Bonsai trees can transform any plain space into one of peace, harmony, and spirituality. Known for looking like full-sized trees, bonsai trees are actually small shrubs pruned to give them a mature appearance despite their small size.
If you are looking to spruce up your indoor space, it is important that you understand the necessary conditions to care for a bonsai tree. While some species need to be maintained in an outdoor space, some Bonsai trees can successfully grow indoors.
What Bonsai Trees Can Be Kept Indoors?
It is important to carefully select a bonsai tree according to its specific needs and the indoor environment you are able to provide. While bonsai trees are adaptable, certain species fare better for those newer to caring for plants.
In order to choose a bonsai, the following should be considered:
- The suitability of the environment you can provide
- Access to sunlight
- Necessary temperatures
Below is a brief overview of six different kinds of indoor bonsai trees and their specific care requirements.
If this is your first attempt at keeping indoor bonsai trees, or any plants for that matter, the Ficus variety is a great beginner plant. Ficus bonsai plants are hardy and known for their durability. Ficus bonsai trees offer a low-maintenance care regimen.
Ficus Bonsai should:
- Be kept about 50 degrees Fahrenheit
- Receive adequate amounts of water
If these two basic requirements are met, they will thrive. Ficus Bonsai is one of the easiest species to grow.
Chinese Elm Bonsai
The Chinese Elm Bonsai is another one of the more popular varieties for beginners. They offer a classic feel and are the traditional trees you envision when you think of Bonsai. These hardy plants can even survive if they are over or under-watered, unlike some of their more high-maintenance counterparts.
Most importantly, Chinese Elm Bonsai need:
- Plenty of sunlight available
- Cool living space
If you keep your living space dark, this plant may have a hard time. Lots of light is necessary for the survival of this species.
Fukien Tea Bonsai
A traditionally indoor Bonsai tree, the Fukien variety is perfect for those who like a bit of history. Before Bonsai was named Bonsai, it was known as Penjing art, which is an ancient Chinese art form depicting trees in miniature form. Penjing most commonly uses the Fukien Tea Bonsai in its art form, making it perfect for those who love sticking with something more original.
In terms of care, Fukien Tea Bonsai trees do require a lot of sunlight to thrive. Temperatures should be kept at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit and unlike the Chinese Elm, you need to be careful not to overwater the Fukien Tea Bonsai. These plants need to be kept adequately watered when the soil is dry, but they do not do well with excess water.
Hawaiian Umbrella Bonsai
The Hawaiian Umbrella Bonsai is another one that is perfect for those who struggle to keep plants alive. This plant can survive with little or lots of light, making it the perfect indoor plant for any environment. In addition, this plant requires little water. The plant should be watered enough to keep the soil from drying out, but otherwise requires little care.
The Crassula, or Jade, Bonsai is another fantastic indoor choice. Though sensitive to cold, the Crassula Bonsai can be grown either outdoor or indoor, giving the owner plenty of agency when it comes to the growth of the plant. This plant has a thick trunk and will sometimes blossom with white flowers, adding simple beauty to any room.
Snow Rose Bonsai
The Snow Rose Bonsai is a visually appealing option for an indoor tree. This tree is known to produce small white flowers throughout the year. While beautiful, the Snow Rose Bonsai is a bit more challenging than some of the other varieties to care for.
The Snow Rose Bonsai needs to be regularly pruned in order to keep its shape and continue growth. Watering also needs to be done carefully, as the Snow Rose Bonsai does not do well in drenched conditions. While the soil should never be left to dry out, the Snow Rose Bonsai hates wet roots. Daily watering is not a necessity for this plant.
Generalized Care Requirements for Indoor Bonsai
Indoor Bonsai species are relatively easy to care for, but they do have some specifications that make them differ from traditional houseplants. Bonsai plants are potted indoor plants, meaning they need overseeing to ensure the nutrients and water they receive are adequate for their success.
Particular attention needs to be paid to:
- Light Requirements
Bonsai are considered tropical plants, meaning their light and water intake need to be monitored so the plant gets what it needs.
One downfall of growing plants indoors is the lack of natural sunlight. All plants need natural sunlight, bonsai plants included. Sunlight helps plants to grow, so your bonsai plants may not thrive if they do not have some access to sunlight each day. If your home has a large window with natural sunlight, that may be the best window for your bonsai plant.
If you do not have natural sunlight and the weather is too cold for your bonsai plant, an artificial plant lamp can be purchased. These lamps create artificial sunlight to mimic the natural lighting your plant is missing out on. These lamps also give off a bit of warmth, making them a smart idea for cooler homes. Bonsai plants do best in warm temperatures.
Humidity is Necessary
While most people cringe at the thought of humidity, tropical plants need it for their survival. Purchasing or making a humidity tray is one way to introduce your plant to the necessary humidity. These trays use pebbles and water to keep moisture around your Bonsai tree at all times. It is also suggested that you mist your plant on occasion.
Watering Your Bonsai Plant
Always refer to your plants specific watering requirements, since some bonsai plants are touchy when it comes to being over or under water. Due to their touchy nature, only water when needed, which may not necessarily be every day. As a general rule of thumb, avoid letting your soil dry out, but do not allow water to sit in the pot. Good drainage is key.
Bring the Heat
Bonsai trees are tropical and therefore need high temperatures. Bonsai trees do best in temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why many species are perfect for indoor growing. Ensure your bonsais continue to thrive throughout the colder months by keeping them away from drafty windows and doors.
Recommended Article: When to Start Training Bonsai
Now that you have the necessary information, it is time to pick your new bonsai plant. Bringing this ancient art form into your home can transform your living space into a peaceful environment. Bonsai plants make the perfect starter plants for those looking to cultivate a green thumb because of their hardy nature.
No matter which bonsai plant you choose, make sure that your living arrangements and the time you have available are suitable to plant sustainability and growth. With a bit of patience, care, and pruning shears, your bonsai should be a part of your family for years to come.