Bonsai – an overview and list of plants suitable for bonsai in the Indian climate

“Bonsai is actually two words, ‘Bon’ and ‘Sai’. The word ‘Bon’ means ‘plateau’ and ‘Sai’ means ‘growth’ or ‘plantation’. Therefore, the two words put together give you the translation of “tray culture” or “tray planting”. When you say the word “Bonsai” to people, they usually think of a type of tree. However, this art form is actually a way to cultivate many different species of plants and trees – Erik Olsen, author of Bonsai Gardening Secrets

One theory about the beginning of bonsai is that its roots actually originated in India. Ancient Ayurvedic physicians returned from the Himalayas with medical tree saplings. By growing them in pots, cutting off their branches and cutting off the roots, they were able to preserve the trees in miniature form. Tulsi is a good example.

In the 12th century, bonsai was known as Vamanatanu Vrikshadi Vidya in India, which translates to the science of dwarf trees. The practice traveled to China and became known as pun-sai – the art of growing single specimen trees in pots. Various tree species have been grown with thick, gnarled trunks in pots. With its introduction to Japan, the art was further refined and took on a different form over time. Bonsai artists gradually introduced other materials like rocks and figurines, with additional and accent plants creating miniature landscapes in nature, known as sai-kei. Finally, in the middle of the 19th century, when Japan opened its doors to the rest of the world, bonsai reached Europe through exhibitions. After about a hundred years, this art returned to India in its present form. However, there are also other conflicting theories.


People who grow bonsai for various reasons are different from people who are simply looking for an interesting plant and a treat is a centerpiece. The bonsai requires a lot of perseverance and must be maintained a lot. One thing to keep in mind is that bonsai is meant to be an outdoor plant, not an indoor plant, although since the 1990s it has increasingly become an item of interior decoration. Different types of plants are used for indoor bonsai trees as opposed to outdoors, so it is important to place the tree in the appropriate location.

Bonsai growers acquire these trees in different ways – either by using methods such as cutting, air layering and grafting from already existing trees, or by purchasing seeds for planting.

If you want to try your hand at bonsai, the first thing to do is get your hands on some great resources for soil, fertilizer, water, pots, and more.

Many people enjoy growing bonsai nowadays. There is something very mystical about them and they are very beautiful too. Bonsai cultivation is seen more as an art form and a skill that should be developed over time.

Trees for beginners

If you’re just starting out, it’s best to stick with certain tree types suitable for beginners and ideal for Indian conditions.

Starter Kits

Beginners can take a look at bonsai starter kits which contain a sapling, container, training wire, soil, rocks and instructions.

Bonsai pruning

To keep a bonsai nice and small, there are a few things you need to do. The first thing is to prune it. How you prune will depend on the individual tree and the shape you want.

Cut the roots

It is also necessary to prune the roots from time to time. This is because trees are naturally meant to be grown in the ground where there is plenty of room for the roots to spread. When growing a tree in a container, the roots can easily outgrow the container. So they will have to be pruned

Below is a list of plants suitable for the Indian climate:

Ficus Bengalensis Moraceae vad
Ficus riligiosa Moraceae pipal
Ficus glomerulata Moraceae Umbar
ficus Carrica Moraceae Anjir
Mangifera indica Anacardiaceae Mango
Bouhinia Varigata Cesalpine Kanchan
Acacia Nilotica mimosa Babul
Prosopis Juliflora mimosa Vilayati Babul
Pithocolobium dulci mimosa Vilayati Tamarind
Tamarindus indica Cesalpine Vilayati Tamarind
Auracauria cuci Auraeauriaceae Christmas tree
Morus alba Moraceae Shahtout
Jacaranda mimosifolia mimosa Neel Mohor
Gravellia robusta Myrtaceae silver oak
Malphighia caccigera Malphighiaceae Malphighia
Citrus lemon Rutaceae Lime
auricular citrus Rutaceae Mosambi
Duranta varigata Verbenaceae Duranta
Bougainvillea Spectabilis Nyctaginaeae Bougainvell
petria volubilis Verbenaceae Petrie
species of bamboo Grasses Bamboo
Achrus Sapote Sapotaceae Chikoo
Mimosops eleing Sapotaceae Bakul
Eugenia Jamboliana Myrtaceae jambul
Feronia Elephantum Rutaceae Kavath
carrisa carrandus Apocynaceae Karvand
Pinus sylvestre Pinaceae Pine
Calistemon lanceolatus Myrtaceae Batlicha kuncha
Terminalia chabla Combretaceae Hirda
cassia siamia Caesalpinaceae red mohor
Cassia fistula Caesalpinaceae Amal heap
Board Delonix Cesalpines Gulmohor
Psidium guava Myrtaceae Guava
Butea Monosperma Butterflies Palas
Lagerostoimla sp Lethraceae pink pahadi
Lausonia inermis Lethraceae Mehndi
elastic ficus Moracrcées Rubber
Euphorbia nesifolia Euphorbiaceae Vajratundi
Exotic Muraa Rutaceae din ka raja
Nyctanthus arborticus Nyctanthaceae Parisat
Punica granatum Punicaceae Anaar
Casurina equisetifolia Casurinaceae Suru

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