Where to Buy a Bonsai Tree: Top Sources and Tips

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Bonsai trees are not only beautiful but also carry a sense of calmness and tranquility to any space they’re in. In this post, we’ll guide you through your options and offer some tips on where to find the perfect bonsai tree for your home or garden. From local nurseries to online shops, there are several places to purchase a bonsai tree. So, if you’re ready to bring a touch of nature into your life, let’s dive in!

What is a Bonsai Tree?

A bonsai tree is a carefully cultivated and pruned miniature tree that resembles a larger, full-grown tree. The art of bonsai originated in China and later became popular in Japan, where it has been practiced for centuries. Through careful shaping and training, a bonsai tree can become an exquisite work of art, reflecting the beauty of nature in a small, manageable form.

Bonsai trees are typically created from various species of trees, including fig trees, pines, willows, Japanese elms, and dwarf jade, to name a few (source). The process of cultivating and maintaining a bonsai tree involves techniques such as pruning, wiring, and repotting. These techniques help control the tree’s growth and encourage it to take on the desired shape and size.

There are different styles and approaches to bonsai cultivation, including formal upright, informal upright, slanting, cascade, and more. Each style has its unique characteristics and aesthetic appeal. In addition, there are various tools and supplies used in bonsai cultivation, such as shears, wire cutters, and root hooks, which play essential roles in maintaining the tree’s health and appearance.

Local Bonsai Tree Shops

Finding the perfect bonsai tree for your collection or as a gift can be an exciting venture. Many local bonsai tree shops offer a variety of trees, supplies, and support for both beginners and experienced enthusiasts. A few notable shops to consider include Bonsai Outlet, Wigert’s Bonsai, and House of Bonsai.

At Bonsai Outlet, customers can browse through an extensive selection of quality bonsai trees, pre-bonsai plants, and unique wire sculptures hand-made by Bonsai Master Jun Imabayashi. The store also offers various supplies to help care for and maintain your bonsai tree.

Wigert’s Bonsai specializes in providing one-of-a-kind bonsai trees and a vast array of bonsai pots, pre-bonsai trees, and supplies. Customers can visit the physical nursery, take a leisurely stroll through the on-site bonsai garden, or have items shipped directly to their homes.

For those based in the United States, House of Bonsai offers a large 5.3-acre specialty nursery located in Lakewood, California. Open six days a week to walk-in customers, this retail-only nursery provides a comprehensive selection of bonsai trees and supplies, as well as expert advice on care and maintenance.

Additionally, Bonsai Empire provides a helpful directory of bonsai shops, clubs, and artists around the world, making it easy to find a retailer or community near you.

Online Retailers

When looking to buy a bonsai tree, there are a variety of options available online, ranging from specialty stores to general marketplaces. Shopping online can be more convenient and provides a wide selection of bonsai trees to choose from.

Specialty Stores

There are several reputable online retailers that specialize in bonsai trees and their care. Bonsai Outlet offers quality bonsai trees and supplies, while Eastern Leaf has a large selection of indoor bonsai trees for sale. For those looking for a more personalized experience, Celestial Bonsai is a company with expert Bonsai Masters to help guide your purchase.

General Marketplaces

In addition to specialty stores, general marketplaces such as Home Depot also offer affordable bonsai trees, making it a great starting point for those new to bonsai. Another option is Brussel’s Bonsai, which has a wide variety of top-quality bonsai trees, pots, and tools for both beginners and experienced bonsai enthusiasts.

When browsing these online retailers, it is essential to research each tree’s specific care requirements and use the available filters to narrow down your search based on your preferences and bonsai experience.

Garden and Nurseries

If you are looking to purchase a bonsai tree, gardens and nurseries are excellent places to start your search. Many specialized bonsai nurseries, such as Bonsai Outlet and Wigert’s Bonsai, offer a wide range of bonsai trees, supplies, and resources for budding enthusiasts and experts alike.

Visiting local nurseries and garden centers, like the Atlanta Botanical Garden, can also provide an opportunity to see a variety of bonsai trees in person before making a decision. Additionally, these venues often carry essential supplies, such as pots, wire, and soil mixtures, which are needed to maintain your bonsai tree’s health and appearance.

When selecting a bonsai tree, consider factors such as:

  • Tree species, based on your climate and preferences
  • Size, considering the available space for your tree
  • Stage of development (pre-bonsai, finished bonsai)
  • Special tree features, such as unique shapes or colors

Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from experienced staff members in these nurseries and garden centers to help you find the perfect bonsai tree for your needs and skill level.

Bonsai Tree Auctions

For those who prefer auctions as a purchasing method, there’s a dedicated Bonsai Auctions group on Facebook, where buyers and sellers can trade bonsai trees without the hassle of additional fees. This private group allows interested individuals to browse and bid on a variety of bonsai tree species while interacting directly with bonsai enthusiasts.

Bonsai trees available through auction sites can vary in terms of quality, maturity, and pricing. It is essential to be vigilant when selecting trees from such platforms. Additionally, one can explore other online options like Petal Republic, Bonsai Empire, and Bonsai Outlet to find a tree that matches their preferences and budget.

Selecting the Right Bonsai Tree

When looking to buy a bonsai tree, it’s important to consider the style, size, and age, as well as the species best suited for your environment and experience level.

Choosing a Style

Bonsai tree styles typically incorporate the natural forms and shapes found in nature. Select a style that appeals to your personal preferences and fits within your space constraints. Some popular styles include formal and informal upright, slanting, cascade, and group plantings.

Size and Age

Bonsai trees come in various sizes, ranging from miniature (under 6 inches tall) to large (over 24 inches tall). The age of a bonsai tree can also impact its price; younger trees tend to be more affordable, while mature trees are typically more expensive due to their longer growth period and refined appearance. Even though you will find trees priced from $50 to $150, mature bonsai trees can cost over $100, so consider your budget when making your decision.


There are numerous species suitable for bonsai cultivation, and each has different characteristics and care requirements. For beginners, Chinese Elms are a versatile option, as they can thrive both indoors and outdoors. An unusual indoor bonsai tree with golden leaves is the Golden Gate Ficus, which prefers a cool and moist environment. If you’re more experienced, you might consider a Mugo Pine, Hinoki Cypress, or Dwarf Alberta Spruce. Make sure to choose a species that will flourish in your intended environment, whether indoors or outdoors.

Considering the Climate

When selecting a bonsai tree, it’s crucial to take the climate into account. Each species has specific requirements for its growing environment, and providing suitable conditions is key to ensuring the tree thrives.

For instance, only indoor (sub-tropical) trees will do well indoors, and outdoor trees will perform better when placed outside (Bonsai Empire). If you intend to acquire a special species, research its needs thoroughly to ensure it can live in your climate or garden. The tree may require a greenhouse during winter, shade nets, or a particularly sunny corner.

Before purchasing a bonsai tree, consult a list of recommendable species that can thrive in your area. Also, get well informed about the necessary precautions or provisions (like a greenhouse) to provide the ideal habitat for your bonsai. By understanding your local climate and selecting the right species, you can set your bonsai tree up for success.

Maintenance and Care

Bonsai trees require special attention, especially when it comes to watering and humidity levels. Since they are typically housed in small pots with limited room for soil nutrients or moisture retention, creating a microclimate for your bonsai tree is essential (The Spruce).

When watering your bonsai, the primary goal is to completely saturate the root system. Continue watering until you see water escaping through the drainage holes in the pot. It’s important to ensure that your bonsai tree has proper drainage and a tray to collect excess water to avoid overwatering (FTD.com).

The right soil mix is also crucial in bonsai tree care, as it should provide proper drainage, oxygen permeation, water retention, and nutrients. A proper bonsai tree soil mix should contain the following elements:

  • Akadama
  • Pumice
  • Lava rock
  • Organic potting compost

This ensures the tree receives the necessary nutrients for healthy growth (Bonsai Resource Center).

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