A juniper bonsai

If you’re eager to dip your toes into the art of bonsai, welcome aboard! Let’s keep it casual, a bit like chatting over coffee, as we delve into some simple yet eye-opening tips for bonsai newcomers.

I

First things first, don’t rush to the nearest garden store to grab any tree that catches your eye. Pause and think. You see, getting started with bonsai is easy, but truly appreciating its charm? Well, that’s a journey, my friend, and everyone’s trail is unique.

Now, if you’re lucky enough to live near a mountain or a wilderness area, you’ve got yourself a fantastic starting point! Foraging for your own plant can be incredibly rewarding. But for those who don’t have that luxury, garden centers and plant markets are your go-to spots. Choosing a young plant specifically intended for bonsai could fast-track your project, saving you months or even years of waiting for your masterpiece to form. Another pro tip? Check out bonsai shows or botanical gardens. You’ll not only find some excellent plant choices but also valuable knowledge about bonsai care.

When choosing a tree, it’s smart to think about your lifestyle. If you’re always swamped with work, avoid fast-growing species that require constant care. Your tree should fit into your life, not just aesthetically but also practically. No two trees are the same—even if they get the same amount of water and sunlight, one may flourish while the other wilts. Hey, plants have personalities too!

II

You might be thinking, “What if I mess up?” Here’s the deal: plants are resilient. Even if your bonsai looks more ‘blah’ than ‘wow,’ it can usually bounce back. Think of it as the tree’s version of a bad hair day. So, when you get your new plant, snap a picture. Keep a photo journal of its journey; you’ll be surprised how encouraging it is to look back at how far you’ve both come.

Observation, my friend, is key. Instead of asking, “What should I do now?” as soon as you bring your plant home, just watch it for a while. New environments can be stressful for plants too. A little water to keep the soil moist, and you’re set for some quality observing. Feel the soil, touch the leaves, lift the pot before and after watering—it can tell you a lot about the plant’s overall health. Your fingertips can become your most valuable gardening tool.


After a couple of weeks of observation, you’ll likely have some valuable insights, maybe even some delightful surprises. Like that old saying—stick a twig in the ground, and it might just grow into a tree. Bonsai isn’t so different. A bit of tender loving care, and you’ll have your own table-top marvel in no time.

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