Knowing what species your bonsai is can be fundamental to its survival. We'll show you how to take care of your tree as well as how to identify it.

Have you ever walked into a store and seen a magnificent bonsai tree and wondered what species it is? So, you walk to the closest attendant, and they tell you it’s a Chinese Elm, only for you to find out three months later that it’s a Ficus? Does it matter, and why?

Every tree family, genus, and species have specific maintenance requirements, while there are also visual and physical factors that set them apart. Here at Bonsai Alchemist, we’ll show you care sheets for most of them, how to identify them, and which bonsais are the best for you to obtain.

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Species Guide

The Importance of Bonsai Species Information

One mistake first-time bonsai owners make is that they believe they can simply place the miniature tree in any location and water it daily, and it’ll be happy. There’s a misconception that all plants required the same amount of maintenance and pruning. However, every species needs a unique, delicate touch based on different criteria.

Bonsai fact sheets help as guides towards an improved understanding into the heart of your precious tree. You’ll learn how much sunshine it prefers, how often to water it, which pruning techniques work best, whether you can leave the roots exposed, and so much more. It also helps identify which propagation methods you can use for further growth.

It’s all about your personal journey. However, it’s hard to plan if you don’t have a vision in mind. Imagine you grew an apple bonsai upright and then decided after a few years that you want to cascade it? Bonsai inspiration helps you set a plan for what you envision.

The Most Common Bonsai Species

While you can turn hundreds of trees into bonsais, there’s a generous selection of the most common types that people generally prefer. There are three main categories: deciduous, broadleaf evergreen, and conifers or pines. Every bonsai tree you find in the store usually fits into one of those slots.

The two most popular genera are Ficus and Juniper. You’ll find a few species available for each of them worldwide, as they are pretty much spread over several countries in various forms. You might have seen the Juniper bonsai in several movies due to its stunning style and foliage.

Learning How to Identify Bonsai Trees

While bonsai species fact sheets are excellent for teaching you how to care for your miniature landscape, they’re useless if you don’t know what tree it is. Stores usually provide the necessary information, but many people have a low disregard for these details. So, when you receive one as a gift, they’re unable to identify it for you.

Sure, you could take it to your local nursery and ask them. However, we prefer teaching you how to fish rather than fish for you. You’re empowering yourself by learning how to identify bonsai species and trees in general without relying on anyone else for this information.


Now that you have a better idea of why you should learn about your bonsai species, let’s look at what this section of Bonsai Alchemist has to offer. You can visit the individual pages for articles linked to them, or simply read what each one entails. Come join us on this mystical adventure!

Species Guide



In this area, you’ll find out a list of bonsai species fact sheets, gently placed for your perusal with all the specifications and maintenance details you’ll need. We also share the families that they’re part of so that you can understand the delicate relationship between the various genera. The purpose is to provide you with a holistic view of what makes your bonsai species so unique.


Besides showing you the various bonsai species, we also want to teach you how to identify them. You might not know which one you’ll need, so our bonsai fact sheets won’t be helpful. You don’t want to know how often we’ve received requests to help recognize a specific bonsai from our readers. Feel free to do the same.


Many online stores sell bonsais these days since it’s such a sought-after commodity. However, the product you receive might not be what you expect. Also, how do you know which tools and pots will serve your purposes best? Don’t worry; we’ll show you with our review pages.

Species Guide



We don’t want to leave you with any unanswered questions. So feel free to read through the selection here below.

There are too many types to list on one website. If you look at the oak tree, South America has 600 species spread throughout the country. In the broader sense, they are divided between deciduous, broadleaf evergreen, and conifers.

There are various ways to identify your bonsai tree. Many people rely on consulting with local experts, online sources, or bonsai apps. However, you can also do so yourself by studying the leaves, trunk, flowers, and seeds, to name a few.

The Italian Crespi Bonsai Museum has a Ficus retusa Linn, reaching over 1,000 years old. It’s currently classified as the oldest bonsai in the world.

Bonsai trees aren’t as easy to find as other houseplants. It takes time to grow and maintain them until they are ready for sale. All that time and resources becomes expensive, and you won’t find another one like the one you’re buying, as it has unique traits. Due to this rarity and low supply, you’ll pay much more than for a houseplant.

You can turn any perennial woody-stemmed shrub or tree with true branches into a bonsai. Furthermore, you can only use trees that are easy to maintain in a small pot, which isn’t possible for all species.

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