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What Is The Best Bonsai Tree For Beginners? (5 Reasons)

Bonsai trees come in various forms, but the bottom line is that they all require close care and attention to thrive. 

However, some are a bit easier to look after and shape than others, making them more suited for beginners. 

Most people agree that ficus bonsai trees are the best for beginners. 

Ficus are adaptable, low maintenance, and easy to prune, making them easy to maintain. 

Alternate options that are good for novices include juniper bonsais, Chinese elm bonsais, and jade bonsai trees. 

Keep reading as I highlight why ficus bonsais are best for newbies and which other varieties make good beginner trees. 

Best Bonsai Qualities for Beginners

Before I get into my bonsai plant recommendations for beginners, I want to touch upon the qualities that make a bonsai easy to grow and maintain. 


Aside from being a low-maintenance plant or budget-friendly option, I think that beginners should stick to bonsai trees that bounce back quickly. 

Therefore, you should choose a bonsai variety that won’t wither after missing a couple of waterings and won’t die if its environment isn’t ideal. 

It’s also a good idea to pick a bonsai plant that can survive extreme temperatures, as well as the mistakes you might make as you’re learning how to prune and shape the branches. 

Aesthetic Qualities

Second, I think it’s essential for beginner bonsai growers to be able to have fun with the process. 

So, I recommend picking out a bonsai tree that works well indoors, where you can put it on display for aesthetic purposes. 

My suggestions today will be ideal for these settings. 

Malleable Branches

And, of course, it’s vital to pick out a bonsai tree variety that is malleable, with soft branches that will bend as you shape them. 

You don’t want to immediately jump into caring for a bonsai tree that you can’t use bonsai wiring on, as it will likely be a learning curve. 

4 Best Bonsai Trees for Beginners


Whether you want to grow your first indoor or outdoor bonsai, the ficus variety is generally the best option.

Ficus plants require less maintenance and care and don’t need strict conditions to keep them thriving. 

Furthermore, their ability to grow indoors makes them ideal for those who want to use them ornamentally – like in an office or as home decor.


First off, I want to highlight the juniper shrub as an ideal bonsai choice for beginners. 

Junipers are pretty easy to mold into the bonsai shape with pruning and bonsai wiring.

They also have a signature look that makes them great as decor. 

And although they don’t thrive indoors, juniper bonsai trees are malleable and can take on many designs.

Thus, this plant is excellent for beginners who want to play around with branch shapes and variations without worrying so much about over-pruning, which junipers can handle.

Additionally, juniper shrubs are hardy and can resist cold weather and pests.

Chinese Elm

I find that Chinese elms (Ulmus parvifolia) are a great choice for beginner bonsai care because they’re:

  • Affordable (usually between $30-$60)
  • Semi-evergreen 
  • Small 
  • Adaptable 
  • Easy to prune and shape 


Last but not least, I want to share one of my favorite bonsai trees for beginner growers – the jade bonsai tree. 

Jade is both a succulent (low-watering plant) and an evergreen.

I recommend this mainly to beginners who live in warm or arid (dry) climates so that you don’t have to worry as much about water maintenance. 

Other beginner-friendly qualities of jade include their:

The small leaf jade variety – portulacaria – is ideal if you want to pick out a specific type of jade. 

5 Reasons Ficus Are the Best Bonsai Trees for Beginners

1) Ficus Are Adaptable 

Ficus are generally easy to care for as bonsai trees because they’re malleable, and the softer branches respond well to the pruning and shaping involved in the bonsai practice. 

They are also less prone to snapping, damage, and poor health when you put these design restrictions on their branches.

Further, they’re pretty adaptable when it comes to their environment – that’s why you can grow them both indoors and outdoors. 

While they’ll likely thrive better outdoors, they won’t have as strong of a negative reaction in a dry indoor environment as other bonsai trees might. 

2) Ficus Don’t Mind Small Containers

Ficus also make excellent beginner bonsai trees because they won’t get shocked when you move them into the smaller containers necessary for the bonsai practice. 

Therefore, you have one less step to deal with when caring for your bonsai

3) Ficus Are Low Maintenence 

Furthermore, you don’t have to worry as much about having a strict care regimen for ficus bonsai trees. 

They’re a reasonably low-maintenance plant that can still thrive even if you forget to water them once or twice. 

They’ll also fare just fine if you happen to leave them out in the cold or harsh sun a little bit too long. 

4) Ficus Are Evergreens 

Another beginner-friendly trait of ficus bonsai trees is the fact that they’re an evergreen plant.

These bonsai trees don’t need extensive care as deciduous bonsai trees might.

5) Ficus Are Easy to Prune and Shape 

Pruning and shaping the branches of a ficus bonsai is pretty easy compared to other bonsai varieties. 

These trees are pretty good at bouncing back, even if you’re new to pruning and make a mistake or trim off too much at once. 

Thus, there will be fewer repercussions if you mess up while snipping. 

Which Ficus Are Best for Beginners?

The best types of ficus for beginners are Ficus ginseng (microcarpa) and Ficus retusa.

Final Thoughts

If you’re wondering what the best bonsai trees for beginners are, look no further. 

I hope my list of the best bonsai trees for beginner growers has given you good options to start with – both indoors and outdoors. 

I think that ficus bonsai trees are the best, but if you want to try a different variety, check out jade bonsai, juniper bonsai, and Chinese elm bonsai options.

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