5 Bonsai Trees You Can Grow at Home
Cultivate tranquility at home with the ancient pastime of bonsai. Here are five trees that work well for bonsai, plus tips for getting started.
A ficus is a good rookie project for bonsai wannabes. This ficus is 25 years old—and measures a stately 20 inches tall. They aren't hardy outdoors but are happy near a window.
Many people mistakenly assume bonsai is a species, but it's actually a cultivation technique. (In Japanese, the word means tray planting.) You can train all sorts of trees to grow in miniature: discarded junipers, native seedlings and fancy imports.
Treasured for their beautiful trunks and fall color, hornbeams thrive outdoors.
These crabapples bear showy white flowers and smaller leaves, ideal for bonsai.
Unlike maples you may be familiar with, this variety has a three-lobe (not five) leaf. But just like the maples you know in your yard, their fall foliage puts on a show in red, orange and yellow.
Satsuki Nikko Azalea
This Japanese azalea has exposed roots and pink flowers in spring. Bonsai have smaller leaves, yet their blooms are often full-size.
Bonsai enthusiasts rely on a deep kit of specialty tweezers, pliers, branch splitters, shears and other tools for shaping trees and making precise cuts. Beginners can get started with basic pruning scissors and wire cutters.
Pruning and wiring guide the tree's shape as it grows. With time, a master can manipulate the tree to create surface roots, form deadwood and craft forest plantings.