The literal translation of the word ‘Bonsai’ means ‘tree in pot’. This may be a simplified way of summing up the cultivation of the miniature tree, however it does hit the nail on the head, so to speak. Of course the art of bonsai is a much larger topic and requires a bit more explanation than the simple translation above. Bonsai is all about scale, and balance. Bonsai is an attempt at creating the perfect miniature of a large tree (one you may see in a woodland). Each branch holds literally thousands of leaves and the weight of the foliage weighs the branches down to create interesting shapes. In bonsai we try to mimic these naturally occurring shapes and the scale of the trunk and branches to the leaves. The smaller the leaves the bigger the branches appear and this is very desirable when creating a bonsai.
Some people interpret the care of bonsai on a transcendental level as the intermingling of spirits and a way to communicate with the earth. Many view it simply as a horticultural pastime; one that requires no more than a little common garden sense and a measure of artistic creativity.
How one chooses to practice bonsai is very much up to the individual and provided the horticultural needs of the tree are being met, the tree should continue to grow and change over time.
Just like a garden, a bonsai is never finished, never fixed in time to look and feel exactly the same. It is always growing and changing and opening up possibilities for styling and shaping. Time is essential and patience.
The art of Bonsai has been practiced for centuries and rules for styling and shaping have been passed down over time. Although the ‘rules’ set out a framework for bonsai it is important to remember that they are just guidelines and ultimately your bonsai is your piece of art, so you can style it how you wish. Many bonsai styles are listed on our ‘Bonsai Styling’ page.
All trees, whether cultivated in pots or in the open ground, grow naturally outdoors in their country of origin.
The trees we classify as indoor may be grown indoors as they require a minimum temperature of 50F / 10C, and would therefore not tolerate winter conditions in the UK.
The Chinese Elm is exceptional as it may be cultivated indoors or outdoors [min. temp. – 14]. Kept indoors they will keep their leaves for most of the year – dropping some, or all, of their foliage for brief periods, usually in response to the diminishing light and temperature levels that occur in autumn.
Kept outdoors they drop all foliage in autumn, coming back into full, vigorous growth in spring.
Indoor Species as available:
A fantastic Bonsai for any beginner due to its hardy nature and fast growth. This species will live indoors or outdoors and can handle a very cold frost. When kept in the right conditions it will grow fast, giving a Bonsai enthusiast good practice at pruning. It is a deciduous tree so will drop leaves in Autumn/Winter. It also roots really well from cuttings, so with a little Bonsai Compost you can grow many more little Bonsai’s of your own. The Chinese Elm is part of the Elm family.
We stock this species in a large range of sizes and prices – starting from £12.50
Japanese Holly (Ilex Crenata)
A beautiful Bonsai tree offering dark green, waxy leaves that flowers in Summer. Capable of adapting to a range of climates due to its hardy nature. This species can live indoors or outdoors and will handle a frost. It is a slower grower compared to the Chinese Elm and therefore requires less pruning. The Japanese Holly is an evergreen tree so won’t lose its leaves in Autumn/Winter and it produces beautiful white flowers in the Summer. Some even produce berries (not edible ones though!). The Japanese Holly is part of the Ilex family.
We stock this species in a range of prices and sizes – starting from £20.00
Another beautiful species of Bonsai tree which will live indoors or outdoors and will handle a light frost due to its hardy nature. Podocarpus is an evergreen tree with pointed, leathery, dark green leaves. This species will flower in summer with small, creamy white flowers. A fast growing tree when in the right conditions. The species likes to be in a well lit position and doesn’t like to be over-watered. The Podocarpus tree is part of the conifer family and is often referred to as the ‘Buddist Pine’.
We stock this species starting from £25.00
Loropetalum CURRENTLY OUT OF STOCK
A stunning species of Bonsai tree that boasts rounded, reddish/purple leaves and flowers with vivid fucia pink, stringy flowers in summer. This tree can live indoors or outdoors but will not cope with any frost, so must always be kept above freezing temperatures. Enjoys a well lit position and must be kept watered so it doesn’t dry out. This species of tree is one of the only red leaved Bonsai that can be kept indoors. Loropetalum is part of the Witch Hazel family.
We stock this species starting from £25.00
Variegated Serissa (Tree of a thousand stars)
This beautiful species of Bonsai has a variegated leaf that contrasts green and pale yellow together. The leaf size is small making it ideal for Bonsai and the flowers are just amazing and give it the name ‘tree of a thousand stars’. This species of tree is recommended as living indoors only as it doesn’t like the cold and is most happy in a consistently warm environment. This tree enjoys a bright, well-lit position and requires regular watering (as Bonsai trees do). The Variegated Serissa is part of the Rubiaceae family.
We stock this species starting from £22.50
Azalea (Chinese Rhododendron)
A great species of Bonsai tree offering dark green, waxy leaves and flowers in Summer. Capable of adapting to a range of climates due to its hardy nature; it can live indoors or outdoors and can handle a frost. It has a very fibrous root ball and therefore is a thirsty tree (can dry out quickly in a warm climate), so requires regular watering. The Azalea is an evergreen tree so won’t lose its leaves in Autumn/Winter and it produces beautiful flowers in the Summer. The Azalea is part of the Rhododendron family.
We stock this species starting from £25.00
Outdoor Bonsai, like most full size trees in the UK, prefer the cold over a warm environment, so it is always recommended that an outdoor bonsai tree be kept outdoors.
Outdoor Species as available:
Japanese Maples are a specialty of the nursery, and continue to be available in a range of varieties and prices.
There are many varieties of Maples growing in the Japanese Garden (over 100 varieties) and the leave size, shape and colour comes in all sorts of forms making it one of the most beautiful and fascinating species of tree.
Acers do not like windy environments and will often have their delicate leaves scorched by to much wind. This browning and curling of the tips of the leaves will also occur if too much fierce, direct sunlight is hitting the tree and Japanese Maples will usually prefer somewhere that offers dappled sunlight or protection from the mid-day sun. Finally they don’t like a lot of salt so it can be tricky growing these trees near to the coast (however it is possible if the tree if well protected). Maples are deciduous trees and loose their foliage in Autumn/Winter.
We stock this species starting from £5.00
Japanese White Pine
The Japanese White Pine is a classic, iconic species of Bonsai. Grown in Japan and imported (with authentic white tag). This gorgeous variety is a hardy outdoor species, which will not tolerate living indoors, but can handle a hard frost. Its spiky, green, needle-like foliage is small and therefore perfect for Bonsai, unlike its larger needled Black Pine counterpart. The White Pine will tolerate full sun and windy conditions far better than other Bonsai species such as a Japanese Maple. Typically a White Pine will drop some older foliage for autumn/winter but will remain evergreen with only the 2-3 year old foliage dropping. Pines prefer a very gritty compost, to allow for excellent drainage, and do not like to be kept wet all the time.
We stock this species starting from £120.00
Another outdoor species of Bonsai displaying beautiful spiky foliage. The Mountain Pine, very like the White Pine, will handle a frost and enjoy living outdoors in the U.K. This species will not handle living indoors. It can withstand full sun and windy environments. Enjoying a gritty compost, allowing for excellent drainage, the Mountain Pine doesn’t like to be kept wet all the time. Typically a Pine will drop some older foliage for autumn/winter but will remain evergreen with only the 2-3 year old foliage dropping.
We stock this species starting from £75.00
Japanese Larch is a beautiful conifer, looking very like a pine tree. It’s green needles are small and its branches are very pliable; making it a great tree to wire in to shape, especially for budding Bonsai enthusiasts. This tree is a hardy species and can handle frost and wind fairly well compared with more delicate species such as a Japanese Maple. Larch are deciduous and will loose their foliage in Autumn/Winter.
We stock this species starting from £7.50
Are you looking for a specific species of Bonsai tree?
Drop us an email! Indicate the species that you are interested in with a price guide, and we will advise as to the choice currently available.
A Free Booklet entitled “Introduction & General Care of Bonsai” offered with every tree purchased:
Together with our aftercare service ensures that our customers avoid many of the mistakes commonly experienced by first time bonsai growers.