Furthermore you will be certain that your bonsai have been well looked after and were kept in the correct environment while staying at the nursery.
Try to buy bonsai in late spring or summer. In winter some trees loses their leaves, and you cannot be sure if the tree is actually in it's dormant period or if it is simply dead. In summer time it is easy to spot a healthy tree that is pushing out new growth.
Here is a few points to look at when buying a tree:
- Look at the overall health of the tree. Fresh new growth in summer. Look for any visible diseases. Dead leaves or branches can be a good indication of pests lurking somewhere.
- To determine if the tree has a good root structure do the following. Carefully try to wriggle the tree slightly backwards and forwards in the soil by holding it at the base. You will easily see if the tree is too loose in the soil.
- Weigh up the price to the tree. A rooted cutting should be considerably cheaper than a tree that has had some training.
- Choose a tree with a good shape and evident basic training being done. Branches should be well placed with a clear trunk line and leaves should be neatly arranged.
Another very important factor is the type of tree you buy. For beginners, I would suggest one of the following:
- Any tree from the Ficus (Wild Fig) family that is sutable for bonsai. Almost all ficus are sutable for bonsai, except the ones with very large leaves, e.g. ficus elastica.
- Elms is also good trees for beginners. Ulmus parvifolia (Chinese Elm) and Ulmus procera (English Elm) are both very suitable for bonsai. Although Elms are a little more sensitive to watering and light exposure, they are still quite easy to keep as bonsai.
Last but not least you must be happy with the tree you choose. You must want to see the tree every day and take care of it.