While bonsai trees started in Japan centuries ago, the art has spread to several other countries since then. These stunning miniature landscapes liven up any home, whether grown inside or outside.
If you have a beautiful patio, there are many species you can keep to welcome guests or deliver an atmosphere of peace in your home. Here’s a quick look at which bonsais are ideal for these wonderful rooms, as well as which factors you need to consider.
Best Bonsais for your Patio
We’ve selected the following bonsai based on design, color, and structure. They offer different elements that will make your patio pop with life.
You may recognize this bonsai from the shape of the leaves and the stunning colors throughout the year. In the spring, you’ll see green or purple-red, depending on the variant of Japanese Maple you buy. When summer arrives, it shifts to yellow, orange, or red, while autumn breaks out in crimson hues.
Winter doesn’t fail to impress, as the leaves fall and you’ll see the complete structure of the bonsai. It’s also the best time of the year to perform design pruning for the upcoming spring.
What makes the Japanese Maple bonsai beautiful for patios is that you can match the vibrant colors and designs to your walls and furniture. They can either complement each other or add a stark contrast.
Requirements: Full or dappled sunlight, depending on variant; daily watering in spring and summer, while providing less in fall and winter.
Bonsai styles recommended: Formal and informal upright, broom, but steer clear of cascading.
The Garden Juniper has long been one of the most popular bonsais worldwide, made popular by the classic movie, The Karate Kid. The foliage consists of small, green needles that are evergreen and remain on the tree all year long. You won’t see any flowers form, but you will find berries when it matures.
An interesting fact about the Juniper is that the berries are used in the production of gin. While we don’t recommend you try making the beverage at home, the colorful berries will be a delight to behold on your patio.
The needles also present a lovely fragrance when you rub them between your fingers.
Requirements: full sun for a few hours in the morning with protection from harsh light in the late afternoon; bathe in a tub once a week and water lightly if the soil dries before next soak.
Bonsai styles recommended: Cascading, semi-cascading, slanting, formal upright, root-over-rock
If you’re looking for a bit of French flair in your patio area, you may want to look into getting a Bougainvillea bonsai. You may think the colorful bracts are the flowers, but they’re actually modified leaves designed to attract pollinators for the tiny flowers between them.
These papery leaves are ideal for adding color to your room, providing new energy for anyone resting on your patio. You can even collect several Bougainvillea bonsai species with different hues if you don’t want to settle for one color.
The only aspect you need to watch out for is that they hold thorns on the branches, so wear gloves when you prune them.
Requirements: full or dappled sunlight for the first four to six hours of the day; deep watering once or twice a week in spring and summer, as it’s drought-resistant.
Bonsai styles recommended: Slanting, cascading, formal and informal upright.
The Pomegranate bonsai is a hardy tree that can survive in most climates. If you manage to buy one that’s already mature, you’ll receive small fruit in the summer. It’s also incredibly easy to shape and maintain, which is why it’s perfect for beginners.
The chief concern with this bonsai for your patio is that if you don’t remove the pomegranate fruit early enough. They attract small flies and fruit insects, which won’t make the room pleasant to relax in. Also, you need to make sure the fruit doesn’t grow too heavy for your small tree, damaging the branches.
Requirements: Four to five hours of sunlight in the morning or evening; watering every day in all seasons except winter, as it’s a thirsty tree.
Bonsai styles recommended: Informal upright, broom, multi-trunk, slanting.
One of our favorite bonsai species is the Chinese Elm, mostly for the tiny serrated leaves. It’s one of the easiest trees to grow, as it can handle most climates and isn’t hard to train. You can even develop it as a Shohin, which is one of the smallest bonsai sizes!
The most interesting aspect of this bonsai is that it can be deciduous or evergreen. If your patio remains warm enough in the winter, it may never shed its stunning green foliage. With the right ramifications, you can develop a beautiful design with the branches.
Requirements: Full or partial sunlight is sufficient, as long as some of the light reaches it during the day; daily in the warmer seasons, and as needed in winter.
Bonsai styles recommended: Shohin and most bonsai styles are appropriate. Even does well as a literati bonsai.
Factors to Consider for your Patio Bonsais
Now, before you head to your local or online store to buy any of the recommended bonsais for your patio, there are a few elements you need to look at. Not everyone’s patios are designed the same way, so you may need to consider other species to meet the requirements for a healthy, strong tree.
How Much Sunlight the Bonsai Needs
We hope your patio receives plenty of morning or evening sun, as that’s the ideal time for the bonsai to receive light. The peak afternoon becomes quite hot in some regions, which may cause evaporation of the soil’s moisture or burn the leaves.
On the other hand, some species can handle low-light conditions, such as the Ficus. You can still try any of the bonsais we mentioned above; just make sure they’re as close to the windows as possible.
Humidity and Damp Levels
Bonsai trees love high humidity and don’t do too well in dry climates. There are some things you can try to alleviate patios with low moisture in the air. For instance, you can place a humidity tray under the pot or spray the leaves.
Too much dampness can also be an issue, as it causes mold and other fungi to form on the roots and leaves. If you see powdery white fluff forming on the branches or foliage, try to move the bonsai to a sunnier location with more ventilation.
Where you Live
Location is one of the most significant elements of caring for a bonsai. You may have heard of hardiness zones, indicating which climates are ideal for different species. It’s best to research if the tiny tree you plan on buying will thrive in your region before you bring it home.
Watering and Drainage
Bonsais may love water, but they don’t like their roots resting in it for too long. It causes root rot, and your small tree may end up dying. For that reason, your pot needs to have sufficient drainage to let the excess liquid out.
You need to make sure your patio takes water drainage into consideration. Many people don’t use trays to catch the dripping liquid when placing them outside, but it may damage the flooring. There’s no reason you can’t use a tray in this situation. You can even use racks to place the bonsais on top of each other and let the dripping flow onto the lower trees for effect.
Leaves may Fall
Finally, don’t be frightened if you place your new bonsai in your patio room in spring or summer and the leaves suddenly start dropping. Some tree species tend to do so when locations change as they become used to the new environment. You should only stress if fresh leaves don’t grow back within the year or the branches become brittle.
Bonsais bring a delightful mood to your patio, and your friends and family will be impressed with your taste. You’ll also enjoy reading a good book, taking a quick peek at your small friends when you raise your eyes. If you’re into yoga or meditation, they make beautiful companions with every breath you take.