The Best Bonsai Books Review: Learn The Art Of Growing Bonsai

Last Updated on May 7, 2021

Bonsai plants are a great addition to your house, both in terms of value and aesthetic appeal. But growing a bonsai plant is not as easy as you would think. I had to read a couple of books before I finally got it right. And in this best bonsai books review, we will help you with the experience.

The Best Bonsai Books For 2021 Review: Key Features, Pros And Cons

With so many options in the market, choosing a comprehensive book about bonsai can take a lot of time.. Here we have handpicked some of the best books that have helped us. Before you get into a detailed review; here is a comparative table of the books:

ImageTitleFormatLanguagePages WeightPrice
BEST OVERALL
The Bonsai Beginner’s
Bible By Peter Chan
Kindle and Paperback English 320 pages1.1 lbsSee Price
PREMIUM PICK
The Complete Practical
Encyclopedia Of Bonsai
By Ken Norman
Hardcover and Paperback English 256 pages1.89 lbsSee Price
BEST VALUE

Happy Bonsai: Choose It,
Shape It, Love It
By Michael Tran
Kindle and Hardcover English 143 pages/See Price
Bonsai (101 Essential Tips)
by Harry Tomlinson
Paperback English 72 pages4 oz.See Price
Bonsai Survival Manual:
Tree-By-Tree Guide
To Buying, Maintaining,
And Problem Solving
By Colin Lewis
Hardcover and PaperbackEnglish 160 pages1.1 lbsSee Price
The Secret Techniques
Of Bonsai: A Guide
To Starting, Raising,
And Shaping Bonsai
by Kawasumi II
HardcoverEnglish 112 pages1.54 lbsSee Price
Bonsai: The Beginners
Guide By Bonsai Empire
Kindle and Paperback English 138 pages/See Price
Bonsai Book For
Beginners: Learn How
To Plant, Grow And
Care A Bonsai
By Roberth Smith
Kindle and Paperback English 119 pages8.3 oz.See Price
The Little Book Of
Bonsai: An Easy
Guide To Caring
For Your Bonsai
Tree By Jonas Dupich
Kindle and HardcoverEnglish 112 pages14.4 oz.See Price
The World Of Ficus
Bonsai By Jerry Meislik
Kindle, Paperback and HardcoverEnglish 324 pages1.91 lbsSee Price

1. The Bonsai Beginner’s Bible By Peter Chan

BEST OVERALL

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Whether you are new to Bonsai or an experienced individual, this is one of the best bonsai books that every bonsai lover should own. While the general information is suitable for beginners, there are valuable insights for experienced individuals. One of the best features that we like is the encyclopedic description of various bonsai plants and tips on them. You will see the description of bonsai plants that you’ve rarely seen in other books. You will appreciate the addition of quality photos in the book. They take the whole experience a notch higher.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • How to grow Bonsai
  • How to shape them using wires
  • Taking care of them in different seasons
  • Dealing with common issues
  • Watering bonsai rightly
  • Feeding and repotting Bonsai
  • Directory of more than 180 species illustrated with pictures

Pros:

  • The information is concise and to the point.
  • The quality of the pictures is really impressive.
  • The book talks about various kinds of bonsai plants.

Cons:

  • It does not cover many skills and techniques about how to make a bonsai.
  • It lacks some specific information that beginners would look for.
  • In the Kindle version, many pages fail to load and appear all blank.

2. The Complete Practical Encyclopedia Of Bonsai By Ken Norman

PREMIUM PICK

Read Customer Reviews Here »

If you are someone like me who loves to grow Bonsai, then this book is a great investment for you. It is the second edition of the book Growing Bonsai: A Practical Encyclopedia, which was also great. The difference is that this version of the book is more detailed and comes with larger and clear pictures. You will get more advanced information about Bonsai, pruning, potting, fertilizers, selecting the right shrubs and trees, etc. I really enjoyed the way Ken Normal approached the subject professionally while keeping things friendly.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • Advice on displaying it on pots and containers
  • Ways to displays Bonsai indoors
  • Invaluable horticulture information on different species
  • 600 commissioned photographs featuring bonsai specimens
  • Step by step explanation of technique with more than 800 photographs.

Pros:

  • You will enjoy the detailed information presented in the book.
  • There are lots of quality pictures for better understanding.
  • The author has kept a balance between being professional and friendly.
  • The instructions are mentioned in a simple and easy-to-understand manner.

Cons:

  • It lacks information about specific types of Bonsai.
  • The texts of the book are a bit smaller than you would expect.
  • It does leave out certain details of important steps.

3. Happy Bonsai: Choose It, Shape It, Love It By Michael Tran

BEST VALUE

Read Customer Reviews Here »

The next product on our list of best bonsai books review is for individuals on a small budget. This compact but powerful book goes in-depth about growing Bonsai. We fell in love just by the looks of it; there are so many beautiful pictures. We really like the way the author has explained the difference between classical and modern bonsai styles. The major section of the book covers information regarding different types of bonsai trees. There is every possible information that you would want to know like, planting and presenting, watering, pruning, arranging, etc. If you love Bonsai, then you should definitely own this book. For the price, you get so much information.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • Profiles of 40 popular trees
  • Illustrated with a step-by-step guide
  • Explained ten bonsai techniques and styles
  • Information on how to prune, shape and tend these trees

Pros:

  • There are two pages dedicated to each type of Bonsai.
  • The pictures add to the appeal of the book.
  • The instructions can be really helpful for beginners.
  • The book is well-structured, enhancing the reading experience.

Cons:

  • While detailed, experienced individuals may lack the required information.
  • There are some terms that might be complicated for beginners.

4. Bonsai (101 Essential Tips) by Harry Tomlinson

Read Customer Reviews Here »

If you are looking for the best bonsai books for beginners, then this one is an option that you should consider. Since it is a pocket guide, the information is concise. And for the price, you will get a lot of information in this book. It illustrates different styles of Bonsai, methods of styling, pots, wiring, ways to display, and a lot of other information. Apart from growing the trees, there is also a fertilizing and care and maintenance guide that we found useful. But if you are looking for a detailed book at a lower price, then we would suggest Happy Bonsai: Choose It, Shape It, Love It By Michael Tran.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • Pocket guide with essential information on cultivating Bonsai
  • 101 tips for growing Bonsai
  • Details of design and style principles
  • Explanation of different species
  • Ways to reshape, prune Bonsai with wiring
  • Technique to water and maintain the Bonsai

Pros:

  • A lot has been covered in this compact book.
  • The texts are easy to understand for people of all ages.
  • You will almost find everything about bonsai cultivation in this book.

Cons:

  • There are lots of important parts missing.
  • The step-by-step information is missing.

5. Bonsai Survival Manual: Tree-By-Tree Guide To Buying, Maintaining, And Problem Solving By Colin Lewis

Read Customer Reviews Here »

When it comes to choosing the best bonsai books, we cannot overlook this informative guide. This book is primarily about how to maintain your bonsai tree the right way. The way it is written will be helpful for beginners and experienced individuals alike. There is so much fascinating information that you may not have uncovered in many popular books. Some tips really worked well for me, but others not so much. But overall,  the information presented in this guide is invaluable for every bonsai enthusiast and hobbyist. And not to forget, the amazing pictures keep you engaged throughout.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • Guide to grow, design, and maintain Bonsai
  • Illustration of around 50 varieties of bonsai plants and trees
  • Expert advice on how to choose the right species
  • Step-by-step guide on how to feed, water, shape, and maintain different Bonsai

Pros:

  • The comprehensive details in the guide are impressive.
  • There are some high-quality pictures to keep you engaged.
  • The instructions and tips are suitable for beginners and experienced alike.

Cons:

  • Not all popular bonsai trees and plants are included in the guide.
  • It is not much help in terms of growing a bonsai tree or plant.
  • More information on styling would have been better.

6. The Secret Techniques Of Bonsai: A Guide To Starting, Raising, And Shaping Bonsai by Kawasumi II

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Masakuni Kawasumi III is the first tree doctor with qualifications for Bonsai in Japan. And his insights reflect in this book. You would enjoy how informative this book is. And, there is a quick step-by-step guide on growing the bonsai tree on the right. The reason why we enjoy this book is that it not just tells you how you should do things but also delves into the important whys. Moreover, these steps are illustrated by clear diagrams that make you want to keep on reading. If you are choosing Bonsai (101 Essential tips) for quick reference, this is the book to choose if you want to learn in-depth about Bonsai.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • Easy to follow the information on growing Bonsai
  • Tips on pruning, shaping, training, grafting, and repotting them
  • Use of different techniques
  • Step-by-step colorful photographs include texts

Pros:

  • There are detailed steps on how to grow your Bonsai.
  • The author also gives valuable insight into different tools.
  • The addition of pictures further makes it easy to understand.

Cons:

  • Some specific information may not be suitable for beginners
  • It misses out on some basic information that beginners may look for.

7. Bonsai: The Beginners Guide By Bonsai Empire

Read Customer Reviews Here »

If you are looking for a book on bonsai on a limited budget, then this is a great option to consider. Bonsai Empire is one of the most popular bonsai websites in the world. So when they came out with a book, we had to get it. There is a lot of information in this book that a beginner would find useful. Also, the texts are accompanied by an attractive picture that certainly adds to the experience. We especially enjoy the pictures given on how to grow the bonsai technique. The information in this section is better than many other books that we have read.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • Essential information on growing Bonsai
  • It covers basic techniques of cultivating
  • Steps are illustrated with a wide range of images

Pros:

  • It covers a lot of valuable topics on growing Bonsai.
  • There are around 200 attractive images for better illustration.
  • This is a good bonsai book for beginners.

Cons:

  • This is not a very detailed guide.
  • The English translation is broken; you will find it hard to understand some sentences.

8. Bonsai Book For Beginners: Learn How To Plant, Grow And Care A Bonsai By Roberth Smith

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Mostly it’s the beginners who are looking for bonsai books and here is another great pick for them. You will find out how Bonsai came into existence, why people love it, basics of how to grow it. We like that it is nicely written so that beginners have no trouble understanding the contexts. This book is like a welcome guide for beginners into the world of Bonsai. But, you will not see specific information that you may want to know about growing Bonsai. For that, there are many other interesting books on the list like Happy Bonsai: Choose It, Shape It, Love It By Michael Tran, Bonsai Survival Manual: Tree-By-Tree Guide To Buying, Maintaining, And Problem Solving By Colin Lewis, etc.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • Understand the reason why Bonsai is popular
  • Delve into the rich history of these plants
  • Identify different bonsai styles
  • Understand how to choose a bonsai plant
  • Know what to do with bonsai seeds
  • Learn to identify pests and how to get rid of them

Pros:

  • It is nicely written for easy understanding.
  • It delves into the rich history of Bonsai.
  • You will get the basic idea of how to grow Bonsai

Cons:

  • The lack of detail can make the book a bit unclear.
  • There are no pictures, which is a major drawback.
  • A lot of chapters seem to be repetitive in the book.

9. The Little Book Of Bonsai: An Easy Guide To Caring For Your Bonsai Tree By Jonas Dupich

Read Customer Reviews Here »

If you are just starting your journey into bonsai planting, then this is a book that can be helpful. The experience of the author is very much apparent in the way he has shared the information. It is a decent book for someone who just wants to know about the ins and outs of bonsai planting. The texts are clear with beautiful pictures.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • A modern, entry-level guide to learn the art of Bonsai
  • Texts are supported with amazing pictures
  • Delves into subjects like watering, wiring, pruning, disease, pests, tools, repotting, etc.
  • Explanation of how to take care of indoor and outdoor Bonsai

Pros:

  • The photos in the book are phenomenal.
  • The texts are presented in a nice manner.

Cons:

  • It lacks the technical details you may want to know.
  • You will need to have some knowledge about Bonsai to understand the book.

10. The World Of Ficus Bonsai By Jerry Meislik

Read Customer Reviews Here »

The last book on this list explores a very specific kind of Bonsai. Ficus bonsai is the most popularly grown species of Bonsai. And this book will tell you everything that you need to know about ficus bonsai. Generally, beginners tend to go for this kind of Bonsai as it is easier to grow than other types.  If you, too, are planning to grow ficus bonsai, then this is a guide that you need to own.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • Learn how to grow Ficus Bonsai
  • Know how to style the tree
  • Contains reference of more than 40 Ficus species

Pros:

  • This is very detailed information on ficus bonsai.
  • There are many photos that are very helpful.
  • The texts are explained with examples for better understanding.

Cons:

  • It is not for all beginners; only the ones interested in ficus bonsai.
  • You get more comprehensive information at a price.

Buying Guide

Here are some great tips that will you get you a great book about bonsais.

Your Expertise

If you are someone who has no idea about Bonsai and has just started gardening, then you should consider a book specially written for beginners. For instance, 101 Bonsai is a great pick for something who is trying to understand who these plants grow and what they need.

Languages

Often famous authors publish their books in multiple languages. And this is a fact that can be often overlooked, especially when buying online. So make sure that you select the right language when buying the book. If you decide to buy a translation, go for serious publishers who probably invested in a good translation. Otherwise, you’re risking to buy a poorly translated book you won’t be able to understand.

Customer Reviews

By now, we have all understood the importance of reviews when buying a product. So make sure that you go through the review of available online and see what the customers have to say about them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Which is the best bonsai tree for beginners?

Ficus Bonsai is among the easiest Bonsai that can be grown both indoors and outdoors. This plant is often recommended for beginners. These are quite resilient to underwatering, making them perfect for those who are looking for a low-maintenance tree.

Q: Should I mist my bonsai tree?

Misting can be helpful for indoor bonsai as the air conditioning and heating can lower the humidity levels. Misting brings the level of humidity back up, providing a suitable condition for your Bonsai to grow.

Q: Do Bonsai need sunlight?

Bonsai make their food through direct sunlight. If there is no direct sunlight, it may result in many issues like weak foliage. You must ensure that the Bonsai get 5 to 6 hours of sunlight every day.

Q: Do Bonsai trees attract bugs?

Bonsai trees tend to attract many bugs and for different reasons. One of the reasons may be that you purchased a tress that was already infested.

Conclusion

You’ll need the best bonsai books if you want to properly educate yourself. Bonsais are different from other plants and trees. Different types of Bonsai need a different kind of care. And by learning their growth process comprehensively through these books, there’s a higher chance you’ll become a successful bonsai owner and amateur gardener.

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