To answer this question, yes, any tree can be a bonsai. Because bonsai isn’t a particular species of trees, it’s a method of growing trees. So, technically any tree can be a bonsai.
Does that mean you can take a tree and grow it as a bonsai? Well, to understand that, we will have to dig a bit deeper. There are lots of things that go into growing a bonsai. So, let’s check out in-depth whether you can use every tree to be a bonsai.
What is bonsai?
Bonsai is the art of growing trees, where the trees will be grown but will always stay smaller in size. It’s like a mature grown-up tree but in a miniature form. This doesn’t happen naturally, though. You will have to put a lot of care into the trees to keep them that way.
Several techniques like pruning, shallow planting, root reduction, grafting, and defoliation are used for growing a bonsai. Also, wiring trunks of a tree and branches into different shapes go into making bonsai.
So, if you follow these techniques and apply them to a tree, you should turn a tree into bonsai. Now, there are two particular types of bonsai based on where you grow them. Let’s take a look at them.
You can grow your bonsai either indoors or outdoors. This mostly depends on what tree you are developing. With most bonsai trees, you would opt for an outdoor option rather than an indoor one.
Read More: Can Bonsai Trees Grow Indoors? Tips for Indoor Bonsai Trees
The reason is that they are essentially like regular trees but smaller in size. So, when you grow them outside, they are exposed to different seasons, which is essential for tree growth. You can grow any tree as a bonsai outdoors.
As for growing trees indoors, you will have to choose a particular type of tree. Usually, tropical plants are suitable for growing indoors since they don’t need that much cold period. Also, it’s pretty easy to grow them indoors as a bonsai.
Now, whether you go for the outdoors route or the indoor route is up to you. With outdoor bonsai trees, you get a lot of options among trees. But with indoor trees, you can keep them inside a room and have your personal space surrounded by trees. So, there is no better option; it’s mostly about what you want.
How can you create bonsai from any tree?
Well, the process is pretty straightforward but requires a lot of patience and care. You can take any tree or shrub and turn it into a bonsai.
The main processor technique that you will need to learn is pruning the roots. It’s the core part of growing a bonsai tree regardless of the species. Now, the question is, how do you do it?
Pruning is a method where you cut the branches of a tree selectively. This is done to give the tree a proper shape. Here, you mostly get rid of the unwanted parts of the tree and give it a better structure. This also leads towards a healthy growing tree.
Some species of trees are better suited to be bonsai. So, let’s go through them a little bit.
The best bonsai tree species you can grow.
While you can turn any tree into bonsai, some trees are just better with the process. They grow up faster, and they are easier to maintain than other ones. Also, if you are starting on bonsai art, these are the trees you should start with.
Juniper trees are one of the most popular species for growing as a bonsai. There are a lot of different types of juniper trees you can find out there, and you can grow every single one of them as bonsai.
Now, the reason this tree is so popular for bonsai is that it has small foliage. This leads to making it much more aesthetically pleasing as a bonsai. You can tell that it’s a miniature version of a mature tree when you look at it.
Another reason is that these trees can go through pruning no matter how aggressively you do them. So, you don’t need to be too cautious about pruning this tree which makes it easier to prune. However, junipers grow better in outdoor conditions.
Even among popular bonsai tree species, Ficus is considered to be one of the best. There are lots of reasons for that. First of all, Ficus grows much quickly compared to other species for bonsai trees. They also require less care comparatively.
Adding to that fact comes the lifespan of the trees. If you take proper care of Ficus trees, they can live up to hundreds of years. And you can see most Ficus trees indoors as they thrive better in warm climates.
For any beginner bonsai enthusiast, this is the best tree you can grow. It’s easy to maintain and grows big quicker than most other species.
The thing about pine trees is that they are very hardy. This means you don’t have to be delicate with them during maintenance. Also, you can give them any shape you want. They go with all kinds of bonsai styles, so this gives you a lot of options to shape them.
You can try going for Japanese black pine or white pine as they are quite popular among the rest of the pine trees for bonsai growing. Usually, they have a needle-like appearance on the leaves, and the bark may seem a bit flaky. These trees need a lot of sunlight, so it’s better to grow the trees outdoors rather than indoors.
If you are looking for that perfect bonsai tree appearance, then this is the tree you should pick. Also, it lets you do your thing in terms of creatively shaping the tree. That also makes a difference in choosing this for your bonsai.
The best part of a Japanese Maple tree is that it’s not your generic green-looking tree. These trees will have either red or yellow color depending on what season is going on. While some may appear green during summer, they soon transform into a bright red or yellow color. The color appeal is what makes this tree special.
Aside from that, what you should be aware of with this tree is that it requires a tremendous amount of effort. I am not discouraging you, but if you plan to go with Japanese Maple, you will need to put in the time and care for this. This tree requires water a lot; you might even have to water it several times a day.
It’s a tree worth growing for sure. Because when the tree matures in a miniature form, it just looks unreal. You can’t stop admiring the tree after its complete growth.
Now, this is a classic choice for bonsai trees that many people go with. It’s a great tree to grow as bonsai for beginners. What makes this one an excellent choice for bonsai is the small foliage it has. It makes the maintenance of this tree much easier and worthwhile.
While you can grow Dwarf jade indoors, it’s better to grow them outdoors. Because they require direct sunlight. But if you can have a way to put them under direct sunlight indoors, then that would be the best way to grow this tree. They can’t withstand freezing temperatures which can be an issue with growing them outdoors.
There you go. These are some popular bonsai tree species that are pretty common and easy to grow. Yes, any tree can be a bonsai, but these will give you the best results in the bonsai art practice. You can grow these even as a beginner who may not be the case for all kinds of trees.
How long to grow a bonsai?
There are two steps to growing a bonsai. You can either start from the seeding of the tree, which should take about five years to grow. After five years, you end up with a proper bonsai tree that can live for 15 to 20 and sometimes hundreds of years.
Read More: How long does it take to grow a bonsai tree?
Most people start their bonsai journey with an already prepared bonsai of 5 years old. And from there on, it takes about 4 to 6 months till you get an appearance from the tree that pleases. However, these timelines also depend on the species and the care you are giving them.
To sum it up, yes, any tree can be a bonsai since bonsai isn’t a particular type of tree. You can follow the methods of growing a bonsai for a tree, and you should be fine.
Some trees work better as a bonsai. Whether it’s the maintenance or the growth or appearance, you will have more success with particular trees and species than others. Also, creating a controlled environment makes a huge difference, which is quite challenging for some trees.