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Choosing Bonsai Trees

Melissa Dunlap is a writer, editor and blogger specializing in lifestyle communications. Fueled by curiosity, and a tad too much coffee, Melissa enjoys dissecting current trends for the modern woman. When she's not having dance parties w...

Caring for a bonsai tree can be a fun and relaxing gardening activity. This age-old Japanese and Chinese tree-shaping activity can be symbolic or hobbyist, and done indoors or outdoors. The best way to set yourself up for bonsai success is to choose the right type of tree.
Caring for a bonsai tree can be a fun and relaxing gardening activity. This age-old Japanese and Chinese tree-shaping activity can be symbolic or hobbyist, and done indoors or outdoors. The best way to set yourself up for bonsai success is to choose the right type of tree.

Starting to work with a bonsai tree will be easier if you choose a tree specific to the purpose. Here are a couple suggestions:

The Japanese Red Maple is often suggested as the first choice for a bonsai starter tree. This tree variety is beautiful, as its trunk and leaves change from green to red with the seasons. The leaves may also be trimmed to make the tree the size and shape you prefer.



The Chinese Elm is the most familiar bonsai tree. It may be grown indoors, but it is naturally an outdoor species. Careful trimming of the leaves will train the tree to produce smaller leaves every season. Chinese Elms grow to about 10 inches tall.


In general, bonsai trees are expensive, but you can find deals online. Look for family-owned wholesale companies for reputable service and quality trees. Buying bonsai trees in a package that includes all the trimming and growing accessories is often the best value. Be wary of prices that are too low, as it could be a scam. Expect to pay around $50 for a healthy, appropriate variety of tree.
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