Bonsai trees are simply normal sized trees that have been grown and pruned to be miniature. These trees carry the same characteristics and growth patterns as their full-sized counterparts, just on a smaller scale. There is a vast selection of trees that can be grown as bonsai trees, although some are easier to grow as bonsais than others.
Succulent trees and plants are excellent selections for busy bonsai enthusiasts. These plants are tropical and semitropical natives that are easily dwarfed by natural conditions, such as extreme heat and little water. They store water in their foliage, which allows them to go long periods without irrigation. Some healthy succulents, such as jade and aloe plants, can go as long as three to six months without water. Succulent plants cannot tolerate wet feet and require fast-draining soils for best growth. These trees and plants thrive in full, bright sunlight but can adapt to partially shaded locations. Along with jade and aloe, succulent bonsai selections can include the money plant, Jupiter's beard (Jovibarba Iovis barbam), and sempevivums rosettes.
Evergreen bonsai trees keep their leaves all year long. These trees develop needled foliage that range in colors from rich, dark greens to mild, greenish-yellows. Evergreen bonsai trees require full sunlight, loamy soils and regular irrigation. Unlike succulent bonsai trees, evergreen bonsais require water-retentive soils with their well-drained containers. They cannot tolerate wet feet but also cannot tolerate dry soils. Popular evergreen bonsai trees include pine, juniper, spruce, azalea and boxwood bonsai.
Deciduous trees shed their leaves at the end of each growing season and replace them with new leaves in the spring. These defoliating trees are known to take on a new appearance with each season. Many of these trees change colorful hues during this process, showing light green foliage in the spring, rich green foliage in the summer and colorful hues of orange, copper and yellow in the fall. These characteristics make them enticing bonsai selections. Popular deciduous bonsai trees include the Japanese maple, elm, wisteria, zelkova and beech. Deciduous bonsai trees require well-drained and evenly moist soils that are neither too wet nor too dry.
Fruit trees are an infrequent bonsai but can be enjoyable challenges for the more experienced enthusiast. The most commonly selected fruit bonsais include the peach, cherry, apple and lemon bonsais. The perfect fruit bonsai will bloom miniature-sized flowers and produced proportionately-sized, edible fruit. Since these miniature trees require the same amount of chilling hours as their full-sized counterparts, you should select your fruit bonsai according to your hardiness.