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Small cascade bonsai in blue pot on stand

About Bonsai

Anyone Can Practice Bonsai

Yes, anyone!

Bonsai is the ancient Japanese practice of cultivating miniature versions of trees in forms that mimic full-grown trees found in nature.  Many people are interested in the practice, but shy away from trying it because it seems difficult and  mysterious. In reality, bonsai is . . . 

Approachable

The practice of bonsai might seem exotic, but think of it as a form of gardening that uses some specialized tools and techniques. With a little practice, even someone new to growing plants can be successful. If you are an experienced gardener, you’ve got this!

Affordable

Reasonably priced nursery stock is a great source of material for creating bonsai, especially for beginners. You can get started with a nursery plant, a few supplies, a couple of specialized tools and some items you probably already have around the house.

Adorable

There’s just something incredibly appealing about these tiny little trees! As living plants, bonsai are constantly growing and changing. Styling them to resemble full-grown trees is an exercise in creativity, and caring for them is both satisfying and relaxing.

You Can Do It!

Get Started Today!

Read our articles to learn how to get started in the hobby of bonsai.

Three Important Late Winter Bonsai Tasks

Bonsai enthusiasts look forward to late winter, as this is the time to perform the three bonsai tasks that are the most crucial for their trees’ development. Late winter easily qualifies as the most significant time of year...

Simple DIY Bonsai Displays

A common practice within the discipline of bonsai is to exhibit a tree by placing it upon a special slab, stand or table. This article describes how to make simple, inexpensive displays – called jitas – using just...

Brazilian Rain Tree Bonsai Have Many Charms

The Brazilian rain tree is a delightful addition to any bonsai collection. In this article, we’ll explore the characteristics that make this species attractive as bonsai and provide tips on care. As bonsai hobbyists gain...

12 Holiday Bonsai Gift Ideas for the Bonsai Enthusiast in Your Life

For those who would like to give a bonsai-related gift this holiday season, but aren’t certain where to start, we offer a selection of bonsai gift ideas sure to delight hobbyists who practice the art. In addition, we offer...

Five Essential Fall Tasks For Bonsai Care

The autumn months are a time of transition for bonsai and their owners. In this article, we outline five essential fall tasks hobbyists should perform during this season to get their trees ready for the winter ahead. Fall...

Using Moss in Bonsai

Many bonsai hobbyists incorporate the use of moss as an integral component of a tree’s presentation. This article explores the benefits and cautions when using moss in bonsai, how to collect it, and how to apply it to a...

The Significance of the Triangle in Bonsai Design

A widely accepted principle within the art of bonsai is to prune and style the top growth in a triangular shape. This article explores the whys and hows of applying this concept to bonsai styling decisions.  When I...

Creative Bonsai Styles: Five “Beyond the Basics” Techniques

How many different ways can we style bonsai? As it turns out, quite a few! In this article, we’ll explore five styles or style classes that go beyond the basics. When it comes to styling bonsai, we have a multitude of...

A Bonsai from the Backyard: Collecting a Small Sweetgum

Field collecting for bonsai doesn't have to involve wandering through fields and woodlands. Landscape plants slated for removal or those that have sprung up wild in the backyard can make excellent potential bonsai. In this...

The 7 Essentials of Bonsai Field Collecting

Have you ever noticed a young tree that shows great potential for bonsai growing wild in a field, woods or even landscaping? Field collecting was the original way to obtain bonsai trees, and it remains a common practice...

Bonsai Gift Ideas for Summer Occasions

Bonsai gifts are perfect choices for special occasions when there is a bonsai enthusiast in your life. With Mother's Day, Father's Day, graduations and summer birthdays just around the corner, this article offers...

Ficus Bonsai Offer Enjoyment Year-round

Looking for a low-maintenance bonsai you can keep indoors year-round?  You need look no further than the familiar ficus. Yes, this common houseplant enjoys popularity in the world of bonsai as well. Ficus are...

A Pair of Tropical Shohin Bonsai

Small shohin-sized bonsai are popular with both beginners and seasoned enthusiasts. Tropical bonsai are kept indoors during cold weather and can be worked almost any time of year. Combine the two and you have an ideal...

Bonsai Wiring Basics

One of the unique aspects of bonsai practice is the use of wire to shape trees. Let’s delve into the reasons for wiring bonsai, the typical types and sizes of wire, and how to apply wire to trees. Those new to the hobby are...

Bonsai Size Classifications

The practice of bonsai classifies trees into categories based on factors such as height and ease of handling the tree. Some classes of bonsai require extra attention and maintenance, while other sizes offer easier care for...

The Interesting History of Bonsai

The rich history of bonsai dates back more than 2,000 years. It is a story of cultural exchange, of religious and mystical influences, and of simplicity through discipline.   Most people familiar with bonsai know that...

The Best Species for Maple Bonsai

Maples, particularly Japanese maples, figure among the most iconic bonsai subjects. This article explores why maples are so popular in the hobby, compares the suitability for bonsai of common maple species and varieties,...

Bonsai Feeding and Fertilizing

This article looks at considerations involved in bonsai feeding, including the elements that trees need for nutrition and how to use the various types of fertilizer. Most of us know the “right” kinds of foods we should be...

Using Bonsai Accent Plants for Tree Displays

A traditional bonsai practice is to use smaller accent plants to complement a tree on display. Let’s explore the characteristics of good bonsai accent plants, along with how to use and care for them. If you’ve ever attended...

A Simple DIY Bonsai Display Bench

As bonsai practitioners add more and more trees to their collections, they inevitably need a bonsai display bench. This article provides details on building an attractive bench from wood and concrete blocks, as well as a...

Concave Cutter: An Indispensable Bonsai Tool

In this article, we’ll unpack details about the concave cutter, explore buying considerations, discuss how to use it, and cover how it differs from similar tools. Ask any bonsai enthusiast what they consider to be the most...

A Boxwood Bonsai from Nursery Stock

Boxwoods, with their small, evergreen leaves, make very nice bonsai subjects. They are also readily available from nurseries and garden centers in a variety of sizes. This article walks through the initial pruning and...

A Japanese Holly Bonsai for Under $7

Evergreen and berry-producing, hollies make interesting bonsai subjects. This article walks through the initial pruning and potting of a small, nursery-bought Japanese holly. It details the styling decisions made in the...

The Best Time to Prune Bonsai

It's important for beginning bonsai hobbyists to learn how to care for trees at different times of the year. Those just starting out may not be aware that the best time to prune bonsai depends on the season. In this...

Juniper Bonsai: Small-leaved Gems with Big Bonsai Potential

Junipers have gained a reputation as some of the most common – and most iconic – species used for bonsai. This article focuses on the characteristics that have earned juniper bonsai their well-deserved popularity. Most...

You Can Be Successful at Bonsai: 7 Concerns Debunked

Many people are interested in the hobby, but worry they won’t be successful at bonsai. They fear killing their trees and are apprehensive about the difficulty and expense. We’ll address some of these concerns and...

A Bonsai Tool Dilemma: Quality or Quantity?

In this article, we’ll examine the pros and cons of investing in inexpensive bonsai multi-tool sets, as well as other strategies for acquiring the tools needed for the hobby. The practice of bonsai requires some specialized...

Mass Market Bonsai: 5 Reasons to Avoid Bonsai from Big Box Stores

Mass market retailers commonly stock small plants labeled as “bonsai” and intended primarily for gift giving. Let’s take a look at how well plants like these stack up to accepted standards for bonsai. While browsing at my...

Beginner’s Guide to Choosing a Bonsai Pot

In this article, we’ll explore guidelines for choosing a bonsai pot, look at why most trees need a bigger pot in the initial stages of training, and discuss preparing the pot for planting. The practice of bonsai is an...

5 Essential Bonsai Tools for Beginners

It’s possible to get started in bonsai with a minimal investment in tools. Those new to the hobby who choose simple initial projects should be able to get by with just the five bonsai tools for beginners covered in this...

Choosing Your First Bonsai Tree: 10 Varieties to Consider

When it comes to choosing a first bonsai tree, beginners can easily get overwhelmed by the wide variety of plants and trees that can be used for the hobby. In this article, we provide guidance on shopping by size and...

About Bonsai Made Simple

I’m Brenda, and I’m glad you dropped in to visit!  I hope you are finding the information on this site helpful. 

I created Bonsai Made Simple to interest more people in this rewarding hobby and to provide support for those who want to try their hand at bonsai. Our mission is to help people get started and grow in the hobby by providing information and resources to make the practice easier. Our goal is to break down the techniques and present them in a straightforward, simple and easy-to-understand manner. 

My own bonsai journey began several decades ago when I read a magazine article about a lady who ran a bonsai nursery. I had never before heard of bonsai, and I was immediately smitten. I was fascinated by the history and the idea of owning and caring for a collection of miniature trees.

A few years later, I purchased my first bonsai book, tools, pots and supplies, and began training a couple of trees.

Over the ensuing years, my interest in bonsai has only grown stronger. I love that the hobby brings one closer to nature and involves nurturing living things. The process of shaping trees provides a rewarding creative exercise, and caring for them regularly provides quiet, relaxing respite from our otherwise hectic routines.

Please swing by often to check out our latests posts. I hope that you find Bonsai Made Simple a valuable resource as you begin your bonsai journey.

 

Ready to Start?

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Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.

Ralph Waldo Emerson