Room bonsai - suitable indoor bonsai species + care claims

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Room bonsai - suitable indoor bonsai species + care claims: species

The cultivation of bonsai plants is a very complex topic. From the purchase over the design to the right location many points are to be considered. The care of a room bonsai is in some ways very different from the culture of other houseplants. And a hobby gardener will not get around, to acquire a certain basic knowledge. Only a few Bonsai species are suitable for year-round room culture. Therefore, it is important to first decide on a tree species that can be used all year round in the house.

Differentiate according to climatic zone

One of the biggest misconceptions is the misconception that all bonsai species can be kept in the home. In fact, most trees need to be cultivated outdoors. They have the same pretensions as their great relatives and must be exposed to the natural evolution of the seasons, otherwise they will not survive. Depending on your home, a woody area is more or less suitable as an indoor bonsai:
Moderate climate
Trees from temperate climates have programmed a hibernation in their growth cycle. To grow permanently healthy, this vegetation break is one of the most important prerequisites. This cycle is severely disturbed when a deciduous tree is cultivated in the house. Therefore, these so-called outdoor bonsai are not suitable for a room culture.
Mediterranean plants
These include woody plants that come from Mediterranean regions and have to spend the winter in the house because of their lack of hardiness, such as the olive tree. A year-round culture in the house harms the plants. You must from spring to autumn at suitable temperatures necessarily to the outside. In addition, a rather cool overwintering in sufficient light conditions is necessary to reproduce the natural habitat of the plant.
Tropics and subtropics
In the long run, only bonsai trees that grow in tropical or subtropical areas, where temperatures are constant and relatively high throughout the year, grow and prosper in our rooms. But even a so-called indoor bonsai likes to stand in summer on a sheltered outdoor space. Pure indoor bonsai species are also referred to as hot house or room bonsai.

Suitable tree species

The selection of trees and shrubs suitable for growing a bonsai in the room is not particularly large. The following woody plants belong to the easy-to-maintain indoor bonsai species, which sometimes tolerate one or the other malpractice:

Bonsai from Ficus ginseng

Fig tree (Ficus)
The genus Ficus belongs to the mulberry family (Moraceae), of which between 800 and 2000 species occur in all tropical regions of the world. The tropical fig trees belong to the evergreen trees, shrubs or climbing plants. Some species also make pretty flowers. Characteristic of all fig species is the white milk sap that comes out of the wounds. Their trunk is usually gray colored and has a smooth bark. But there are also some species such as the Ficus microcarpa Tigerbark, which has a particularly beautiful bark pattern. The trees must be placed out of reach of pets as the ficus is poisonous to them.
  • Location: as bright as possible, even full sun (in summer also outside)
  • Temperature: constantly warm, permanently over 15 degrees (does not tolerate frost)
  • Humidity: tolerates even dry air, in high humidity formation of aerial roots
  • Soil: normal bonsai substrate
  • Watering: water liberally when the soil has become dry (low-limp, room-warm water)
  • Fertilize: solid or liquid universal fertilizer, in summer every two weeks
  • Cutting: regularly cut back to 2 leaves per shoot (tolerates also strong cuts)
  • Repot: every second to third year in spring
Funkientee (Carmona retusa)
Originally the radio tea came from China. With its small green leaves, the tree is also one of the frequently offered room bonsai species. Its shiny leaves have small white spots on the top, the underside of the leaves is covered with fine white hairs. Throughout the year small white flowers may appear on the plant. A fertilization later produces yellowish to red berries, which are a very special ornament on this bonsai.
  • Location: lots of light, preferably a bright window (in the summer also in the field)
  • Temperature: ideally around 20 degrees all year round (not less than 15 degrees)
  • Humidity: high (does not tolerate dry heating air)
  • Soil: Permeable substrate with high water storage capacity
  • Watering: rather wet, does not tolerate dryness (do not produce waterlogging)
  • Fertilizing: solid, organic fertilizer after package leaflet from April to August (roots are sensitive to mineral liquid fertilizers)
  • Cut: tolerates cutbacks well, regular cuts promote branching
  • Repot: every two to three years in spring
Jade tree (Portulacaria afra)
The jade tree, also called bacon tree or shrub portulac, is native to Africa and grows as a fleshy small tree or shrub with a thick stem. The evergreen, richly branched tree forms reddish branches in old age with oval, water-retaining leaves, which may be red depending on the variety. The jade tree is one of the succulents and develops small white flowers when it has experienced one or the other dry phase in the growing season.
  • Location: sunny to full sun (in summer also outdoors)
  • Temperature: evenly warm, never below 5 degrees
  • Humidity: tolerates high and low humidity
  • Soil: well-drained substrate
  • Pour: Pour sparingly, soil must dry well between watering
  • Fertilize: once a month from spring to fall
  • Cutting: good cut compatibility, do not use wound closure (rot risk)
  • Repot: every two years in spring, then do not pour after one week

Cut bonsai from ficus ginseng

Stem (Podocarpus macrophyllus)
The stone disc is often to be found as a room bonsai, because the evergreen tree grows slowly and is very easy to care for. The gnarled conifer resembles yew. The foliage looks less needle-shaped than flattened long-chain. Natural occurrences of the Steineibe are to be found in tropical mountain regions.
  • Location: bright, but protected from the midday sun, outdoor stay in the summer advantageous
  • Temperature: evenly warm in summer (around 20 degrees), in winter a bit cooler (around 15 degrees)
  • Soil: permeable, slightly acidic substrate
  • Watering: Keep slightly damp in both summer and winter, a bit drier when it is cold during the winter months
  • Fertilize: every two weeks between spring and autumn, once a month during warm wintering
  • Cutting: possible all year round
  • Repot: every three years, roots should not be cut too hard
Sageretie (Sageretia theezans)
Originally the Sageretie, also referred to as bad tea, is located in China. It belongs with its evergreen, small leaves to the popular indoor bonsai species, which can drive small white flowers in the spring, from which black fruits ripen during the summer. Their bark is gray to brownish and has some bright spots.
  • Location: preferably morning sun, afternoon shady
  • Temperature: at least 12 degrees, not frost-tolerant (in the summer like outdoors)
  • Soil: normal bonsai substrate
  • Watering: should never completely dry out, check humidity daily
  • Fertilizing: every two weeks in spring and summer
  • Cutting: frequent cutting necessary, taking back to two leaves
  • Repotting: only when the shell is completely rooted, root recut necessary
Pepper tree (Zanthoxylum piperitum)
If you are looking for an unusual, but easy-to-maintain indoor bonsai, then the Pepper Tree is just right for you. The bonsai stands out through its green leaves and exudes a sweetish peppery scent. Exceptional are the pepper tree and its yellow wood and yellowish roots. In the spring, the woodland, which is native to the Himalayas, produces yellowish-white flowers that grow in groups on the shoots. In the trade, the pepper tree is also available as Szechuan pepper, Japanese pepper, mountain pepper or anise pepper.
  • Location: sunny to partially shaded
  • Temperature: at least 5 degrees, not frost-tolerant, in summer possibly in the field
  • Soil: permeable substrate with good water storage capacity
  • Watering: high water requirement, always keep slightly damp (no waterlogging)
  • Fertilize: every two weeks between April and August
  • Cut: May to September every four weeks
  • Repot: every two years in fresh substrate

Buy bonsai

Bonsai tree

Many of these indoor bonsai species are available in supermarkets and garden centers as cheap bonsai. Often, these plants have strong scarring, ingrown wires, poor substrate or too small pots. Who wants to have a really nice bonsai, should spend a little more money and buy it in stores. The investment is worthwhile.


While a bonsai claims different care from normal houseplants, it's not particularly difficult to keep it alive. However, because the small trees are planted in tiny bowls, they have limited storage for water and nutrients. This means above all, that you have to pour and fertilize them regularly. And a good location is also existential for the miniature tree.


Tropical bonsai species prefer the brightest possible space at the window, which is slightly shaded in the summer when the heat is high. In general, the trees like it warm year round, but in winter, the temperatures should be slightly lower than in the growing season.It would be desirable to have a sheltered outdoor area between mid-May and early September. It is always necessary to find out in advance about specific requirements of the individual indoor bonsai species. Most room bonsai require:
  • Light requirement: as bright as possible
  • shaded at noon
  • constant temperatures in summer: 20 to 25 degrees
  • West or south window

to water

One of the most important elements in cultivating a bonsai tree is proper irrigation. How often you need to pour depends on several factors:
  • species
  • substrate mixture
  • Size of the shrub
  • Size of the shell
  • season
  • Location
Never water the tree routinely, but once the substrate has dried (not completely dried out!). Do not water as long as the top layer of soil still feels moist. Water in the morning or evening hours, always with room-warm, stale water. Because of the limited substrate volume it is important to water the entire root ball very penetratingly.

Substrate / repotting

Bonsai tree

To prevent the roots eventually taking the whole shell and the bonsai starves, a regular repotting is necessary. How often the tree has to be repotted depends on the species of tree and the size of the pot. Young and fast-growing trees need to be repotted every two years, older or slow-growing plants only every third to fifth year at the latest.
  • Time: early spring
  • Substrate must be able to drain the water well, but also to store enough moisture
  • some trees need a special substrate mixture
  • Mixture for most trees: 50% high-quality potting soil, 25% pumice, 25% lava granules
  • add humus for better water storage


In their original homeland, the trees can benefit from high temperatures, high humidity and good light conditions all year round. Therefore, when hibernating in the house a few things to keep in mind so that the miniature tree is healthy over the cold season. The biggest problem is that in the winter months, the light intensity in the apartment is usually far too low.
  • put in a very bright location (also full sun)
  • alternatively set up a plant light (10 hours of light daily)
  • do not overwinter over a warm radiator
  • possibly in the cooler bedroom or a guest room set up
  • Pour slightly less when in a cool location
  • tropical indoor bonsai species warm year-round
  • subtropical trees: slightly cooler (between 6 and 18 degrees, depending on the plant species)
If you want to keep a bonsai as pure indoor bonsai, it is important to select the right tree species. Only very few trees tolerate warm temperatures all year round. For this reason, it is mainly the tropical trees that come into question here. Follow the special care instructions and, especially in the winter, ensure a location with plenty of light and you will also be successful in cultivation.

Video Board: Building A Indoor Bonsai Growing System - Indoor Bonsai Tree Care.

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