If you are a house plant grower who would prefer to learn to grow bonsai with an indoor plant, certain tropical trees such as Dracaena, Schefflera (umbrella tree), Ponytail Palm and Fukien tea are often recommended. Most so-called “tropical” bonsai would really prefer to be grown outdoors at least from spring until first frost. They will do well indoors if given adequate light in the form of direct sunlight and supplemental artificial light, if necessary, as well as the proper care and culture.
If you have a cold frame, unheated porch or sunroom the Juniper is an excellent choice for a beginner bonsai tree, as is the Chinese Elm and the Trident maple. These are outdoor trees and need to be grown as such. Many people see them offered for sale indoors and mistakenly think they can be grown successfully under normal house plant conditions. It’s not surprising, therefore, that many gift bonsai trees are dead within a month or two.
Once you have determined the kind of growing conditions you will provide and have researched the kinds of trees that are indigenous to your area you are ready to choose your first bonsai and begin training.
You can read more about bonsai trees, their care and culture, with this handy bonsai care guide.