Types of bonsai for beginners

Mastering the technique of bonsai is a job full of achievements, but also failures. When a person decides to buy a small tree that is being grown in a tray, he has to know that problems can always arise, whether he has previous experience or not.

To avoid them, it is important to choose those species that are resistant and that can live well in our area because that will be the most suitable type of bonsai for beginners and the one that will surely make us want to know more about this world. And these are just a few examples.


  • 1 Bonsai of Acer rubrum (red maple)
  • 2 Bonsai of Olea europaea (olive tree)
  • 3 Ficus benjamina Bonsai
  • 4 Bonsai of Ulmus (elm)

Acer rubrum (red maple) bonsai

Acer rubrum bonsai

If you are in an area where it is very hot in summer (maximum temperature of 38ºC) and you want to have a maple bonsai, I recommend Acer rubrum , which is a deciduous tree native to eastern North America that turns red during the autumn season. It is not complicated, but it must be grown outdoors in semi-shade or avoiding the central hours of the day so that it “does not burn”.

Maple watering needs to be frequent, especially if you use akadama or similar substrates. Withstands cold and frost down to -8ºC .

Olea europaea bonsai (olive tree)

olive bonsai

The olive tree is an evergreen tree that grows in the Mediterranean region. It is very drought resistant , and with it you can learn a lot as it adapts to several different styles: woodland, formal upright, windswept. It likes the sun and a soil that drains well , such as the aforementioned akadama; although you can use universal growing medium mixed with 30% perlite.

Its ideal temperature range is -7ºC minimum and 40ºC maximum .

Ficus benjamina bonsai

Ficus benjamina bonsai

The Ficus benjamina and, in fact, all the Ficus, are plants widely used for bonsai. F. benjamina is especially recommended for beginners as it has smaller leaves and is easier to work with . It must be placed in a sunny position, although it can also be in semi-shade if it receives more light than shade.

The only “negative” thing is that it does not resist drought but neither does it resist waterlogging, so you have to water three or four times a week in summer and every 2 or 3 days the rest of the year. Supports from -6ºC to 38ºC .

Ulmus Bonsai (elm)

elm bonsai

The elm, like the Zelkova, is a most resistant deciduous tree: it withstands drought, heals pruning wounds well and grows quite fast . Also, having tiny leaves makes it very, very easy to work with. You just have to place it in an area where it is exposed to direct sun, a substrate that drains well and give it three or four weekly waterings in summer and two or three the rest of the year.

Withstands cold and frost down to -17ºC , and high temperatures up to 38ºC.

Types of bonsai for beginners

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