many different kinds of juniper. Juniper procumbens nana is very popular as beginner bonsai tree.
2. Ficus Bonsai: As the demand for “indoor bonsai” has risen, Ficus bonsai trees have gained great popularity as one of the best bonsai for beginners.
Many masterpieces have come from tropical and sub-tropical areas. In tropical areas of the world, they are not considered indoor bonsai! They are grown outdoors, often in full sun.
In good light, many are excellent indoor subjects. There are hundreds of types of Ficus and many of them are good for bonsai. Numerous varieties have small leaves, don’t even bother with large leaf types.
3. Chinese Elm Bonsai: The Chinese elm, Ulmus parvifolia, has many attributes for potentially good bonsai.
The small leaves are a plus. Their extensive “stringy” root systems are perfect for use as rock plantings. Many imported Chinese elm bonsai have been grown for use as “indoor” trees and adapt very quickly. (Indoors, they won’t gain much growth in girth.)
The branches will need to be trimmed frequently to keep the shape. To learn more about this plant as bonsai (more photos too), be sure to see the full page on Chinese elm bonsai trees.
4. Maple Bonsai Trees: There are approximately 125 species of Maple and many are used as bonsai. Trident maples are perhaps the favorite. All are deciduous trees, not good for indoors.
This Red Maple grouping from the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum is a beautiful example of how several individual trees can create a beautiful forest.
Maple is popular due to its stunning appearance both in winter and when in leaf, the deciduous maple is a hardy tree, easily trainable and can be rooted from cuttings. The leaves, while fairly large, take well to leaf trimming (the practice of cutting the leaf bunches off, tricking the tree into producing new, tinier leaves).
5. Dwarf Schefflera (arboricola): A Favorite Beginner Bonsai Tree for Indoors
The Schefflera arboricola is well known as an ordinary houseplant and has many common names including ‘umbrella tree’ and dwarf schefflera. It was made famous as a potential bonsai by Hawaiian David Fukumoto. David refers to the arboricola as the “true indoor bonsai,” and it is definitely recommended as a bonsai for beginners. (Many think it is native to Hawaii; it’s actually native to Taiwan.)
6. The Jade Bonsai Tree: A bonsai with many names: Jade bonsai, bonsai jade, portulacaria, little leaf jade
Many bonsai beginners start with the traditional jade plant, Crassula a. Once they discover the portulacaria afra they realize how much easier it is to create a tree looking subject with this small leaf ‘jade.’
7. Pine: Pine is the evergreen pine makes for good bonsai of all types except broom.
You should have a little experience under your belt first as pines do require some fussing to get exactly right.
8. Redwood: Redwood ironically known as the record-holding giants for height, actually make good bonsai.Two sub-species, Coast Redwood and Dawn Redwood, have flat-needled foliage, making for beautiful shaping.
Two sub-species, Coast Redwood and Dawn Redwood, have flat-needled foliage, making for beautiful shaping.
9. Azalea (Rhododendron): It is also known for their gorgeous, bright flowers, rhododendrons make a surprisingly suitable miniature “tree”.
They do have a delicate system of roots that must be kept moist, either by frequent watering or a shield like moss.
10. Yew: This evergreen shrub is tolerant to shade and takes to shaping.It is a thirsty species, so water frequently, and the foliage is poisonous if ingested so use care with small children.
It is a thirsty species, so water frequently, and the foliage is poisonous if ingested so use care with small children.
11. Bald Cypress: This cypress is a deciduous conifer with needle-like foliage that turns colors in autumn.Cypress have high water needs, and should be finger pruned rather than with scissors or other tools.
Cypress have high water needs, and should be finger pruned rather than with scissors or other tools.
Where to Go From Here (after growing these best bonsai tree)
The above plants are some of the best bonsai tree for beginner. There are much more types of bonsai to investigate. Once you make a selection, but sure to get specific information about the care. Not all bonsai require the same care!
Best wishes. Don’t forget to share your experience.