Did you know that nearly every woody plant, tree, or shrub that produces flowers can be grown as a flowering Bonsai tree? Frequently referred to as the art of growing landscapes in miniature, Bonsai tree cultivation is popular around the world. With careful attendance and certain care requirements, you can grow a Bonsai tree covered in fragrant, stunning flowers!
Whether you’re brand new to Bonsai tree cultivation as a beginner or have a lot of Bonsai tree pruning under your belt, there are a number of different flowering Bonsai trees to choose from. Here are some of the best options for you to consider, including what they look like when grown in miniature!
A Guide to Flowering Bonsai Trees
When it comes to defining what exactly a flowering Bonsai tree is, it’s important to separate fruiting Bonsai trees from flowering ones. While fruiting Bonsai trees will indeed produce gorgeous flowers, they are not simply flowering Bonsai trees. The flowering Bonsai trees on this list are different types of flowering plants that are unlikely to produce fruit.
No matter which you prefer, both fruiting and flowering Bonsai trees are full of gorgeous blooms grown in miniature. Check out our companion list of some of the best fruiting Bonsai trees here so that you can compare your options. With all of this in mind, here are some flowering Bonsai trees to check out now!
With succulent branches, desert rose Bonsai trees need to be shaped with care. However, their beautiful flowers and indoor growth requirements make this plant popular among beginning and expert Bonsai tree cultivators alike. This is a great choice for those of you seeking a slow-growing Bonsai tree specimen that still produces great blooms!
Technically members of the rhododendron plant genus, azaleas can be found in a variety of colors. You can use a number of different types of azalea plants in Bonsai tree production. Choosing something based on flower color is a good place to start. There are some cultivars that are smaller than others, something to keep in mind as you search. With proper pruning and fertilizing techniques, your azalea Bonsai tree will bloom profusely!
Reserved for the more advanced Bonsai tree cultivators, the snow rose is a beautiful and delicate specimen. Also known as the serissa Bonsai tree, snow rose Bonsai trees are finicky and complicated in where they prefer to be placed and how they like to be watered. However, once you have mastered their care requirements and routines, snow rose Bonsai trees produce tiny white flowers. This has earned them the colloquial name of the tree with a thousand stars!
Known for their vining nature and intense growth habits that often cause damage when left unattended to, wisteria plants make unique Bonsai specimens. However, keep in mind that the flowers on the average wisteria plant are too large for a small Bonsai tree. Therefore, keeping a larger wisteria Bonsai tree specimen is a good idea if you want to highlight the beautiful purple flowers of this particular plant!
Popular for their deciduous leaves and fragrant flowers, lilac Bonsai trees are recommended for beginners and experts. Keep in mind that lilac Bonsai trees will also produce oversized flowers, similar to the wisteria plant. However, there are a number of dwarf lilac tree cultivars that are ideal for Bonsai tree production. Always propagate a lilac Bonsai tree from an older specimen, something that can offer you old and strong growth.
Not commonly cultivated but certainly worth a try, lavender can also be cultivated as a Bonsai tree. This is another fragrant option that also gives you blooms for the majority of the year. Plus, you can likely keep your lavender Bonsai tree either indoors or outdoors. Choosing a lavender cultivar that has woody stems is a good idea. English lavender likely won’t produce strong enough branches for Bonsai tree shaping or wiring.
With equally interesting bark, the bougainvillea Bonsai tree is a great choice for those of you seeking multiple flower colors to choose from. You can find bougainvillea flowers in shades of orange, red, pink, purple, white, and more. While growing a bougainvillea Bonsai outdoors during the summertime is easy and simple, it can be more difficult to care for one during the wintertime. However, given the beautiful flowers that this Bonsai tree produces, it’s definitely worth trying!
Also known as the crepe myrtle, this particular plant specimen makes a great outdoor Bonsai tree in the right climate. As the tree ages, it sheds its bark, resulting in a mottled, peeling pattern that is attractive. Producing flowers in white, purple, and pink shades, crape myrtle plants also change the color of their foliage with the seasons. This is a gorgeous and relatively simple of Bonsai tree specimen to care for, especially if you live in a temperate climate and can keep it outdoors year-round!
Botanically classified as Potentilla, cinquefoil shrubs make beautiful Bonsai tree specimens. You can find this particular plant based on its evergreen leaves and its delicate, five-petaled flowers, typically found in shades of yellow. The care of this particular Bonsai tree may be more advanced than average. However, its textured bark makes for some gorgeous deadwood sculpting and shaping as the tree ages.
Most hibiscus Bonsai trees will need to be kept indoors, though there are some cultivars that are more frost tolerant than others. Known for their beautiful and striking flowers found in a variety of colors, hibiscus plants make decent Bonsai tree specimens. Keep in mind that both the flowers and the leaves of this particular plant will appear a bit oversized for the average Bonsai tree unless you happen to cultivate one of a larger shape.
Just like wisteria plants, honeysuckle grows with a vigorous and sometimes destructive habit. However, when kept at a miniature level such as through Bonsai tree cultivation, honeysuckle plants are better suited than wisteria given the fact that their flowers are much smaller. Fragrant and often found in creamy shades of yellow and white, honeysuckle makes a fairly simple Bonsai tree specimen, especially if you live in a temperate enough climate to keep it outdoors!
Similarly to honeysuckle, jasmine plants grow quickly and produce small, intricate flowers that are extremely fragrant. However, there are a number of different types of jasmine plants, belonging to different genera. The water jasmine is one of the most common jasmine plants for Bonsai tree cultivation, even though it doesn’t belong to the primary jasmine plant genus. Given their fast growth habits, most jasmine Bonsai trees will need careful wiring and guiding to avoid damaging your specimen.
There are many different types of dwarf rose cultivars that make fantastic Bonsai tree specimens. However, all roses are different and some belong to different plant families than others. The good news is, you can find roses in just about every color and their woody stems make for some interesting and complicated Bonsai tree styles. Get some gloves before you start pruning your rose Bonsai tree, as you are likely to encounter some thorns!
When grown to their full size, magnolia trees are some of the most gorgeous trees when they bloom in the springtime. You can even grow a miniature magnolia tree with its large and delicate flowers. However, the care on this particular Bonsai tree specimen is more advanced than others. Purple magnolia trees are popular if you are looking for that iconic magnolia flower look, but the star magnolia tree is extremely popular in a Bonsai tree format. It produces smaller flowers and foliage overall, making it easier to shape and work with.
Also known as cape jasmine, gardenia flowers are equally fragrant and found in shades of white. You can keep a gardenia Bonsai tree indoors to enjoy its fragrant flowers but know that its petals bruise extremely easily if you touch them. Additionally, gardenia Bonsai trees need to be kept out of direct and harsh sunshine as well as out of drafts or any cold locations in your home. Moving this Bonsai tree will likely result in some upset, so keep in mind that this option may not be ideal for beginners!
Botanically classified as Calliandra schultzei, Powder Puff flowers are among the most unique on this list. You can find Powder Puff plants in a variety of shades including pink, white, purple, and red. If you live in hardiness Zones 8 through 11, your Powder Puff Bonsai tree can be grown outdoors, but most locations should keep this particular tree inside. With consistent and careful pruning, you can expect plenty of flowers from this fast-growing plant!
Summary of the 16 Best Flowering Bonsai Trees
|#||Bonsai Tree||Care Level|
|1||Desert Rose||Beginner to Advanced|
|2||Azalea||Beginner to Advanced|
|3||Snow Rose||Beginner to Advanced|
|5||Lilac||Beginner to Advanced|
|6||Lavender||Beginner to Advanced|
|8||Crape Myrtle||Beginner to Advanced|
|11||Honeysuckle||Beginner to Advanced|
|13||Rose||Intermediate to Advanced|
|16||Powder Puff||Beginner to Advanced|
What is the Rarest Bonsai Tree?
You may think it is hard to take care of Bonsai trees, and while it is not as simple as just adding water, it is also not as not difficult as you would think. You will still need to add water on a regular basis, as well as the specific fertilizer that pertains to your type of tree. But which type should you get? As just about any tree species can be turned into a Bonsai, there would appear to be multitudes of trees to choose from but are some harder to find than others?
There are certain species of Bonsai trees that are more rare than others. These plants are rare due to their age, and if you wish to acquire a mature tree, it may cost a bit more. Some of these rare specimens are:
- Ficus Bonsai (Ficus retusa)- currently on display in the Crespi Bonsai Museum in Milan, Italy, this bonsai is believed to have come from China and is over 1,000 years old.
- Sandai Shogun no Matsu – this is a 500-year-old, five-needle pine tree that is currently exhibited in the Tokyo Imperial Palace of Japan.
- Shunka-en Bonsai – this tree, believed to be 800 years old, is not only one of the most rare, it is also one of the most expensive. Owned by renowned Bonsai artist Kunio Kobayashi, it can be found in the Shunka-en Bonsai Museum in Tokyo, Japan.
- Shimpaku Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Shimpaku’) – this bonsai is the youngest on the list, having been around for 400 years, and is considered a dwarf form of the Chinese juniper, Juniperus chinensis.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Walter Pall/Shutterstock.com
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