Bonsai trees can bring nature right into your home and are easy to care for, yet each species of bonsai has different needs and maintenance requirements.
Therefore, when choosing the species most appealing to you in terms of style and maintenance requirements. Small potted bonsai trees tend to require less watering, making them suitable options for beginners.
1. Chinese Elm
Chinese Elms make great bonsai trees for beginners because they require minimal care, are easy to grow, and last years. Plus, their hardiness means you can grow them both indoors and outdoors!
Chinese Elms require a bright, warm environment with ample sunshine for proper growth and bloom. You can place them outside during the summer, but make sure they receive partial shade so as to prevent burning.
Winter months are ideal for keeping bonsai trees indoors for optimal care, either near an accessible window with plenty of natural light, or on an enclosed porch.
Assist your Chinese Elm in getting its moisture needs met through misting; but remember to also water regularly.
One watering per week should be sufficient for keeping a Chinese Elm looking its best, making sure to check soil moisture levels and avoid overwatering it with extra irrigation. You can use a moisture meter, or stick your finger into the soil to gauge whether or not moisture needs are met.
When it comes to planting your Chinese Elm bonsai tree, selecting the correct potting soil is of utmost importance. It must be well-draining and provide enough air circulation for proper development of your bonsai. You may add peat moss for additional drainage but be wary not to overdo it.
Chinese Elms can flourish in various soil conditions and even survive within street tree pits or parking lot islands.
Propagating Chinese Elm trees requires taking 6-inch cuttings during summer and repotting them into quality bonsai soil mixture, where roots will quickly form. Soon thereafter, your new Chinese Elm will be ready to produce leaves!
If your Chinese Elm is showing symptoms of leaf spot, use a liquid fertilizer that contains magnesium, iron, manganese and zinc as soon as possible to strengthen its roots and encourage growth. These nutrients will help combat mildew and fungus while strengthening them further and fostering resilience against future attacks.
2. Japanese Maple
Japanese maples are an ideal choice for creating bonsai trees, thanks to their versatility in shapes and sizes as well as hardiness against outdoor conditions and fluctuating temperatures. Easy to train, Japanese maples allow you to customize a bonsai that meets all of your design preferences perfectly.
Trees come in many different forms, ranging from weeping varieties with lacy or palm-shaped leaves, to upright or cascading types with vase-like forms and tree trunks. You may also encounter trees whose leaves range in hue from red in springtime to yellows and oranges during the autumn.
No matter the species of bonsai you select, use a breathable substrate to shield it from excessive heat and humidity. DIY mixes can be found online; or pre-made versions can be purchased from garden centers. It’s wise to add green moss or mulch around the base of the tree in summer months in order to retain moisture for as long as possible in its soil.
As with other bonsai trees, Japanese maples require consistent watering in order to stay healthy. Furthermore, it’s essential that they’re placed somewhere with afternoon shade in order to prevent leaf scorch caused by excess heat. You can mist their foliage regularly to add moisture and prevent dryness from setting in.
Japanese maples make an ideal starter bonsai tree; they’re hardy, pest-resistant, and straightforward to train.
Plant these trees in well-drained, slightly acidic soil with organic matter content for maximum performance. While these trees can tolerate a range of environmental conditions, high pH soils such as clay can lead to root rot issues that threaten their viability.
Additionally, plants should be placed in an area shielded from frost and strong winds. You can display yours indoors for brief periods at a time; however, greenhouses or colder spaces might not be the ideal environment.
Repotting your Japanese maple requires pruning back at least 1/3 of its roots from outside to in. Furthermore, trim its overall shape by eliminating any branches which cross other limbs or are too large for its style.
3. Japanese Cherry
Japanese Cherry trees are one of the easiest trees to use to craft bonsai trees, with this small but hardy species perfect for novice bonsai growers and widely available at nurseries and shops alike.
To successfully cultivate a Japanese Cherry, select a sheltered location with partial sun or shade exposure. Direct sunlight may damage its delicate blooms and leaves; to prevent this, consider placing it in an area with morning or evening sunlight that protects it from the afternoon sun.
Once your cherry bonsai has been planted, be sure to water it regularly with distilled water in order to prevent its soil from drying out completely and potentially leading to root rot. Doing this should keep its top inch damp at all times – otherwise root rot could result.
Once your Japanese Cherry has established itself, its appearance should be maintained by trimming. This may involve trimming away excess branches and dead wood as well as pruning for air circulation around its roots.
When pruning Japanese Cherries, the best tools are long-handled lopping shears and a pruning saw. Furthermore, you must make sure to sterilize these tools with bleach before each cut.
Before beginning to prune your tree, be sure that its soil is adequately drained to prevent bacteria from growing on any cuts made during pruning.
Pruning is essential in order to enable plants to focus their energy on flower production and fruit harvest. You should only remove excess branches that are no longer supporting foliage. Spring and summer flowering periods offer ideal times for pruning so your cherry blossoms have all of their necessary energy available.
Your bonsai tree requires a pot that provides ample room for its roots to spread out and flourish, with drainage holes drilled at its base to enable proper drainage. In addition, gravel or clay beads should be added at its base as an additional protection measure.
4. Japanese Maple
Japanese Maples are one of the best bonsai trees for beginners because they are easily trained into beautiful shapes while remaining easy to care for.
As with other bonsai trees, Japanese maples require well-drained soil that has a pH range between 5.5-6.5. Additionally, it should contain plenty of essential nutrients – an ideal soil mix would be specifically designed for bonsai use.
Repotting your Japanese maple every other year to refresh the soil and prune its roots will promote new growth, as well as ensure its continued health. This practice will promote greater lifecycle continuity for this tree species.
Repotting your Japanese maple early in the spring before new buds bloom will allow it plenty of time to recover and to foster strong growth. Fertilize regularly throughout spring and summer for best results and optimal health.
No matter the type of bonsai you aim to create, it is vital to position the Japanese maple where it receives sufficient light. Aim for a south-east facing area with morning or dappled sunlight so as to avoid harsh afternoon rays.
Your ideal location for a Japanese maple should provide plenty of air circulation and avoid heat-heated rooms. Dead leaves should also be removed, and wire should be tightened around its branches to support future growth.
Beginners looking to cultivate Japanese maple bonsai should prune frequently in order to shape it into the form they desire. Doing this will encourage strong, healthy branches and make future shaping simpler.
Your Japanese maple can be sculpted using various shaping techniques, from informal upright and twin trunk to groups, clump, broom and weeping. By taking these steps you will ensure it develops into an exquisite bonsai that you will love for years.
Japanese maples are tough trees, but they do need protection during the cold months from frost and wind. Once leaf fall comes around, move your Japanese maple indoors or into an unfrosty shed or garage to protect it from frost, snowfall, ice formation, as well as protect its roots.