Top 5 Expert Tips for Cultivating Bonsai Trees: A Guide Beyond IKEA


With a cherished position in interior design and gardening, bonsai trees are more than just a decorative element. The world of bonsai extends much further than the restricted offerings at IKEA, offering a vast array of species and styles that can align with your individual aesthetic choices. This guide is designed to introduce you to the art of cultivating bonsai trees and lead you into the enchanting realm that lies beyond IKEA’s minimal bonsai collection.

cultivating bonsai trees

A Brief Overview of Bonsai

Bonsai is an ancient Japanese art form that focuses on nurturing miniature trees in pots or containers. ‘Bonsai’ literally means ‘planted in a container’, which sums up the essence of this art form. Contrary to popular belief, bonsai are not naturally dwarfed plants, but full-sized trees that are meticulously pruned, wired, and repotted to maintain their compact size.

Understanding Various Bonsai Styles

Beyond the generic bonsai available at IKEA, there exists a multitude of distinct bonsai styles. These styles can assist you in selecting the most suitable bonsai tree for your space and personal preference. Here are some popular styles:

  1. Formal Upright Style (Chokkan): A style with a straight, upright trunk. The branches become smaller as they ascend the trunk, leading to a balanced and symmetrical appearance.
  2. Informal Upright Style (Moyogi): This style is recognized by a slightly curved trunk, rendering the tree a more organic look.
  3. Slanting Style (Shakan): As implied by the name, this style includes a tree that leans to one side.
  4. Cascade Style (Kengai): In this style, the tree cascades downwards, replicating trees that grow over water or down mountainsides.
  5. Semi-Cascade Style (Han-Kengai): This style is a blend of the upright and cascade styles.

Selecting Your Bonsai Tree

The process of choosing your bonsai tree is crucial and involves more than simply selecting an IKEA bonsai. You should consider your living conditions, the time you can dedicate to tree care, and the aesthetic you wish to create. Here are some popular choices:

  1. Ficus Bonsai: Renowned for its robustness and thick trunk, it is a perfect choice for beginners.
  2. Juniper Bonsai: With its pliable branches and attractive foliage, the Juniper is ideal for those who want to explore different bonsai styles.
  3. Pine Bonsai: Pine trees are traditional bonsai specimens that require some experience but offer exquisite aesthetics.
  4. Maple Bonsai: Maples are admired for their brilliant autumn leaves. They require a bit more care but are well worth the effort.

Nurturing Your Bonsai Tree

Looking after a bonsai tree involves more than just watering it. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Watering: Unlike IKEA bonsai trees that come with specific instructions, watering needs can vary depending on the type of tree and its size. However, a general rule is to water when the topsoil feels slightly dry.
  2. Light: Most bonsai trees require plenty of indirect sunlight. Direct midday sun can be harmful.
  3. Temperature and Humidity: Bonsai trees thrive in certain temperature and humidity conditions. Some prefer cooler climates, while others need a more tropical environment.
  4. Pruning: Regular pruning is essential to maintain the shape of your bonsai tree and promote its health.
  5. Repotting: Repotting every two to five years helps keep the bonsai tree healthy and allows you to refresh the soil.


While IKEA may provide an easy and accessible introduction to bonsai, there is a much wider and more rewarding world to discover beyond it. By understanding the various styles, selecting the appropriate tree, and learning how to care for it, you can fully embrace the richness of the art of cultivating bonsai trees. For further information on nurturing a Japanese garden Juniper Bonsai successfully, visit our guide here.

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