Getting to know bonsai: Where to start (part 1)

The care of bonsai begins long before you go to the store. Because the species specifics of each of these miniature plants require separate attention, and the principles of cultivation also impose their own mark. First of all, you need to determine which specimen will best suit your conditions and maintenance capabilities. Many novice adherents of the amazing bonsai culture are faced with the fact that the plant dies quickly, despite the seemingly correct and consistent care. If you have long dreamt of getting your first bonsai and don’t know where to start, or if you have failed and want to determine your mistake, perhaps this article will be a useful source of answers to some questions for you.

Determining the place of confinement

Bonsai on a windowsill

Do not forget that for normal development any plant, even a small one, needs a lot of light, as well as a dormancy period as it is used to in its natural habitat. If you plan to confine yourself to the outside of an apartment or private home, a prerequisite for the first successes – windows with a southern orientation. Creating conditions for wintering on a windowsill is quite difficult, so the best solution in choosing the first bonsai will be tropical and subtropical plants. Many of them develop quite quickly.

For example, beginners can try their hand at growing an olive tree, different kinds of ficus with small leaves, a crassula (also known as a toadstool, money tree), a peppermint, a pepper tree, a citrus tree, a cufée, a myrtle, a eugenia or a jabotikab. Each is beautiful and unusual in its own way.

Bonsai in the garden

If you have a small garden plot or a summer porch, you can also opt for plants that are characterized by seasonal changes.

The easiest bonsai to care for are elm, Korean hornbeam, Japanese boxwood, dogwood, privet, honeysuckle, Japanese maple, Japanese larch, juniper, Scots pine.

Choosing a plant

Once you have decided on the group of plants that will suit your living conditions, you can narrow down your search by moving on to a classification according to ornamental qualities. Here we can distinguish the following groups: flowering, evergreen, deciduous, fruiting, and those that change color with the coming of autumn.

azalea bonsai

  • Flowering bonsai: rose, forsythia, styrax, lilac, hawthorn, azalea, rowan, crassula ovale, citrus, jasmine.
  • Evergreen bonsai: yew, pine, cypress, boxwood, cotoneaster, most tropical plants, mugwort.
  • Deciduous bonsai: oak, beech, hornbeam, birch, mountain ash, elm, ginkgo, larch, hawthorn, styrax.
  • Fruiting bonsai: maple, mountain ash, cotoneaster, citrus, apple, grape, styrax.
  • Bonsai that change color with the coming of fall: maple, ginkgo, Korean hornbeam, stewartia, ivy, larch, cryptomeria, beech.

All trees, shrubs, succulents and vines can be grown as bonsai, but not all of them are equally easy to follow the basic principles of culture. Some of them, given in the examples above, have more suitable features for this purpose and fairly painlessly tolerate limiting the growth of the root system and the formation of crowns.

It all depends on what you want to do here. Growing bonsai requires a lot of attention, and you should definitely feel that this plant meets your expectations. Only in this way will you learn to understand its needs and be successful.