Buying a
Bonsai tree

What to look out for when buying a Bonsai

Most Bonsai enthusiasts started their hobby with a ready-made Bonsai tree, bought in a Bonsai shop or received as a present. Although you will not experience the fun of creating your own tree, it is a great way to get started and get a feeling for the basic care for Bonsai trees. Once you get enthusiastic about Bonsai you can eventually learn to create them yourself.

Purchasing a Bonsai video

Where can I buy a Bonsai tree?

Most large garden centers sell cheap Bonsai trees, although these are often of questionable quality. If you look carefully however, you can sometimes find some nice material at these places. Many specialized (online) Bonsai shops sell Bonsai trees as well, though at slightly higher prices. If you are interested to read more about the value of Bonsai, see our article on "what does a Bonsai tree cost?". In the remainder of this article we'll discuss some things to keep in mind when purchasing a Bonsai tree. But if you are looking for a store near you, you can proceed directly to this article: Bonsai for sale.

Indoor Bonsai
Indoor Bonsai trees; a Ficus, Carmona and Chinese elm. These are all suitable to be kept in your living room, as long as you place them at a very bright spot, preferably right in front of a south-facing window.

What to look for?

Some basic advice for buying Bonsai trees:

  • Buy a tree that is suitable for the place where you intend to put it; only indoor (sub-tropical) trees will do well indoors, just like outdoor trees will only do well when placed outside (check the list of recommendable species below)
  • With techniques like pruning and wiring you'll be able to change the shape of the plant, but usually the trunk and the root flare (nebari) are fixed. When purchasing a tree make sure you select a tree with a trunk that appeals to you.
  • Do not start with buying a species of tree that is hard to care for; it is recommended for beginners to start with an easy-to-care for tree. Check our Tree species guides or ask before purchasing a tree!
  • Do not forget to ask what species of tree you bought; this is important to look up information about how to care for it properly.
  • Make sure you are selecting a healthy plant, that shows vigorous growth.
  • Check the pot for damage.

Selecting your tree

As mentioned above, the key thing to keep in mind when buying a Bonsai tree is where you want to place your tree. When you intend to keep it inside your living room, select an indoor Bonsai (like a Ficus, Jade or Carmona). If you intend to place your tree outdoor your options are far greater; popular and safe choices are Junipers, Maples and Elms. We recommend these tree species for you to start with:

Outdoor bonsai
Outdoor Bonsai trees; a Juniper, Pine tree and Japanese maple. These species are strong and will do well when placed outdoors, year-round.

Master the art of Bonsai

Master the art of Bonsai
Overview of our courses

Master the art of Bonsai

Online Bonsai Courses Learn from leading Bonsai experts at your own pace, from the comfort of your living room!

Continue exploring



Learn how to fertilize your tree

Fertilizing Bonsai
Tree species

Tree species

Find species-specific information on your tree

Popular tree species


How to repot your tree

Repotting Bonsai