Species Guides

Individual care details for over 90 plant and tree species used for bonsai



There are a large number of different species of trees that can be used for bonsai; nearly all share the characteristic of being able to produce new buds on old wood allowing continual pruning and re-generation to take place. Other preferred qualities for bonsai in a tree species include small leaves or leaves that reduce in size with training, short internodes (the distance between each leaf-joint along a branch) and the ability to withstand root disturbance.

The following guides cover a large range of coniferous and broadleaved, evergreen and deciduous trees that have the potential for use as bonsai to one degree or another. Some species are commonly seen such as the Elms, Junipers and Pines, others such as Grapevines, Tamarix and Hederas may be a rare occurrence but can have their own qualities and characteristics that make them of interest to the enthusiast.

This list is by no means comprehensive; there are many species missing from this list that have great potential for bonsai.

With respect to cultivation notes, this guide is written from European (UK) perspective where Summer temperatures rarely reach above 30°C and winter temps will rarely fall lower than -10°C. For hotter or colder climates, extra care must be taken for the protection of trees against the sun in summer, the frost in winter and also large fluctuations in temperature between day and night.

Heights listed in the guide are based on mature trees growing in ideal conditions in their natural habitat. Leaf-sizes are given based on field or garden trees, with bonsai cultivation it is possible to reduce the size of leaves of most species by a half or even more.

CLICK ON LATIN OR COMMON NAME FOR SPECIES INFO 

ABIES species -FIRS

ACER BUERGERIANUM -MAPLES Updated June 2013

ACER CAMPESTRE - MAPLES

ACER PALMATUM varieties -JAPANESE MAPLES Updated June 2013 Additional Species Information Acer palmatum Advanced Techniques

AESCULUS HIPPOCASTANUM / HORSE CHESTNUT

AZALEA varieties Additional Species Information A Care Calendar for Satsuki Azalea Bonsai

BERBERIS species -BARBERRYS

BETULA species -BIRCHES Additional Species Information Distinguishing between Silver and Downy Birch

BOUGAINVILLEA species -Bouganvilleas

BUXUS species - BOXES Updated May 2013 Additional Species Information Buxus/Boxwood Indepth Updated May 2013

CAMELLIA species - CAMELLIA

CARMONA MICROPHYLLA -FUKIEN TEA

CARPINUS species -HORNBEAMS

CEDRUS species -CEDARS

CELTIS SINENSIS -HACKBERRY

CERCIS SILIQUASTRUM -JUDAS TREE

CHAENOMELES species -QUINCES

CHAMAECYPARIS species -CYPRESSES

CORNUS species -DOGWOODS

CORYLOPSIS species -WINTERHAZELS

CORYLUS species -HAZELS

COTINUS COGGYGRIA -SMOKE TREE

COTONEASTER species -COTONEASTER

CRASSULA species -JADES

CRATAEGUS species -HAWTHORNS Updated June 2013

CRYPTOMERIA species -CEDARS

CYDONIA OBLONGA -COMMON QUINCE

DAPHNE species -DAPHNES

DEUTZIA species -DEUTZIA

DIOSPYROS Guest Article by Leo de Leon

ELEAGNUS species -ELEAGNUS

ENKIANTHUS species -ENKIANTHUS

EUPHORBIA PULCHERRIMA -POINSETTIA

EUONYMOUS species -SPINDLE TREES

FAGUS species -BEECHES Additional Species Information Advanced Pruning Techniques for Beech Bonsai

FICUS species -FIGS

FORSYTHIA species -FORSYTHIA

FRAXINUS species -ASH

FUCHSIA species -FUCHSIA

GINGKO BILOBA -MAIDENHAIR TREE

GLEDISTA TRICANTHOS -HONEY LOCUST

HEDERA species -IVY

ILEX species -HOLLYS

JASMINIUM species -JASMINES

JUNIPERUS species -JUNIPERS updated December 2011

LAGERSTROEMIA INDICA -MYRTLES

LARIX species -LARCHES

LIGUSTRUM species -PRIVETS

LIQUIDAMBER STYRACHIFLUA -SWEETGUM

LONICERA species -SHRUBBY HONEYSUCKLES

MAGNOLIA STELLATA -STAR MAGNOLIA

MALUS species -(CRAB) APPLES

NANDINA DOMESTICA -SACRED or HEAVENLY BAMBOO

OLEA EUROPEA -OLIVE

PARTHENOCISSUS species -BOSTON IVY/VIRGINIA CREEPERS

PEMPHIS ACIDULA- PEMPHIS or IRONWOOD or PHILIPPINE BANTIGUE Guest Article

PICEA species -SPRUCES Additional Species Information Picea Pruning, Styling and Wiring

PIERIS species -PIERIS

PINUS species -PINES Updated June 2012 Additional Species Information Pinus mugo Indepth Japanese White Pine/P. parviflora Pruning and Care Guidelines

PODOCARPUS MACROPHYLLUS -PODOCARPUS

POTENTILLA FRUITICOSA varieties -POTENTILLA/CINQUEFOIL

PRUNUS species - Blackthorn, cherrys, plum  varieties

PUNICA GRANATUM varieties -POMEGRANATE Updated May 2013

PYRACANTHA species -FIRETHORNS

QUERCUS species -OAKS Additional Species Information Collecting and Repotting Quercus robur

RHODODENDRONS species -AZALEAS Updated May 2013 Additional Species Information A Care Calendar for Satsuki Azalea Bonsai

ROBINIA PSEUDOACACIA -FALSE ACACIA/BLACK LOCUST

SAGERETIA THEEZANS -CHINESE BIRD PLUM

SALIX species -WILLOWS

SERRISA FOETDA -TREE OF A THOUSAND STARS

SCHEFFLERA ACTINPHYLLA -UMBRELLA TREE

SORBUS species -ROWANS / MOUNTAIN ASH

SPIRAEA species -SPIRAEA

SYRINGA species -LILACS

TAMARIX JUNIPERINA -TAMARISK

TAXODIUM DISTICHUM - SWAMP CYPRESS

TAXUS species -YEWS

THYMUS species -THYMES

TILIA species -LIMES updated November 2011

TSUGA species -HEMLOCKS

ULMUS species -ELMS

VITIS species -GRAPEVINES

WEIGELA FLORIDA -WEIGELA

WISTERIA species -WISTERIA Updated June 2013

ZELKOVA SERRATA varieties -JAPANESE ELMS