Common Types of Bonsai Trees

Bonsai can live several hundred years depending on the level of care they receive.

Bonsai can live several hundred years depending on the level of care they receive.

Bonsia isn't a particular kind of flower, tree or plant. It's a miniaturization method ancient Chinese gardeners used to control the size of potted trees, much to the delight of their royal clients. Evidence of bonsai dates back 1,200 years, but this artistic style of growing may have been in use even earlier. Today, bonsai growers regularly use some common types of trees for their living artworks.

Basic Styles

When choosing what form your bonsai will take, there are basic growing styles that are easily recognizable among bonsai gardeners. The first, and most treasured in ancient Asian gardens, is the formal upright. This style is defined by its straight trunk and the sharp triangular silhouette formed by the tree's branches and foliage. Informal upright bonsai have trunks that are allowed to twist and bend. Slanting styles are similar to the formal upright, but the tree is grown at an angle. Cascade and semi-cascading are bonsai growing styles where the tree tip grows at a curve, flush with the trunk. The forest grove and clump styles represent an orchard or grove of trees.

Evergreen Bonsai

When shopping for a bonsai starter, amateur and experienced growers often select hearty evergreens. The bald cypress, with its primeval look and feathery branches, makes a good indoor or outdoor example. Juniper, especially Chinese juniper, Chinese bird plum, holly, Hinoki cypress and the Japanese white pine are popular with growers. ProFlowers offers beautifully clipped, evergreen bonsai, perfectly suited for a home or office. Instructions and tools are included with some bonsai selections.

Fruity and Flowering Trees

Professionally manicured flowering trees will have tiny flowers to match the size of their plant's miniature branches. Flowering trees like the wisteria, camellia, azalea and magnolia make exotic-looking bonsai. Other common flowering types include crab apple, lavender and hibiscus. Almost any fruit or flowering tree with a woody trunk can be molded into a unique and interesting bonsai centerpiece. Some bonsai purists prefer growing specimens from jade and bamboo plants.

Herbs and Exotics as Bonsai

A fragrant herb bonsai will brighten up an empty window sill and fill the air with pleasant aromas. Also, herbal types tend to grow faster than slow growing evergreens or fruit trees. Common herbal bonsai are grown from plants like sweet bay, woody rosemary and geraniums. ProFlowers has a potted sago palm sculpted in the bonsai style. Other exotic examples are grown from the ponytail palm, ficus and queen palms.

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