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Best Indoor Bonsai Tree For Beginners

This bonsai article is  meant to help beginners understand basic concepts of keeping a bonsai. It won’t make you a bonsai master but it will help beginners understand the more advanced tutorials on bonsai.

The word Bonsai literally means, tree-in- a-pot. A tree planted in a small container is not a bonsai until the tree’s roots and branches has been pruned and confined to a container. Contrary to popular belief age is not a prerequisite although some bonsais can live up to 200 years and more.

Understanding the Different types of Bonsai’s

Outdoor Bonsai – Evergreens and Deciduous
It is a general misconception that any bonsai plants can stay indoors. Trees usually need more light than is available indoors. They need bright light from all around. Deciduous trees lose their leaves and need a cold and dormant period to survive. Even temperate evergreens need a dormancy period. These bonsais should be grown outside while providing winter protection.

  • Pines
  • Cypress
  • Junipers
  • Maples

Indoor Bonsai – Tropical And Subtropical
Tropical bonsais are similar to house plants and can be suitable for growing indoors year round. In temperate areas the bonsais should stay outside year round. In cold climates the temperate plants should be grown outside during the worm weather and brought indoors for winter protection. Fuchsia, citrus and Hawaiian Umbrella Tree are a few examples of bonsais that can be kept indoors. Think temperate perennial.

  • Serissa or Snow Rose
  • Ficus or fig tree
  • Carmona microphylla or Fukien Tea
  • Providing A Dormant Period

For most trees a dormant period lasts six to eight weeks at temperatures around 30F – 40F or lower. Most temperate woody bonsai can tolerate temperatures down to 20F without any protection. Many plants will of course lose their leaves at this time. Temperate evergreen species also need a cold dormant period, but will not lose their foliage.

Without a dormant period, deciduous species will continue to grow for as much as two years, then go dormant no matter what the season or temperature. This can be very stressful for the plant, and it in some cases fatal.

What type of Bonsai Trees are best For Beginners?
Juniper, Chinese Elm, Ficus and Hawaiian Umbrella Trees make excellent choices for first time bonsai owners. They are readily available and easy to care for. Beginners will enjoy results and gain experience on these easy bonsai trees.

For those new to the hobby of thinking about starting some bonsai’s, there is a a great book called, Bonsai Survival Manual: Tree-by-Tree Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Problem Solving by Colin Lewis that teaches beginners how to grow and care for bonsai trees.

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