With the thousands of Bonsai books available for purchase, a shortlist of recommended books is essential to help you decide which one to buy. We have selected books in four categories (eBook, beginner, intermediate and advanced) that we believe are good choices.
All the Bonsai books listed below are widely available on the internet, or check this article for a store near you; Bonsai trees for sale.
Bonsai, a beginners guide
Bonsai Empire (2014) - digital copy - 85 pages
Although caring for a Bonsai tree is not nearly as difficult as most people believe, you need to learn about some basic techniques in order to keep your tree thriving. This beginners guide contains all the essential information you need in order to succeed. It covers the basic techniques, well illustrated with over a hundred images, and explains everything you need to know in an understandable way.
Bonsai books for Beginners
Indoor Bonsai for Beginners - Selection, Care & Training by Werner M. Busch
Cassell Illustrated (2005) - Paperback - 112 pages - ISBN 1844033503
This book covers the basics; from techniques to acquire a tree to its daily care and maintenance. Very useful are the species showcases, in which the author gives background information on the most commonly used tree species for indoor Bonsai. The texts are richly illustrated with drawings and photos. Great start for beginners at Bonsai who are particularly interested in indoor Bonsai trees.
Bonsai Basics, Step-by-Step Guide to Growing, Training & General Care by Christian Pessey and Rémy Samson
Sterling Pub. (1993) - Paperback - 120 pages - ISBN 0806903279
Ideal book for beginners at Bonsai; it discusses Bonsai care and training in a simple and understandable way. Very convenient is the calendar that comes with the book, in which a seasonal checklist is added. Other topics discussed in this Bonsai book are Bonsai styles, pruning and wiring, fertilizing, repotting and selecting suitable tree species.
Bonsai books at Intermediate level
Bonsai; 101 Essential tips by Harry Tomlinson and Carol Watson
DK Pub. (2003) - Paperback - 72 pages - ISBN 0789496879
Well known book that has been around for a while. Harry Tomlinson succeeds in writing a short but clear explanation of basic Bonsai techniques, and adds a ton of practical insights. Well illustrated.
The Bonsai Handbook by David Prescott and Colin Lewis
New Holland (2003) - Paperback - 160 pages - ISBN 1859747094
The authors combine sketches and photos to explain how Bonsai trees can be trained and shaped. Besides Bonsai aesthetics and some history, topics discussed in the handbook include Bonsai care and how to start with this hobby. Learn more about Colin Lewis in his Bonsai artist profile.
The complete book of Bonsai by Harry Tomlinson
Abbeville Press (1991) - Hardback - 224 pages - ISBN 1558591184
This book covers about 300 tree species that are used for Bonsai; over a hundred in great detail. Very useful for those Bonsai lovers who grow a wide variety of tree species and need information on their individual needs.
Bonsai survival manual: tree-by-tree guide to buying, maintaining and problem solving by Colin Lewis
Storey (1996) - Paperback - 157 pages - ISBN 0882668536
This book explains how to assess, evaluate and select plants suitable to train into Bonsai. Comprehensive information on Bonsai care, selecting species and styling techniques is added as well.
Indoor Bonsai by Paul Lesniewicz
Blandford Press (1986) - Paperback - 208 pages - ISBN 0713717009
An intermediate level book for those Bonsai lovers who have an interest in indoor Bonsai trees. From cultivation to Bonsai care, the book discusses all these topics in detail with great photos. It also lists suitable species, both tropical and sub-tropical.
Advanced Bonsai books
Bonsai Master Class by Craig Coussins
Sterling (2006) - Hardback - 256 pages - ISBN 1402735472
Many advanced books come by, all discussing very specific topics related to Bonsai, well outside the range of this article.
One book however deserves a place here, the Bonsai Master Class book written by Craig Coussins. It discusses groundbreaking techniques and state-of-the-art tools, inspiring the reader to start experimenting immediately.
Kros u. Exner GbR, Verlags- und Vertriebsgesellschaft, Weseler Str. 34, D-48151 Münster
German language magazine, published 6 times a year. Circulates 6000 copies per issue, of which about 3000 are subscription based.
LR Presse/ Esprit Bonsai International, 12 rue du Sablen - BP 30104, 56401 Auray Cedex, FRANCE
Originally a French magazine, but since 2014 they publish an English version as well. Circulates 15.000 copies per issue.
Bonsai Europe Publications, Houtrustweg 96, 2566 GJ The Hague, The Netherlands
Bonsai Focus is the magazine that resulted after the merger of Bonsai Europe and Bonsai Today. It is published in six languages. Total circulation of 13.000 per issue, with 6 issues published a year.