March 15, 2021

Buy Bonsai Tree – A Guide [2021]

Not sure what to look for when buying a bonsai tree when buying a bonsai tree? I’ve done the hard work for you.

Buy a bonsai tree that suits your personality. If you travel a lot buy a bonsai that doesn’t need a lot of watering.  If you live in a cold climate, choose a bonsai that thrives inside where it’s warmer

How do you feel buying a bonsai online or at a local nursery ? Most people people want to see the plant BEFORE they buy. Follow my advice and you’ll be confidently buying a bonsai tree in no time!

Buying bonsai trees is so much fun! They’re all so beautiful and unique so it can be hard to pick just the right one.

Then again, you might know exactly what you want already. Before you take your shopping trip, whether locally or online, this post will help you determine the perfect bonsai tree for you.

What’s your bonsai style?

You might be the kind to give your plants too much attention, or you might totally neglect them. Maybe you’re like me and are non-committal: sometimes giving lots of love and other times utterly neglecting your plants.

Depending on how you care for bonsai trees, and where you live, you’ll want to select different plants.

If you tend to water your plants a lot, you run the risk of killing your plant. If you rarely remember to water, try a bonsai with a thick trunk or with very thick leaves. A Desert Rose id a good option.

A bonsai tree in a larger pot will cost more, but if it means you’re less likely to kill it… seems worth it to me!

 What size should you get?

Bonsais come in a wide variety of sizes and with that variation you’ll also get a variety of prices and you’ll find some sizes are easier to care for.

Larger plants are less fickle. They don’t dry out as quickly, so they don’t need as frequent watering. The larger the pot, the easier (generally) it will be to maintain your plant. A bonsai in a large sized pot will be lower maintenance than a 15 cm pot, which will be lower maintenance than a 10cm inch pot, and so on.

Now that you’ve found the right plant for you and know what size to get, you may be thinking, “That’s great! I know what to get, but where do I actually buy them?”

You can buy locally at various stores or nurseries, as well as online. There’s benefits to both.

Buying A Bonsai Tree Near Me

You can buy them at a variety of stores depending on where you live. A few places I’ve been able to find bonsai trees locally are:

  • Bunnings
  • Home Hardware
  • Ross Evans Garden Centre
  • The Bonsai Man – Brisbane
  • Local nurseries
  • Farmer’s Markets
  • Facebook Marketplace

I prefer local nurseries or even farmers markets if you have them. They tend to be higher quality and less likely to be over watered.  Since bonsai trees are really popular, I’ve found more local nurseries are carrying them.

If you aren’t sure if a local nursery carries bonsai trees, give them a call.   You can search for your city or area and “bonsai trees” on Google to find the nurseries closest to you. Facebook Marketplace has a lot of local growers as well.

Some advantages to buying locally are being able to choose the specific plant, as well as quality and quantity.  Of course, there are also some downsides. Not all areas have stores that sell bonsais. There are typically fewer unusual varieties. Local shops don’t specialize in bonsai trees, so plants can be less healthy.

Choose the Healthiest Plant

This one may seem obvious but… when you buy at a local store avoid damaged plants – this means no bumps, no scars, no bugs, and no mushy spots.

You can slightly bump the leaves to make sure they don’t fall off. Be sure to do this very gently, but this is one of the early signs to tell if a bonsai has been overwatered. The leaves should feel firm, not mushy or squishy.

Another thing to look for is colour. Brighter colours equal a healthier, better maintained plant. Usually this is just a matter of them getting enough light.

Also, don’t buy anything that has been painted! It’s crazy to me that these exist, but if you do see succulents that are glittering or are royal blue, it’s likely they’ve been spray painted. Buying these is just not a good idea. They may look fun, but in the long run, you will have more success with a healthier plant that has not been painted.

Buying a Bonsai Tree Online

As you likely guessed, the pros and cons to buying online are essentially the opposite of buying locally.

Benefits to buying online

One great thing about buying online is the access to a wider variety of bonsai trees  There are also better specimens, because sellers are experts.  You also get the plants delivered to your door – you don’t have to go out to go shopping!

The downsides to online ordering are that you can’t pick your specimen, plants can be damaged in shipping, and are also more expensive.

Now, this isn’t really a downside, but almost always plants purchased online may be a little dirty when they arrive.  Simply use a soft brush to remove the soil.  I also use an air compressor, so if you have one that’s a great option! Do not use canned air though! It will damage the bonsai’s leaves.

Where to buy online

Good news for you… I know so great places when  buying bonsais online! I’ve ordered from dozens of online shops so I know a thing or two. Here are my favorite places to purchase bonsai trees online:

When purchasing from online sellers for the first time, look for high quality reviews. This way you will know that you’re getting the best bonsai trees you can from a reputable seller. I personally know all the shops above, so they get my full approval!

(The Bonsai Man)

 World-wide bonsai trees

If you aren’t growing bonsais in Australia, it can be harder to find bonsai trees for purchase, especially online. While I haven’t personally purchased from the following online stores, I’ve heard great things and they ship to a lot of different countries!

Also check with different Etsy shops. You’ll find some who are located outside the Australia or willing to ship to many different countries.

Replanting a bonsai tree

Once you’ve purchased your bonsa tree, it’s a good idea to replant them as soon as possible.  A lot of times the soil bonsai trees are planted in is not ideal for long-term growth. Plus, they are often root-bound, meaning the roots aren’t able to spread out, so they need more space to grow.

I use Bonsai Jack for my indoor bonsai soil, and have never been disappointed. It drains well and has the perfect particle size. Soil is really important for healthy bonsais. 

Now that you know the pros and cons to buying bonsai trees locally or online, it’s your turn! Decide which option is best for you, and follow my tips for getting the best bonsai you can.

Share this post with your bonsai tree loving friends!

About the author 

Greg Reed

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