Most of the time, people grow bonsais indoors.
However, certain species of trees are better suited for inside growth.
Thus, if you want your bonsai to stay in your home, you should look for the bonsais that grow the best indoors.
The following bonsai species will do the best when grown inside:
- Carmona (Fukien Tea)
- Chinese Elm
- Schefflera (Umbrella Tree)
Each of these subtropical species will thrive indoors year-round.
Just keep in mind that most indoor bonsais are broad-leaf evergreens rather than conifers.
In this article, we’ll look at the five bonsai species that will grow the best inside your home and some tips on how to grow bonsais inside.
5 Best Bonsais to Grow Indoors
1. Ficus Bonsai
Ficus bonsais are easily the most popular indoor bonsai.
And they are popular primarily because ficuses are resilient and hearty, making them an excellent choice for beginner bonsai enthusiasts.
Plus, unlike some other subtropical species, ficuses do not require high humidity, making them ideal for drier climates.
However, a ficus does need bright light to full sun.
So, if your ficus tolerates movement (some don’t), you should place them outdoors if temperatures are above 60℉/15℃.
Otherwise, keep them near a window.
You should also remember that if your ficus drops leaves, it may need more light.
Furthermore, ficuses require watering whenever the soil gets dry.
They need decent levels of moisture as well.
Thus, you can mist the tree daily if you feel it needs more humidity.
Additionally, don’t forget to re-pot your ficus every other spring.
And keep in mind that fresh soil and root trimming will ensure your plant gets all the nutrients it needs to develop into a thriving bonsai.
Jade plants are vibrant green succulents that hold a great deal of water in their leaves.
They do well in full sun in temperatures above 40℉/4℃ and do not require high humidity.
Also, because they are succulents, they will not need watering as frequently as other bonsai.
So, you must make sure your pot has adequate drainage and that you avoid over-watering.
Or, your jade plant may not be as healthy as you’d like it to be.
Jade is also a suitable species for beginners, as it grows well with adequate sun and water and rarely attracts pests.
You will need to re-pot jade every other spring.
Just make sure you adequately drain the soil when re-potting and that you don’t overwater your plant.
Then, if you have grown your plant in sufficient light, your jade will develop a reddish-pink tint around its leaves, making it a striking choice for an indoor bonsai.
3. Carmona (Fukien Tea)
A Carmona will require the warmest temperatures of any indoor bonsai, thriving in temperatures above 70℉/21℃.
So, you can easily place the tree outdoors in the summer, provided the temperature doesn’t drop much overnight.
In the winter, though, make sure your tree is away from doors or windows that might create drafts.
You also may want to use a grow light to ensure the tree receives enough sunlight during the day.
Furthermore, you must keep Carmona damp, but remember that it will not tolerate overwatering.
Thus, you have to plant your Carmona with adequate drainage.
Re-pot Carmona every two years in the spring, but keep in mind that its roots are very delicate, so you must trim it with care.
While Carmona is a little fussier than the hearty ficus or jade, it is a beautiful indoor plant that can produce tiny flowers with small red or green berries all year long.
4. Chinese Elm
If you do not have a lot of bright sun in your home (or if you have other bonsais in the sunny spots!), a Chinese elm might be the right choice for you.
Because while it thrives in full sun, it can also tolerate partial shade.
Chinese elm is hearty and can enjoy cooler temperatures than most other indoor bonsai species, though in most cases, you should keep these plants away from frost.
You will also need to monitor your Chinese elm’s moisture levels, as drought and overwatering could cause it to die.
Otherwise, they are a good choice for beginners.
Chinese elm grows quickly, so it is an excellent pick if you want to practice your skills at pruning and shaping a bonsai with wire.
Also, you typically won’t need to re-pot an established Chinese elm as frequently as other indoor bonsai species.
However, Chinese elms often develop complex root systems that you will need to prune with care.
Finally, unlike the other indoor bonsai mentioned here, the Chinese elm is a deciduous tree and may drop its leaves in the winter.
5. Schefflera (Umbrella Tree)
The Schefflera is a unique, eye-catching choice for an indoor bonsai.
Called the “Umbrella Tree” for its canopies of waxy leaves, it often grows more like a shrub with thin trunks rather than a tree with a central trunk.
When it comes to caring for your plant, while you will need to prune Schefflera like other bonsais, remember that this bonsai’s wood does not generally do well with wiring and shaping.
Also, you should know that Schefflera is an excellent choice if you don’t have many sunny spots because while it enjoys bright light, it can also thrive in the shade.
Ideally, you should keep this plant at around 70℉/21℃, but it can tolerate anything above 50℉/10℃.
Lastly, you need to re-pot Schefflera every other year in the spring.
A Few Tips for Growing Bonsai Indoors
First off, all indoor bonsai will grow best with appropriate fertilizer.
Species vary in the type and amount of fertilizer they require, so it is best to research what is best for your plant.
Additionally, all indoor bonsai will need the right amount of light (most require bright light to full sun).
Thus, you may need to figure out what configuration of lights is best for your home.
Yet, if you don’t have a sunny window, you can supplement with growth lights for all or part of the day.
Further, keep in mind that the humidity in your home may change with the season.
Heating or air conditioning can also disrupt the amount of humidity in your home’s air.
So, if your plant becomes dry, you can mist it.
Conversely, if your home is relatively humid, you’ll need to check often for fungus development.
Watch out for pests as well.
Misting or keeping a plant in high humidity may be an excellent way to reduce the threat of indoor pests.
Keeping your plant healthy will also avoid most pest issues.
A healthy bonsai can add a lovely hint of color to any home decor, and you can enjoy a bonsai all year round.
But, to grow a healthy bonsai indoors, you’ll need to pick the right species and care for your plant to the best of your ability.
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