buying a bonsai

Types of Bonsai

The first thing you need to understand before you buy a bonsai is what type of Bonsai is available.

Bonsai can be classified from three different species:


Native to the hot climates of the Southern Hemispheres, these are tender plants that require high temperatures and high humidity.
In the Northern Hemisphere countries like Ireland or Great Britain these would be best grown in a heated greenhouse or house were temperatures were not allowed to go below 9 or 10’ C at anytime of the year.

Typical trees in this category are:

Australian Silver Oakmugo pine in cascade
Fukien tree
Jasmine Orange
Tree of a thousand stars (Serissa Foetida)
Yew Podocarpus


These plants are typically found in the warmer regions around the Mediterranean. In the growing season they like high temperatures but in the dormant or resting season these plants will tolerate cooler conditions. As a ‘Half Hardy’ plant to low a temperature or frost will kill them.
As with tropical plants these also would be Indoor Bonsai.

Typical trees in this category are:

Bambooschilli pepper bonsai
Chinese-crape Myrtle
Chinese Elm
Japanese Elderberry
Pea tree
Olive tree

From the list of Indoor Bonsai above the most popular varieties available in garden center’s are the Serissa, Fukien tree and Fiscus.

Apart from the species above another variety is available as a Bonsai and I would recommend this variety as a good starting range to learn Bonsai.


These trees are native to us and some varieties can be found in parts of Japan. As outdoor trees they will tolerate lower and in some cases below freezing temperatures. You would class these trees as ‘Hardy’.

Typical trees in this category are:

Pinesbeech bonsai
Horse Chestnut
Japanese Holly
Winter Jasmine