A Bonsai tree is the result of years of painstakingly training and caring for a growing sapling until it resembles a small-scale replica of a regular tree you might find growing naturally outside.
Bonsais, as evidenced by Mr. Miyagi in “The Karate Kid,” also make impressive decorations for your house, your study, or even your office.
Some Bonsai trees are over 800 years old and have been passed down for generations, so if you take care of your tree correctly, you have the potential to be a part of cultivating a family heirloom.
Since not all plants love to grow inside, read on to learn more about how you can successfully care for a bonsai tree from your house or office building.
Can a Bonsai Tree Live in an office?
A bonsai tree can live in an office, but the well-being of your bonsai will depend on the specific species of tree you are trying to grow. Unless you take proper care of your bonsai, certain species that are not well suited for office-like environments are at a potential risk of dying.
So, the question is then which species like to grow inside. If specific species are well-suited for office environments, then this makes the process of growing a bonsai in an office much more feasible.
Which Bonsai Trees Like to Grow Inside?
You may be surprised to learn that a bonsai tree is not the plant version of a teacup poodle. Bonsai trees are not a different genre of tree but are actually the art form of cultivating a regular tree so it looks like a smaller version of the full size. Therefore, you can make a bonsai tree out of a lot of different tree types.
Some Bonsai species prefer to live in a greenhouse, which provides them with plenty of sunlight and the benefits of being outdoors without exposing them to harsh frosts.
Other species like to live in more stable environments, like what you can provide inside your house or office building.
However, since Bonsais are just regular trees trained to be small, they usually like to live outside where they can experience all four seasons.
Most trees need to go into a dormant state during late fall and winter for their growth cycle to be healthy and normal. Your indoor office likely has a set, slightly drier temperature than the elements outside.
Because of this, there are several tropical and subtropical species of tree that you can get to grow successfully inside your office.
Provided you can imitate the sunny, slightly humid environment of where these species’ larger family members like to live, you can successfully grow certain Bonsai trees inside your office, such as
- Ficus Bonsai
- Carmona Bonsai
- Chinese Elm Bonsai
For plants that require humid conditions, placing a humidifier somewhere close by in the office can replicate the necessary conditions for your bonsai to thrive.
The Ficus Bonsai tree is the best choice for beginner indoor cultivators. Trees in general require a certain amount of sunlight and humidity level to be successful, and this forgiving Bonsai is very tolerant to lower humidity levels.
Keeping your Bonsai tree happy is essential, and in addition to some special tools, a few basic musts are:
- Avoiding overwatering and underwatering. Stay in the Goldilocks zone!
- Mimicking a stable, humid environment
- Providing enough sunlight, either natural, artificial, or both
- Gently bending or wiring the branches to grow where you want
It is worth mentioning that it is not a good idea to keep your Bonsai in a windowless office or room as it needs sunlight to grow correctly and thrive.
While outdoor climates are difficult to replicate indoors, regardless of what part of the world you live in, it is not impossible. With a little work, people have cultivated Bonsai trees indoors for centuries.
Even though this species is good for beginners, a Bonsai tree is more like a small child or a pet. You need to be an active part of keeping it happy and healthy or it will not survive.
Bonsais can be temperamental and it is important to avoid watering on a schedule. Most plants do not like sitting in water, so only water when your tree needs it.
Why Not Grow All Bonsai Trees Inside?
Nontropical trees will not grow correctly inside your office or house, as certain temperate species of trees need to have a dormant period during the winter for their healthy growth cycle.
As outdoor trees in climates with all four seasons have leaves that change color, fall off, and grow back, so will miniature trees.
If you are keeping a temperate Bonsai tree indoors, the tree is less likely to experience the temperature and light changes that occur outside. Even if you are able to perfectly master the outside humidity inside your home or office, other factors will cause your tree to become confused and eventually suffer and die.
This is why it is so important to know what kind of Bonsai tree you have.
For example, if you are trying to grow a tropical Bonsai tree outside, with the sharp climate fluctuations of the state of Vermont, you could not expect that tree to be successful and survive.
The same is true on the other end of the spectrum with keeping temperate trees inside.
Your indoor Bonsai tree will be living in a more or less stable environment. Therefore, you need a tree species that likes to grow in a stable environment, and not one that prefers to experience all four seasons. Some species of Bonsai trees that do not like growing indoors are:
- Juniper Bonsai
- Pine Bonsai
- Japanese Maple Bonsai
If possible, you should avoid growing these species of bonsai trees inside an office space. These bonsai species are at a greater risk of dying because of the incompatible weather conditions of office spaces.
Tips to Keep Your Bonsai Thriving Indoors
Successfully growing a Bonsai tree is an art form and is one of the most temperamental plants you can keep indoors.
Since your bonsai tree will need a lot of attention from you, it is best to only consider cultivating a Bonsai if you are willing to treat it like a part-time job. The payoff is worth it if you are willing to put forth the love and devotion.
Your office or room is likely artificially temperature controlled with heat or air conditioning. In order to mimic the humidity of a tropical or subtropical climate, your bonsai will really love sitting on top of a humidity tray, as well as getting misted a few times each day. Make sure the tree is sitting on a barrier to avoid too much humidity.
A humidity tray is basically a waterproof plastic, metal, or coated ceramic shallow dish that you fill with rocks and water to provide a more humid environment for indoor plants.
The rocks keep the plant from sitting in water and becoming overwatered, and the result is that the plant is in a healthier environment.
You should not attempt to grow your Bonsai tree in a windowless room as a lack of sunlight will cause your tree to become weak and suffer.
Place the plant in a window facing south and supplement the tree with full-spectrum fluorescent lighting for 10 hours a day to boost its growing process. Pay attention to what your tree responds to.
Why Are Bonsai Trees Small might be an interesting article for you!
Bonsai trees are some of the most challenging and beautiful forms of nature you can find. Finding the right bonsai tree can really contribute to an office space.
When your Bonsai tree is happy, you will have a flourishing tiny tree in your life and perhaps in your office.
If your Bonsai tree is suffering, you will know as the leaves or branches will be droopy, yellowed, or weak. There is quite a learning curve to keeping your Bonsai happy and healthy, so do not become discouraged if your first efforts are not successful.
With a little knowledge, practice, and time, your Bonsai tree can become a conversation piece, a companion, and a family heirloom to share with generations to come.