It’s Spring, Inside and Out

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Bonsai Trees

Bonsai trees are miniature versions of normal trees. These beautiful little trees serve two purposes. Bonsai trees are decorative living plants, yet they are also an art form. Bonsai trees make beautiful plants for a home, office, or garden.

What kinds of trees make good bonsai?

Technically speaking, any tree can become a bonsai. Bonsai trees are not a specific species, rather they are normal trees and plants which are kept small through pruning and training. There are, however, a few tree species that take to bonsai better than others.

  • Ficus: Also known as fig trees, the ficus is one of the most common bonsai trees. It features bright green foliage and roots that spread into interesting formations.
  • Japanese maple: This deciduous tree is favored as a bonsai because of its stunning fall foliage colors and five-point leaves.
  • Juniper: Evergreens are suitable bonsai trees because they require little care and can be trimmed into traditional bonsai shapes.
  • Chinese elm: The tiny leaves on the Chinese elm allow for creative shaping. This easy-care tree is also versatile because you can keep it indoors or out.
  • Jade: Also known as a money tree, the jade plant is easy to care for and matures quickly. The plump green leaves make this evergreen plant an ideal bonsai tree.

How do you choose a bonsai tree?

The answer to how to choose a bonsai depends upon several factors:

  • Climate: Some bonsai are indoor/outdoor trees. If you choose a deciduous tree, like a maple, you'll need a cool season so that your tree can go into dormancy. If you pick a tropical bonsai plant, you'll need to live in a warmer zone because your plant will need outdoor sunlight.
  • Care level: If you travel or are away from home frequently you'll want to consider an easy-care bonsai like a Ficus. High-maintenance trees like the Fukien tea, on the other hand, are suitable if you want to spend a lot of time on your hobby.
  • Size: Some bonsai can actually grow quite large over time if not pruned aggressively. You'll need to consider not only your available indoor space, but also whether you'll want to carry an indoor/outdoor tree back and forth.
  • Appearance: Because bonsai trees vary so much and can live a long time, you should choose a tree that's visually appealing to you. Some bonsai trees grow flowers, some have needles, and some take on lovely color in the fall. The options are limitless.
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