Which type of bonsai is best for you?

Japanese maple

One of the most adaptable outdoor bonsai trees, Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) is a hardy yet beautiful deciduous tree with many cultivars that display a wealth of colorful fall foliage.

This tree likes a sunny location, but will struggle with midday heat and may well be in light shade during those hours. In addition, it is quite frost resistant (although it should be protected from hard frost). Japanese maple will benefit from leaf pruning every two years to keep leaf size small and weekly low-nitrogen doses of bonsai fertilizer. It likes its soil to be well watered, especially during the growing season.

Rock Cotoneaster


Cotoneaster horizontalisoften called Cotoneaster rock or rockspray Cotoneaster (as it is popularly planted on rock in bonsai cultivation), is an excellent bonsai tree for beginners or anyone who might be intimidated by growing a bonsai tree. It features attractive leaves that change color with the seasons; pretty white, pink or red spring flowers; and bright red berries in fall.

This low-growing shrub can be placed in full sun to partial shade in temperate growing zones, but it requires protection from frost and extreme heat (although some cultivars do better in warmer climates). It prefers dry soil, but don’t let it dry out completely. Cotoneaster tolerates spring wiring before flowering.

Bay Laurel Fig


A superb specimen tree, Indian laurel figWhere Ficus retusais another ideal variety for beginners – it easily recovers from pruning errors (those that could permanently set back other types of bonsai).

It is a fabulous houseplant due to its tropical origins and preference for bright, indirect light. In temperate climates, it can be planted outdoors in partial shade or even full sun. It has shallow root systems and its trunk can be sculpturally twisted, which lends itself well to many breathtaking bonsai styles.



The common beech (Fagus sylvatica) has stunning fall color on its naturally small leaves, which are the perfect size for bonsai styling. Beech is a slow-growing tree that likes a bright outdoor location without direct sunlight and moist but not wet soil.

It may need to be brought indoors during freezing winter temperatures. Beech can tolerate heavy pruning in the spring, just after new growth has hardened off, and will benefit from regular fertilization in the spring and summer.


boxwood bonsai

If you are just starting out and don’t yet feel very confident about how to grow a bonsai, a common boxwood bonsai (Buxus sempervirens) may be exactly what you need. Infinitely easy to care for and adaptable, it thrives in a variety of conditions and temperatures, but prefers partial shade. He really only needs protection from extreme cold.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy and feed it regularly with a fertilized bonsai tree.uh. Boxwood tolerates aggressive pruning and can be easily shaped with bonsai wire.



One of the most beautiful bonsai trees, the pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a semi-tropical deciduous tree of beautiful aesthetic contrasts. Silvery bark mingles with bright green leaves and fiery orange-red flowers.

Eventually, it may even bear fruit, which seems quite magical in bonsai form. Its shallow root system makes the pomegranate tree perfect for container planting. It can be kept outdoors in full sun, but bring it indoors to a bright, sunny location when temperatures drop below freezing.



With 70 different species, juniper is a popular type of bonsai due to its elegant shape and adaptable growth habit. Some of the most popular juniper bonsai species are Japanese garden Junipers (juniper procumbens nana), Chinese juniper (Chinese juniper), common juniper (Juniperus communis), California juniper (californica juniper) and Sierra juniper (Juniper occidentalis).

These evergreen shrubs are best suited to outdoor living and need protection from the hot afternoon sun, as well as freezing winter temperatures. Junipers also possess the potential for deadwood styling, which is when parts of the tree die, leaving silvery trucks and branches amid the living foliage. This is found in nature when trees are twisted, gnarled and bleached by the elements.

weeping fig

weeping fig tree

Commonly called weeping fig or Benjamin ficus, Ficus Benjamina is a versatile tree that is suitable both as an indoor bonsai and, in tropical climates, as an outdoor bonsai. For anyone who has been intimidated by how to grow bonsai, this is a perfect learning specimen. It features small, glossy evergreen leaves that, when left to their own devices, grow on long branches that trail to the ground (hence the nickname “weeper”). benjamin prefers six or more hours of sunlight a day and needs its soil kept moist but not extremely wet. Its hardy nature and ability to recover from pruning mishaps make it an excellent choice for bonsai beginners.

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This article originally appeared on www.bhg.com

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