Best Flowering Trees Suitable for Bonsai

Flowering Bonsai Tree
Talking about bonsai, surely you think of an old tree that is dwarfed and does not think that it will produce attractive flowers. But the reality is not like that.

There are many species of flowering trees suitable for bonsai or ornamental plants. Some of them you often see around where you live, public parks, and on roadsides, for example like Bougainvillea.

Well if you are interested in making bonsai from flowering trees (especially those that produce full blossoms). Here Names of Trees will recommend some of the best flowering trees to choose from.

What are the suitable flowering trees for bonsai? Here is the list:


1. Azalea (Rhododendron sp.)

Azalea Bonsai
Azalea Bonsai displayed at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, USA

Rhododendron is a species of flowering tree that is most suitable for bonsai. In their native Japan and China, many bonsai artists use Azalea trees as bonsai objects.

It is a tree that can grow in tropical and subtropical climates with many varieties and cultivars. You can choose the varieties and cultivars yourself, and make sure they are suitable for the climate in your area.


2. Sakura (Prunus sp.)

Sakura Bonsai
Sakura Bonsai displayed at Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, Saitama, Japan

Sakura is a very famous tree and is widely planted as an ornamental tree in public parks or large yards. This tree also has many varieties and cultivars, ranging from those that live in cold, temperate, to tropical climates.

This tree is easy to care for and will produce full blossoms in the spring (depending on the variety).


3. Ixora (Ixora sp.)

Ixra Bonsai

For those of you who are in hot tropical regions, this one shrub tree can be the best choice for bonsai. Ixora is characterized by the aesthetics of bonsai, from the stems and leaves to its maintenance.

An ixora tree flowers without a season, the hotter it is, the more flowers it will produce. It is a species of bonsai tree that is popular in Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

INFO: Ixora is not the same as Asoka. They have a similar name and a similar flower. However, Ixora leaves are small while Ashoka leaves are large. Their botanical names are also different, Ixora and Saraca.


4. Paperflower (Bougainvillea sp.)

Paperflower Bonsai
Paperflower Bonsai displayed at the Exhibition

This tree is familiar to you. Paperflower is a tree in full bloom regardless of the season. This tree is also very tolerant of a variety of temperatures and soils. However, Paperflower trees are better suited for planting out in the open with dry soil. They will produce full blossoms if the growing conditions are open, a little hot, and the soil is dry.

Unfortunately, this tree hates shade. They will not flower in full if the planting site does not get full sun or the soil is moist.


5. Wisteria (Wisteria sp.)

Wisteria Bonsai

Many people do not think that this vine shrub can make such an attractive bonsai. Yes, Wisteria is a vine tree that produces full blossoms in spring-like cherry blossoms.

Bonsai artists in subtropical climates often use this tree as their bonsai and it looks very elegant in beautiful ceramic pots.


6. Magnolia (Magnolia sp.)

Magnolia Bonsai

Magnolia is a large flowering tree with many varieties and cultivars that have bright flower colors. This tree can grow in various climates (depending on the variety) and produces very fragrant flowers.


7. Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)

Crepe Myrtle Bonsai
Crepe Myrtle Bonsai displayed at National Arboretum Canberra, Australia

Crepe Myrtle is a flowering shrub tree that when they are in full bloom is very similar to Japanese cherry blossoms. Because of this, these trees are also sometimes referred to as tropical sakura.

This tree does not need extra care and is tolerant of a long drought.

Crepe Myrtle is perfect for growing in tropical climates and open areas that are exposed to the sun all day long. They will produce full blossoms in the summer and partially shed their leaves.

INFO: 2 types of Crepe Myrtle trees grow in tropical climates, Crepe Myrtle Small-leaf (Lagerstroemia indica) and Crepe Myrtle Large-leaf (Lagerstroemia speciosa).


8. Purple Wreath (Petrea volubilis)

Purple Wreath Bonsai

Purple Wreath is very similar to Wisteria, it can be said that it is tropical Wisteria. This tree has many names, including Purple wreath, Queen’s Wreath, Sandpaper Vine, and Nilmani.

Grown as a vine, a mature Purple wreath will produce woody stems and can stand on its own without relying on a tether or support.

Purple wreath trees will produce blue or purple flowers and that is amazing because it fills almost the entire tree canopy.


9. Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)

Flowering Quince Bonsai
Source: Kokufu-ten, Japan

Outside of Japan and China, this tree is a little difficult to find. The flowering quince is a variety of the Quince tree that grows as a low, full-flowered shrub. Its characteristics that grow as a low shrub and crooked trunk are very suitable for bonsai.

In contrast to the fruit-bearing Quince tree, Flowering quinces only produce attractive flowers and rarely bear fruit.


10. Water Jasmine (Wrightia religiosa)

Water Jasmine Bonsai
Water Jasmine Bonsai displayed at the Exhibition

In tropical Southeast Asia, Water Jasmine is widely grown as a hedge tree, ornamental tree, and bonsai. They produce white flowers with a shape like real jasmine flowers (Jasminum sambac).

Water Jasmine flowers all year round and most of the summer.

There are several varieties of Water Jasmine circulating in the plant market, they have large green leaves, large yellowish leaves, long narrow yellowish leaves, and small green leaves. The small green leaf type is the most suitable as a bonsai considering that its small leaf size is very suitable in the art of bonsai.


11. Japanese Andromeda (Pieris japonica)

Japanese Andromeda Bonsai

Have you ever heard of the Andromeda tree? If not, you may be wondering what the tree looks like. Andromeda is a flowering shrub tree with woody stems that grows naturally in Japan.

The native Japanese varieties are a bit difficult to find considering that they are endemic to Japan. However, you can get Andromeda cultivars which also produce beautiful flowers such as ‘Blush’, ‘Bonfire’, ‘Carnaval’, ‘Cavatine’, ‘Debutante’, ‘Firecrest’, ‘Flaming Silver’, ‘Mountain Fire’, ‘Pink Delight’, ‘Prelude’, ‘Purity’, ‘Sarabande’, and ‘Valley Valentine’.

CAUTION: Toxic leaves and nectar, if swallowed, may cause temporary burning in the mouth, followed several hours afterward by vomiting, coma and convolution.


12. Japanese Snowbell (Styrax japonicus)

Japanese Snowbell Bonsai

Japanese Snowbell is a tree from the genus Styrax that produces white, bell-like flowers, and the flowers can be used as nectar.

In Japan, this tree is often planted as an ornamental tree as well as an object of bonsai. Several cultivars were cultivated, it was a rather large-flowered one and a shrub tree with many branches. One of its cultivars ‘Fargesii’ has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.


13. Forsythia (Forsythia koreana)

Forsythia Bonsai

Forsythia Bush is a flowering tree originating from Korea. This tree grows as a low shrub with branches filled with yellow flowers in the spring.

This tree is cultivated as an ornamental tree to complement gardens, yards, office yards, and fences. It is also suitable for growing as a flowering bonsai in shallow pots.


14. European Smoketree (Cotinus coggygria)

European Smoketree Bonsai

European Smoketree is native to southern Europe, Central Asia, the Himalayas, and northern China. This is a shrubby tree that can grow to 5 meters tall. It is named smoketree because of its flower that clumps like smoke.

This tree can only grow in subtropical climates because it is a deciduous tree. It is also known as the fiery bush because its autumn leaves are dark red like fire.


15. Desert Rose (Adenium sp.)

Desert Rose Bonsai
Desert Rose Bonsai displayed at the Exhibition

Desert Rose or Adenium is a succulent tree that is native to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. In the wild, this tree grows in dry, barren deserts. They store water reserves in their thick (succulent) roots and can survive without rain for long periods.

Despite growing in bad places, they still produce abundant flowers. The flowers are large and white pink or white red.

Because these trees are drought tolerant and can remain in full bloom, eventually they are widely cultivated and planted in arid regions in many countries of the world. Desert Rose is also suitable for growing in tropical climates, but it needs full sun and dry soil to produce full flowers.

Currently, there are hundreds (maybe thousands) of Desert Rose cultivars that are cultivated as ornamental plants. Most of them come from special Adenium cultivators in Thailand and Indonesia.


16. Potentilla (Dasiphora fruticosa)

Potentilla Bonsai

Potentilla is a species of flowering shrub in the Rosaceae family, native to temperate and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. This tree is often found growing in the highlands in the mountains.

This tree is cultivated as an ornamental plant and 130 Potentilla cultivars have received the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.


17. Manzanita (Arctostaphylos sp.)

Manzanita Bonsai
Source: Huntington Library

Manzanita is a shrub or small tree that grows from Southern British Columbia and Washington to Oregon, California, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Mexico, and Texas in the United States.

Manzanitas trees can live in bad places such as poor soil and little water. This tree has smooth orange or red bark and stiff, twisted branches.

There are more than 100 species and subspecies of manzanita, and 95 of them are found in the Mediterranean climate and cooler mountainous regions of California.


18. Powder-puff (Calliandra sp.)

Powder-puff Bonsai

Calliandra are a genus of a pod of pods, with members of about 150 species native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world. It is in the form of a medium-sized tree with compound flowers in bright colors (white, pink, or red).

Powder-puffs flower all year round, but they will be in full bloom in spring and summer.


19. Camellia (Camellia sp.)

Camellia Bonsai
Source: Fitzpatrick

Camellia are a genus of plants native to eastern and southern Asia, from the Himalayas in the east to Japan and Indonesia. Currently, there are 100-300 species described and around 3,000 hybrids.

The Camellia tree is well known throughout East Asia and is often grown as an ornamental garden tree, hedge plant, and bonsai.


20. Pomegranate (Punica granatum)

Pomegranate Bonsai
Source: Norbury

Pomegranate is a fruit plant that can grow to a height of 8 meters. This species is thought to have originated in Iran but has long been cultivated in the Mediterranean area. Pomegranate is also widely grown in the Middle East, Caucasus, North Africa, India, Central Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Mediterranean Basin.

There are 3 types of pomegranate currently on the market, namely white pomegranate, red pomegranate, and purple pomegranate. However, Punica granatum var. nana is a dwarf pomegranate variety that is popularly grown as a potted ornamental plant, as well as used as a bonsai specimen.

Apart from being planted and formed as bonsai, the flowering trees above are also very suitable for planting in your yard.

Interested in planting a flowering tree for your bonsai object? Or do you have other flowering bonsai trees that are not on the above list? Feel free to recommend other flowering trees suitable for bonsai in the comments column.


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