When I give Bonsai demonstrations in front of groups, here’s one of the questions I’m asked on a regular basis.
“I like Bonsai trees, but am terrible with plants. What is the best type of Bonsai to get started with?”
Growing Bonsai trees can be a rewarding hobby for anyone with the desire and patience. However putting in the effort and ending up with a dead tree is no fun.
To give yourself the best chances of success with in the art of Bonsai I’ve listed the five best types of Bonsai to get started with. They are hearty and forgiving and most can be kept indoors for extended periods of times. These Bonsai also make great gifts if you’re unsure if the person you’re giving it to has a green thumb or not.
Ficus Midnight Bonsai Tree
Purchase on Amazon: Ficus Midnight Bonsai Tree- Medium (benjamina 'midnight')
There are hundreds of different varieties of Ficus trees, most of which make great Bonsai trees. This particular Ficus is a miniature variety of the Ficus Benjamina. Its is great for Bonsai, because it has smaller leaves which is one of the basic features of a proper Bonsai. The Ficus bonsai can also be trained with wires or weights to give the desired shape by more experienced Bonsai enthusiast.
Purchase on Amazon: BonsaiOutlet Bonsai Tree - - Dwarf Jade Bonsai Tree
The Drawf Jade is a succulent with origin to South Africa. The are great Bonsai to keep indoors and require very little light or watering because their fleshy leaves are able to store water for long periods of time. This tree is nicknamed the “Elephant Plant” because they are a favorite food item for Elephants in South Africa.
Gensing Grafted Ficus
Purchase on Amazon: Brussel's Gensing Grafted Ficus Bonsai
The exposed root system and shiny dark leaves of the Gensing Grafted Ficus makes for a beautiful Bonsai. Originally from China the tree is great for beginners because it responds well to a wide range of light conditions and can be kept indoors for extended periods of time.
Pony Tail Palm Bonsai
Purchase on Amazon: Brussel's Ponytail Palm Bonsai
Native from Mexico, the Pony Tail Palm tree is a very unique looking plant. Contrary to belief, it’s not a palm tree at all. The Pony Tail Palm tree is actually a type of Lily that resembles a palm. Its long, graceful leaves flow towards the bottom and the thick base gives it the nick name the “Elephant’s foot”. The Pony Tail Palm is great as an indoor Bonsai in that it requires very little light or water to thrive. It’s also one of the easiest trees to care for. The tree requires no trimming or shaping, all one has to do is place on a table or desk and enjoy.
Green Mound juniper (Outdoor Bonsai)
Purchase on Amazon: Joebonsai Nursery Direct Green Mound Juniper Bonsai Tree in Rock III (b-jr3)
Made famous in the first ‘Karate Kid’ movie, the Green Mound Juniper is a great Bonsai for beginners. It is one of the most popular and easiest Bonsai to care for. The tree has a naturally curved movement and can be shaped and trimmed to your liking. The Green Mound Juniper is an outdoor; thriving on full sun and daily watering. This Bonsai should not be displayed indoors for more that 2-3 days at a time.
Hawaiian Umbrella Tree
“Very hard to kill’. The Hawaiian Umbrella Trees can be made into beautiful Bonsai. Their roots have a unique character in growing and climbing over rocks. Some Bonsai artist do not consider it to be a ‘true’ Bonsai in because you can’t shape it. However The Hawaiian Umbrella Tree is very easy to care for and can thrive in various light and water conditions.
Article By: Mark Givensel, BonsaiConnection.com