The art of bonsai always fascinates me. While I do not practice the art of it, those small bonsai trees remain a fascination. So, today Plantly looks at some of the best indoor bonsai trees for you to start practicing this ancient art form.
Best Indoor Bonsai Tree Ideas
Many of these indoor bonsai trees live outside when you look at the bonsai species sold online. The tree needs direct sunlight, and many benefit from temperature changes daily to seasonal. It needs more frequent watering with foliage and root pruning than your other indoor plants.
So, it needs the same care as your outdoor tree but can tolerate indoor conditions making them ideal if you want to decorate your office or home with indoor bonsai trees. The concern is that most indoor lights do not provide enough lighting.
So, where you place your tree is essential to receive direct or indirect light. Neither should you expose your indoor bonsai tree to cold or heated temperatures. Still, if you cannot find an ideal spot, grow lamps, or fluorescent lighting can help.
Here are some popular bonsai tree species you can try, and with proper care, you will succeed at this art form.
Ficus Bonsai Tree
Ficus trees are a popular bonsai species; you can find more than 800 species. Still, two of the Ficus bonsai remain ideal for growing in an indoor environment. In addition, the trees have very low maintenance and are ideal for beginners.
The first one you get is the Ficus benjamina, theweeping fig. It is a fast-growing evergreen tree that has a lush growth with interesting roots. You can shape it upright or use the weeping banyan style.
Still, the tree scars easily and takes longer to heal a best grown from smaller trees than using trunk chops from a large tree. Then you have the Ficus neriifolia, known as the willow leaf Ficus. The tree has thin foliage, a robust spreading root system, and twiggy branches.
Some other species are the Ficus retusa; all of these trees produce a milky sap leaking with cuts. You can find some of the bonsai trees growing flowers, but they need unique pollination from insects. The Ficus needs direct sunlight with moist soil but not waterlogged.
You can prune two leaves after you see up to eight leaves growing. The best time to repot is in spring.
Another great bonsai tree indoors is the Ulmus parvifolia, or Chinese elms. The tree is excellent for bonsai beginners and has fast growth. The growth pattern is highly predictable with small leaves, short nodes, and woody trunks.
The Chinese elm is tolerant to over-watering and underwatering compared to most other bonsai species. The tree responds well to wire to train using directional pruning. The Chinese elm grows well in most types of soil but needs to be well-drained to prevent the roots from sitting in water.
You can grow the Chinese elm bonsai from clippings and sprout quickly from seeds. The best part is that the seeds are edible while the fresh leaves taste like lettuce to mix with salad. So you can enjoy the healthy benefits of your tree as well.
Yet, your indoor bonsai will need full sun with moist soil and pruning. Trim the new shoots when you see eight leaf pairs and trim them down to three. You can repot your bonsai tree every two years in early spring.
Dwarf Umbrella Tree
Schefflera arboricola, or the dwarf umbrella tree, has an adorable canopy growth. Many bonsai growers refer to it as the parasol plant or octopus tree. The dwarf umbrella is hardy and makes for an ideal evergreen indoor bonsai tree.
It also looks fabulous in a bonsai pot with enough drainage holes and thrives indoors well. You can train the Hawaiian umbrella tree in different styles like the weeping banyan style or grow exposed roots over rocks.
The dwarf umbrella grows seven to nine leaflet sets with solid growth in high humidity and root bound. The tree can grow aerial roots that reach down to the soi. Furthermore, the dwarf umbrella shape will bud back on the old wood and needs heavy pruning to get the preferred form.
Still, it is a bonsai lover tree that does not develop woody trunks. Yet, the dwarf umbrella does not respond well to wiring compared to the Chinese elm. So, the primary way to shape is with directional pruning and cutting back of younger trees.
Another thing is that the dwarf umbrella can tolerate low humidity to light and can tolerate defoliation once a year. The best is to keep the soil moist without overwatering, which helps to give misting every other day.
The Fukien tea has two fancy botanical names it can go by the Carmona retusa or Ehretia microphylla. When grown outside, it can grow a couple of feet high. Yet, it thrives well indoors, producing small white flowers with small red fruit.
The leaves are small, waxy, and suitable for a formal bonsai upright style. The problem is that when you buy the Fukien tea, it already has a curvy S-shape and is challenging to alter the trunk.
The trunk is thick to bend or use with wire. Furthermore, the Fukien tree needs six hours of sun daily but can thrive indoors with some time spent outside in spring and summer. The Fukien tea is not cold-hardy, so the best place when temperatures drop is inside.
Yet, it needs high humidity, and you may need to provide them with a humidity tray. We recommend watering the soil when dry. You can regularly prune to grow a dance branch and prune back when it grows too long.
The Serissa japonica or snow rose grows a thick trunk with branches producing small leaves and attractive flowers. Some people refer to it as the three of a thousand stars.
Hence, it is part semi to evergreen and does well as an indoor tree. It flowers in every season but more in early spring to late fall. The white flowers are beautiful, and you find the snow rose in pink cultivars.
The twiggy branches you can prune back to two sets of leaves when leggy growth appears. Yet, the snow rose is sensitive to light changes to temperatures and loses some of the foliage when stressed.
The snow rose is a bit of a high-maintenance plant compared to other bonsai.
Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!
I'm a born and bred Capetonian but have lived all over South Africa. For now, my home is a farm in eManzana where I'm surrounded by everything I love, nature. I've been a freelance writer since 2014 and love writing about everything especially plants and landscape architecture. My passion is environmental issues, gardening, and my family.