Bonsai is the art of growing a tree, shrub or plant in miniature form. Avid pruning and care are required to maintain its healthy miniature form. The selection of the appropriate plant for bonsai is as important as the care it requires. Not only is the selection important, the plant's natural growth pattern and intended method of care and attention also should be taken into consideration. Though trees are popular bonsai selections, plants can also be successful bonsai.
The Jade is an evergreen succulent that prefers a warm, tropical environment. This requirement makes it ideal for the indoor growing environment. The foliage of the jade varies from dark green to a reddish purple. The jade's succulent nature allows the plant to survive for long periods without water. The plant should be watered lightly and should always be allowed to dry out completely between watering. This will reduce the potential for overwatering.
The Fukien Tea plant is an evergreen that prefers warm climates with higher humidity levels. This tropical plant produces oval, dark-green foliage with small, white flowers. The flowers have a light scent and can bloom continuously throughout the year. The plant is easily pruned and heals quickly. Ideal for the indoor environment, the Fukien tea will not tolerate cold weather.
The hardy Satsuki Azalea is a flamboyant plant that can be ideal for bonsai. This plant produces flowers in the late spring and midwinter. Though it prefers a warm climate, the Satsuki Azalea can tolerate cooler climates and refers partial shade to full direct sunlight. This hardy plant, however, requires protection from frost.
The Sea Grape is a slow-growing plant that develops large foliage and a thick trunk. The semi-tropical plant prefers warm climates with partial shade to full sunlight. This plant has a high drought tolerance and produces inconspicuous white flowers in the spring and winter. The plant produces large evergreen foliage that turns colors in the fall. It has an ability to rapidly heal from pruning and pinching. This ability allows the successful trimming of foliage that will heal itself and remain on the plant.
The desert rose brings together the classic rose style with the miniature form of bonsai. This woody plant requires regular watering and should never be permitted to dry out. Though continuous moisture is required, the desert rose bonsai cannot tolerate over-watering. Requiring avid care, the desert rose is the ideal bonsai for the attentive grower. The plant requires full sunlight and should be pruned lightly, only once or twice each year as the plant heals slowly.