TYPES OF BONSAI TREES - DESCRIPTIONS


Azalea, Chinzan
  • Has hot-pink flowers and shiny pointed leaves.
  • Blooms year-round, unlike other types of azalea.


Azalea Chinzan

Bougainvillea - Bougainvillea glabra
  • Tropical tree or vine with large, colorful flowers.
  • Varieties used for bonsai are glabra, spectabilis, and pink pixie.
  • Bougainvilleas need bright light and high temperatures to thrive.
  • Bougainvilleas should not be kept outside when temperature is below 50 degrees.


Bougainvillea

Boxwood - Buxus
  • Dense shrubs native to Asia and Europe.
  • Used as outdoor hedges.
  • Heavy wood has many commercial uses.
  • Outdoor plant with distinctive musty odor.
  • Used as bonsai because of small leaves and flowers.
  • Leaves are poisonous and must be kept away from small children and pets.


Boxwood

Chinese Elm - Ulmus parvifolia or Zelkova Carpinifolia

  • Chinese elm grows throughout Asia.
  • Has small leaves and slender branches.
  • Remains evergreen year-round if kept indoors or in warm climate.
  • Grows up to 16 in.
  • Tolerates semi-shade well, but prefer sunlight.
  • Indoor or outdoor plant, but must be protected from freezing temperatures.


Chinese Elm

Chinese Juniper - Juniperus chinensis
  • Comes in columnar-tree and shrub varieties.
  • Foliage color ranges from green to blue-green or gray-green.
  • Female trees produce cones.
  • Cones are dark blue or brown with a white bloom.
  • Grows in dry soil and needs plenty of sunlight.


Chinese Juniper

Dwarf Cherry - Prunus
  • Ideal for bonsai.
  • Blossoms last only a short time during spring.
  • Thrives in sunlight, but needs semi-shade during summer.
  • Can live in a variety of temperatures, depending on variety.
  • Needs protection from birds and insects.


Dwarf Cherry

Dwarf Pomegranate
  • Small red pomegranate fruit.
  • Yellow-orange trumpet-shaped flowers.
  • Naturally twisted, gnarled trunk.
  • Dark green leaves with shades of bronze.
  • Long, trailing branches.


Dwarf Pomegranate

Ficus - Ficus retusa, exotica, benjamina, and others
  • Tropical plant which grows in south-east Asia.
  • Hundreds of varieties of ficus exist.
  • Also called fig or banyan tree.
  • Ficus has gray bark, drooping branches and bright green oval leaves.
  • Develops aerial roots.
  • Does well in sunlight, with moist soil.
  • Tolerant of most soil and light conditions.
  • Increased growth during spring and summer.
  • Good tree for bonsai beginners; tolerates watering mistakes and adverse growing conditions.
  • Ideal for air-root and root-over-rock bonsai styles.


Ficus

Ficus 'Too Little' - ficus benjamina
  • Miniature variety of Ficus.
  • Small leaf with compact growth.
  • Height of 8'' to 10''.


Ficus Too Little

Fukien Tea - Carmona microphylla or Ehretia buxifolia
  • Evergreen tropical shrub from China.
  • Three varieties - small, medium, and large leaf.
  • Has shiny, oval, dark-green leaves and white flowers.
  • Produces green berries which turn red when ripe.
  • Can be grown indoor or outdoor (temp. must be above 60 F).
  • Fukien teas do well in light but should be protected from direct sunlight.
  • Insects are a problem for fukien teas. Use the mildest insecticides available.
  • Do not use Diazinon. It will kill the tree.


Fukien Tea

Gingko - Gingko biloba
  • Has existed since prehistoric times.
  • Has distinctive fan-shaped leaves which turn pale yellow during autumn.
  • Has column-shaped trunk.
  • Lighting - full sun to semi-shade.
  • Roots need protection from frost.


Gingko

Japanese Cedar - Cryptomeria sp.
  • Has pyramidal branches on a central trunk.
  • Has ornamental reddish brown bark which peels off in strips.
  • Needs full sun.
  • Foliage turns brown during winter.


Japanese Cedar

Japanese Juniper - Juniper procumbens nana
  • Non-flowering, evergreen conifers available in many varieties.
  • Found in temperate climates throughout the world.
  • Junipers are kept outside year round.
  • Junipers should be protected from strong wind and freezing temperatures.


Japanese Juniper

Japanese Maple - Acer palmatum
  • Native to China and Japan.
  • Fern-like foliage with vivid colors in fall (shades of yellow, orange, and red).
  • Needs shade and shelter from cold temperatures.
  • Over 300 varieties. Leaf shape, size, and color vary.
  • Young trees have green bark which turns brown or gray with age.
  • Five-lobed leaves.
  • Varieties include thread-leaf, lace-leaf, green bark and red bark.
  • Red bark variety is most popular for bonsai growing.


Japanese Maple

Japanese White Pine - Pinus parviflora
  • Irregularly-shaped tree which has a conical shape when young.
  • 1" to 2.5" long needles form tufts of foliage on ends of branches.
  • Has cones until 6 or 7 years old.
  • Grows in northern climates, in full sunlight.


Japanese White Pine

Mini Jade (Dwarf Jade) - Portulacaria afra
  • Evergreen plant from South Africa.
  • Hardy soft-wood shrub which naturally grows on rocky hillsides.
  • Indoor plant with thick trunk and oval leaves.
  • Star-shaped white flowers bloom in fall.


Mini Jade

Natal Plum - carissa sp.
  • Small, thorny, evergreen bush.
  • Blooms pink and white flowers.
  • Fruit of natal plum is edible.
  • Grows under most conditions except freezing cold.


Natal Plum

Okinawa Holly - Ilex dimorphophylla
  • Ornamental tree which comes in evergreen and deciduous species.
  • Has toothed glossy green leaves and red berries.
  • Found in both temperate and tropical regions.
  • Both male and female plants are needed for growth of berries.


Okinawa Holly

Sago Palm - Cycas revoluta
  • Sago palm is not an actual palm, but a member of the cycad species.
  • Sagos have existed since prehistoric times.
  • Sagos originated in eastern Africa.
  • Adaptable - can be kept in sunlight or shade.


Sago Palm

Schefflera (Umbrella Tree) - Schefflera arboricola
  • Tropical tree which can grow over fifty feet high in the wild.
  • Leaves form a canopy at top of tree.
  • Hardy and easily maintained.
  • Prefer bright light and can be kept outdoors if temperature is over 55 degrees..


Schefflera

Serissa, Kyoto
  • Tiny dwarf variety of Serissa
  • Has single-flowering white blossoms.
  • Grows only up to one foot high.


Kyoto Serissa

Serissa, Snow Rose - Serissa foetida
  • Double-flowering variety of serissa.
  • Has small, white, rose-like flowers and thick dark green leaves.
  • Sub-tropical evergreen from Japan.
  • Flowers bloom 10 months of the year.
  • Variegated-leaf varieties also available.
  • Pink Snow Rose variety has pale pink flowers and leaves edged with white.


Snow Rose Serissa

Serissa, Thousand-Star
  • Native to China, where it is called 'Tree of a Thousand Stars' because of its small white flowers.
  • Has long, oval, shiny green leaves.
  • Small white trumpet shaped blossoms.


Thousand Star Serissa

Trident Maple - Acer buergerianum
  • Deciduous tree with bushy foliage and thick trunk.
  • Small, glossy three-lobed leaves and light brown bark.
  • Has bright yellow flowers in spring.
  • Low-growing with multiple stems.
  • Ornamental outdoor tree.
  • Thick, twisted roots are ideal for root-over-rock bonsai style.
Trident Maple