Bonsai for beginners ….. Get started the right way!

beginner bonsai

Bonsai for beginners can be a confusing road to travel alone.

At we want to remove the confusion and replace it with excitement.

As a beginner, you need to know that the creation of Bonsai allows you to mimic the natural world.

You can become an artist and control the life of a tree.

Many find the cultivation of Bonsai to be a relaxing and inspiring pastime. Bonsai horticulture is not complicated and is no more difficult than growing plants in pots; the main difference being Bonsai requires pruning and shaping.

Bonsai for beginners step 1 - choosing a plant.

There are hundreds of different varieties of plants that can be used. The success of your bonsai will depend on how closely you match the natural growing conditions to each species.

Bonsai for beginners is not hard. Start by choosing a plant that will grow well in your natural environment, and is easy to maintain.

If you buy an established plant, ensure you buy from a reputable nursery. Ensure you ask the right questions to eliminate the chance of failure. Visit our pages on Bonsai Information and Bonsai care to start developing your knowledge before you buy!

It is also important to consider plant hardiness, especially in areas that experience extremely cold winters and harsh hot summers. Some species will actually need cold winters to induce dormancy. i.e.. most plants from temperate regions need freezing conditions during winter.

Quick little side note........ If you live in the USA, we recommend buying your Bonsai from Bonsai Boy New York. Click the banner below to check them out!

Create a checklist:

• Easy to maintain

• Hardy

• Attractive

• Match local climate with natural conditions for plant growth

Indoor varieties are not as easy to keep as outdoor, however you can achieve success by picking the right plant and being attentive to its needs.
Houseplant Varieties such as the many species of Ficus and Schefflera fare well as indoor bonsai, as they do not require lighting or heating, They do however still tend to look much like a houseplant even when created into a Bonsai.

Your goals will basically be developed in line with your Bonsai personality.

When thinking about Bonsai for beginners, you probably think you don't have a Bonsai personality yet?

Actually…… you do!

You just don't know it yet! We all have an artistic side which will come out in your Bonsai gardening!

Some people prefer purchasing an already developed tree whereas others prefer rearing each tree from a seedling or cutting. Regardless of your orientation, there are goals that need to be set.

• Be realistic in what you want from your Bonsai experience

• Set a realistic timeline

• Seek advice

• Research different species of Bonsai: know what you are talking about!

• Ultimately decide on how you want your Bonsai tree to look.

When considering a favoured look for your Bonsai tree, it is a good idea to sketch pictures of Bonsai you like, to get a feel for sketching them in general.

When you feel comfortable sketching (everyone eventually ‘gets it’) you should then envision your own species of tree and consider what it currently looks like, and where you would like it to go.

An easy way to do this is to take a photograph from the preferred viewing perspective. Bring the image up on a computer screen and trace the trunk and branches (much like a silhouette). You can then make proposed changes to the tree’s shape to help decide on development goals.

Sketching and envisioning desired outcomes situates your tree in context and you can then be guided by your goals. If your tree is becoming bushier than your vision, trim and prune it. If the branches are longer, trim them. Remember:


Another great idea is to diarise and photograph the various stages of development. Even if the changes are so miniscule you cannot see them, over months and years you can look back over the growth period, much like a pet or child.

Photographs also provide you with evidence that your work has paid off, that your tree is growing how you want.

Bonsai for beginners step 2

If you are an amateur Bonsai gardener, it would be a good idea to start your Bonsai career with a realistic tree that can endure horticultural inexperience in watering,feeding,pruning, wiring and potting.

As a beginner there are a few species to consider; ones that are quite hardy but will still provide the same aesthetic.


This is an amateur Juniper. The artist has had this plant for 1 year and is close to their first prune!


• Juniperus sargentii (Sargent’s juniper)

• Juniuperus chinensis (Chinese Juniper)

• Juniperus X media – in particularly ‘Shimpaku, Blauuw and Plumosa

• Juniperus virginiana – Virginia Juniper


• Pinus sylvestris (Scotch Pine)

• Pinus thunbergii (Japanese Black Pine)

Deciduous Trees

• Acer ginnala (Amur Maple)

• Carpinus betulus (European hornbeam)

• Larix eurolepsis (hybrid Larch)

• Larix decidua (European Larch)

• Malus cerasifera (Nagasaki Crab)

• Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose)

All of the aforementioned trees can be left outside year-round, except the Japanese Pine, which requires protection against winters in colder climates.

Hopefully, as you learn more about Bonsai for beginners, you will ultimately decide on a style of tree and eventually become a master artist, however, like most, you may be having some trouble deciding on a tree to start your bonsai career with....... allow us to help!

Below is a questionnaire for you to fill out....... We will take your information an tailor a tree to meet your needs! how easy is that? so please, for the benefit of your sanity, fill the questionnaire in and let us make the decision for you!

Which bonsai tree is for me? The beginner bonsai making Questionnaire!

First Name*
E-mail Address*
I live in (what part of the country)*
What type of building do you live in?*
Do you have a garden?*
My garden has areas of shade*Yes
My Garden has areas of full sunlight*Yes
I can water at home........*
I will have time to prune and shape my bonsai*Yes

Please enter the word that you see below.


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