The Beginner’s Guide to Bonsai Trees

Bonsai Trees are small plants crafted to mimic miniature trees. Bonsais are perfect for those who love trees, but may not have the big space for them! There are many different styles of bonsai trees with different care methods. This blog goes over basic bonsai care, you may want to do more research for full information on your specific bonsai type. As always, feel free to stop by Farmer John’s to talk to a greenhouse associate! 


Bonsai is the ancient art form of growing and cultivating a plant that mimics the look of mini trees. They’re intended to be miniature landscapes in a pot. Although the art of bonsai is often associated with Japan, it actually first originated in China then made its way eastward to Korea then Japan. When Bonsai were first introduced in China they were seen as a status symbol among the elite society. Depending on different cultural beliefs, Bonsai are a symbol of harmony, balance, patience and good luck. 


Before picking out your perfect tree, know that there are many different varieties of bonsai with different care methods. Make sure you identify whether your bonsai prefers the indoors or outdoors. Here are some of the popular types we carry at Farmer John’s. 

Juniper Bonsai Tree (Juniperus)

First is the Juniper, this is the most common type of outdoor bonsai tree. Juniper trees are a pretty popular choice of bonsai due to their ease of care and attractive foliage. Junipers are flexible and easy to shape. This type needs full sun and well drained bonsai soil. As with most bonsai, they require regular watering to keep the soil moist, however don’t allow them to get waterlogged.

Ficus Bonsai Tree

Ficus actually covers hundreds of different ficus variations! Ficus are for indoor growing (unless your weather is warm enough) and love sunlight, but don’t need as much sunlight as other varieties. They are very forgiving, perfect for a beginner gardener.

Jade Bonsai Tree 

The Jade Bonsai is very low maintenance compared to other bonsai trees. Their leaves are glossy, deep green and oval shaped. Much like the popular jade plant succulent. Since they’re part of the succulent family, Jade’s are used to being in drought conditions which is great for those who under-water.

Chinese Elm Bonsai Tree

Chinese Elms tend to grow in warmer temperatures and will not tolerate cold temperatures. That being said they’re best being grown inside. It’s a good choice for beginners because they are slow growing and tolerant.

Ming Bonsai Tree

The Ming Bonsai has a very unique look to it, it’s leaves look like little shamrocks and it grows straight up! They are fabulous indoor bonsai. They are great for environments with lower light conditions since direct sunlight isn’t as important to this type, although temperature and humidity is. They thrive in warmer temperatures (between 65-85 degrees fahrenheit) and love humidity.


Taking care of your bonsai isn’t too difficult, but it’s important to know the basic care tips. Remember, each type may need a slightly different care method. First off, you want a good spot for your bonsai. They need a lot of light, a south-facing window works best. Keep it somewhere with a consistent temperature. You don’t want any significant drops in temperature or cold drafts. While the bonsai we carry are mostly indoor varieties, most bonsai will benefit from the fresh air and sun in the warmer months. Constantly monitor your bonsai when watering. Bonsai are typically in small pots, which doesn’t add much room for moisture retention. Water as needed instead of watering on a schedule.

Bonsai aren’t just meant to survive, but to grow and flourish with beauty. Keep this in mind and we’ll see you soon to pick out your perfect bonsai!