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Well folks, we’re coming up on a year stuck indoors. I don’t know about you — but I’m getting pretty bored. I’ve officially watched everything there is to watch, ever, and made a few lousy loaves of sourdough. Sure, fitness and exercise help pass the time and working from home definitely takes up a good chunk of the day — but after work? Hobbies are more than necessary for mental stimulation, keeping your hands busy and… I don’t know… joy? If you’re in need of a new quarantine hobby that isn’t drinking, we’ve got one you should definitely check out. Bonsai trees are the perfect mix of adorable and beautiful, with their miniature elegance, and they’re pretty easy to grow (not worry, black thumbs!) if you’ve got the right tools. Thankfully, they make Bonsai tree kits that contain everything you need from seeds to trimmers to grow, train and take care of these gorgeous and slightly strange tiny trees. We’ve gathered our favorites below, but first let’s have a little history lesson, shall we?
History of Bonsai Trees
Bonsai trees originated in the Chinese empire thousands of years ago, where building miniatures of entire landscapes was considered a “magical” custom. The further you could get from the original in terms of size, and the more detailed, the better. During the Kamakura time period around 700 years ago, Japan adopted the artform but decided to zero in on trees, and thus the tradition of growing, trimming and “training” Bonsai trees was born.
Bonsai translated means “planted in a container” as the miniature trees are typically grown in small boxes that compliment their shape, and give them a solid base to grow from.
Styles of Bonsai Trees
There are numerous styles of Bonsai trees available that differ in shape, leaf structure, slant and more. They come from all over the world and have different leaf shapes, bark textures, color palettes and maintenance needs. The one thing they all have in common is, you guessed it, their miniature size.
Some of the most popular Bonsai trees to grow at home are genetic variations of the Juniper, Pine and Japanese Maple varieties. These are all popular for their beauty, but do vary in terms of needs. Pine Bonsai trees, for example, are perfect for beginners, as they’re very easy to train and groom in a certain way. Japanese Maple trees, on the other hand, are more advanced and require a ton of water during their growing season. If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, though, their beautiful leaves make it worth it.
The kits below each have a mix of a few different types of trees included in their seed pouches. Take note of which ones you may want to try first, resting assured that many of the kits include extra seeds if you have trouble sprouting one on the first try. Black thumbs — don’t worry! Bonsai trees tend to be pretty easy to grow and care for, and the benefits make the practice worthwhile.
1. Planter’s Choice Starter Kit
This kit has excellent ratings, and contains everything you need to grow four different Bonsai trees at home! The four types of seeds included are the Rocky Mountain Bristlecone Pine, Black Poui, Norway Spruce and Flame Tree. All of the seeds are stored in seed-safe vials designed to make germination easier. You also get four growing pots, all of which are biodegradable, and an expanding soil disc. The kit also has four bamboo plant markers so you can remember which seed is which before they sprout, and a Bonsai clipper is included as well.
This kit is a great choice because it’s designed for beginners. All of the seeds can be grown indoors or outdoors, depending on your preference, and the kit comes with detailed instructions so you won’t get lost. If you’re a beginner or seasoned plant-expert looking to try out Bonsais — I recommend this kit as your first stop.
2. Garden Republic Bonsai Tree Seed Starter Kit
This is another excellent Bonsai tree kit that also has four different types of seeds for you to try out. The kit comes with potting mix pods, burlap Bonsai pots that are great for growing, as well as grow bags with sewn-in liners to keep your new seeds secure. This kit also includes a larger wooden plant box to house one of your Bonsai trees once they get big enough.
3. Home Grown Bonsai Tree Kit
EASY TO USE
This kit will give you the Bonsai trees you want, mini and filled with color, without a ton of effort or stress. The included seeds are for some of the most color-rich of the Bonsai trees with red, purple and green leaves like the Flame Tree, Spruce and Pine. This all-in-one kit includes pots, drip trays so you can adequately water them, plant markers, soil pleats and instructions. The bamboo pots for planting are eco-friendly, and the seeds are non-GMO. Please note this kit does not include a trimmer, so be sure to pick up one of those separately.
4. Grow Buddha Bonsai Starter Kit
GREAT TREE VARIETY
Each of the kits on this list include a variety of trees, but I personally really like the ones this kit includes. The Japanese Red Maple (pictured on the box below) is beautiful, and they also include Wisteria, a beautiful purple flower, Japanese Black Pine and the Judas Tree — which also has bright pink flowers. The kit includes everything you need to grow each one, and is designed to have a high germination rate. This includes a premium Bonsai pot, four biodegradable pots, soil discs, a tree clipper, and more.
5. Home Grown Deluxe Bonsai Grow Kit
BEST FOR INDOOR GROWING
This deluxe Bonsai kit includes four different types of Bonsai trees, all of which are made for growing indoors. If you live in a climate that makes it difficult to grow plants year-round, or have the perfect indoor spot for your Bonsai, this kit is a great choice. The kit includes four seed varieties, four beautiful Bonsai pots that are decor in and of themselves, four bamboo drip trays that accent the pots beautifully, and a kelp nutrition pack to fortify your soil with vitamins. This kit is also designed to not require any transplanting, as exposing Bonsai roots to air can damage them.
6. Planter’s Choice Bonsai Tool Kit
BEST TOOL KIT
This kit does not include any Bonsai trees or seeds, but it does have a full set of tools you need to care for your trees. This includes prunine shears and scissors to trim twigs, a pair of tweezers for removing dead leaves delicately, a bamboo brush, a bamboo rake and two spades in long and wide shapes. The shears and scissors are made from high-quality steel and have double-reinforced handles and sharpened blades that are ready to go. The tweezers are also ergonomically-designed to fit in your hand, and come with a plastic protector. This tool kit also includes a book with expert guidance, illustrations and quick tips for caring for Bonsais.
7. Loako Store Bonsai Tree Starter Kit
This kit comes with a beautiful wooden box and is packaged in an aesthetically-pleasing way, making it a great gift. It comes with an easy-to-follow, step-by-step instruction booklet and seeds for four beautiful Bonsai trees. The trees vary in type and include a Japanese Black Pine, the classic Bonsai tree you’re used to seeing in pictures, as well as a variety with beautiful yellow-gold leaves, blue flowers and a miniature spruce. The seeds in this kit have a 95% germination rate, so you’re set up for success with the purchase.
8. Hapinest Store Bonsai Tree Indoor Starter Kit
This is another great option and has many of the same features and components of the other Bonsai tree kits. The seeds included in this kit are for the Royal Poinciana, Blue Jacaranda, Rocky Mountain Pine and Norway Spruce. It also includes materials like pots, soil discs, plant markers and a pair of scissors. The seeds are USDA Organic and Non-GMO.
9. Brussel’s Bonsai Live Juniper Tree
If you’re not as interested in the growing part, and more the gazing and admiring part — I recommend this live tree you can order easily on Amazon. It comes in a pot ready to go and five years old already, at 6″ to 10″ tall in an 8″ container. It’ll perform best outdoors, so it’s perfect for a porch, backyard, balcony or deck in need of some plants. This Juniper variety is low-growing and also produces small, firm berries on top.
10. Brussel’s Bonsai Live Satsuki Azalea Bonsai Tree
This is a miniature Azalea tree that’s also designed to go outdoors. It comes fully grown and can be ordered off of Amazon as well. Azaleas are brilliant, large, blooming flowers that’ll lighten up any outdoor space you’ve got. This Satsuki variety has a low, twiggy shape with funnel-shaped flowers that come in white, pink, red and purple. This Bonsai comes four years old and 8″ to 10″ tall in a 7″ glazed pot with a miniature fisherman for decoration. Cute!