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Selecting Outdoor Bonsai Trees | Finding the best for you!

Outdoor Bonsai Trees

Outdoor bonsai trees are a fantastic way to add nature and beauty to your outdoor living space. They can be placed on patios, decks, porches or any other area of the home that is available for planting.

When it comes time to select the right tree for you, there are many things that you will want to consider in order to make sure that your selection is perfect! This blog post will go over some important considerations when selecting an appropriate tree for your space.

Things To Consider When Selecting Outdoor Bonsai Trees:

Outside Factors

  • Climate – the climate where you live and the location of your bonsai on a property. A spot that gets full sun during the day might be great for a certain bonsai but will cook it in summer. Even around a home, there are usually spots with more shade than sun. Other trees nearby may have low branches creating shade in places. How much sun does your bonsai need?
  • Water – is there an abundance or depletion of water in the area? If the weather is intense with high humidity or extreme temperatures, this can affect how often to water. Don’t assume just because it’s raining every day that you don’t have to water – sometimes rainwater can actually drain faster through soil than regular watering because it has no salts in it.
  • Wind – is there a lot of wind where your bonsai will be? There are always going to be gusts of wind, but some trees might need protection from the prevailing winds. If you have two plants on your property and one of them is in a windy spot and the other isn’t, it might be a good idea not to put a large or tall bonsai next to that plant because its branches may break.
  • Soil – when’s the last time you dug in that area? When was the soil tested for nutrients/salts/etc.? Many times when people apply fertilizer to their outdoor Bonsai tree they add too much which can cause problems over time such as root burn (especially with conifers). If the soil is clay-like, water will drain very slowly and you’ll need to water your bonsai more often.
  • Pests/Disease – does your area have a lot of pests or diseases that could potentially harm your tree? You might want to research what kinds of pests and diseases are common in your area so you can be prepared. For example, there is a tiny aphid-like insect called scale which can suck the sap out of a tree and cause it to decline over time.
  • Size – how large will your bonsai eventually get? Some trees are better suited for small bonsais while others can grow quite large. If space is not an issue, there are many wonderful outdoor trees to choose from. However, if you have limited space or are short on time for maintenance, the size of your bonsai might be a deciding factor when choosing an outdoor tree.
  • Plant Hardiness – how cold does it get in your area? How hot does it get in summer? Some Bonsai trees are classified as being hardy to Zone 2 while others could survive ten below zero. If this is important to you, research the plant environment where there are conditions harsher than yours.
  • Root System – what kind of root system does your tree have? Is it surface roots or deep taproots? Some trees are shallow rooted and will need more frequent watering because they rely on moisture in the topsoil/layers above them rather than water from deep in the ground. If you have a deep rooted tree, it might be more tolerant of drought conditions because its roots can access moisture from far below the surface.
  • Environmental Factors – these are things like pollution, dust and debris that may come into contact with your tree’s foliage or soil/roots. These factors can irritate a tree and cause leaves to lose their color or dieback at the tips of branches which may eventually lead to death of entire branches. Things like birds dropping seeds on your bonsai will grow new plants over time which could choke out your bonsai if not removed early enough. Not all outdoor Bonsais need pollination but they do need some natural element such as wind or insects to spread pollen in order to produce fruit.
Outdoor Bonsai Trees

Personal Taste

When it comes to selecting an outdoor bonsai tree, personal preference is key. Some people may prefer a more traditional tree, while others might prefer something more modern. The important thing is to select a tree that you will enjoy working with and that will fit in well with your home’s landscaping.

In terms of choosing a species, there are many different types of trees that can be used for bonsai. Deciduous trees are a good option for those who live in colder climates, as they lose their leaves in the winter and can be kept indoors during that time. Evergreen trees are ideal for those who live in warmer climates, as they don’t lose their leaves and can be left outdoors year-round.

When selecting a tree, it’s also important to consider the size of the pot that will be used. The pot should be large enough to accommodate the tree’s roots, but not so large that it looks out of place. It’s also important to make sure that the pot has drainage holes in the bottom, so that excess water can escape.

Once you have selected a tree and a pot, it’s time to start planting. The process of planting a bonsai tree can be tricky, so it’s best to consult an expert if you are unsure of how to proceed.

However, here is a general overview of the process:

  1. Start by watering the tree thoroughly. This will help it to retain its moisture as you dig the hole for it in your landscaping.
  2. Once the hole is dug, remove the tree from its pot and use a trowel to smooth out any roots that are protruding from the soil.
  3. Place some rocks at the bottom of your planting area, which will act as a reservoir for water runoff during heavy rains or long periods without rainfall.
  4. Fill half of your planting area with topsoil, then place your bonsai into position and cover any exposed roots with more topsoil. The tree should be slightly higher than it was previously; this will ensure that water can easily drain through your rock reservoir and reach the roots of the tree.
  5. Finally, mulch around the base of the tree to help retain moisture and protect it from weed growth.
Outdoor Bonsai Trees

Proper Care:

  • Watering: During the summer, bonsai trees need to be checked daily. During winter they should be checked at least once every two or three days. The soil of your outdoor bonsai should feel dry several inches down before it is watered. There are many ways to check if your bonsai needs water; whether it be by sticking your finger into the pot and feeling for moisture, taking out your tree and checking its weight, or some other means. You can also use some tools which can help with this task such as moisture meters or soil probes.
  • Fertilizing: Fertilize your outdoor bonsai trees in the spring and summertime using a water-soluble fertilizer. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package, as over-fertilization can be harmful.
  • Pruning: Prune your outdoor bonsai trees during the early spring before new growth begins. Cut back any dead or diseased branches and then shape the tree as you desire. Be careful not to prune too much, as this could stunt the growth of your tree.
  • Repotting: Repot your outdoor bonsai every two or three years, depending on how fast it is growing. Choose a pot that is only slightly larger than the current pot. When repotting, be sure to remove as much of the old soil as possible and then add fresh soil to the pot. Be gentle with the tree, as it is still growing and has delicate roots.


When picking an outdoor bonsai tree, consider the weather in your region as well as the size of the container you’ll be using. Be sure to water and fertilize your tree regularly, and prune it during the early spring. Every two or three years, replace the soil in your outdoor bonsai with fresh material. Your outdoor bonsai will live for many years if properly cared for.

Other posts:

The Ultimate Bonsai Moss Guide | Types, care tips, & more!

Flame Tree Bonsai Care Guide | Fertilizing, Watering, etc.

Spruce Bonsai Care Guide | Repotting, Pruning, etc.