There is an impressive choice of plants and trees from which to choose that you may train to be a bonsai. If a plant or tree has a woody stem there is a great chance that it can be used to develop a bonsai plant.
Depending on exactly where you want to grow your bonsai plant you will be selecting between winter-hardy types, and tropical or sub-tropical types. If you intend to grow and exhibit your bonsai inside your home you will probably pick from a tropical or sub-tropical plant or tree species. If growing and showing outside you might want to select a winter-hardy tree,
We have created a short but very good list of plants which have been excellent choices for the beginner bonsai grower, and which are also readily available at nurseries and garden centers:
The Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum) is a perennial choice thanks to it’s breath-taking exhibit of fall colors, which are typically a brilliant red. This particular plant is reasonably robust and easy to look after. It can be grown in full sun during the summer but should have some shelter from the harshest winter weather. As with all bonsai, watering your plant the right way is vital. This maple enjoys small, frequent watering, and ensure that you under no circumstances let the soil dry out entirely.
The Chinese Juniper (Juniperus Chinensis) is yet another favorite, and superb for the student to work with. It is an evergreen conifer that prefers to be grown outside. This juniper will thrive when placed in the full sun no matter whether in summer or winter. Safeguard its foliage from drying winter winds. This is a plant that needs to be kept in moist soil all year round. Don’t overdo it and allow it to sit in water, and under no circumstances let the soil dry out completely.
The Chinese Elm (Ulmus Parvifolia) is amongst the easiest trees of all for the beginner bonsai grower. This tree is relatively slow growing and very forgiving of bad cutting and pruning. When grown outdoors this tree reluctantly loses it’s leaves and oftentimes continues to have some leaves at mid-winter. This plant likes sun but not the wind. It’s best if could be kept in a sheltered or protected area that still gets an abundance of sun. The Chinese elm, like the Chinese juniper, likes it best if the soil is consistently moist, but only in the summer and fall months. Reduce in late fall and then keep the soil only barely moist after the tree has dropped all of it’s leaves.
A plant that you have probably seen many times in people’s homes or offices will be the Weeping Fig (Ficus Benjamina), but you often see it as a larger tree. Frequently sold as a traditional houseplant it may be easily modified and trained as an indoor bonsai plant. The plant needs to be kept indoors throughout the year. Keep the soil evenly moist through the summer months, cutting back during the winter but never permitting the soil to totally dry out.
This list is just a few of the hundreds and hundreds of different choices you have to create a bonsai plant. Not only are these plants and trees easy to work with for the beginner but you’ll find them easily at your local garden center or nursery.