How To Choose A Bonsai Tree

With thousands of species out there, it can be really hard knowing which tree you should grow. In this article I aim to show you exactly how to choose a bonsai tree and what you need to take into consideration when committing to a bonsai.


When choosing a bonsai tree you need to be considering the environment the tree will live in and how easy it is to care for. Bonsai trees need the to live in the same environment as they would in nature, so sub-tropical species make great indoor bonsai whilst hardy deciduous species make a good outdoor bonsai. 


Factors To Consider When Choosing A Bonsai


Choosing a bonsai tree without thinking about the requirements of the tree is much like buying a car without looking at any of the information about it. There are a few very key factors to make sure you consider when choosing the perfect bonsai tree for you…

1. Environment


Many people tend to think that all bonsai trees are modified to survive in little pots indoors, which isn’t true at all! Bonsai trees are genetically identical to that of its full sized species and it needs the same conditions as it would be getting if it was in nature.


As most beginners do, if you want to be growing a bonsai tree indoors then you’re best choosing a tropical or subtropical tree species to grow. They can usually be tolerant of the warmth, humidity and light that it would receive growing most of the year indoors. A perfect example of an indoor bonsai tree would be the Fukien Tea.

If you want to be leaving your bonsai outdoors for most of the year, it’s best to choose a species that actually grows naturally in your country/climate – this way you know that the tree should withstand the outdoor weather. A great example of an outdoor bonsai tree that’s perfect for beginners would be the Ficus.


2. Ease Of Care


When it comes to caring for bonsai trees no two are the same. Each species varies in difficulty and experience needed to properly care for it from very simple, to a lot more complicated techniques.


When choosing a bonsai tree, it’s important to look at the level of experience you have and the level of care you want to have to dedicate to a tree. If you are more on the beginner side of things I would advise choosing an easy to care for species like the Ficus. In fact, have a read of my 5 Best Bonsai Trees For Beginners post for a few more ideas.


For more advanced bonsai enthusiasts it’s worth choosing a species that is harder to grow, these would include the Japanese White Pine and the Tree Of a Thousand Stars. At the point you have been cultivating bonsai for years, you’re less bound by the limitations of experience and should choose a any bonsai you like the idea of adding to your collection.


3. What Kind Of Tree To Buy


There are a few different ways to grow a bonsai tree, so you have a few different options when it comes to choosing a bonsai…


1. Buying a starter tree online – One option is to pick up a cheap starter bonsai so you can sharpen your skills from there. This is how I got into this art and this is the exact bonsai from Amazon I got all those years ago!


2. Buying a trained bonsai tree – You can buy a trained tree from a local nursery or bonsai marketplaces online. These trees are usually relatively expensive and there’s a limit to how you can get creative with them as they’re already trained, but they can still be great fun!


3. Creating your own bonsai tree – In my opinion, the best route to go down for beginners is creating your own bonsai with a shrub of the same species you chose. This way is very simple, quick, cheap and you have full creative reign over the tree! I have a step by step guide here you might be interested in following.


4. Growing from seeds or cuttings – Although there are a lot of benefits to growing a bonsai from scratch, it’s not for most people as you’re going to be waiting a minimum of 4 years before you can do any wiring or styling. I’ve put together an article breaking down how to grow a bonsai tree from cuttings, should you be interested.




Providing you care for the tree, you’re going to have the bonsai tree for a very long time so choosing the perfect tree is a must! Instead of just choosing the bonsai tree that looks the best, it’s more important to look at the environment that tree needs to live in and if you can provide that for the tree.

Relevant Articles – 5 Best Bonsai Trees For Beginners / How To Grow A Bonsai Tree

Recent Posts