The Different Types of Bonsai

A few thousand years ago within China the art of bonsai tree creation was founded, but when it made its way into Japanese culture, their monks took the art and evolved it. Japanese monks used bonsai as a method of meditation. Through their advances they increased the number of trees that were possible to grow, as well as dozens of new styles and techniques used to ensure the trees could thrive and survive at such miniaturized sizes. Nowadays, the art of bonsai has spread across the world, and some bonsai trees have lived for centuries, still being maintained by orders of monks.

If you have ever been interested in learning about bonsai, then there’s no better place to start than by learning about the different types you can grow.

Types of Bonsai

In general, you can categorize bonsai into two segments, outdoor bonsai trees, and indoor bonsai trees. Each has their own tree species and styles that work best with them.

Outdoor Bonsai

Outdoor bonsai trees are made up of species that thrive in open outdoor environments and can handle the changing weather better than indoor varieties. Both deciduous and coniferous trees can make up outdoor bonsai plants, but still need skillful care to ensure they get enough nutrients to properly thrive. Like normal sized trees, deciduous outdoor bonsai plants will shed their leaves in the fall and lay dormant for the winter. Outdoor coniferous bonsai trees will keep their leaves, or needles, all year round, although they will still go into a dormant state often during the winter. A good ceramic bonsai pot will be resistant to the cold weather of the winter to ensure no damage is done to the roots.

Outdoor bonsai trees should be getting six hours of sunlight a day, but should be kept out of the midday sun. Proper moisture levels should be maintained, as they should never have fully dry soil, and extra fertilizer may be needed to keep the nutrients levels up for healthy growth.

Outdoor bonsai trees can include: deciduous: maple, elm, larch, crab apple, apricot, ginkgo. Coniferous: junipers, pines, boxwoods, and azaleas.

Indoor Bonsai

Indoor bonsai trees are most often the type of trees that people starting into the hobby will choose. A lot of species, from tropical or subtropical regions, can be turned into bonsai trees and are great for display purposes in either a home or an office space. Indoor bonsai trees require good nutrients, and a good ceramic bonsai pot to grow in and blossom in for years.

Maintaining indoor bonsai plants can be troublesome at the start as you learn how to properly water and watch their condition over time. They must get sufficient sunlight in order to create their own food, as well as fertilizer to make up for the fact they aren’t in outdoor ground. Watering is one of the most important, and hardest aspects to master next to trimming. You need to keep the soil moist, but not soaked, otherwise root rot becomes a major problem.

Some indoor bonsai tree species include: sacred bamboo, Chinese elm, Chinese snow rose, Chinese bird plum, baby jade, money tree, Buddhist pine, Chinese privet.

As with any hobby, research is important before starting out and you need to find quality equipment in order to pursue your interest. With bonsai trees, a high quality ceramic bonsai pot is a good start for planting your new tree, and you can find one at Leaves & Soul. We also carry trimming wire, soil and fertilizer. Click here to learn more.