Which Bonsai tree species do you like?

bonsai tree species

When you are searching for bonsai tree species, it is necessary to gain a good understanding of the different kinds of trees that create good Bonsai. Trees most suitable for Bonsai are those with naturally small leaves.

Certain species are more sought-after than others, and this can change from country to country as local weather conditions differ. 

In Eastern cultures, Pines and Junipers are most popular and symbolise longevity (karate kid bonsai), whereas thorny plants are considered bad luck and create bad feng shui.

In warmer climates it is difficult to grow plants such as the Maple, which require dormancy during winter, so are therefore less popular, but amazing if grown right! 

A popular Bonsai found throughout Japan and Europe is the Chinese Juniper. It is highly sought after by collectors, and accordingly, can be quite expensive.

Before reading on, check out some important articles you will need to read before starting Bonsai! Click here, to familiarise yourself with Bonsai and learn the history and Zen principles!

Have you checked our Bonsai for Beginners Guide?

Also, check out our Bonsai Care Guide and 'How To' Guide to ensure you have the knowledge to grow and care for Bonsai trees!

Oh yeah, check out our online store for a handpicked selection of excellent bonsai you can buy!


Indoor Bonsai Tree Species

The success of your indoor Bonsai tree species will depend on the growing conditions you can provide for your plants.

Easy Indoor Bonsai Tree Species- optimum growing conditions 15 – 23C

• Aralia (Most varieties)

• Crassula (Jade Tree)

• Cycas revolute

• Euphorbia(Most varieties)

• Ficu benjamina (Weeping Fig)

• Ficus “Lond Island”

• Ficus natalensis

• Ficus microcarpa nitida

• Hedera (Ivy)

• Schefflera

• Succulents (Most Varieties)

• Ulmus parvifolia (Chinese Elm from Southern China)

Cold Indoor Bonsai Tree Species – optimum growing conditions 7 – 15C

• Acacia dealbata (Mimosa)

• Azalea indicum

• Buxus (Boxwood)

• Camellia

• Celtis (Most varieties)

• Citrus varieties

• Cotonesater microphyllus

• Cypress

• Ficus carica (Common Fig)

• Fortunella

• Fuchsia (hardy varieties)

• Gardenia

• Hedera (Ivy)

Junipers (certain tropical and subtropical varieties)

• Leptospermum

• Ligustrum (both the Chinese and Japanese privet)

• Lonicera nitida (Hedging Honeysuckle)

• Myrtus (Myrtle)

• Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo)

• Olea (Olive)

• Pinus halepensis (Aleppo pine)

• Pistacia

• Pyracantha (Firethorn)

• Punica (Pomegranate)

• Rhoddendron simsii

• Rosmarinus (Wild Rosemary)

• Taxidum distichum (Bald Cypress)

• Trachelospermum jasminoides

• Ulmus parvifolia (Chinese elm from Southern China)

Click here to read our tips on indoor Bonsai care!

Exotic Tropical Bonsai Tree SpeciesOptimum growing conditions 18-26C

The following Bonsai tree species require artificial growing conditions, with the use of equipment to raise temperature, humidity, and light levels

• Bougainvillea glabra

• Bucida spinosa

• Buxus harlandii

• Calliandra (Powderpuff Tree)

• Casuarina equisetifolia

• Conocarpus erectus (Buttonwood)

• Cuphea hyssopifolia (Mexican Heather)

• Ehretia buxifolia (Fujian Tree)

• Eugenia

• Ficus Benghalensis

• Ficus citrifolia brevifolia

• Ficus deltoidea var. diversifolia

Ficus Ginseng

• Ficus microcarpa

• Ficus nerifloia

• Ficus pumila

• Ficus religiosa

• Hibiscus

• Jacaranda

• Lagerstroemia (Crape myrtle)

• Lantana

• Malpighia coccigera (Barbados cherry)

• Murraya paniculate (Orange jessamine)

• Phempis acidula

• Podocarpus macrophyllus (Maki or Buddha pine)

• Polyscias (Ming aralia)

• Rhapis humilus (Rhapis palm)

• Sageretia theezans (Chnese Bird Plum Cherry)

• Serissa foetida ( Tree of a thousand stars)

• Syzgium

Outdoor Bonsai Tree Species

Outdoor Bonsai is the traditional method, and is practiced by most bonsai enthusiasts. The success of your Bonsai will be largely dependent on what bonsai tree species you choose in accordance with your local climate conditions.

Plan carefully and you may just have that Karate Kid Bonsai!

ConifersTemperate Regions Conifers are cone bearing seed plants with vascular tissue. All extant conifers are woody plants, the great majority being trees with just a few being shrubs.

• Abies – Silver Firs - firma, A. koreana, A. lasiocarpa, A. sachlinensis)

• Cedrus –Cedars (C. atlantca, C. deodara, C. libani)

• Chamaecyparis obtusa – Hinoki Cypress (Most varieties)

• Chamaecyparis pisifers – Sawara Cypress (Most varieties)

• Cryptomeria japonica (most varieties)

• Ginko Biloba

Juniperus – Junipers (J. californica, J. chinensis. J. communis, J. conferta, J. media, J. procumbens, J. rigida, J. squamate, J. virginiana)

• Larix – Larch - (L. decidua, L. kaempferi)

• Matasequoia glyptostroboides – Dawn Redwood

• Picea – Spruces - (P. abies, P. glauca, P. jezoensis, P. orientalis)

Pinus – Pines - (P. aristate, P. densiflora, P. mugo, P. nigra, P. parviflora, P. rigida, P. strobes, P. sylvestris, P. thunbergii)

• Sequoia – Redwoods- (S. sempervirens)

• Sequoiadendron giganteum – Giant redwood or Wellingtonia)

• Taxus – yew - (T. baccata, T. cuspidate)


Other Trees and ShrubsTemperate regions

• Acer buergerianum – Trident maple

• Acer palmatum – Japanese maples

• Acer campetre – Hedge Maple

• Acer tatarium sspiginnala – Amur maple

• Aesculus – Horse chestnuts and buckeyes

• Alnus – Alders

• Amelanchier – Juneberry


• Berberis

• Betula – Birch

• Buxux – Box

• Camellia

• Caragana – Chinese Palm Tree

• Carpinus- Hornbean

• Cercis

• Chaenomeles – Ornamental quince

• Cornus

• Cotinus

• Cotoneaster

• Crataegus – Hawthorn

• Cydonia – Chinese quince

• Elaeagnus

• Escallonia

• Euonymus

• Fagus – Ash

• Forsythia

• Hedera – Ivy

• Laburnum

• Ligustrum

• Liquidambar

• Loncicera – Japanese Honeysuckle

• Magnolia

• Malus – Crab Apple

• Morus – Mulberry (Whire & Red)

• Nothofagus – Southern Beech

• Potentilla

• Prunus

• Pyracantha

• Quercus – Oak Species

• Rhododendron

• Salix – Weeping Willows

• Sophora

• Sorbus

• Spirea

• Stephanadra

• Tamarix

• Ulmus – Elms

• Viburnum

• Wisteria

• Zelkova – Japanese gray bark elm

Select your Bonsai tree species carefully, and always seek advice!

Also be sure to check out our Bonsai Trees Guide, and have a look at individual species of Bonsai!

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Must I change the Bonsai Pot for extra root and plant growth? 
I've had this Bonsai tree for well over a year in a half now and I'm starting to realize some difficulty in growth. I am a beginner Bonsai tree owner. …

Im buying a Japanese Red Maple. 
With the right care would I stand a chance at growing this tree indoors and it live for many years? Or would it be to difficult? ------------------------------------- …

What tree have i got? 
Hi I brought this bonsai from the Range and am trying to find which one i have could you please help me? Malcom ----------------------------------------------------- …

Should I "cllean-up" this ficus?  
Is it too dense? ---------------------------------------------------- Hi Matthew Yes, as far as bonsai goes, you need to clean this Ficus up..... …

can you help me identify this plant? 
This plant was purchased at a street fair. I was told it is about 7 years old. What care does it require? Thank you. ______________________________________________ …

cottenwood or elm 
Is a cottonwood tree good for a bonsai tree? Would a normal elm be better?

please help My name is Jim and I would like to make the bleaves on my bonsai hornbeam smaller, how is this done? thankyou jim

What kind is this? 
Hi, I'm having trouble identifying this tree that was given to me as a gift, unfortunately the buyer didn't get the tree type and therefore I'm a little …

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