HomeBest and Top of Gardening40 Best Trees For Bonsai | Best Bonsai Plants

40 Best Trees For Bonsai | Best Bonsai Plants

Do you love Bonsai Plants? Want to showcase them in your home or garden? Here are some Best Trees For Bonsai that you can use!

If you love trees but don’t have ample space to grow them, you can train them to grow short. How? By making them Bonsai Plants! Check out the Best Trees For Bonsai and pick the one you like the most!

Find out some stunning indoor bonsai pictures here


Best Trees For Bonsai

1. Japanese Maple

japanese-maple-bonsai01

Botanical Name: Acer palmatum

Japanese Maple looks excellent with colorful leaves. Also, there are countless varieties, and the bonsai tree can be formed in various styles.

Position: It prefers a sunny, airy position. The plant is frost hardy even when trained as a bonsai, but it should be protected from intense frost (below -10° C / 14° F).

Learn about growing Japanese Maple in a pot here

2. Bodhi Tree

bodhi_tree

Botanical Name: Ficus religiosa

The bodhi is a tough plant that grows fast and forms aerial roots. It has attractive shiny heart-shaped foliage that appears in bronze-green color.

Position: It is a tropical tree that loves the sun and heat. Place it in a position that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight daily (the more, the better).

3. Rockspray Cotoneaster

Cotoneaster horizontalis bonsai 1

Botanical Name: Cotoneaster horizontalis

It is a deciduous shrub that is suitable for bonsai culture because of its forgiving nature. The plant looks beautiful with its red-maroon leaves.

Position: It can be grown in full sun or part shade, but flowers are best in full sun positions. Protection from frost is required if long cold spells are expected.

4. Baobab

2307d808872667fb0ca881f36f2e79d1

Botanical Name: Adansonia

Tall, gigantic, and fabled African tree, the great baobab is truly adaptable to become a bonsai.

Position: If you live in a warm climate, just keep it in the sun. However, if you live in a temperate zone, place the pot indoors in winter.

Get the best Baobab care tips here

5. Common Beech

Fagus sylvatica 2

Botanical Name: Fagus sylvatica

This tall, stately tree becomes a large to medium-sized bonsai specimen. Keep in mind that the beech tree is a slow grower and takes time to develop fully.

Position: Keep your beech tree bonsai in semi-shade to full sun position, providing a space that is sheltered from the intense afternoon sun, especially in summer.

6. Boxwood

miniaturland010818

Botanical Name: Buxus

Not only for hedging, but boxwood can also become a bonsai. Super adaptable to containers, any species of this genus is easy to care for and maintain.

Position: The boxwood is an outdoor plant that is tough and resilient and withstands the sun as well as shade. Protect the plant in winter.

7. Pomegranate

Pomegranate 2

Botanical Name: Punica granatum

Pomegranate is one of the most excellent fruit trees and the easiest one to make into a bonsai. Because it has a shallow root system and adapts well to bonsai culture.

Position: It should be kept outside in the full sun for the whole year except when the temperature drops below 41 F (5 C). Keep the tree indoors, in a sunny position.

Learn how to grow Pomegranate in a pot here

8. Juniper

Juniper bonsai 1

Botanical Name: Juniperus

Junipers are one of the most popular trees for bonsai. “Juniper Procumbens Nana” is very popular among beginners who are just starting out to make a bonsai tree.

Position: It is best to place them in a sunny spot with shade from the afternoon sun. Protect the tree once the temperature drops below 14 F in winter.

9. Ficus Retusa

Ficus Retusa bonsai

Botanical Name: Ficus Retusa

It is probably one of the most attractive trees among the tropical bonsai growers. Easy to style, resistant to negligence, and probably the best plant for beginners.

Position: If growing in a warm climate, keep it in partial sun. You can also keep it indoors, especially in a cool temperate climate, in a well-lit position but out of direct sunlight.

10. Ficus benjamina

Ficus Benjamina Bonsai 2

Botanical Name: Ficus benjamina

Benjamin Ficus is one more popular plant you should consider. It is a beautiful evergreen tree that makes a wide canopy of fine branches and looks great as bonsai.

Position: It can be grown either outdoors or indoors on a windowsill that gets bright light.

Find out how to grow Ficus benjamina indoors here

11. Jade

jade bonsai 1

Botanical Name: Crassula ovata

Jade Tree is a succulent plant with thick fleshy stems and leaves. It is an easy-care evergreen bonsai. The thick trunk gives it a mature look quickly.

Position: Jade tree can be grown indoors, although it enjoys sunny positions and high temperatures. Keep temperatures above 41 F (5 C) all the time.

Grow Jade plant into a tree like this

12. Crape Myrtle

Crape myrtle bonsai

Botanical Name: Lagerstroemia

Crape myrtle has exquisite branch formation and showy pink, white, or purple flowers. It is easy to train and maintain as bonsai too!

Position: Crepe Myrtle enjoys the bright sun for the formation of flowers. However, it can be kept indoors on a sunny windowsill.

13. Fukien Tea

Fukien tea bonsai 1

Botanical Name: Carmona retusa

Fukien Tea is a great addition to any bonsai collection that makes great small indoor bonsai. Its small dark-green shiny leaves have tiny white dots on them.

Position: Fukien Tea is an indoor bonsai but can be kept outside all year round in warm climates. It needs a bright sunny position in the house.

14. Chinese Elm

Chinese elm bonsai 3

Botanical Name: Ulmus parvifolia

One of the most splendid elms, this East Asian native becomes a spectacular bonsai easily. This ideal plant is forgiving and doesn’t mind regular pruning and styling.

Position: Keep the plant in a spot that receives direct sun in the morning.

15. Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea bonsai 2

Botanical Name: Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea has beautiful papery flowers of many colors making an attractive display, and appears incessantly, especially in favorable climates.

Position: Place it in a spot that receives at least 5-6 hours of sunlight. Protect it from freezing temperatures.

Get the best Bougainvillea care tips here

16. Dwarf Schefflera

Dwarf Schefflera bonsai 1

Botanical Name: Schefflera arboricola

Dwarf Schefflera is easy to grow, drought-resistant, and difficult to kill, making it a perfect bonsai plant for beginners. It is easy to train too.

Position: Place your dwarf Schefflera bonsai in bright, indirect light and protect it from direct sun. It can also survive in low light conditions.

17. Indian Banyan

Ficus Benghalensis Bonsai 2

Botanical Name: Ficus benghalensis

Banyan tree, which is also called “Bargad/Bar” in the local language, is the national tree of India. The tree naturally looks old and becomes an amazing bonsai specimen.

Position: The tree requires a warm, humid climate to thrive. If you live in a cool climate, you can try to grow it with care in winter. Place the plant in a spot that receives sun all day long.

18. Adenium

Adenium bonsai

Botanical Name: Adenium obesum

The thick bulbous trunk, vibrant blooms, and glossy foliage make the Adenium an ideal tree for bonsai. This flowering tree creates fast and natural-looking bonsai with minimal effort.

Position: It needs a sunny position sheltered from the wind. If growing in a non-tropical climate, bring the tree inside and maintain the temperature around 50 degrees F.

Learn some helpful Adenium care tips here

19. Olive

Olive bonsai

Botanical Name: Olea europaea

Olive bonsai is robust and easy to care for, so it is suitable for use as bonsai. Their smooth trunk and good branch structure make for an excellent bonsai.

Position: Hardy in zone 9, an olive tree can be successfully grown as an indoor plant, but it is best to keep it outdoors in full sun.

20. Azalea

Botanical Name: Rhododendron

Azalea is a must-have Bonsai and looks unbelievably stunning. It is popular for its growth habit and bountiful blooms that come in many different colors, shapes, sizes, and patterns.

Position: Azalea needs a sunny spot with afternoon shade to produce beautiful blooms.

21. Guava

guava bonsai

Botanical Name: Psidium guajava

Not very popular, but the guava tree becomes an excellent bonsai and doesn’t require too much care or maintenance. It is even possible to make it produce fruits.

Position: The guava is a tropical plant, and therefore, it should be placed outdoors in a sunny location. If you live in a temperate region, keep your guava bonsai indoors in winter.

Want to make a Guava tree into a bonsai? Click here

22. Pinepine bonsai

Botanical Name: Pinus

Pines make a wonderful bonsai. However, they are not ideal for beginners. Pines are a classic bonsai species, and their rugged, rough bark and trunk make them appear old.

Position: Place the pine outdoors in full sun, where it will get good air circulation.

23. Banksia

Botanical Name: Banksia

Banksia is another beautiful bonsai that is not deformed or delicate. Also, every time you crinkle its leaves, the tree exudes a sweet, citrus fragrance.

Position: You should place this plant outdoors in full sunlight as it needs direct sunlight for 6-8 hours every day. 

24. Cherry Blossom

 

Botanical Name: Prunus serrulata

Cherry Blossom bonsai produces pretty flowers in early spring that drops to the ground and make for a lovely backdrop of pink.

Position: Cherry tree bonsai loves partial sunlight as full sunlight may burn the delicate leaves and flowers. Place the tree in a spot that receives morning sunlight.

25. Chinese Banyan

 

Botanical Name: Ficus malacocarpa

The Chinese Banyan is a unique cross between Ficus Microcarpa ‘Crassifolia’ and Ficus Microcarpa ‘Retusa.’ It is one of the best options for bonsai!

Position: The Chinese Banyan loves the direct, full morning sunlight but partial sunlight in the afternoon. Place it outdoors where it receives shade in the afternoon.

26. Cedar

Botanical Name: Cedrus

Cedar trees in their natural habitat can grow up to 40-50 feet tall, but they make attractive bonsai trees, too. With unique evergreen features, the color of the needles varies from silver-blue to bluish-green.

Position: Cedar bonsai tree loves a lot of full sunlight and must be grown outdoors where they receive sunlight for 6-8 hours every day.

27. Brazilian Rain Tree

Botanical Name: Chloroleucon tortum

The Brazilian Rain Tree has compound leaves with small green leaflets and delicate branches. It is an extraordinary bonsai to grow as the leaves open up every morning and fold up every evening.

Position: It loves sunlight, and an east, west, or south-facing window can be an ideal spot for this plant. 

28. Jacaranda

Botanical Name: Jacaranda mimosifolia

Also called Blue Jacaranda and makes for an aesthetically beautiful bonsai. It is famous for its long-lasting and striking violet-colored, bell-shaped blooms.

Position: It needs full sunlight for the best blooms. Find a spot that receives 6-8 hours of direct sunlight every day.

29. Ginseng Ficus

 

Botanical Name: Ficus retusa

Ginseng Ficus is an easy-to-grow bonsai tree with minimal care requirements as it does not need much sunlight like other bonsai varieties. 

Position: It loves to grow indoors like a houseplant as it works best in bright and indirect sunlight.

30. Pachira Bonsai

 

Botanical Name: Pachira Aquatica

Pachira Bonsai is also called Money Tree, and it usually has a braided or twisted trunk. It is also considered to be lucky according to Feng Shui.

Position: Place the Money Tree in a sunny and bright spot where the tree can receive full sunlight for 5-6 hours every day.

31. Dwarf Jade

Botanical Name: Portulacaria afra

This softwood evergreen shrub looks great as a bonsai tree. It is a slow grower but makes up for it by being a low-maintenance specimen.

Position: It grows well indoors but requires direct sunlight. Dwarf jade cannot withstand freezing temperatures.

Find out the best Jade plant varieties here

32. Birch

Botanical Name: Betula

Birch Bonsai tree is frost-hardy and that makes it an ideal one for your garden. With an elegant shape and flexible hanging twigs, it makes for a stunning bonsai.

Position: It loves full and direct sunlight so place it in a spot that receives 6-8 hours of sunlight every day.

33. Bald Cypress

Botanical Name: Taxodium distichum

The Bald Cypress is good for extremely wet climates. This deciduous conifer is covered with gray or brown bark with scaly ridges or long fiber-like ridges that usually peel off in strips.

Position: It needs plenty of sunlight and warmth during the growing season.

34. Golden Shower Tree

Botanical Name: Cassia fistula

This beautiful tropical tree from South East Asia offers yellow blooms that makes it a very popular bonsai tree. For best growth, use a well-draining growing medium.

Position: Keep this bonsai in bright and indirect sunlight.

35. Flame of the Forest

Botanical Name: Delonix Regia

Also known as Royal Poinciana, Flamboyant tree, or Fire tree, it features large, fiery red or golden blooms that appear from spring through summer.

Position: It prefers direct sunlight. Protect the bonsai tree from cold and wind.

36. Chinese Privet

Botanical Name: Ligustrum

These small shrubs or trees can be grown in almost any type of soil. It grows quickly with good care and needs plenty of water in summer.

Position: Choose a sunny location in winter. The perfect area will be in front of a window.

37. English Elm

Botanical Name: Ulmus Procera

This bonsai tree has oval pointed leaves and dark grey-brown bark. It can be grown from cuttings and grows fast in the first 2-3 years.

Position: Place the plant in full sun in summer and save from frost in winters.

38. Crab Apple

Botanical Name: Malus spectabilis

When it comes to bonsai, crabapples are one of the most beautiful ones! They display white or pink blooms in spring and small fruits in fall.

Position: It prefers sunlight and aeration but also dislikes strong heat so avoid placing it at a location that gets afternoon sun.

Get the best Crab Apple planting instructions here

39. Mulberry

Botanical Name: Morus Nigra

Mulberries are admired for juvenile shoots, and multiple white, green, or pale yellow fruits. Bring it indoors when nighttime temperature lows to 40 degrees mark.

Position: Keep the bonsai where it gets plenty of bright but indirect light.

40. Oak

Botanical Name: Quercus

Quercus genus makes for a good-looking bonsai, and oak is the best of them all. They have impressive trunks and rough, heavy textured bark that looks great with age.

Position: Oak bonsai trees require full sun. In areas with hot and dry summers, the filtered afternoon sun is suggested.

Check out the best Oak varieties here

31 COMMENTS

  1. As a beginner to Bonsai, please remember the trees you have just seen have been growing for many years. I takes a while to trim and care for your tree to get the above results. Good luck and Bonsai.

  2. UN COMENTARIO DE CHILE….ES UN TEMA MARAVILLOSO….SOY AFICIONADO DE ESTE ARTE …FELICITACIONES POR COMPARTIR ESTE HERMOSO TRABAJO.

    • Also just starting bonsai. Ordered books off Amazon, seeds and starter kit, tools, plus one matured bonsai to practice on. Check with florists and plant stores, one of the ones here in WA seems bonsai

    • YouTube is your best bet for starting bonsai. Also don’t be scared to try something people wouldn’t think you can bonsai. You’d be surprised what makes a beautiful bonsai.

  3. Thanks
    Nice to see!!!
    I Have already some good bonsai plant and now planning to set a landscape garden with Bonsai, stones & Mosses. Anyway, this is a very good article.
    Vijayan. S Kochi

  4. I cannot agree with your selection. Many of your trees are not much to look at when young as most people will buy them. Most of your selection are aged and worth 1,000 s of pounds. Some I would estimate at £7,000 plus.
    When you start Bonsai keeping and growing you want a tree that is inexpensive and easy to keep. Some of your trees were for inside and that is much more difficult. I would suggest : 1 PRIVET 2 ENGLISH ELM 3 HORNBEAM , 4 CRAB APPLE 5 ZELKOVA 6 BLACKTHORN 7 FIRETHORN 8 MULBERRY. 9 OAK 10 JAPANESE QUINCE .
    These are easy to grow and shape. They are not expensive and seedlings are available for all these trees.

    • Thank you! This was very interesting and helpful information. I think articles like this are often misleading by not giving information like you mentioned about how old the plants were, how long those type of results took to achieve, etc. Which can be very frustrating and disappointing for beginners so your comments were very much appreciated.

  5. Amazing!
    I don’t know that bonsai have a lot of types.
    I have the one bonsai plant. But when I grew it, I took the extra care for it. Reading your article, I am feeling that i would be growing different types of bonsai. but where i live, may be there not the getting kind of bonsai. but i will try for it and making landscaping.

  6. Chose something will small leaves or a dwarf variety. Here on the west coast of Canada trees such as eastern larch, junipers or hawthorns from more temperate regions like Ontario are extremely hardy. But you still have to look after your nice pots in a frost. The dwarf pomegranate is an excellent choice for indoor bonsai/penjing with nice flowers for a month in summer and fruits that last until spring. Snow bell tree is another. Mossy forests are like whole universes. For an indoor one try taxodium micronatum (motezuma bald cypress) it doesn’t go bald if brought inside in winter.

  7. Bonsai trees are beautiful innovation. I really enjoyed your post. Thanks for providing a great list of Bonsai Tree. Recently, I bought the Bonsai Tree from The Uniquely to make my garden more attractive.

  8. Good article, thanks for the info. Great breakdown on a variety of trees.

    Btw, it’s root over rock, not rock over root. It’s backwards several times.

  9. Have not seen some of these before. I like looking at but I have not tried to grow one yet. What couple of options could you suggest for a complete novice and in the south east of England, please?

    • Look up Heron’s Bonsai on YT. Peter Chan is the Owner/Artist. He is also in the south of England. Does Wesley Garden sound familiar? He has trees there year round.
      Hope that helps, if you still need it.

  10. The Bonsai Outlet is a great option for those starting out on their bonsai journey for the first time. Here you ll find a hand-picked collection of trees starting at under $50 that are perfect to practice your skills on. Also, there’s a range of DIY and Gift Sets that include all the essential tools and accessories to get going.

  11. I think it’s good to suggest species that work well as bonsai, altho any list will be subject to differences of opinion. My principal problem is that you didn’t provide any suggestion of where these varieties will grow-
    I live in south Florida, and trees like Boxwood won’t make it in our heat. Please include the USDA ranges for
    the species.

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