How to choose trees for bonsai

Bonsai are very special miniature works of art, since unlike the others, this is a work that will never be finished . Although it is difficult to get a tree to live in a tray for its entire life, to flourish and to be healthy, there is one thing we can -and should, especially if we are beginners- do before buying that seedling with which we will work.

And it is nothing more than observing it well: the size of its leaves, the movement of its trunk, the development of its roots, its vigor. Thus, the chances that we end up with a wonderful miniature tree are very, very high. Let’s see how to choose trees for bonsai.

Eurya Bonsai

Although today we find plants in bonsai trays that, without a doubt, the old masters would not look favorably on, the reality is that this is an evolving world. The basic techniques are maintained, but the characteristics that a tree must have are not only those that were required before, but now it is also possible to work with slightly different species. In any case, if you do not have much experience, I recommend that you follow the »rules» of the Classical School of Bonsai , which determines that they must have:

  • Small leaves , such as those of Ficus, Acer, Citrus, or conifers.
  • A defined style , that is, the trunk must have movement, and its branches must develop in such a way that it reminds us of a tree in nature. 
  • A woody trunk at least 2cm thick (the thicker the better). Succulents and herbaceous plants are not allowed.
  • Healthy root system , that is, it should not have black or rotten roots.
Ficus microcarpa bonsai

Knowing this, we can now go to a nursery to choose our future work. Of course, if you do not find any that have the aforementioned characteristics, you should not worry. You can always buy the one you like the most, plant it in a colander with akadama for a year so that the trunk thickens, and after that time start working with its branches.

Enjoy working with your tree 

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