Different teachers recommend different beginner bonsai trees. However, most agree the following plants are some of the best bonsai starters. Not all plants in that species are good subjects when certain plants are recommended. There are some basics to look for when selecting both beginner trees and more established bonsai.
Beginner Bonsai Trees Recommended Plant List
Junipers are one of the most popular subjects used as bonsai trees. They can easily be made into shapes that resemble old pine trees.
They also have a bad reputation with many beginners. This is due to many misconceptions. The plant itself is not difficult. First, a juniper is not recommended as an indoor plant!
Other beginner mistakes include root pruning at the wrong time of year and over-watering. There are many different kinds of juniper. Juniper procumbens nana is very popular as a beginner bonsai tree.
As the demand for “indoor bonsai” has risen, Ficus bonsai trees have gained great popularity as one of the best bonsai for beginners to try.
Many fig masterpieces have come from tropical and sub-tropical areas. In those areas of the world, they are grown outdoors, often in full sun.
Although in good light, many are excellent indoor subjects, most growers grow these figs outdoors in warm weather and bring them in when the cold temperatures threaten.
There are hundreds of types of Ficus, and many of them are good for bonsai. Numerous varieties have small leaves … don’t bother with large leaf types. See the many reasons Ficus bonsai are so popular.
The Chinese elm, Ulmus parvifolia, has many attributes for potentially good bonsai. Small leaves are a plus.
Their extensive “stringy” root systems are perfect for use as rock plantings. Many Chinese elms adapt very quickly as “indoor” trees.
Branches need to be trimmed frequently to keep the shape. Learn more about Chinese elm bonsai.
Maple Bonsai Trees
There are approximately 125 species of Maple, and many are used as bonsai. Trident maples are perhaps the favorite. All are deciduous trees, not recommended indoors.
This Red Maple grouping is a beautiful example of how several individual maple trees can create a beautiful forest.
A Favorite Beginner Bonsai Tree for Indoors The Schefflera arboricola is well known as an ordinary houseplant and has many common names, including arboricola, umbrella tree, and dwarf schefflera.
It is recommended as a bonsai for beginners. (Many think it is native to Hawaii but it’s actually native to Taiwan.)
Many bonsai beginners start with the traditional jade plant, Crassula a. Once they discover the portulacaria afra they realize how much easier it is to create a tree-looking subject with this small leaf ‘jade.’ This African succulent can be an indoor bonsai plant, however, it needs sun or very high light and frequent pruning.
There are many ways to get started. In addition to good bonsai tree choices, you need good instructions. Bonsai Books are always helpful. If you live anywhere near a bonsai club, they are a great place to start!
Where to Go From Here
The above plants are some of the best beginner bonsai trees. There are many more types of bonsai to investigate.
If you are thinking of growing indoors only, see bonsai trees for indoors. Once you make a selection, but sure to get specific information about the care. Not all bonsai require the same care!
Plan to buy a bonsai or a bonsai starter? Here are some important tips. ‘Basic Things to Look For‘ List