Luckily I was given my first bonsai tree as a gift, so I didn’t have to hunt around online looking for the right one to buy. It can be very daunting for beginners as there are thousands of trees out there but what are the best bonsai trees for beginners?
The best bonsai trees for beginners are going to be species that require little care or advanced techniques, whilst being forgiving to forgetful owners. These species include the Chinese Elm, Ficus, Jade, Juniper and Hawaiian Umbrella Bonsai as they are all very tolerant bonsai trees.
1. Chinese Elm Bonsai
The Chinese Elm bonsai is the best bonsai tree for beginners and it was the tree that started my journey into bonsai. This tree is extremely satisfying to wire and style, whilst also being extremely easy to care for. The Elm is perfect for beginners as it’s very tolerant to the occasion under-watering, over-watering and even being grown in the wrong conditions, so it’s actually pretty hard to kill.
The Ficus makes for a great bonsai tree for beginners, definitely one of the most common out there. This species is very fast growing and as far as maintenance goes it’s very easy to look after. It’ll require a good amount of watering and pruning but as a beginner that’s all you’ll need to be doing at first.
This species of bonsai comes from Southeast Asia, so it’s used to growing in a hot, humid climate so it can be grown indoors, which is what most new bonsai owners are looking for. For more in-depth information, I have put together a Ficus specific care guide where I go over all the tips and tricks to keeping yours alive!
3. Jade Bonsai
The Jade is a great bonsai tree for beginners as it’s so little effort to keep alive. This species has very tiny leaves where it actually stores a huge amount of water. This is relevant because if you’re busy working away or life gets in the way, this tree will use the stored water to keep itself alive for a short while, making it a perfect bonsai for beginners.
The Jade species is normally very cheap to pick up, requires little attention compared to a lot of species and it’s very forgiving so it makes a great first bonsai!
4. Juniper Bonsai
The Juniper is often thought of as very hard to look after but that’s mainly due to just not understanding the requirements of the tree. This bonsai is actually ideal for beginners because it’s very tolerant to the odd under or over watering but it’s challenging enough to sharpen your skills and expand your knowledge of bonsai.
The Hawaiian Umbrella is a great bonsai for beginners due to it’s relatively simple environment requires and tolerance to forgetful owners. This tropical species can be grown indoors somewhere it will get a lot of light and it can still survive if under watered for a short while, making it the perfect bonsai tree for beginners.
As a newbie it can be daunting choosing a bonsai tree to care for as there are thousands of different species requiring a lot of different levels of care. My personal opinion would be to go for a Chinese Elm or a Ficus, as these are the two first bonsai I ever got as a beginner and caring for them was relatively straightforward even with my lack of knowledge.
Once you have picked a species to grow, I would advise picking up a book to learn about the basic care requirements of the tree – Bonsai Basics 101 on Amazon was the first book I got and it taught me everything I needed to know about bonsai, I honestly couldn’t recommend it enough.