Trees & Leaves Suitable For Bonsai Culture
Since the aim of bonsai is to mirror in miniature the whole form of a mature wild tree, care is needed when choosing varieties for bonsai culture, for the parts of the tree should always remain reasonably in scale.
Generally speaking, you should look for trees with small needles or leaves. The most popular evergreen trees for bonsai are pines, junipers and spruces.
Among the pines, short-needles varieties are preferable, although the Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii) can have its rather long needles reduced in size by removing all new growth every second year. Other popular varieties include Japanese cedar and yew.
Most deciduous trees can have their leaves dramatically reduced in size by not repotting too often and by leaf cutting. Again, varieties with fairly small leaves are generally preferred to begin with, and these include various varieties of maples, elms, hornbeams, beeches, and birches.
When choosing flowering and fruiting trees, bear in mind the size of both the leaves and of flowers and fruits. For instance, and normal apple tree will look very odd when it fruits, but a crabapple will look in scale with its tiny apples about the size of a small cherry. Many shrubs with small flowers and fruits, such as cotoneaster make excellent bonsai.
A Guide To Bonsai Leaves
Here are the leaves of a number of common plants that you may find in a bonsai nursery.
1. Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii)
2. Short needled spruce
3. Yew (Taxus bacata)
4. Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica)
5. Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis)
6. Trident maple (Acer trifidum)
7. Beech (Fagus sp)
8. Birch (Betula sp)
9. Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia)
10. Hornbeam (Carpinus sp)
11. Crab apple (Malus floribunda)
12. Various species of Prunus, including flowering cherries, peaches and apricots
14. Rock Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster horizontalis)
15. Small-leaved species of Azalea