5 Best Bonsai Books For Beginners

Besides getting mentored by an expert, there’s no better way to learn for beginners than with a good book! I learnt the art of bonsai through reading books and there’s definitely plenty of them around! In this article I have hunted high and low to compile the 5 best bonsai books for beginners!
  1. Bonsai Basics – Colin Lewis

The reason this 128 page book is the first on my list is because it taught me everything I needed to know as a beginner in bonsai! Caring for a bonsai isn’t the most complicated thing in the world but learning the basic techniques correctly is a staple! Colin has done an amazing job with this book as it really took me from having no idea, to being fully able to help my bonsai thrive and get a grasp of all the basic techniques.


I received this book as a gift a few weeks after getting my first bonsai and frankly the tree would have died if I hadn’t! It’s packed with easy to understand descriptions, images and even a tree directory so you can learn about the needs of a species. This is honestly the best bonsai tree I have read to date and I would highly recommend it for any beginners. The most useful section for me was the pruning section where it covered everything from regeneration pruning to more subtle techniques such as pinching needle growth instead of using pruning shears.
It’s not just me that rates this book highly for beginners, it’s got a crazy 4.5/5 rating on Amazon out of over 277 customer reviews at the time of writing this!
  1. 101 Essential Tips Bonsai – Harry Tomlinson

This book really comes a close second to Colin Lewis’ Bonsai Basics, providing just a huge amount of information about bonsai maintenance, care and styling. 101 Essential Tips For Bonsai has been around for a lot of years and really stood the test of time due to the brief and clear content, taking someone from a beginner to a more intermediate bonsai owner.


Harrys’ 101 Essential Tips For Bonsai is honestly a great read for anyone interested in bonsai, no matter what ability. If you’re a more visual learner this would be perfect for you, there is a huge amount of pictures breaking down all the processes involved in successfully caring for a bonsai. Much like the first book on the list, this goes into detail on a lot of different species from Jasmine to Crab Apple, making it very useful to keep in your library to refer to, as a bonsai owner.
  1. The Bonsai Beginners Bible – Peter Chan

Another great read for beginners, covering all of the basic techniques from wiring, pruning, styling, watering and bonsai pots! This book is designed to be the backbone of someones bonsai knowledge, which is why it’s perfect for beginners! Like the other bonsai books listed above, it has a directory of over 90 bonsai trees, so you can learn more about your trees and species you may want to cultivate!


The author Peter Chan has been a huge figure in the industry for a long time after he founded the Herons Bonsai nursery back in 1986! He has even made TV appearances on bonsai related shows, so he definitely knows his stuff.
  1. Bonsai: The Beginners Guide – Bonsai Empire

Bonsai Empire is a powerhouse of the industry, being the largest bonsai website in the world to date! They have a huge amount of handy information and they have compiled a huge amount into a handy beginners guide. In this book you’ll learn all of the basic bonsai techniques you’ll need to keep any tree alive and thriving! This book is packed with over 200 images, breaking down all of the techniques into easy to digest content.
  1. RHS The Little Book Of Bonsai – Malcolm And Kath Hughes

A great bonsai book for beginners, this book breaks down the learning process into 3 steps. Getting started, maintenance of a bonsai, then specific species care guides – designed to bring any beginner to an expert level! Its 144 pages are packed with images and no nonsense information containing everything you need to know as a beginner!


The authors have been bonsai enthusiasts since 1975 and it shows, they write with real love for the art and actual knowledge. If you’re looking for a little book about little trees, this is the book for you!

Recent Posts